FanDuel PGA: Ryder Cup

FanDuel PGA: Ryder Cup

This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.

Ryder Cup

Course: Whistling Straits (7,390 yards, par 71)

United States Roster (Appearance)

Collin Morikawa (Rookie)
Dustin Johnson (5th)
Bryson DeChambeau (2nd)
Brooks Koepka (3rd)
Justin Thomas (2nd)
Patrick Cantlay (Rookie)
Tony Finau (2nd)
Xander Schauffele (Rookie)
Jordan Spieth (4th)
Harris English (Rookie)
Daniel Berger (Rookie)
Scottie Scheffler (Rookie)

Europe Roster (Appearance)

Jon Rahm (2nd)
Tommy Fleetwood (2nd)
Tyrrell Hatton (2nd)
Bernd Wiesberger (Rookie)
Rory McIlroy (6th)
Viktor Hovland (Rookie)
Paul Casey (5th)
Matt Fitzpatrick (2nd)
Lee Westwood (11th)
Shane Lowry (Rookie)
Sergio Garcia (10th)
Ian Poulter (7th)

Tournament Preview

After the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the original 2020 date, the Ryder Cup is back a year later in 2021 where Wisconsin native Steve Stricker will look to try to help the United States take the cup back from three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and Team Europe. Early on in its history the Ryder Cup was dominated by the United States. That changed around the turn of the century in a big way, however. Europe has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cup's, along with the most recent won in 2018 at Le Golf National where the U.S. was absolutely dominated.

This year's edition of the Ryder Cup is a shifting of the guard for the American team. This is the youngest team in Ryder Cup history with six rookies and the best based on OWGR with an average world ranking of 9. In comparison, Europe has an average OWGR of 30, but have immensely more experience with five players competing in at least their fifth Ryder Cup. Dustin Johnson is the only American player to have made more than three starts.

You can get sucked in for hours trying to talk about potential pairings that we might see these captains employ. The only certainty in that regard appears to be Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. They were the lone positive for the U.S. team in France and they both know each other's game so well. The magic pairing last season for the Europeans were Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari. With Molinari not making the team this time around, that will be interesting to see who Captain Harrington decides to put Fleetwood with. Two guys that we can pretty much count on not seeing together are Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau for pretty obvious reasons if you haven't been living under a rock.

Whistling Straits is an absolute monster of a course that features gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. It has hosted three PGA Championships, most recently in 2015 where Jason Day posted 20-under-par to best Jordan Spieth by three strokes. The elements will be a factor this week, as winds could extend into the 20+ miles per hour range each of the three tournament days. The morning sessions will be chilly, but the temperatures should reach mid-60's by the afternoon. The first two days of competition will feature a best-ball and an alternate shot format with four matches a piece. Then all players will participate in the Sunday singles matches. For FanDuel scoring purposes, if you're able to select a player that plays in all five sessions, that will be very beneficial to your end total in terms of points.

Recent History

2018 – Europe (17.5 to 10.5)
2016 – United States (17 to 11)
2014 – Europe (16.5 to 11.5)
2012 – Europe (14.5 to 13.5)
2010 – Europe (14.5 to 13.5)

Key Stats to Victory

  • SG: Off-the-Tee
  • GIR Percentage
  • SG: Putting
  • Scrambling

Champion's Profile

The team that hosts the Ryder Cup gets the keys to set up the course virtually any way they choose, and this week the course is primed for the American game. The fairways are wide to start with and the balls aren't getting much roll out on the fairways. From there, the first cut is extremely short and is a non-issue attacking greens. In saying that, unlike Hazeltine a few years ago, foul balls will be punished severely by difficult bunkers and hazards. SG: Off-the-Tee and driving distance will play a major factor in determining the outcome this week, and the U.S. team just has more bomb and gauge players. There are also a number of potentially drivable par-4 holes which could turn the tides of matches, along with a trio of par-5's. After the drive, second shots will be important. The greens are nearly 7,000 square feet, but they all play much smaller due to a large amount of undulations. With the winds coming off Lake Michigan, we will see players forced to play all different types of shots. That should by nature favor some of the European players. All the par-3's at Whistling Straits are along the coast and are all you want to try to make pars. In match play, typically everything comes down to the putter. There is just no substitute for being able to consistently hole putts of some length. These bentgrass greens run so smoothly and may play a tick slower than normal to account for possible high winds. Some of the areas around these greens are very tricky. The key to scrambling will be more about missing the ball in the correct places. You can find yourself in some situations around these greens where you'd be happy to make double.

FanDuel Value Picks

MVP Options

Jon Rahm ($15,000)

Rahm is a virtual lock to play five matches for Team Europe. He is a great fit for just about every course, but particularly a course that places so much emphasis on driving. There's the two ways about it, Jon Rahm is the best driver in the world by just about every statistical measure. He has a killer mindset, which will make him extremely tough to beat in match play. Captain Harrington can literally put any other player with Rahm and have a great chance of producing a point.

Justin Thomas ($14,500)

Thomas scored four points in his first Ryder Cup in France in 2018. He and Jordan Spieth made an incredible duo, and the two are likely to partner in every session this time around. Thomas' performance at Le Golf National was impressive because the course didn't even really fit his game. Now at a track where he has more freedom off the tee, Thomas can put the pedal to the medal all week. The 28-year-old ranked top-10 last season in SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, birdie average, and one-putt percentage.

Jordan Spieth ($14,000)

Thomas' partner is an absolute wizard on and around the greens as we've seen for years. He is never out of a hole because of his ability to get up and down from anywhere. Throw in his much improved driving and iron play in 2021, and we have the player that has won three majors in the past. As I mentioned with Thomas, Spieth is likely to see five matches as well which gives him an advantage in selecting him to your MVP slot. The Texan finished runner-up at Whistling Straits back at the 2015 PGA Championship.

Patrick Cantlay ($13,000)

You can't go wrong with the hottest player on the planet. Even though this is his first Ryder Cup, Cantlay's game and mental approach is built for match play. There is zero weaknesses, as he ranked top-30 in every strokes gained category last season, which added up to third in SG: Total overall. Cantlay was the No. 1 scrambler last season, so he is never dead. Given his two straight victories to end the FedExCup playoffs, Captain Stricker will have a hard time sitting Cantlay in any session.

Dark Horses

Tony Finau ($9,500)

Finau was one of the lone bright spots in a poor team performance for the U.S. back in 2018. He went 2-1 on a very tight golf course. Now Finau takes his massive power to a course that gives him more room to attack off the tee. The Utah native has a recent victory at the Northern Trust and ranked top-30 last season in SG: Approach, SG: Around-the-Green, and SG: Tee-to-Green. There are a number of players who Captain Stricker could play with Finau and he has a top-10 finish very early in his career back at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Tommy Fleetwood ($8,500)

Fleetwood was one of the shining stars in the rout last Ryder Cup for Team Europe by going 4-1. He won't get to partner with Francesco Molinari again, but he has proven he can get the job done. This hasn't been Fleetwood's best year, which is why he is all the way down here on the salary board. Having said that, Fleetwood still is a great iron and short game player. If the winds do kick up, that should play to his benefit.

Scottie Scheffler ($7,500)

Scheffler was borderline to make the team for some, but his performance this season in big events combined with his fit for Whistling Straits made him a no brainer in my eyes. The Texan finished second at the Match Play event in Austin earlier this year. Scheffler also ranked 17th in SG: Off-the-Tee, second in total driving, 28th in SG: Around-the-Green, and 10th in putts per GIR. He can make birdies at will and bring a lot of firepower in for the last man in on the American side.

Harris English ($7,000)

English is coming off the best season of his career that saw him close out victories twice and score top-four finishes at both U.S. Open's. English is a great driver, ranking 10th in total driving last season, but he also is possibly the best putter on the U.S. team. Last season the former Georgia Bulldog was 14th in putts per round, 12th in SG: Putting, and eighth in one-putt percentage. On top of all that he ranked top-10 in scrambling as well.

Strategy Tips This Week 

Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap

You'll notice that the majority of these options are American players. There is no way to get around the fact that on paper the U.S. team is significantly better top-to-bottom than Team Europe. Now that has happened before for the American's and back fired in the Ryder Cup, but this time around feels different. The team is now relying on young studs rather than old dogs to lead the team to victory. The MVP slot puts a new wrinkle on this for DFS golf competitions. Don't get cute with it. Make sure you pick a stud that is likely to play in five matches. There's a reason there is such a large gap between the top of the salary board and the bottom of it. You golfers need to be playing and playing a lot if you're going to score points. Another option is stacking players who you think might play with each other to double your points for the foursomes and four-ball competitions.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Ryan Andrade plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Ku_Bball_Fan, FanDuel: ku_bball_fan.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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