In-depth preview for this week’s Ryder Cup with key stats, strokes gained data, and picks

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·6 min read
In-depth preview for this week’s Ryder Cup with key stats, strokes gained data, and picks
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After three years, it’s finally here. It’s finally time for the intercontinental showdown between the United States and Europe. For the Americans, it’s time for revenge.

To put in bluntly, the U.S. team got their butts kicked in Paris, the last host of the Ryder Cup. The 2018 beatdown was led by Francesco Molinari, who became the first European Ryder Cupper to earn the maximum amount of points with a record of 5-0-0. His partner was just as responsible for the win. Tommy Fleetwood was 4-1-0 in his first Ryder Cup appearance, with his only loss coming in Sunday singles.

Europe took back the trophy, which the United States won at Hazeltine in 2016, with a 17½ to 10½ win.

Overall, Europe has won seven of the last nine Cups.

Golf course

Whistling Straits is built directly into the shores of Lake Michigan. Pete Dye perfectly designed this track to play challenging for all golfers, regardless of skill level, including the best players in the world.

Most recently, it was home to the 2015 PGA Championship won by Jason Day, his lone major victory.

It’s a par 71, playing around 7,400 yards, although that number will change day-to-day depending on how captain Stricker wants to set up the golf course. We’ve already seen videos showcasing the lack of rough.

This comes as no surprise, as the United States will want to take advantage of their length.

Check the yardage book: Whistling Straits for the Ryder Cup

Weather

We’re going to experience major fall vibes in Wisconsin this week, as temperatures should hover in the upper 50s and low 60s. Watch out for USA and Europe beanies on display in the morning fourball sessions.

Key stats

Driving distance: It’s no secret this is a big golf course, and we now know the rough has been cut down to a point it’ll make minimum impact (aside from drives off the map). Because of this, players have to be willing to take off head-covers on almost every par 4 and 5.

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Greens in regulation: Hazards lurk around every green at Whistling Straits, some of which you might as well bring a sleeping bag. Prioritizing hitting greens in regulation, sometimes over proximity, will be key.

Birdie or better percentage: In most cases, matches are won by making birdies. These guys can’t play scared, and may need to take some risks to match their opponents.

Data Golf information

Course Fit (compares golf courses based off the degree to which different golfer attributes — such as driving distance — predict who performs well at each course – DataGolf): 1. Torrey Pines, South (home of the Farmers Insurance Open, and the 2021 U.S. Open), 2. Accordia Golf Narashino CC, 3. Corales Golf Club

Trending (players ranked in accordance to recent finishes):

Team USA: 1. Bryson DeChambeau (last 3 starts: T31, 2, 7), 2. Patrick Cantlay (T11, 1, 1), 3. Daniel Berger (T56, T26, T11)

Team Europe: 1. Jon Rahm (3, T9, 2), 2. Rory McIlroy (T43, 4, T14), 3. Paul Casey (T5, T64, T38)

Ranking of important stats at Whistling Straits

DataGolf.com

As you can tell, driving distance matters around this track. Taking a look at the 2015 PGA Championship leaderboard – Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and of course the winner Jason Day, finished in the top 10. Common denominator of those players: They can move it.

Full 2015 PGA Championship results of those playing in this year’s Ryder Cup*

Finishing position

Player

2

Jordan Spieth

T-5

Brooks Koepka

T-7

Dustin Johnson

T-10

Tony Finau

17

Rory McIlroy

T-18

Justin Thomas

T-25

Tyrrell Hatton

T-30

Paul Casey

T-43

Lee Westwood

T-48

Harris English

T-54

Sergio Garcia

*players who made the cut.

Strokes Gained rankings of all players on Team USA and Team Europe

These are over each player’s last 36 holes on the PGA Tour.

Team USA

Player

SG: OTT

SG: APP

SG: T2G

SG: ATG

SG: Putting

Daniel Berger

64

1

4

70

116

Patrick Cantlay

6

23

1

40

26

Bryson DeChambeau

1

75

29

147

24

Harris English

65

58

31

16

7

Tony Finau

51

60

34

27

86

Dustin Johnson

23

92

64

97

1

Brooks Koepka

3

25

7

92

99

Collin Morikawa

32

2

5

89

140

Xander Schauffele

58

17

43

119

74

Scottie Scheffler

20

42

14

36

89

Jordan Spieth

87

73

49

14

37

Justin Thomas

28

11

8

62

102

Team Europe

Player

SG: OTT

SG: APP

SG: T2G

SG: ATG

SG: Putting

Paul Casey

30

3

2

64

118

Matthew Fitzpatrick

5

134

68

93

27

Tommy Fleetwood

99

66

59

35

121

Sergio Garcia

7

37

13

88

123

Tyrrell Hatton

40

19

16

48

85

Viktor Hovland

17

13

23

134

98

Shane Lowry

112

5

10

19

110

Rory McIlroy

25

25

15

60

76

Ian Poulter

133

81

69

6

5

Jon Rahm

2

41

3

53

34

Bernd Wiesberger

Lee Westwood

71

61

84

111

90

Favorite betting plays for the week

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds a full list.

United States to win the Ryder Cup (-200)

Do I love this pick? No. Will I put money on it? Of course. I’m American, it would be unpatriotic for me not to bet on the boys.

There’s still some worry remaining with the locker room camaraderie of this group, but a phone call from Tiger Woods coming later this week may change all of that.

Plus, don’t these two look like best friends now?

The last time the Ryder Cup was played on home soil, the U.S. hoisted the trophy. The time before, it took an absolute meltdown from the Americans during Sunday singles for them not to win.

I like them state-side.

Xander Schauffele – Top USA points scorer (+650)

It seems as though Schauffele will be paired with his good buddy Patrick Cantlay. At the 2019 Presidents Cup, the pair was 2-2-0. Due to other big names on the U.S. side, they will more than likely play a weaker tandem on the European team. The way Cantlay finished out the 2021 season, along with Schauffele’s ability to flip a switch, I’d look for Schauffele to have a big week.

Although this will be his first Ryder Cup, he’s seen some success in representing the USA – *cough cough*- the gold medal hanging from his neck.

Day 1 Foursomes, USA to win (+100)

Early morning, first Ryder Cup on home soil since 2016, with a crowd made up of nearly all Americans. Everything points to a quick start for the U.S..

At Hazeltine, the Americans swept the morning foursomes, 4-0.

Be on the look-out for more picks as the week goes on, especially when we know all 12 Sunday matches.