One more WIN for RTL🗞!
Congratulations to Andrea Lee for the first LPGA win of her career. Andrea was on our outright list last week at +4500.
That's outright win #11 this year and win #6 for the LPGA season. Considering the ladies have only played 24 events, that's one win in every 4 tournaments for Read The Line. Couple that with very little analytics to support the women's game and those wins become even more meaningful.
Our mission is to create the best golf betting community in the world. I believe winning is an important part of every RTL membership. That feeling of sweating the last hole with a win on the line is like nothing else. We all experienced that on Sunday and will again soon.
The Presidents Cup
This year marks the 14th edition of the Presidents Cup matches. Team USA has won eleven, tied one, and lost once. The host venue is the Quail Hollow Club just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. QHC has also hosted the 2017 PGA Championship and the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour fifteen times. The Par 71 over 7,600 yard layout is perfect for match play. The scorecard blends an incredible amount of power needed alongside a tremendous requirement for touch around the green complexes.
This week in Charlotte we expect perfect weather for the Cup. Temperatures reach their highest on Thursday afternoon in the low 90's. Then on Saturday morning at the beginning of two sets of matches, it will be mid-50's around tee-off time. We have a dry week in store as only traces of rain are predicted. The area has been reasonably dry lately and from walking the golf course I can tell the setting is firm and fast. A steady breeze will keep the team's attention throughout the four days of competition (approx. 10-12mph).
Considering the entire format of play is head-to-head matches, each round is like Sunday NFL football. Two teams stand and compete against one another to determine a winner. Just like the NFL, you can get ties, so pay attention. The culmination of the week comes when all twelve team members face off mano y mano on Sunday for all the glory. A live golf bettor's ultimate day. Most experts have Team USA as heavy favorites (-700). I can assure you, just betting the Americans will not get the job done. I have a thoughtful approach prepared, but first a couple more details.
Each team is comprised of twelve players. Team USA is made up of Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, Kevin Kisner, Billy Horschel, Scottie Scheffler, Cam Young, Max Homa, and Sam Burns. The USA's Captain is Davis Love III. On the International Team we have Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, KH Lee, Si Woo Kim, Mito Pereira, Adam Scott, Corey Conners, Cam Davis, Taylor Pendrith, Sebastián Muñoz, and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. The International team Captain is Trevor Immelman.
True, the American Team is favored. But why? With a quick look at the analytics, it's not hard to see there's quite a difference between the two.
- The average OWGR of Team USA is 11.6 and 48.9 for the International Team.
- Team USA has 76 PGA Tour wins; the International Team has 33.
If we look at Strokes Gained statistics, there's also a big gap in probably the most important area.
- T2G the Americans have almost a twenty-point average advantage over the Internationals.
- Driving the ball is crucial at Quail Hollow. This category is the closest between the two teams with the US having a slight advantage.
- The biggest discrepancy comes on the greens. Team USA is much better at putting. Considering most matches are won and lost on the green, this seems to be an area where the Internationals will have to perform above their ceiling.
- Strokes Gained Around the Green aren't that close either. If this match is determined from 50 yards and in, the US will win convincingly.
What will keep it close? Each player only must play one team match and the singles on Sunday. This will help hide some of the depth on the International side.
The Quail Hollow Club is big. Any course over 7,600 yards is a monster. That kind of length means power will be key. If you look at the past champions list, Rory, Vijay, Homa, etc. all drive the ball long and effectively. Anthony Kim even comes to mind as an example of a player who can overpower a course like this. Scoring will be very interesting and entertaining to watch. The main reason why is the new routing the PGA Tour has utilized. No longer will the famous Quail Hollow "Green Mile" be the three finishing holes.
- Holes 16, 17, and 18 at QHC are called the Green Mile due to the fact they almost extend the length of one mile and are a brutal test of golf to close your round.
Instead, the Green Mile has been moved in the routing to holes 13, 14, and 15. The average Ryder Cup/President's Cup match ends around the 15/16th hole. If they left those holes where they fall on the card, most matches would never see them. Now they are featured at the most crucial moments in the match. Here are the other changes in the course layout.
- The President's Cup course will be holes 1-8, 12-18, 10, 11, and 9 as they are listed on the regular scorecard.
- The front nine is Par 35 and the back nine is Par 36.
- Five of the six water holes are on the back nine.
- Six of the seven driving holes on the back nine move right to left.
- The average Par 3 length is 219 yards.
- Nine of the eleven Par 4's are over 450 yards.
- Twelve of the fourteen driving holes have fairway bunkers to contend with.
This is a major championship golf course. Thirteen of the holes have a bogey rate of over 20%! It is not for the faint of heart and combined with the pressure of a team match play atmosphere, I believe it will be a very entertaining spectacle in Charlotte.
There have been some tweaks over the years, but the format for these matches is really good. There are 30 points up for grabs. Teams earn a point for winning a match. Each team receives half of a point for any match that is tied after eighteen holes. The first team to 15.5 points, wins the Presidents Cup. If both teams tie at 15, the match is considered a tie and the two teams share the Cup as they did in 2003.
Here's the match schedule as decided upon by the home captain:
- Thursday - Five foursomes matches
- Friday - Five fourball matches
- Saturday - Four foursomes matches followed by four fourball matches
- Sunday - Twelve singles matches
Foursome's play is better known as alternate shot. Each team will determine who tees off on the odd holes and the other partner will tee off on the even holes. Once they tee off, the players alternate until the ball is holed. Fourball is easy to remember since there are four balls in play. Each team of two players takes their best score and matches it against the other team's best score. Both forms of play use match play scoring where teams can win, lose or halve (tie) a hole. Once a team is up more holes than there are left, the match is decided.
This is by far the coolest part of the Presidents Cup.
- The defending captain (USA) will decide who goes first to start the pairings.
- Once the first session is determined, the two captains will alternate for all the following sessions. This means if the US goes first in session one, the International captain will lead session two and so on.
- Within each session, the pairings are presented in a snake format. If Davis Love goes first, Trevor Immelman will reply with his first pairing. He then starts with the first pairing of the second match in that session and Davis will reply to that one. They continue this process until the session is completed.
The ultimate matchup moment comes on Saturday evening when the singles pairings are announced. Captains can basically pick who plays who to highlight the best matchups for the week. In a world where we all draft fantasy teams every day and pick winners for the weekend, Sunday's singles matchups are an unreal thrill to watch unfold.
The Golf Channel combine to bring us the Presidents Cup.
- Thursday 1:00 - 6:00 pm EDT (Golf Channel)
- Friday 11:30 am - 6:00 pm EDT (Golf Channel)
- Saturday 7:00 - 8:00 am (Golf Channel), 8:00 am - 6:00 pm (NBC)
- Sunday 12:00 - 6:00 pm (NBC)
What's happening at Walmart?
The fall season is building for the LPGA. The Portland Classic has been a mainstay on the tour for many years, but the location is killer on strength of the field. As we drift back toward the middle of the country, we have gained a couple more of the best women players in the game. The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by Procter and Gamble was first played in 2007. The purse of $2.7 million is enough to catch your attention.
- Six of the Top 10 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings are here, and nineteen of the Top 30.
- Nelly Korda, Minjee Lee, Lydia Ko, and Lexi Thompson have all made the trek to Arkansas.
Pinnacle Country Club has been the host venue of this event since its inception. This is one of those cases where the scorecard doesn't tell half the story. It is a Par 71, 6,438 yard layout with danger lurking around just about every corner. Let's first start with the scorecard:
- FIVE Par 3's with an average length of 170 yards.
- Four Par 5's measuring 534 yards on average.
- Nine Par 4's rounding out the holes averaging just under 400 yards at 394.
Those five Par 3's catch our attention quickly. Not just on the scorecard, but also on the course. Each of these one-shot holes has water. In fact, fifteen of the eighteen holes are decorated with the wet stuff. The course isn't long and that aids the scoring, but one bad swing can lead to a double bogey. Players will need to keep their ball in play the entire round to keep up with the leaders.
- Over the last five years, the average winning score is nearly nineteen under par.
- If you go back all the way to 2007 and take every average winning score, the number drops to fifteen under par.
Sounds reasonable... did I mention this is a 54-hole tournament? Yes, they get to those totals in just three rounds. Therefore, it's not just about protecting your golf ball at Pinnacle, you have to score to contend. Recent form is a factor this week for our outrights, but truth be told if a player does not have the capacity to go low, they won't be holding the trophy come Sunday.
The course itself should be prepared to challenge these ladies. Recent weather patterns in Rogers, Arkansas have the ground running great for a golf tournament. We expect temperatures starting the day in the high 50's and low 60's. The peak each afternoon should be in the mid-80's. There won't be much wind to contend with as of writing this on Tuesday. Breezes should max out around 10 mph in the first couple of days. On Sunday, the wind drops, but the chance of rain becomes a factor at 40%.
So the course and the weather are perfect for scoring. Pinnacle CC isn't that easy of a layout on paper. True it's not the longest course for the LPGA, but eight of the driving holes have fairway bunkers and every green complex comes with sand. There's a fantastic mix of tee shots required throughout. Five of the driving holes move left to right off the tee and six move right to left. If you're an avid RTL reader, you know we'll get into more of the skills required in the predictions section. To close, here's where you can catch the coverage come Sunday when we have another woman in contention.
- The tournament can be seen on The Golf Channel.
- Friday 8:00 - 10:00 pm EDT
- Saturday 12:00 - 3:00 pm EDT
- Sunday 12:00 - 3:00 pm EDT
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Live from "The Cup!"
Keith will be covering the President's Cup from Quail Hollow. To keep up with all of the betting action, make sure you watch his match adds this week on Instagram and TikTok. They will be entertaining and the only way to communicate the best match picks once the pairings are announced each day.
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How to fill your cup
This is not your normal week. As I mentioned earlier, it becomes more like an NFL Sunday once the matches are announced each day. Actually, more like college football with those rivalries. But, I'll save that comparison for the Ryder Cup. The plan at RTL is to predict the match picks after each set of pairings are announced. It won't happen immediately, as I'll take some time to research the head-to-head matchup on Quail Hollow to determine our best route for success. I will get the video(s) published on our social feeds as soon as possible.
Pre-tourney, there are not many options to bet, unlike a regular PGA Tour event. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of props, but those are for people who don't Read The Line. The biggest factor controlling all of this is how much everyone will play. It's easy to guess we will see a lot of JT and Jordan and Xander with Cantlay. Those two teams can play both formats very well and have a proven track record together. Other guys I like to play often over the four days are Scottie Scheffler with Sam Burns and Tony Finau with Collin Morikawa.
This is why I'm here in Charlotte. Even if these pairings don't happen, I can assess the situation and adjust with our live bets. I couldn't imagine covering this match event any other way from a betting perspective. Watching the guys in the interview room can be very telling on who is comfortable, the expectations, and who the team leaders are. The key here is to stay tuned to our "live" coverage this week. If you don't follow us already, use these links.
Pre-match Picks - Presidents Cup
Most points by any player - Xander Schauffele (+700 PB)
- He plays both formats with his best friend who just so happens to be the 4th ranked player in the world. His game suits these matches and course well. Players who perform well at Augusta National, kill Quail Hollow. Great driver, has an awesome short game and is a grinder. Before this April, he hadn't won on tour in over three years. He responded by winning three times and once was with Patrick! I love Xander to clean up this week.
Top Captain's pick points scorer - Jordan Spieth (+450 DK)
- Believe it or not, Jordan is the most experienced Cup player on Team USA. Not even thirty and he is the team veteran. His partner won the PGA here and together they will be the other team, Davis, deals out the most. Remember how the US side handled the Ryder Cup last September? The veteran DJ walked away with a 5-0 record. Watch Jordan do the same exact thing.
Top rookie point scorer - Scottie Scheffler (+300 DK)
- The #1 ranked player in the world has proven he's a big game hunter in 2022. Put him in a division with all rookies and it just doesn't seem fair. He's the Master's winner, Player of the Year, and still probably fired up from losing the FedEx Cup. This rookie is no debutant. He'll play a bunch and win often.
I used that famous phrase for a very specific reason. Pinnacle CC can catch your attention quickly if you aren't careful. As I mentioned in the narrative, fifteen of the eighteen holes have water. Being accurate around this place is vital to contending. To start our outright list, each player has to be a very precise player. Now that's a very tough ask because this tournament requires aggressive scoring. That careful blend between the two is manageable because of the length. With five Par 3's, great iron players are going to play well.
I considered a deep look at Approach numbers for the competitors and Par 3 scoring. Considering almost 30% of the holes are "threes," to win a player will need to score on them. Another consideration for accuracy also comes off the tee. Here's where recent form does play a role. The last three events have all required the ladies to drive the ball well. As the weeks went on, the courses seem to get tighter and tighter culminating in last week's evergreen fest.
I touched on scoring and leaned heavily here. To make this week's list, a player must have shown a propensity to make birdies. The last five tournaments averaged nineteen under par in three rounds (six under plus per round). Does this favor the better players? Yes, but there are also a couple of rookies who I have been watching that score almost at will. Their ability to play golf courses for the first time and go deep is inspiring. Their confidence to play well has me less influenced by course history this week than usual.
The modern gamer we see each year coming up from the college and junior ranks plays fearlessly. Pinnacle CC has trouble around every corner. I don't have a statistic for being brave, but I can guarantee you all the ladies on this week's list have the courage to contend.
- Hye Jin Choi is ranked fifth in the season-ending points race. Fifth! She is a rookie on the LPGA which means each venue she plays there is no course history. She has nine Top 10's this season and hasn't finished outside the Top 25 in these last three tournaments. Her Birdie % is 3.99 and Sub-Par Holes % is 4.09. She drives it accurately and far. Her incredible iron play has her ranked fourteenth on tour for Par 3 scoring. Looking at her game, it's no wonder she hasn't even come close to missing a cut all season. Arkansas is another great fit and we'll be betting her when she grabs that first tour win, just like Andrea Lee did last week!
- Our next outright finished seventh in Toledo and second in Cincinnati. XiYu Lin is another superstar. She's sixth in scoring average on the LPGA, has four Top 10's, and is another player who never misses a cut. When you are fifth on the LPGA T2G that's going to catch my attention for this course. Tenth on Approach and twentieth in Par 3 scoring the parts of her game needed to score at Pinnacle are in place. Her Birdie % (4.17) and SPH % (4.25) are way above four. This player can definitely score and with those recent Top 10's to build confidence, watch out this week.
Outright winners - Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Hye Jin Choi (+2500)
XiYu Lin (+2800)
Pick 3* (+4000)
Pick 4* (+5000)
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Enjoy the Presidents Cup and...
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