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.
Another ‘Day,’ another huge win. Jason Day dominated the PLAYERS like he has several tournaments in the past year and a half and cemented his status as the best player in the world. Outside of injury, there looks to be no stopping him, and he will definitely be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming majors this summer. This week, players who got steamrolled by the Day express will look for some redemption at the Byron Nelson, a tournament with a long history and an interesting slew of winners. With the PLAYERS Championship now officially over, the countdown to the US Open is on and were now a measly 5 weeks from the year’s second major championship.
The field this week is nowhere near what it was last week (so be prepared for some big price jumps), but at the same time there’s a nice mix of talent at the top. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar are all in the field and looking to rebound after a slow week where they were all essentially turned into spectators by the number on player in the world. There’s some pretty decent international talent here too with the likes of Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in attendance. The bottom end of this field dries out pretty quickly though, and the plethora of quality options you had last week are long gone. Still, with 150 players in the field, 70 players (and ties) will get to play the weekend which means some of those lackluster-looking options will undoubtedly turn out to be decent fantasy plays.
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 remodeling back in 2008 that lengthened the course. Since that time, big hitters have played well here, although it’s definitely a hard week to pinpoint certain stats. For course history purposes, I would not recommend looking back at results past 2009 as you’re essentially looking at a different course. This can be a bit of a strange event to predict performance-wise as weather can drastically effect things and did last year when the course was basically flooded and had to be altered during the event. To give you an idea of how crazy scoring can be year to year, in 2009 Rory Sabbatini set the scoring record at this event with a total of 19 under par, but two years later Keegan Bradley won the event with a measly score of -3. Right now, some rain and heavy winds are expected on Thursday, but the rest of the days look OK, so a lower scoring tournament is what we might get again this year
As a par 70, TPC Four Seasons only features two par 5’s but both are very reachable in 2 by most of the players and represent good scoring holes. The real meat of the course lies in the par 4’s, all of which measure in at over 400 yards in length. The course also features several water hazards which can make approach shots extremely difficult if the wind gets up. This is a course that has tended to frustrate players when windy but has also yielded numerous low scores in calm conditions. Overall, the long par 4’s either require players to be long and accurate tee to green or to be great scramblers, while the rest of the course plays fairly straightforward and can be scored on. The event has seen a variety of winners, but there’s no doubt that long hitters have tended to prosper a little more as a group here since the changes in 2009.
One final note about the course, it’s seen its fair share of first timers do well as three of the last six winners were playing the event and the course for the first time ever in the PGA when they won. With that knowledge, it may mean that this may be a week to forgo course history a little bit and roster some players new to the event.
Last 5 winners
- Steven Bowditch—2015
- Brendon Todd—2014
- Sang-Moon Bae—2013
- Jason Dufner—2012
- Keegan Bradley—2011
- Of the past 6 winners, only one (Jason Dufner) had recorded a top ten finish at this event/course in a prior year.
- The last 5 winners here had recorded a T8 or better on the PGA Tour in the same year of their victory, and prior to winning at the Byron Nelson.
- The last 6 winners of the Byron Nelson ranked 67th or better in Birdie Average in the year of their respective victory.
- Driving Distance
- Birdie Average
- Par 4 Scoring
The course may not seem super long this week, and by Tour standards, it’s about average. That being said, many of the par 4’s play extremely long and will require length off the tee. Additionally, a look back at previous years stats and results (since the course changes in 2009) shows numerous long ball hitters faring extremely well at this venue. As such, distance is definitely a factor for me off the tee this week and something to keep an eye on when making rosters or projections.
Birdie Average is also another stat worth keeping an eye on at TPC Four Seasons. While the course can play difficult if the wind gets up, we’ve also seen players go low here in good conditions. Winners of this event have tended to be ranked highly in this category as well, which gives it an added emphasis this week. With the weather looking OK for three of the four days, making a ton of birdies seems like it will be needed for success here regardless.
The last main stat I’m focusing on is Par 4 Scoring. TPC Four Seasons has some of the longest par 4’s, overall, of any course on Tour, and the past few years the winners here have ranked quite well in this category on Tour. Handling the long par 4’s will undoubtedly be a huge factor this week in crowning a champion, and it’s a statistical category to keep an eye on when doing research.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Lucas Glover||70-1||$7,500||Ian Poulter $7,600 and 90-1
Harris English $7,500 and 80-1
Russell Henley $7,800 and 80-1
|Colt Knost||66-1||$7,800||Charles Howelll III $8,200 and 66-1
Tony Finau $8,100 and 66-1
Russell Henley $7,800 and 80-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
- Ryan Palmer has made five straight cuts at this event and has also recorded three finishes of 10th or better in that span, the best being a runner-up finish in 2011. As a Texas native he’ll at least be comfortable in his surroundings this week.
- Keegan Bradley has never missed the cut here in five attempts and also won here on his first visit to the course in 2011. Bradley has never finished worse than 29th at this event and also was runner-up back in 2013, he’s a solid horse for the course this week.
- Marc Leishman has made 5 of 7 cuts at this event, and when he’s made the cut he’s been dominant. Leishman has five finishes of 12th or better at TPC Four Seasons including two third places finishes since 2009.
- Dustin Johnson has played here five times since the course changes in 2009. His worst finish in that span is 20th, and he has four top-tens to his name at this event, including an 8th place finish last year. He’s someone you should expect to be in contention this week.
This is a complete 360 from last week where we had a lot of talented players under $7k due to the strength of the field. The field this week is very thin, and as a result, many average or above average players have monster prices. The good news is that there are still some pretty decent plays in the mid-tier range who are in good spots to bounce back this week. While it’s always tempting to take the big names in a weak field, these less glamorous events tend to be dominated by the second and third tier type of players. I’d suggest loading on those types and looking for one of them to put up a great performance. A more balanced approach seems fruitful this week and would also allow you to avoid that less than trustworthy group under $7k.
Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks
- Matt Kuchar
- Charley Hoffman
- Dustin Johnson
Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks
- Jhonattan Vegas
- Bryce Molder
- Ken Duke
MY PICK: Louis Oosthuizen ($9,900)
Oosthuizen has one of the most dominant major championship wins of all time to his name, plus two playoff losses in majors, yet it might shock some to know Oosthuizen is still without a regular season Tour win on the PGA Tour. I think that will change soon, and hopefully it will change this week. Oosthuizen took a long break after the Masters but returned last week and ended the PLAYERS 2nd for the week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and 8th in Greens In Regulation. The fast greens gave him issues at TPC Sawgrass, but with rain in the forecast this week, they should be slower at TPC Four Seasons and play to his advantage. A premier ball-striker, Oosthuizen had the 54-hole lead at this event two years ago and comes into this event in great overall form. I’m glad he dusted off the rust last week and think he’s more than capable of putting up a big week in a very weak field here. He’s my pick to get the win.
MY SLEEPER: Luke Guthrie ($6,000)
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
Guthrie is a player who has been splitting his time between regular PGA events and the Web.com Tour this season. While his results this season have been spotty, he also has some really decent results to his credit over his career, and has made the cut at this event the past two seasons. Guthrie isn’t huge off the tee, but he ranks well in some proximity stats from longer distances which should help him this week at a course that requires players to hit a lot of longer approach shots. Guthrie is by no means a safe pick, and while I feel like I’m putting my 5 tournament made-cut streak on the line here for my sleepers, I do think he has good upside this week for tournaments. In a weak field and on a sometimes unpredictable course, he seems like a player who’s in a good spot to potentially surprise this week and land you a top 25 finish. He’s my sleeper pick for the Byron Nelson.