The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
This week the tour stays in Texas and heads down the road to Irving, just outside Dallas, for the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship. This is a full field event meaning that up to 156 golfers will take part in the tournament. Ensuring your golfer makes the cutline will be even tougher than last week as the cut line remains at 70 players plus ties and over half the field will be eliminated after Friday. The field this week is actually stronger than years past and Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Jordan Spieth will all be in attendance.
TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas
Par 70 -7,100-7200 yards (depending on setup)
TPC Four Seasons was opened back in 1983 but underwent extensive remodelling back in 2008 that lengthened the course. Since that time big hitters have tended to fair well here and for research purposes I would not recommend looking back past 2009. This can be a bit of a strange course to predict performance on as weather can drastically effect performance. In 2009 Rory Sabbatini set the scoring record with a total of 19 under par, but two years later Keegan Bradley won the event with a measly score of -3. As a par 70 the course only features two par 5’s but does carry some very difficult and long par 4’s. Water comes into play on several holes making tee shots and approach shots more difficult. This is a course that has tended to frustrate players when the wind gets up and if things get windy this week expect a battle of attrition to break out and a winning score in the single digits.
Past 5 winners
What will it take to succeed at TPC Four Seasons?
There’s a couple trains of thought this week. The first is that Driving Distance is important. Since 2009 big hitters have generally fared well here and I think that is something to keep in mind. However, whenever you see Brendon Todd and Jason Dufner as past winners you know that being deadly accurate is also important. Last year Todd won by being first in driving accuracy and first in strokes gained: putting, proving that distance is not the be-all-end-all on this course. I personally think this is a good week for players who do well at the basics. Hitting greens, hitting fairways and putting well will all be important factors. A player who is deficient in one category may be able to make up for it by being great in another, but ultimately the winner will likely be the golfer who displays the most solid performance throughout his bag.
Who has had success here?
While it’s hard to identify one type or style of play as being key to success this week, a handful of golfers have shown more aptitude for the course than others:
- DA Points is a not a regular name you hear bandied about in fantasy golf but he does seem to play well at this event. In his last 7 visits he’s only missed one cut and has finishes of 12-7-3 in that span. A possible sleeper for this week.
- Marc Leishman can be a bit hit or miss but when he’s on his game compares well to the best of the best. Since 2009 Leishman has only missed the cut here once and has 5 top 12 finishes, very interesting stuff from a player who is trending well right now
- Matt Kuchar has teed it up at this event 5 times since 2009 and never missed a cut, more impressively is that he has a 15th, 7th and 6th place finish in that span.
- In the power is king category this week you will find Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Day. Since the remodelling of 2009 all three of these players have played this event 4 times and none of them have ever missed the cut. Both Bradley and Day have won this event while Dustin’s never finished outside of 20th.
Who has struggled here?
- John Senden has played here 5 times since 2009 and missed the cut three times. He does have a top ten here from last year but overall has not been great at this course.
- Jimmy Walker has played here every year since 2009 and never cracked the top 20. Not a great record for a great player who seems like he top ten’s every second week these days.
- Hunter Mahan last played in this event in 2010. Even if you include his pre 2009 renovation play, Mahan’s best finish is still his 42nd from 2008.
- Finally, while Matt Jones has flashed some good form at times this year he’s never done it at this event. He’s played here three times since 2009, and four times overall, and never made the weekend.
This is a hard week to nail down for statistics. Many different players have done well at this course and it’s hard to see a trend. Still, I think driving distance has to be of some importance this week given the success of some serious bombers at this course. Big hitters carry some kind of advantage being able to carry some trouble here and I think it’s a decent starting point for fantasy purposes to seek out some bombers with good records at TPC Four Seasons. Two other stats I am looking at: Par Breakers and Strokes gained: putting. Par Breakers is a stat which focuses on the amount of time a player makes a score of better than par. While it may seem obvious, players who have been able to consistently put up birdies and eagles have done well here. The course can play tough and offsetting the odd bogey with lots of birdies is key. For this same reason I like strokes gained: putting as a stat. Good putters will make more birdies and last year Todd and second place finishers Mike Weir rode their putters to top finishes.
Look for players who have been in solid recent form. Course history isn’t as big a deal this week as there have been several winners of this event who were playing the course for the first time. As well players who have done well here in the past have been in excellent form in at least two of three categories it seems: driving, accuracy and play on or around the greens. Try and find those golfers who will be able to deal with a tough course and possibly tougher conditions. This is also a good week to find some lower priced players who can make a lot of birdies and hope they carry you to some good fantasy point totals.
My Pick to win: Gary Woodland
I really like Woodland’s recent form at this course and his recent play. He looked great at the match play event and then followed that up with another good finish at the Wells Fargo where he led the field in strokes gained: putting for the week. Woodland has done well here in the past and was one off the lead after 54 holes last year. I think he can get it done at this course and bag another title.