Expert picks for TaylorMade Driving Relief match
May 13, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- May 13, 2020
TaylorMade Driving Relief trailer
It’s Rory McIlroy-Dustin Johnson vs. Rickie Fowler-Matthew Wolff in Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief charity match at historic Seminole. Here’s how the Four-ball Skins format will work … and here are the predictions from PGATOUR.COM’s experts on how they think the match will play out. Below the predictions are Strokes Gained rankings this season for the four players.
SEAN MARTIN: Fowler and Wolff take home 11 skins. The two Southern California kids who matriculated in Stillwater, Oklahoma, have a strong connection. Four-ball is a format for free-wheeling and having fun and I think they’ll do both, even on a classic Seminole course that emphasizes control and can’t be conquered with power alone.
HELEN ROSS: I’m not going to go against the world No. 1 and a former occupant of that spot. Seminole may not be a bomber’s paradise but it’s not like Rory and Dustin are one-dimensional players or anything like that. Rickie and Matt will make it entertaining, though, as golf gets back to some semblance of normalcy.
JIM McCABE: I didn’t think it was possible for Rickie Fowler to show up for a team game at Seminole without Buddy Marucci as his partner, in all due respect to the Oklahoma State thing. These lads can all move it impressive distances, but that doesn’t matter at Seminole; instead, it is all about playing the correct angles and that’s why I’m going with McIlroy and Johnson, a dynamic duo with the wedge game.
BEN EVERILL: I’m going to go against the odds and call a Fowler/Wolff “win.” I’ve not played Seminole myself, but I’m told the power game doesn’t always translate here. And Fowler has played the course a bunch. McIlroy’s competitive fire will make it very close though.
CAMERON MORFIT: As much as I want to get behind the whole underdog vibe of Rickie and Wolfe, I can’t do it. Rory/DJ just look too good. Look at the stats, look at the win totals, they’re just the better team. I think they’ll win the most skins, although Fowler’s putting might keep it somewhat close.
MIKE McALLISTER: Remember who else looked too good as a partnership – Woods and Mickelson at the 2004 Ryder Cup. That didn’t turn out so well in their two losing matches. OK, I’m certainly not suggesting the dynamics between Rory and DJ are the same; the fact they discussed a potential partnership for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is a positive indication of their willingness to work with each other. My point is that what looks like a winning combo on paper isn’t always guaranteed on the field of play. Fowler is the highest-ranked putter this season among the four and that could be a huge asset. I give Fowler-Wolff a slight edge in the motivation category due to their underdog us-against-the-world status … and I’ll give them a slight edge in the final tally in what should be an entertaining return to action.
ROB BOLTON: As I referenced in the Power Rankings, Four-ball skins is the best format for this competition at this time and on this course. It levels the playing field, introduces surprise and allows the edge to build. No matter what the board says, there shouldn't be a favorite, but I'll stick with what presents as the stronger team - McIlroy and Johnson.
2019-20 STROKES GAINED RANKINGS
Category McIlroy Johnson Fowler Wolff Off-the-tee 6 27 63 11 Approach the Green 3 85 73 164 Around-the-green 19 162 131 221 Putting 92 106 49 113 Tee-to-green 2 57 67 148 Total 2 63 38 144