Team Europe needs to bow its collective heads and figure out how to win a partner match. The side has one outright victory in eight matches, and at this point, halves won’t get the job done. Give the home squad four more points today, and the Cup that Samuel Ryder himself offered up might as well be inscribed with the Red White and Blue as champion for 2021.
Always good at second-guessing the decisions of the wise, we’re fine with getting everyone on the course on day one, but some pairings should not be disassembled. For Europe, why break up García and Rahm? For the USA, pick either one of Johnson/Morikawa and Cantlay/Schauffele. Well, at least those break-ups give us something about which to write.
One pair that won’t be matched at all this year, gave us the greatest excitement in 2018, the last time these matches were played. Remember Moliwood? We sure do. Read on for more about Friday afternoon’s four-ball matches.
Match 5: Wiesberger/Casey vs. Johnson/Schauffele
When Dustin Johnson is the elder statesman on Team USA, you know that a generational shift has happened. Johnson seems to have become, at least for 2021, what the Americans needed: a horse to send out first, to which to hitch the wagon, and let all the other explorers follow with great confidence. Johnson won his second match of the day, with a different partner, by a 2 & 1 margin that never seemed that close, throughout the round. When Johnson is on, he is the most impressive driver of the golf ball we have ever seen. Longer and straighter than anyone, he puts himself in position to attack any hole location. With Olympic champion Xander Schauffele as his running mate on Friday afternoon, Johnson was at his best, and Team RWB grabbed its fourth point of the day, ensuring at least a half of the opening slate.
Match 6: Rahm/Hatton vs. DeChambeau/Scheffler
If the next match hadn’t already been determined by the time Tyrrell Hatton pulled out some last-hole heroics, how the tide might have turned! Scottie Scheffler partnered fellow Texan Bryson DeChambeau as if both had multiple international caps between them, only to have their outright victory snatched by the Englishman’s late magic. The 18th at the Straits course is beguiling and muscular, but Hatton stared it down and earned the visiting team its first credits for the afternoon slate. Alas …
Step up @TyrrellHatton ?
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 24, 2021
Match 7: McIlroy/Lowry vs. Finau/English
4 & 3 for Team USA, from Tony Finau (who learned to win again) and Harris English (who debuted this afternoon in Ryder Cup play.) For the extremely-amateur psychologists among us, this match was a delight. The fellow who should be leading Europe at this juncture (McIlroy) seems uninspired and uninspiring. Harrington’s second Captain’s pick (Lowry) lost just as his third one (Poulter) did in the morning round. If I were Harrington, I’d pair Poults and Lowry on Saturday and say Boys, get the job done. There’s not much else to try.
Finau and English absolutely owned the middle of the golf course. They made birdies at 6, 8, 9 and 10 to wrestle away Europe’s trifling, one-hole lead (earned at the fifth with a McIlroy eagle.) They added one more at the 13th to make victory seem inevitable, then road the par train for two more stops. For Finau, Fall 2021 has to have been the most satisfying and relieving stretch of his career. For the European side, more questions than answers.
Rory eagles the 5th!
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 24, 2021
Match 8: Cantlay/Thomas vs. Hovland/Fleetwood
Successful Ryder Cup pairings captivate us in a way that can partly never be explained. Seve and Xema (José María Olazábal) were the finest ever, and no matter which side you cheered on, you knew something special would ensue. The same happened in 2019, when Tommy Fleetwood partnered Francesco Molinari to four victories in France. Sadly, Molinari is not on the European side this year so it was up to Viktor Hovland to spark the bearded Englishman on to victory. For a time, the magic was there. The Euros won four holes on the outward half, to seize a three-up lead and give hope for an entire point. In the end, they gave all of them back and the unshakable Patrick Cantlay found a way to get Justin Thomas on the scoreboard. From the ninth hole on, the visitors managed just one birdie between them, and that won’t get any job done, especially one on the world stage. Time to get those putters working.
TIED going into the 17th!
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 24, 2021
Morning 9: Aus. Opens canceled | More Phil on 46-inch rule | RIP Renton Laidlaw
Interesting photos from the 2021 CJ Cup (plus links to all WITB galleries)
GolfWRX has an assortment of photos from the 2021 CJ Cup at the Summit Club, including in-hand photos of equipment, shots from the range, exclusive looks at new shafts, 19 WITBs, and more.
With the 2022 season on the horizon, players are happy to experiment — and equipment reps are happy to assist. Perhaps, most notably, we spotted Justin Thomas with prototype 621.JT and Adam Scott with proto 681.AS irons in the bag.
You can check out links to the galleries, below, before with dig into a curation of some of the most interesting shots from Summit.
- Adam Scott – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Justin Rose – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Collin Morikawa – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Jason Day – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Justin Thomas – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Erik Van Rooyen – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Matt Jones – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Cam Davis – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Cam Smith – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Byeong Hun An – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Min Kyu – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
- Joohyung Kim – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Tommy Fleetwood – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Jordan Spieth – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Lucas Glover – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Keegan Bradley – WITB – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Gary Woodland’s new Cameron putter – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Kevin Na’s new Odyssey/Toulon putter – 2021 CJ Cup @ The Summit Club
- Jucie wedges & Proto irons – 2021 CJ Cup at The Summit Club
Tommy Fleetwood – WITB (more photos here)
Jucie Wedges & Irons (more photos here)
Cam Smith – WITB (more photos here)
Matt Jones – WITB (more photos here)
Gary Woodland — new putter (more photos here)
CJ Cup at Summit DraftKings Picks
The PGA Tour stays in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week for the CJ Cup. This tournament was played for the first time in October 2017 at the Nine Bridges Golf Club in Jeju Island, South Korea. In 2020, the event was moved to Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.
This year, the CJ Cup will remain in Las Vegas, albeit at a different venue, the Summit Club. The CJ Cup only features a field of 78 players, but what the event lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality, as 23 of the world’s top 30 players will be in attendance this week.
Sitting in the Summerlin suburb of Las Vegas, the Summit Club is a beautiful and lush parkland layout masquerading as a desert course. The club was designed in 2017 by Tom Fazio and commissioned by the Discovery Land Company. The Summit Club plays as a stock par 72, measuring 7,459 yards on the scorecard. It draws an obvious comparison to last year’s venue, Shadow Creek. A few weeks ago at the BMW Championship, we were in a similar position. Both Caves Valley and the Summit Club are Tom Fazio courses that had previously never seen PGA Tour competition.
With that being said, we can still develop an understanding of this course based on some images and what we already know about Tom Fazio as a designer. Fazio’s PGA Tour body of work also includes Congaree, Quail Hollow (re-design), Kasumigaseki, Conway Farms, and Shadow Creek. Fazio is known for intricate bunkering and large elevated greens.
His courses tend to favor long and accurate drivers of the ball, and it is no coincidence that players such as Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, and Jason Day have experienced success on his layouts. For this reason, I will be homing in on dominant off-the-tee players and those who are comfortable in easy scoring conditions.
Let’s dig into my DraftKings picks.
Dustin Johnson, $11,300 (16.32%)
I was hoping to bet Dustin Johnson outright, but 12/1 is far too hefty of a price to pay, even for the 24-time PGA Tour winner. I’ll gladly settle for exposure to him in DraftKings. At $11,300, Johnson is the most expensive golfer on the DraftKings slate as well, but this is clearly reflected in his ownership. I have no problem paying up for Johnson as a clear pivot from Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, and Justin Thomas, who are all garnering more ownership. Lastly, I find the $6K range to be abnormally strong this week, giving us some more wiggle room at the top.
Brooks Koepka, $9,700 (7.36%)
I understand that Brooks Koepka is a risky play given that he has a tendency to mentally eject from tournaments if he is not in contention, but I am expecting a massive week from the four-time major champion. For cash games, I have no problem pivoting to Louis Oosthuizen, who provides a far more reliable floor, but I will gladly take my chances on a sub-eight percent Brooks Koepka in large-scale GPP contests.
Adam Scott, $8,100 (5.63%)
Adam Scott and Paul Casey sit right next to each other on the DraftKings slate, yet Casey is garnering over three times the ownership of Scott. I have no issue with Paul Casey this week, in fact, I think he is a suitable play in cash games, but is he three times more likely to outscore Adam Scott this week? That’s where I have to draw the line. While the Australian has certainly experienced his fair share of ups and downs last season, it finally feels like his game is rounding into form. The 14-time PGA Tour winner has gained over 4.5 strokes on approach in two of his last three starts. The Summit Club is also extremely forgiving off the tee, which should mask some of his recent struggles with the driver.
Sergio Garcia, $7,500 (9.11%)
There are loads of excellent pivots in the $7,000 range. I could have easily written up a 4% Justin Rose, but let’s roll with Sergio Garcia this week. The Spaniard boasts an impressive resume on Fazio designs, with a fourth and a 16th at Quail Hollow, a sixth at Caves Valley, and a 21st at Shadow Creek. As one of the best drivers of the ball in the world who also pounds greens in regulation, Garcia possesses the prototypical Fazio skill-set.
Hudson Swafford, $6,000 (1.22%)
Hudson Swafford is one of the most appealing minimum-priced players in recent memory. Over his last 36 rounds, the two-time PGA Tour winner ranks above average in opportunities gained, greens in regulation gained, driving distance, birdies or better gained, strokes gained off the tee, and sand saves. While the University of Georgia product is most certainly a poor-man’s version of some of the players I have mentioned above (Johnson, Koepka, Garcia), he does the exact same things well. It does not come as a surprise that his last two Fazio appearances have resulted in a runner-up and 17th-place finish. Swafford is an excellent salary filler that will allow fantasy managers to splurge on elite talent at the top.
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WITB Time Machine: Justin Thomas’ winning WITB 2017 CJ Cup
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX (tipped 1.5 inches) 3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK...
Adam Scott WITB 2021 (October, new irons)
Adam Scott’s what’s in the bag accurate as of the CJ Cup . Driver: Titleist TSi4 (9 degrees, A2 SureFit...
Danny Willett WITB 2021 (October)
Danny Willett what’s in the bag accurate as of the Shriners Open. Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Kai’li...
Sungjae Im’s winning WITB: 2021 Shriners Open
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (8 degrees) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X (45.25 inches) 3-wood: Titleist TS3 (13.5) (B1...
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