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DFS Dish: Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup Spotlight: Matt Fitzpatrick
Jon Rahm, the relentless "proverbial freight train," is bringing his elite driving ability to Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome for the 2023 Ryder Cup with Team Europe.

The 44th playing of the Ryder Cup will take place this week in Rome.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club is the host venue which gives Europe the home-turf advantage this week.

The United States has a 27-14-2 record in the event but they haven’t won on foreign soil since 1993, losing six straight overseas editions.

New to the Ryder Cup or just need a refresher? Check out this primer on the format to get all caught up.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s turn our attention toward the DFS portion of the event. As always, I like to start with a look at some course-fit elements.

Birdies on Bentgrass

Situated in Rome if you had to guess what kind of grass is featured at Marco Simone you would have a few different correct answers. The fairways are paspalum while the rough is a mix of fescues and the greens are bentgrass. It’s an interesting mix as paspalum is generally more coastal or warm climates while bentgrass is a cool-season turf.

If you are diving deep, this is Pure Distinction bentgrass which was also seen at LACC, Southern Hills and Caves Valley in recent years.

The top putters at LACC were Patrick Cantlay, Wyndham Clark, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Rickie Fowler. The best putters at Southern Hills were Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sam Burns, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, and Tommy Fleetwood. At Caves Valley, we saw Patrick Cantlay lap the field on the greens with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, and Brian Harman also on the positive end of putting.

We shouldn’t expect this specific strand to be that much different than other bentgrasses though, so who are the top performers on courses with bentgrass greens, over the last two years?

Rory McIlroy
Scottie Scheffler
Jon Rahm
Xander Schauffele
Patrick Cantlay
Viktor Hovland
Matt Fitzpatrick
Shane Lowry
Jordan Spieth
Tommy Fleetwood
Sam Burns
Collin Morikawa

What about performance on bentgrass compared to their baseline? Who overperforms on the cool-season turf?

Ludvig Aberg
Shane Lowry
Jordan Spieth
Rory McIlroy
Matt Fitzpatrick
Brian Harman
Robert Macintyre
Rickie Fowler
Scottie Scheffler
Sepp Straka
Brooks Koepka
Sam Burns

Overlap List: Names that show up on both lists include Scottie Scheffler, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, and Sam Burns.

Tag along with Sam Burns
The LSU product is known by many as Bermuda Burns due to his outward love for bermudagrass. He grew up on the grainy grass but as we see from the list above, and the list of top putters at the three Pure Distinction courses I highlighted, Burns can roll his rock anywhere. Burns was not an overly controversial captain’s pick but some did feel like he got preferential treatment due to his close friendship with World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. That should help his potential value this week if he tags alongside Scheffler in the team matches. I think it certainly helped that he won the WGC-Match Play event this year and also has four other PGA Tour titles since 2021. There are only four other golfers priced below Burns this week on DraftKings, making him an easy value name to gravitate toward when building your Ryder Cup DFS rosters.

Fitzpatrick due for some Ryder Cup wins?
The Englishman arrives with a 0-5-0 record at the Ryder Cup. He’s 0-3-0 in the team format while also losing both of his singles matches. You could take this as a sign to stay far, far away from him when building your DFS lineups or you could take the contrarian approach and say that it means he is hungry to prove his worth. At $7,200 on DraftKings this week, he’s not going to cost you an arm or a leg, but could provide nice value at extremely low rostership. As you see from the bentgrass performance charts above, he should be expected to be one of the top performers on the greens this week.