2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic Picks, Rankings, Sleepers, Preview

Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Detroit GC.

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2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic Field

Field: 156 Players | Top 70 and Ties Make the Cut
First Tee: Thursday, June 27 at 7 a.m. ET
Defending Champion: None

The PGA has done a double switch on its Quicken Loans sponsorship. First, it’s now called the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Second, the tournament has moved from the Potomac area to Detroit. And guess what, that decision didn’t give the event an injection of star power. Rocket Mortgage hype man Rickie Fowler will be on the grounds; he headlines the field with Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, and Bubba Watson.

The next tier of big names who will undoubtedly get their driver to take them through 8-Mile for a lark are: Brandt Snedeker, Byeong-Hun An, Kevin Kisner, Jason Dufner, Ryan Moore, Chez Reavie, Chesson Hadley, Charley Hoffman, Sungjae Im, JB Holmes, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Si WOO Kim, Luke List, Charles Howell III, Sung Kang, Jason Kokrak, Joaquin Niemann, Trey Mullinax, Keith Mitchell, Rory Sabbatini, JJ Spaun, Nick Watney, Jimmy Walker, and Aaron Wise. And, that’s it, really.

Wunderkinds Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, and Justin Suh are all back on the course for the second straight week playing on sponsor’s exemptions. For a field of 156 players, this is one of the year’s weakest events for strength of field.

2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic: Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Par 5s Gained
Eagles Gained
Par 4s Gained: 350-450 Yards

Mayo’s Custom Stat POWER RANKINGS from FantasyNational.com

2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic: Course

Course:Detroit Golf Club
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,340
Greens: Bluegrass (Poa Annua)

2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic: Past Winners


2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic: Notes

This is the first year at Detroit Golf Club for any PGA TOUR event.

Four of the 10 Par 4s at DGC measure between 350-400 yards. Per www.fantasynational.com, Gary Woodland, Brian Stuard, KH Lee, Brandt Snedeker, Sung Kang, Stewart Cink, Dustin Johnson, Nick Taylor, Jason Kokrak, and Denny McCarthy have gained the most strokes on that length of hole over the past 50 rounds.

There are another four Par 4s measuring over 450 Yards. Over the past 50 rounds, the leaders in that range are: Dustin Johnson, Aaron Wise, Billy Horschel, Nasty Nate Lashley, Jim Knous, Charles Howell III, Wyndham Clark, Keith Mitchell, Max Homa, and Gary Woodland.

Of the four Par 5s, three measure between 550-600 yards. Two of them appear gettable for almost the entire field in two strokes, potentially leading to more DraftKings scoring through eagle opportunities, while the other is going to be trickier since you need to carry the water in front of the green. From Chris Hollander’s write up:

It seems to be a par 5 that they want to be scoreable if you want to take a risk. For most players they will be hitting driver here and letting it rip. You have a bunker on the right side of the fairway out about 300-310 range, but no tree trouble on the right. Left, you have a little tree trouble to 290 and then you are clear.  This is the first hole with any water and it makes this second shot a little dicey. If you are even with the bunker you are going to have to hit it about 230 to carry the water. So this is one of the first holes we have seen that favors the longer hitter in a way way. There are bunkers and clear bail out to the right. I would imagine a lot of guys will pull out a 3 wood here and go for it but bail out hard to the right and aim for the bunkers. There is no trouble long here. This one should play under par.

Since three of the Par 5s are theoretically in play to reach in two, doesn’t hurt to gander at the leaders in eagles gained in this field over the past 100 rounds: Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Luke List, Adam Long, Bubba Watson, Matt Jones, Tyler Duncan, JT Poston, Max Homa, and Gary Woodland.

Detroit GC is a Donald Ross designed course. The field should be familiar with Ross designs with Sedgefield and East Lake played each year on TOUR, and the occasional sprinkling in of Plainfield CC, Pinehurst No. 2, Oak Hill, and Aronimink. Per the “Donald Ross” button on Fantasy National, I can tell you Rory Sabbatini, Ryan Moore, Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Jim Herman, Ollie Schniderjans, Freddie Jacobson, Dustin Johnson, Bud Cauley, and Richy Werenski have the most SG: TOTAL on Ross courses of all players in the field over the past 24 rounds. Since all players are scattered in the amount of rounds they’ve played on Ross designs, not everyone makes it to the TOUR Championship or qualifies for Majors (especially in this field), if we rank the field by SG: T2G and average it by round on Ross courses, Byeong-Hun An, JJ Spaun, Bubba Watson, Harold Varner III, Ollie Schniderjans, Dustin Johnson, Will Claxton, Jim Herman, Ryan Moore, and Si WOOOOO Kim do the best per round.

Winner Chez Reavie topped T36 Justin Thomas at last week’s Travelers Championship in SG: Tee To Green 11.4 to 11.3. The difference was on the greens. Chez gained 12.7 more strokes putting than Thomas. For a player who has a large sample of being an average to good putter, he’s been in total shambles with the flat stick this season. Strangely, his biggest problems have been since he injured his wrist at the Honda Classic in March, which forced him to skip the PGA Championship. Most, myself included, assumed a wrist injury would be a large problem in the ball-striking department, primarily regaining the strength to get distance control out of thicker rough. I never would have guessed it was his putting that was the part taking the hit. Beginning that week at PGA National, Thomas has played seven measure events (The Masters doesn’t have public SG data, so it’s not included) and lost strokes putting to the field in all of those seven events. It’s been especially brutal since returning from his break at Memorial. In those four events, spanning four weeks, he’s lost an AVERAGE of -4.3 SG: PUTT, culminating with the career-worst -7.8 SG: PUTT at last week’s Travelers; -7.8 is 2.6 strokes worse than his second worst career showing on the greens (-5.2 SG PUTT) at the 2015 Greenbrier. The expectation is JT will get these problems solved and parlay his out this world T2G game at the moment into a win or high-end finish. That’d be my lean, and we’ll start to get him at a discount because of it. However, we’re wrong about things all the time, and this putting issue may be more if a physical problem than a simple variance issue.

Full leaders in SG: T2G from last week’s Travelers Championship: Reavie (11.4), Thomas (11.3), Roberto Diaz (10.5), Zack Sucher (9.5), Jason Day (9.4). Top players in the field this week: Reavie, Diaz, KH Lee (7.8), Vaughn Taylor (7.5), and Ryan Moore (7.0).

2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic Picks — Targets From Each Range

Dustin Johnson

The DJ-esque result we clamor for on a weekly basis haven’t been there as of late. Sure, he was runner-up at the PGA Championship, but he’s scattered a T35/T20/T28 around that result. Not what you expect when you select Dustin Johnson. Still, he’s a cut above the field in terms of talent this week, and his T2G game is exactly where it needs to be to run away with this event. In his last start at the U.S. Open, despite that T35 finish, he was still Top 10 in T2G he just couldn’t sink a putt. Those -6.1 strokes are third most strokes he’s ever lost in a single event dating back to 2012. Expect a rebound.

Ryan Moore

Once again, the ball striking, especially the approach, was on-point at the Travelers. Just not to the extent where it could overcome two truly horrendous putting rounds. Still, Moore was slightly above average on the putting surfaces for the first time since early April, and gets a similar type of green against this week in Detroit. And, with so many short Par 4s, it should be another week Moore can utilize his exemplary wedge game. Plus, it’s not like he hasn’t has success on Donald Ross courses in the past. He’s made each of his past five cuts at the Wyndham with a pair of Top 10, gaining over 10 strokes T2G the past two years; and has a playoff loss and a third place in his two trips to the TOUR Championship in his career.

Jason Dufner

Despite a partly T35 finish at the U.S. Open, Dufner continued striking the ball at an elite level over the past few months. He’s gained on his drives in five consecutive events and on his approaches in five of six. His poa putting splits are concerning, but ride the form with the irons and hopefully there will be enough makable putts to contend.

Vaughn Taylor

Fresh off a fire Sunday at The Travelers where he ended up T4, Taylor is now riding five straight cuts (three Top 25s) into play in Detroit. Like Dufner, the irons have been fantastic, gaining over three strokes on the field in three of his past five starts, and unlike most of the duds I write about, he’s actually been rolling well all year, having gained on the greens in 13 of 16 2019 starts. VT’s major hiccup all year has been his driving. That looks like it may have started to resolve itself, however. Taylor has gained off the tee in three of his past four start after only finding positive digits in eight of the previous 10. He’s a long shot, but one who keep lingering around the leaderboard.

Other notable names appearing near the top of stat models and the win simulator at FantasyNational.com: Gary Woodland, Kevin Streelman, Sung Kang, Max Homa, Charley Hoffman, Corey Conners, Rory Sabbatini

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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2019 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Podcast of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Video award, and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2019 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year). His 17 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.