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2021 Ryder Cup betting preview

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After a three-year-long wait, the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup is finally here! The match will be held at the Pete Dye-designed Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. The U.S. team figures to be glad to receive the home field advantage this year, as the European side has won each of the last six times on their soil, including the infamous 2018 beatdown in Paris.

Whistling Straits is playing as a 7,390-yard par 71 this week, and the course will play in stark contrast to the previous host course, Le Golf National. Since the U.S. team plays a hand in set-up, the rough figures to be down and multiple par fours have been shortened to become drivable for the longest hitters. This should play right into the U.S. team’s hands, who have an embarrassment of riches in terms of length off the tee, which has historically been one of the greatest indicators of success at Whistling Straits.

With all of that being said, bettors will have to pay a hefty price to back the United States. FanDuel currently has the most generous odds for the U.S. at -160, but they can be found at other books all the way up to -225. For this reason, while I do believe the U.S. will ultimately prevail, I have chosen to highlight five of my favorite prop offerings for those less inclined to lay that much juice. Let’s dive in!

2021 Ryder Cup betting picks

Shane Lowry top Great Britain and Ireland points scorer (+600, DraftKings)

Shane Lowry is a player that U.K tipster Steve Bamford and I discussed in-depth on the Inside Golf Podcast, and we are both high on his chances for a number of reasons. Firstly, Whistling Straits seems an ideal fit for the Irishman’s game, especially if the current weather forecast holds. Lowry finished third earlier this year on the Pete Dye designed Ocean Course at the PGA Championship, and who could get forget his monumental win of the 2019 Open Championship at the wind-swept Royal Portrush. With seven consecutive top-30 worldwide finishes, the five-time European Tour winner enters the Ryder Cup in much stronger form than many of his European counterparts at similar odds.

The greatest obstacle will be how much European captain Padraig Harrington chooses to utilize Lowry, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that we will see a lot more of the former Open Champion than we would expect. A pairing with Rory McIlroy certainly makes sense, as both hail from Ireland and possess similarly strong ball-striking. With that being said, the well-rounded nature of Lowry’s game makes him a solid partner for just about anyone on the European side. The reason I am selecting him as top Great Britain and Ireland points scorer instead of top European points scorer is that I do believe that both Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm will have big weeks for the European side, and in this offering, I am able to get rid of both of those threats, yet still acquire Lowry at inviting odds.

Daniel Berger top wildcard (+900, FanDuel)

I firmly believe that Daniel Berger is going to have an exceptional week, and I’m frankly a little surprised he’s not receiving more buzz. The four-time PGA Tour winner has gained over five strokes from tee-to-green in his last seven starts, and he is coming off a performance at the TOUR Championship where he gained 3.8 strokes ball-striking. Berger’s iron play rarely gets discussed, yet over a large sample size of his last 50 rounds, only Collin Morikawa has gained more strokes on approach.

Of course, I am concerned about Berger’s opportunity. The U.S. side is loaded with talent, and there is definitely a possibility that Berger will get lost in the shuffle. With that being said, when examining the top wildcard market, I am a little bit lower on Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele’s chances this week than others, and I do believe that if Berger plays well in his first match, then he will earn more opportunities as the week progresses. The Florida native has an incredibly well-rounded skill-set that should pair well with any of his teammates, and I have zero concerns about his motivation to make the most of his first Ryder Cup opportunity.

United States wins singles (-160, DraftKings)

While I am barely getting a better price on the U.S. to win the singles portion than the whole Ryder Cup, I do believe that the U.S.’s greatest advantage actually comes in this aspect of the event. Thus, I am failing to understand why they have shorter odds in this offering. On the other hand, the European’s greatest advantage comes during the foursomes format due to their lack of questions surrounding team chemistry and their ability to hide some of their weaker players.

Conversely, the U.S.’s greatest edge comes during singles, where they possess the clear talent advantage. I will gladly back the U.S. side to take care of business in an offering that I believe should have sizably steeper odds than the U.S.’s standard price to win the Ryder Cup.

Most points won matchup – Tony Finau (+100) over Tommy Fleetwood (DraftKings)

I understand that Tommy Fleetwood is everyone’s Ryder Cup darling after his 4-1 performance in 2018 at Le Golf National, yet I have my concerns about his ability to repeat such a performance at Whistling Straits for a number of reasons. Firstly, while Le Golf National was the perfect fit for the five-time European Tour winner’s game, Fleetwood may have his hands full at Whistling Straits. The Englishman is one of the shorter players off the tee in this entire competition and he is a very poor long iron player as well. Fleetwood is accurate off the tee and possesses an excellent short game, and those project to be two skill-sets that could be largely devalued on a course with virtually no rough that is simultaneously set-up for scoring.

Even more importantly, Fleetwood has still yet to figure things out recently on American soil. While he has been solid on the European Tour this season, the Southport native has not recorded a top-five in the U.S. since the 2020 Honda Classic, pre-COVID-19 pandemic. I do not see Padraig Harrington utilizing Fleetwood a great deal this week for the aforementioned reasons. I would actually be surprised if he plays more than three matches.

Tony Finau, on the other hand, figures to be an excellent fit for Whistling Straits, as exemplified by his tenth-place finish at the 2015 PGA Championship. The recent Northern Trust winner is plenty long off the tee, and is an ideal partner for any of the U.S. bombers because of his elite short game and ability to clean up some of the green-side messes on the plethora of drivable par-fours. There is little point of choosing a host course like Whistling Straights and then proceeding to not utilize a player with Tony Finau’s skill-set. I expect Finau to both get more opportunities than Fleetwood, and outperform him in the opportunities that he does receive as well.

Team USA to win by 1-3 points (+250, DraftKings)

I’ll conclude with what is my favorite bet on the board. After much back and forth, I have settled on the United States squeaking out a victory as my predicted outcome. Earlier in the week, I was in the camp that the U.S. would win more handily because of their clear talent advantage and how much better their collective skill-set fits at Whistling Straits, yet after a quick scan of this week’s weather forecast, conditions actually look more-so to resemble that of a course on the British Isles. The one aspect of the set-up that the U.S. cannot control is the weather, and even if they do everything in their power to make this course favor length off the tee and birdie makers, that desired outcome is nearly impossible to achieve with wind gusts up to 30 mph. If this event was played in a dome, the U.S. may win in a rout, but if these conditions hold, I do believe that excellent wind and difficult condition specialists such as Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton, and Matthew Fitzpatrick suddenly become far more relevant.

With all of that being said, the depth on the United States side gives them a clear edge in singles, and while I would be not be shocked if Europe actually enters Sunday with a lead, the U.S. still figures to outlast by a slim margin.

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19th Hole

LPGA stars given creepy ‘Squid Game’ cookies on arrival in Korea

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The LPGA Tour players were greeted with a rather unusual gift when they arrived at the BMW Ladies Championship at LPGA International Busan in Busan, Korea this week.

As seen on Danielle Kang’s Instagram story this week, each player received a metal tin can with a traditional Korean dalgona cookie inside. At first glance, this would seem to be a fairly normal occurrence. However, if you have seen the new Netflix show, “Squid Game” that has quickly become an internet sensation you would know otherwise.

 

The cookie the players were presented with was a reference to the second episode of the Netflix show, and the implications were horrific.

In the show, the contestants of the “Squid Game” had ten minutes to choose and carve a shape or picture into the cookie. If they failed to complete the task, the consequences were deadly. As one would imagine, being given this creepy gift upon arrival to the event was relatively unsettling to those preparing to tee it up.

Despite the spine-chilling inference of the gift, many of the LPGA players decided to try the “challenge” from the show and carve some shapes out of the cookie.

 

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Hopefully, their results at The BMW Ladies PGA Championship will be better than hey were for the contestants on “Squid Game.”

Related: More from the 19th Hole

 

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19th Hole

2021 ZOZO Championship: Best DFS plays from each price range

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Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club is a par 70 measuring 7,041 yards and features bentgrass greens. The course has a unique design with five par 3’s and three par 5’s.

The ZOZO Championship is a no-cut event and will feature 78 golfers. The field is fairly strong this week, with a handful of PGA Tour stars making the long trip to Japan. Those golfers include Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler, Joaquin Niemann, Will Zalatoris, and Kevin Na.

Let’s take a look at each DraftKings price range and identify the best plays for each in GPP’s.

10,000+

Collin Morikawa $11,200:

Collin Morikawa has the perfect skill set for Narashino Country Club. The course requires accuracy off the tee due to the narrow fairways and penal tree lines. Approach play will also be a major factor as the greens at the course are heavily contoured and undulating. Morikawa’s prowess in these two specific areas make him a must play to start your DFS lineups.

9,000+

Rickie Fowler $9,800:

Fowler ranked first among the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green last week in Las Vegas and gained a whopping 8.9 strokes on the field. He also gained 8.3 strokes in “Fairways Gained” which should translate quite nicely to what he will need to do this week in Japan. Narashino Country Club is a tight tree-lined golf course that makes accuracy off of the tee essential. Fowler was in total control of the golf ball last week, and I expect that to carry over to the ZOZO Championship. 

8,000+

Carlos Ortiz $8,600:

Carlos Ortiz got off to a sluggish start in Las Vegas but bounced back nicely and ended up finishing in a share for 25th place. The turnaround was due to a superb week statistically from tee to green. The 30-year old gained 6.1 strokes on the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green for the week. Additionally, he gained 4.6 strokes on approach, which was good for fourth in the field. The only part of his game that was subpar on the week was his putting, where he struggled and lost 3.4 strokes to the field with the flat stick.

7,000+

Pat Perez $7,300:

To put it simply: Pat Perez is a birdie maker. At a no cut event, birdies and eagles are even more important than usual. Perez ranks 12th in the field in Birdie or Better rate in his past 36 rounds and should be able to pile up the points. Additionally, we have seen Perez play well in Asia as he finished 7th at the 2018 CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea.

6,000+

Sam Ryder $6,700:

Speaking of birdie makers, Sam Ryder is a golfer who fits that mold exquisitely. In his past 24 rounds, Ryder ranks 1st in the field in Birdie or Better. Narashino Country Club also seems to be an ideal fit for the 31-year-old. Ryder ranks 6th in the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and 16th for Strokes Gained: Putting on bentgrass greens.

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LPGA Tour graduate hit with 4-shot penalty for having her kid’s club in bag

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When trying to secure your card to become a professional golfer, every single stroke matters.

As reported first by GolfWeek’s Beth Ann Nichols, during the final round of the Copper Rock Championship on the Symetra Tour, Rachel Rohanna reached in her bag to discover her daughter’s 23 inch club. Being the 15th club in her bag, Rachel was forced to call over a rules official and receive the bad news: she had incurred a 4 stroke penalty for the mistake.

Rohanna’s three year old daughter, Gemelia has had to travel with her mom on the Symetra Tour all season. It has been a challenging year for Rachel who is trying to earn back her LPGA Tour card and raise a toddler at the same time.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. The loss of $900 due to the penalty didn’t impact Rohanna’s graduation to the LPGA Tour, who finished 10th in the money list for the Symetra Tour ($4,429 clear of 11th), to earn her LPGA card despite the costly penalty.

With the promotion, the 30 year old becomes the first mother to earn her professional card by going through the developmental tour.

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