Glory’s last shot, the season’s final major… call it what you want but we’re now only about 8 days out from out the start of the final major championship event of the season. So far we’ve seen some epic victories (Spieth—Masters) some epic defeats (DJ—US Open) and a huge underdog make his way back to the top (Zach Attack!). Then there’s this whole fantasy golf thing. We’re about to head into the fourth DraftKings PGA Millionaire Maker (and the biggest!) and it’s starting to look like this fantasy golf thing might be here to stay. We’ve had three PGA million dollar winners already and in less than two weeks we’ll get another Sunday sweat to decide who walks away with the fourth millionaire maker title.
With salaries now released I’ve provided you with some early course info and some targets to think about as you go about creating your rosters. It’s never too early to get a jump on a huge weekend of fantasy golf!
The PGA Championship
This year the PGA Championship heads back to one of its favourite venues, Whistling Straights. This is the third time the PGA Championship will have been played at this course, with previous years as host being 2004 and 2010. In 2010 Martin Kaymer won his first major here in a playoff over Bubba Watson, and Dustin Johnson famously incurred a late penalty to knock him from contention.
Whistling Straights is located off of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. It’s a links style course (the third in a row for majors) that is the creation of famous designer Pete Dye. Being on the banks of a great lake, wind can be a huge factor here. There’s little to no protection throughout the course and while bunkers and large elevation changes make this course truly spectacular from a viewing perspective, it can also make the course truly deadly to the players if bad weather rolls in.
Whistling Straights plays as a par 72 and contains four par 5’s, but none of them are incredibly easy. In fact the course itself can play as long as 7700 yards. While length will be a factor this week, keep in mind that in 2004 Chris DiMarco narrowly lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh, and in 2010 Zach Johnson finished 3rd. Shorter players, who are dialed in with their wedges, can compete here and I expect the Sunday leaderboard to be a mixed bag of styles.
5 Early DraftKings Targets
Dustin Johnson $11200
There’s zero doubt which player has seen the biggest highs and lows of the year. Dustin started his comeback with a huge win at the WGC Cadillac and then proceeded to throw away the next two majors with some poor putting and a very bizarre third round at the Open Championship. Still, he has been hitting the ball better than anyone all year and I expect he has learned from his previous miss-haps. Dustin has more motivation than anyone at this year’s event since he essentially gave away the title due to inadvertently breaking a local rule late on Sunday in 2010. There will be a lot of eyes on him this week but it could be his destiny to get his first major win at the place he gave a major win away 5 years ago. He has the perfect game to succeed here and might be the best wind player on tour. I’m fine going to well in fantasy with Dusty one more time in 2015.
Bubba Watson $9900
As much as people love to hate Bubba Watson you have to admit that he’s started to play better as the season has progressed. Bubba is the type of guy who sometimes needs motivation to play well and he should have plenty of that this week. Bubba narrowly missed out on his first major win here in 2010 when he fell to Martin Kaymer in a playoff. Even though he’s disappointed in the previous majors Bubba should feel very comfortable here and for him that is half the battle. He has the length to really tear this course up and has been putting great. I think he’s going to challenge for the title this week.
Charl Schwartzel $7700
There’s a lot of good options this week around this price range but for a big gpp my favourite pay right now is Charl Schwartzel. Schwartzel has looked good in the last two major championships and his ball striking when he is on is superb. Schwartzel finished inside the top 20 at this course last year and has some other good results on Pete Dye courses to take note of. I think for gpps Charl is the type of player who will be lower owned than those around him but offers you good upside. When he gets hot he can bag you a ton of birdies and that’s what you’ll need to take down a huge gpp this week.
David Lingmerth $7300
What has this guy done lately except play well in pretty much every event he’s entered? He started the Open Championship with a front side 29 and then last week was in contention until the final holes. Lingmerth is playing exceptionally well in almost every facet right now and I love how this course sets up for him. He’s not super long but he is an excellent ball striker and accurate wedge player when he’s on. He played a lot of golf in Florida before turning pro and should be able to deal with any windy conditions. He finished 2nd at the 2013 Players Championship, another Pete Dye course. I really love his price and feel like he’ll be part of the story this week.
Russell Henley $6800
As much as I love Lingmerth this week, Henley is probably just as good if not better value. Henley has thrived throughout his career at more open style wind ridden courses. He has a win at the Honda Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii, both notorious for challenging the players with some windy days. Moreover, Henley has really looked in form lately and his driving of the ball has seemed to improve over last season. If he continues his solid ball striking I’m actually fairly confident Henley can compete on this course and I won’t be shocked if he’s somewhere near the top of this leaderboard come Sunday. He’s ultra-talented and capable of some big rounds and lots of DK bonus points.