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Rich Hunt’s Ryder Cup takes: Keys? Who will win? Will a Tiger-Bryson pairing work?

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GolfWRX Featured Writer and professional statistician, Rich Hunt joined Two Guys Talkin’ Golf podcast (not surprisingly) to talk about the upcoming Ryder Cup and more.

Here’s a rundown of what Hunt had to say about the action ahead at Le Golf National. Hunt has written about the Ryder Cup extensively. In August, he offered his recommended captain’s picks, and he broke down the team as it stood in May.

Check out those pieces for some of Hunt’s thinking, and see what he had to say about the competition, below.

GolfWRX Featured Writer and professional statistician, Rich Hunt joined Two Guys Talkin’ Golf podcast (not surprisingly) to talk about the upcoming Ryder Cup and more.

Here’s a rundown of what Hunt had to say about the action ahead at Le Golf National. Hunt has written about the Ryder Cup extensively. In August, he offered his recommended captain’s picks, and he broke down the team as it stood in May.

Check out those pieces for some of Hunt’s thinking, and see what he had to say about the competition, below.

Who’s going to win?

“I’ve run 100 simulations, and I had Europe winning 51 times to the U.S. winning 48 times…It’s going to be very close.”

“I think this European team is very good,” Hunt said, noting that while plenty are proclaiming the U.S. squad to be among the best every, the European squad is one of the stoutest in the history of the competition. “The European team, when you look at the numbers…are more consistently strong from top to bottom, but the U.S. team…has a little more fire power up top.”

What will be key in deciding the cup winner?

“It comes down to what it usually does…”can the U.S. team close the gap in…alternate shot?” That’s where the European team has an advantage. And depending on how they pair them, I think the European team still has the advantage. But the U.S. team, they do have some really good candidates for the alternate shot format.”

“Conversely, it’ll come down to how well the European team can close the gap in the four-ball format.”

An example of a good U.S. team alternate shot pairing…

“For alternate shot…I would keep Webb Simpson away from the four-ball format. And it’s very important for captains to get all 12 players playing on day one…the teams that get all 12 players playing on day one do the best…somebody like Rickie Fowler would be a really good pairing for Webb Simpson. Rickie’s been…very accurate off the tee. Webb Simpson’s biggest weakness is shots from the rough. He needs a partner who can find a lot of fairways so that they can capitalize on Webb’s play on the approach shots.”

…and more

“I also like…Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods together, and also Tiger and Bryson DeChambeau as well. They pair up really well. When Tiger’s driver is a little bit off…Bryson is really good out of the rough this year. Conversely, Bryson has been one the best drivers on Tour, and then you’ve got Tiger’s iron play. So it’s a really good match.”

Key factors at Le Golf National?

“Usually at a Ryder Cup course, they have the course set up kind of like a major…you’re going to have a lot of long approach shots…I’ve heard Le Golf National is a lot shorter. Jim Furyk…said it was very short. Come Ryder Cup time, I think they have a tendency to find a way to lengthen the course, but if they don’t, that’s going to be a big factor. That may make someone like Ian Poulter more of a factor, but it may hurt, say, a Jon Rahm who isn’t as good on mid-length approach shots as he is long-distance approach shots.”

Who are the “swing guys” for each team?

“For the U.S., it’s probably going to be Phil. I get the feeling that they’re going to…ride Phil quite a bit, compared to, say, a first-time player. But he has…not played well at all…East Lake [where Mickelon finished last] didn’t bring any confidence in me that he’s going to play any better. But he has a lot of the capability to play in alternate shot or four-ball.”

“On the European side…I’d go with Sergio…he hasn’t played well, but he has the capability to…play well in the Ryder Cup. If not Sergio, I’d probably go with somebody like Jon Rahm, just because Rahm, when he’s on, he’s really really on, and he’s tough to be, now you’re looking at a guy who arguably be No. 1 in the world when he’s on his A-game…If Rahm has his A-game going, that could make the European team very, very tough to beat.”

For more from Hunt, including plenty of non-Ryder Cup-related remarks, check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, South Dakota

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member ihatecats18, who takes us to The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, South Dakota. The course sits along the Missouri River, and in his description of the track, I hatecats18 praises the fairness of the challenge provided.

“It has been a few years since I golfed here, but after playing it for one full summer it is a course I truly do miss.  It is home to the University of South Dakota golf and isn’t necessarily the toughest course out there, but it is fair. Holes 13-16 are amazing holes that make you make big choices on how to attack the green.”

According to The Bluffs Golf Course’s website, 18 holes during the week will cost you $24, with the rate rising to $32 on the weekend.

@KyleScanlon65

@MMCLancers

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Podcasts

TG2: Why does everyone want “Player’s Irons”? Epic Flash, M5, and M6 speculation

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In this episode of TG2, Knudson and Miller discuss Kevin Kisner’s comments about Patrick Reed. Also discussed: Who are players irons really for and why does every handicap want to play them? Finally, Knudson and Miller speculate about the new drivers from Callaway and TaylorMade.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Nevel Meade in Prospect, Kentucky

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member pearsonified, who takes us to Nevel Meade in Prospect, Kentucky. Pearsonified whets the appetite by describing Nevel Meade as “the absolute best value I’ve ever played”, and in his description of the course, pearsonified heaps praise on the conditioning of the course.

“This Steve Smyers design plays across gently-rolling terrain and features the nicest sub-$50 conditioning you will ever see (bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens with bluegrass rough). Shot values start high and stay there throughout the round, and the rhythm of the holes balances legit scoring opportunities with tough pars. Such a great track!”

According to Nevel Meade’s website, 18 holes can be played midweek with a cart for just $35, while the rate increases to $45 should you want to play on the weekend.

@john77cj7

@FredCowgillWLKY

@JasonRittenberry

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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