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Fantasy Golf Picks: Team USA vs. Team Europe DraftKings Ryder Cup Strategy

Reid Fowler preps you for the Ryder Cup with player analysis and DraftKings fantasy golf picks.

The Ryder Cup is back on after last year’s postponement due to COVID-19 and takes place at Whistling Straits this year in Sheboygan, WI. The Ryder Cup is one of the best sporting events to watch in any sport - the excitement, drama, and energy are through the roof on each shot, punctuated by the passionate spectators decked out in their country’s colors.

With nine of the top 11 golfers in the world and six of the top seven, Team USA is the heavy favorite this week on DraftKings Sportsbook. World No. 1 Jon Rahm ($14,700 CP, $9,800) is the lone member of Team Europe inside the top 10, but Europe should feel confident heading into the competition, winning 12 of the previous 20 Ryder Cup events - including two of the last four on U.S. soil. Whistling Straits is on the longer side of Pete Dye’s designs, but this is still a course that rewards ball-strikers. Experience will be an advantage at the Ryder Cup, but golfers like Viktor Hovland ($12,600 CP, $8,400) and Collin Morikawa ($11,400, $7,600) have proven youth is just a mindset with multiple wins (and Majors for Morikawa) in their young careers.

Let’s break down the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup from a DraftKings Cup perspective.


Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $400K Resurgence [$100K to 1st] (Cup)



CUP STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Rory McIlroy ($13,800 CP) - He’s played in all five matches in the previous two Ryder Cups and sports a 32-17-3 lifetime record in singles matches. Rory’s season hasn’t been great by his (or our) standards, even with a win at the Wells Fargo; overall, it’s been disappointing for one of the best golfers of our generation. Still, with five Ryder Cup competitions, and second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green on Dye courses over his last 24 rounds, McIlroy could be the highest point-getter on either side, most likely playing in all five matches. His partner(s) will dictate how much confidence we’ll have in the open matches, but Rory’s ability to rise up for this competition is second to none (well, maybe second to Poulter’s).

Xander Schauffele ($12,900 CP) - Taking a rookie may be a fool’s errand, but Xander is cut from a different cloth. On the precipice of winning multiple majors, Xander does not shy away from the big stage, finishing runner up in the 2018 Open Championship, doing no worse than a seventh in his five U.S. Opens and third in the Masters tournament this past season. Schauffele took part in five matches during his inaugural President’s Cup competition and finished with the second-highest points on the U.S. team. Xander’s game can fit with any of his teammates, potentially translating into more matches this week than most rookies have in their first Ryder Cup. The other player who could get the full complement of matches is Dustin Johnson ($12,300 CP). His Ryder Cup record isn’t excellent, but he’s one of the best players on Dye courses, ranking fourth in Strokes Gained: Total and second in putting over the previous 24 rounds.


FLEX Plays

Tony Finau ($7,200) - His recent win at THE NORTHERN TRUST during the 2021 FedExCup playoffs could be the jumping-off point for Finau’s career moving forward. A solid showing at his second Ryder Cup could solidify him as one of the best golfers in the U.S. for years to come. His game fits well at Whistling Straits and could go under-rostered with a couple of European golfers around his price range who may be popular this week. Finau finished 10th here at his first PGA Championship in 2015, a great sign he can play on this track even though it was six years ago. Besides Patrick Cantlay ($9,000), Finau has the most momentum on the U.S. team heading into this week and could find himself playing in more matches than we initially thought.

Paul Casey ($6,800) - This Ryder Cup will be Casey’s fifth appearance and he sports a career team record of 14-9-4. As one of the ‘elder statesmen’ on the European Team, Casey brings a calm disposition to what will undoubtedly be an energetic crowd mostly rooting against him. Still, his ball-striking is elite, ranking second in approach and 10th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in the previous 24 rounds. Casey has also been one of the best players on Pete Dye courses over the last two dozen rounds, ranking second to only Bryson DeChambeau ($8,000) in Strokes Gained: Total, but first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.


Fades

Patrick Cantlay ($9,000) - The reigning FedExCup champion could still have some positive residue from his fantastic playoff run, but there’s too much talent and experience around him with more upside. This week will be Cantlay’s first Ryder Cup, and while he was successful in his first Presidents Cup in 2019, he hasn’t had a ton of success at the WGC Match Play, with a T17 as his highest finish.


THE OUTCOME

The U.S. has won the fourball or best ball in two of the last four years but has struggled in the singles matches, losing in three of the last four total singles matches. Still, the U.S. has a ton of talent and home-field advantage. The fans should give the Americans the bump they need, especially on Sunday during the singles matches.

Outcome: Team USA Wins

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $400K Resurgence [$100K to 1st] (Cup)


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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.


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