A funny thing happened between 2018 and 2021: Europe forgot completely how to play foursomes golf. The format that gave the Old World its greatest triumphs has seemingly slipped away from its consciousness. For the second consecutive day, Team USA won three morning matches where each player hit half his normal complement of shots. This wouldn’t matter if the European squad had countered in fourball matches, but they didn’t, or haven’t yet. They’ve one afternoon left to turn the tide, or their flight home will be about one bottle of ketchup lighter — the official weight listed for the trophy on the @RyderCup website.
Here’s our rundown of the third band of matches at Whistling Straits.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 25, 2021
Match Nine: Rahm/García vs. Koepka/Berger
Sporting of the Spaniards to spot the Seminoles the morning’s first three holes, wouldn’t you say? For an hour, fans of Team USA seemed certain that the powerful Iberian pairing had finally met its match. Wins on holes 1 through 3 and 5, countered only by a lost-hole 4, gave the RWB a three-up lead. What had happened overnight, many wondered. Wonder no longer. Serigo and Jon countered with thrusts of Toledo steel, winning seven of the next twelve holes, to dispatch the hopeful Floridians. Papa Padraig has to wonder why his other pairings cannot match their intensity and efficiency. Unlike Friday, when he split them up in the afternoon matches, Harrington decided to keep el duo together for afternoon fourballs.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 25, 2021
Match Ten: Casey/Hatton vs. Johnson/Morikawa
And the band played on. The match that we all want to see, but won’t, is Johnson and Morikawa (or Johnson and anyone, really) against the Spaniards. If only the English pair had played like the English fought against the Spanish armada, it might have won against the invincible Americans. Each of the first eight holes were won: six by the American and two by the Europeans. That 4-up lead didn’t last, however, as Casey and Hatton countered. They won three holes to reduce the lead to one, including the sublime hole-out by Casey from the wastesands. In the end, the Americans parried with a 15th-hole birdie and two more pars, and held on for a 2 & 1 victory.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 25, 2021
Match Eleven: Hovland/Wiesberger vs. Thomas/Spieth
This may have been the oddest pairing of the morning, one that punters everywhere would have avoided like ranch dressing on chicken wings. Match rookies Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger against the featured American team? It almost worked. After six holes, Team Blue had a three-up lead, but then gave it all back. By the eleventh tee, Team Red had leveled the match. The Blues grabbed the eleventh to reclaim the lead, but ran out of gas in the home stretch. The final five holes were won, one by the Euros and four by the Yanks. After struggling on Friday morning, Thomas and Spieth appear to have found their stride and caught a second wind.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 25, 2021
Match Twelve: Westwood/Fitzpatrick vs. Cantlay/Schauffele
The fourth match of morning the second featured much less exchange of won/lost holes. Only 10 of the 18 were claimed by either team. The Europeans led by one after six, but the Americans won four of the next five to gain a three-hole advantage. Back came the Englishmen, with wins at 12 and 16. Trouble was, the Californians also won hole 15, and the match was finished at the 17th green. Ryder Cups are won by hot putters, and no one is putting better than Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 25, 2021
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.
Tour Rundown: 63 and victory for Im | Kruising Ko | Spanish overtime
Four events capped the first full week of October, as professional tours surged toward either a conclusion or a seasonal break. The European, LPGA, and Tour Champions all have playoffs and capstones in view, while the PGA Tour moves ever closer to its holiday recess for 2021-22. Still, there is something about fall golf that captivates the ardent fan. Visits to parts of the world not normally seen are cherished, and the winners are no less grateful for the laurels that come their way. With those thoughts in mind, as leaves begin to turn color across the northern hemisphere, let’s run down a four-pack of events and celebrate golf, in this week’s Tour Rundown.
PGA Tour: Im claims second title on heels of 63
Korea’s Sung-jae Im added a second tour title to his resume this week. He closed with 63 to edge past Matthew Wolff by four shots. Im began day four in fifth position but lit the scoreboard with four birdies through his first seven holes. He then etched birdie into five consecutive slots on his scorecard, from nine through 13, and surged to a four-shot victory.
Matthew Wolff, also in search of a second tour title, turned in minus 3 to keep pace with Im. Deflating bogeys found the Oklahoma State Cowboy on 10 and 13, and a pair of closing birdies at 15 and 16 served only to separate Wolff from Marc Leishman, Rory Sabbatini, and overnight leader Adam Schenk in the race for second position.
Nearly jars it. ?
4 straight birdies for Sungjae Im to open a 4 shot lead. pic.twitter.com/2uCfhCaQXx
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 10, 2021
LPGA: Founders Title is appropriate for Kruising Ko
An astonishing thing is taking place on the LPGA Tour these days. Jin Young Ko is playing golf at a level not seen in many a month. She is on a run of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, which ties her with Annika Sorenstam for best ever. Sorenstam wasn’t one of the LPGA Founders, it just seems that way. She was one of the best ever, and this places Ko in rare company. Ko opened with 63 in the hills of New Jersey this week, closed with 66, and secured a four-shot victory of her own, for her third win of the campaign and 10th of her career.
Feeling just a bit hijacked was Germany’s Caroline Masson. Masson closed with 64, posted three other rounds in the 60s, but was swept away by Ko’s brilliance. It wasn’t a large gap that separated the two stalwarts. It was one stroke per round, it seems, those brief yet vicious chess moves that make a close match seem not quite so. If Masson had any place to look, it would be to the three bogeys on her Saturday card. After two, one-bogey rounds to begin the week, Masson was poised to go low on Saturday. She had five birdies on her card, but without those bogey stumbles, might have positioned herself for a better run at Ko.
Despite the rain, the champion was solid on Sunday. If nearly eight minutes of highlights aren’t too many for you, settle in and have
a ko, err, a go.
Jin Young Ko fired a final round 66 to defend her title at the 2021 Cognizant Founders Cup! ?
Watch her final round highlights! ? pic.twitter.com/JTy5ZnYBma
— LPGA (@LPGA) October 11, 2021
European Tour: Spanish overtime duel caps Spanish Open
Sometime Friday, I glanced at the leader board in Madrid, and saw Jon Rahm at 130 after two rounds. It appeared that the Basque would bring another home-Open title to his country, but I was wrong. It was a Spaniard who won, and he defeated another Spaniard on the first extra hole of the tournament, but neither goes by the surname Rahm. Confused? Not for long.
While Rahm fell away with 141 over his closing 36 holes, into a worn-out tie for 17th, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Adrián Arnaus surged. RCB hails from the Canary Islands, while Arnaus is a Barcelona boy by way of Texas A & M university. The pair reached 19-under par in different ways: Cabrera-Bello overcame an opening double to record four birdies, while Arnaus had a pair of eagles over his closing 18 holes. Their totals brought them two shots beyond a trio of third-place finishers, and set them on a course for overtime.
It was over quickly, as Cabrera-Bello made a swift birdie that Arnaus could not match. The victory was the fourth European Tour title for the Canarian, while Arnaus still seeks his debut championship on the big tour.
A putt to win your national open…
Incredible scenes in Madrid as @RCabreraBello wins the Acciona Open de España. ?
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 10, 2021
PGA Tour Champions: Mickelson gets off the bagel for 2021
Despite winning a minor event on the regular tour, back in May, Phil Mickelson had not followed up his two-win debut campaign on Tour Champions 2020 with a 2021 title. Something about Jacksonville and the Timiquana Country Club fit him like a glove, and Mickelson opened with 66 to take the lead. His Saturday 67 kept him at the front of the field, but Mickelson wasn’t pleased. A super-low round was lurking, and he wanted to be the fellow to grab it.
Miguel Angel Jiménez, the crafty Spaniard, must certainly have given a thought to his homeland’s Open championship, being played concurrently across the Atlantic. Jiménez followed a 70 with 65; perhaps he would be the caballero to post the round of which Mickelson spake. Others lurked as well, including tournament host Jim Furyk, In the end, Steve Flesch would drop one slot down the chart with 71 on Sunday, to claim third. Jiménez would submit a clean card of 68, with four birdies, and nearly tie Mickelson with a bomb at the last. Mickelson would not find his fountain of youth near St. Augustine, but he would find Champions victory number three with a 68 of his own.
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) October 10, 2021
Interesting Photos, Weekend Edition: 16 more equipment photos from the Shriners Open
The photos and associated stories GolfWRX captured this week at the 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas were terrific — and we had plenty of ingredients to offer a second course of our “interesting photos.”
That Las Vegas is one of the most photogenic cities in the world helped, too.
Below are some of our favorites we didn’t add to our Tuesday “Interesting Photos” article.
- Cameron putters – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Bettinardi putters – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Pat Perez test Sik putter – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Fujikura Speeder NX – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Callaway Apex UW – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- New Cameron Las Vegas covers – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- New Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX shafts – 2021 Shriners Hospitals doe Children Open
- New Garson Quad Tour 17 grip – 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Rory Sabbatini – WITB (new Mizuno 223 irons)
- Rickie Fowler – WITB
- James Hahn – WITB
- Danny Willett – WITB
- Abraham Ancer – WITB
- Harry Higgs – WITB
- Ian Poulter – WITB
- Corey Conners – WITB
- Harry Higgs – WITB
- Matt NeSmith – WITB
- Doug Ghim – WITB
- Anirban Lahiri – WITB
- K.H. Lee – WITB
- Carlos Ortiz – WITB
- Seung Yul Noh – WITB
- Keith Mitchell – WITB (new Mizuno 221 irons)
- Francesco Molinari – WITB
- 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Tuesday #1
- 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Tuesday #2
- 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Wednesday #1
- 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Wednesday #2
- 2021 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Wednesday #3
Here are a few of the most interesting shots from the Shriners.
Danny Willett – WITB & Prototype Toulon Daytona putter – won Dunhill Links last week at St Andrews – (see photos here)
Anirban Lahiri – WITB – (see photos here)
James Hahn – WITB & Cameron H-19 CT putter (see more photos)
Garsen – Quad Tour 17 grip – (see photos here)
Bettinardi putters – (see photos here)
Jason Kokrak – PXG Gen 4 Blacked out irons- (see photos here)
Matt Kuchar back to old faithful irons – (see photos here)
Rickie Fowler – WITB – (see photos here)
Pat Perez a testing SIK putter – (see photos here)
Spotted: 2022 Callaway Apex UW- (see photos here)
Patrick Reed’s Twitter suggests that he’s fuming with Stricker’s Ryder Cup snub
‘My first-hand experience with Bryson DeChambeau’
Taking the backyard putting green plunge
4-wood vs 7-wood vs hybrid – GolfWRXers discuss
The Wedge Guy: More on learning – the grip
Jessica Korda calls out social media ‘hate’ as rise in online abuse continues
Justin Rose’s caddie calls into question U.S. player’s graciousness at Solheim Cup
Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive
Steve Stricker shares positive news from Tiger Woods’ rehab
Report: Bryson calls out ‘Brooksie’ heckler following playoff defeat
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...
Rafa Cabrera Bello’s winning WITB: 2021 Spanish Open
Rafa Cabrera Bello what’s in the bag accurate as of the Spanish Open. All photos c/o @sms_on_tour Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10...
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