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TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Match Weather: Which Duo Can Handle Potential Windy Conditions at Seminole?

TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Match Weather: Which Duo Can Handle Potential Windy Conditions at Seminole? article feature image

Photo credit: David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Seminole Golf Club

  • Golf fans will be treated to a new course on Sunday for the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match between Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy vs. Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
  • Right on the coast of Florida, Seminole Golf Club could provide windy conditions for today's match.
  • Which tandem sets up better in the wind? I break it all down below.

Live golf is back with this weekend’s TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match featuring Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson vs. Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.

No surprise, Rory and DJ are the favorites at -175 currently at DraftKings. Ranked Nos. 1 and 5 in the world, respectively, they are definitely the biggest names among the foursome with five major victories to boast.

But this weekend poses a few handicapping challenges outside of just raw talent. For starters, this is a skins match, which is quite different than the stroke play format most golf viewers usually see. But perhaps more importantly, this foursome will be playing at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, and it’s never before hosted a PGA Tour event.

We do have some information, though. For starters, our own Jason Sobel broke down each hole at the course with former PGA pro Brad Faxon, who has played the course numerous times. Also, we know it’s a Donald Ross-designed course, and designers tend to set up courses in similar ways. We can look at data from Ross courses on the tour to see how players typically do.

And finally, Faxon highlighted that Seminole, right next to the beach in Florida, provides very windy rounds. Wind can often be the great equalizer in golf, so it’s important to look at how these players have fared in similar conditions.

To look at all this data, I compiled average Strokes Gained data (courtesy of Fantasy National) for each player overall, in recent play, on Donald Ross courses and in very windy conditions…

Which Tandem Has the Edge at Seminole?

Again, if you’re looking at long-term talent and career, Rory and DJ clearly stand way above their opponents. They lead in average Strokes Gained over all rounds tracked at Fantasy National, although note the data for the 21-year-old Wolff is based off a much smaller sample size.

In recent play — defined as each player’s last 50 rounds — Rory laps the field with an average Strokes Gained mark of +2.7. Rickie is actually second at +1.0 and Wolff brings up the rear at 0.0 SG.

On Donald Ross courses, Rory again greatly stands out with an average Strokes Gained mark of +1.7. DJ and Wolff are similar at +0.5 and +0.6, respectively, and it’s Rickie who has the low mark of the foursome. Compared to his average marks at all courses, he seems to struggle at these courses.

And finally, for perhaps the biggest factor — the wind — all four players interestingly have been very solid in rough conditions. All are at a +1.3 Strokes Gained average or better, with DJ leading the way at +1.9.

In fact, DJ is the second-best player in Fantasy National’s database in super windy conditions behind just Shane Lowry, an Irishman who grew up playing on windy, links courses. Rickie has been nearly as good: He’s right there with other European players in Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm as among the best wind players in the world currently.

What Does it All Mean?

Rory and DJ are the rightful favorites, but if wind ends up being a large factor for the course conditions, it could actually somewhat neutralize the competition, providing plus-money value on Rickie and Wolff.

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