The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with roster selections.
The field this week is a full one that will see over 150 golfers tee it up. After taking last week off, we see some bigger names returning to action here including the likes of Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner. We’ll also be seeing Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed as well, who will be making his fourth straight start since the U.S. Open. Other names to look out for include Russell Henley, Si Woo Kim and 2015 champ, Danny Lee. Lee is actually the current defending champion since this event was canceled last season due to flooding. We’re now only two weeks away for the year’s third major as well, so many players will be looking at this as their final tune-up before the Open Championship. Fantasy-wise, this is definitely a place where course history can be weighted a little more heavily as were seeing a venue that has been the host of this event since 2010.
The Old White Course (TPC) at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Par 70, 7,200-7,300 yards
The Old White Course is one of the oldest courses we see on tour but also one that has undergone some extensive renovations of late. In 2010 the course underwent its first renovations which included changing the greens to Bentgrass and lengthening/toughening many of the holes. This was after Stuart Appleby destroyed the course in its inaugural year with a final round 59, he won at -22. Plans to make the course harder were immediately implemented as over 200 yards was added. This renovation has seemed to have the desired effect as scores have been tamer since the changes, with 2014’s winning tally of -16 actually the highest since the redesign. In 2015 Danny Lee won a four-way playoff after posting -13 after four rounds.
As mentioned above the Old White Course is a par 70 and as such carries only two par 5s, one of which (the par-5 17th) measures in at well over 600 yards (616 on the card) and isn’t really a true birdie hole. As such, par 5 scorers are generally at a disadvantage here in some regards as most of the work will have to be done on the other holes. While the fairways and greens aren’t as daunting as some other par 70 courses (like Hilton Head or Colonial), this is a longer course and it contains six par 4s that fall in the 450-500-yard range (or just outside of it). With that being said shorter hitters like Kevin Kisner, David Hearn and Danny Lee have done well at this venue, so Driving Distance still doesn’t appear to be a huge factor. Instead, I’d target Par 4 Scoring as the course serves up a lot of traditional par 4s that will require accurate approaches from players.
Finally, while Par 3 scoring isn’t always something we look at, three of them measure in at over 200 yards on the scorecard here making 200-225-yard Efficiency something to possibly key in on as well. While the Greenbrier is mostly a traditional layout, it should also be noted that the course actually ends on a rather short par 3 as well, which could land in the favor of some of the better iron players down the stretch.
2017 Outlook: There is some rain in the forecast, both for Thursday and Friday and some in the days leading up to the event too. Thursday looks the likeliest to bring showers, and a delay is quite possible as there is at least a 60% chance of rain in the forecast. This could mean the course becomes pretty saturated, and it’s even possible lift, clean and place is invoked at some point. If this is true, than birdies should come fast and furious on the weekend. There isn’t a huge amount of wind, so a draw bias doesn’t seem apparent, but keep an eye on the rain as a storm could wreak havoc on either wave on Thursday.
Last six winners
- (2016) — Mother Nature (event cancelled)
- (2015) — Danny Lee -13 (four-way playoff)
- (2014) — Angel Cabrera -16 (over George McNeil -14)
- (2013) — Jonas Blixt -13 (over four players at -11)
- (2012) — Ted Potter Jr. -16 (playoff over Troy Kelly)
- (2011) — Scott Stallings -10 (playoff over Bill Haas and Bob Estes)
- Since 2010, Danny Lee is the only champion who had played the event/course in a prior year before his win.
- The last two champions here have both ranked inside the top-5 for the year of their win in Birdie or Better Percentage.
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Par 4 Scoring
- Birdie or Better Percentage
The Old White Course has proven not to favor one style over another, with plenty of different styles of games having success here over time. As such, keying in on Strokes Gained: Tee to Green isn’t a bad idea here. Of the past five winners, only Danny Lee finished the week ranked outside the top-20 in this stat. 2014 winner Angel Cabrera and 2011 winner Scott Stallings finished second and third in this category respectively for the week of their win.
Par 4 Scoring is also something to take note of here. The course is set up as a traditional par 70 with most of the par 4s coming in between 400-500 yards. Past champs have almost always tended to score strongly on the par 4s for the week with the 2014 and 2012 champs both leading the way in Par 4 Scoring for the weeks of their win.
Finally, while The Old White Course has tended play a bit harder after the recent renovations it went under, it’s still a place where making a lot of birdies is necessary for a good week. Since 2011, the worst a winner has fared for the week in Birdie or Better percentage is ninth, and the past two winners have ranked third and first for the week in this stat respectively.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their odds of winning this week.
|Harris English||60-1||$7,000||Jonas Blixt $7,000 and 125-1
Luke Donald $7,000 and 100-1
Patrick Rodgers $7,100 and 80-1
|Tony Finau||28-1||$9,100||Keegan Bradley 9,400 and 40-1
Charles Howell III 9,700 and 40-1
Bubba Watson $9,800 and 33-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
- Webb Simpson has really shown an affinity for the new design of The Old White Course. In his last five attempts since the renovations, he’s made four of five cuts at this event, which includes three top-10 finishes. After barely making the cut, he shot a 63 here to close back in 2014.
- Bill Haas has played here each of the last five years. Over that span, he’s got 2nd and 9th place finishes to his name. Haas has been in good form of late, and he’s only missed the cut once in five tries here since 2010.
- Keegan Bradley also appears to like the newer, tougher design here. He’s made four of four cuts here since 2011 and finished 4th here in 2014. Bradley has actually been playing some consistent golf of late with two top-10 in his last two starts.
- Danny Lee has only played this course three times, but his last two appearances have been great ones. Lee finished 16th here in 2014 and won the event in 2015. Over his last eight rounds at The Old White Course, Lee has shot 67 or better in five of them.
Cash Games: While I don’t see any must plays necessarily given the lack of depth near the top of this field, I don’t mind starting off with Bill Haas in cash games this week. He’s got a great blend of recent form and course history to bank on here. After him, there are some good values in the $9K range including Russell Henley (see below), Danny Lee and Tony Finau who are all cash game worthy targets. Other players I would consider for this format would be Kevin Streelman, Gary Woodland, Harris English, Nick Taylor and Robert Streb.
Tournaments: While both Bubba Watson and Si Woo Kim have more missed cuts than made this year they also have the same number of top-10s in the past couple months as Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson. Both make good tournament targets here, although they are clear boom or bust players right now. Other decent larger scale tournaments targets this week include Sean O’Hair, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Robert Garrigus and Luke List.
Top Recent Form
1. Patrick Reed: Reed continued his improved play last week with a T17 finish at the Quicken Loans. He’s now finished T22 or better in seven of his last eight starts.
2. Kevin Streelman: He has now finished T18 or better over his last four starts. He is a collective -18 over his last 16 rounds.
3. Danny Lee: He finished T22 last week at the Quicken Loans was his sixth straight made cut. He has three finishes of T6 or better in that span.
Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (last week)
1. Kyle Stanley
2. Keegan Bradley
3. Bryson DeChambeau
Top Strokes Gained: Putting (last week)
1. Robert Garrigus
2. Andrew Loupe
3. Wyndham Clark
MY PICK: Russell Henley ($9,300)
Henley has been up or down for the most part since his win earlier in the year at the Shell Houston Open, but I wouldn’t let a few wild rounds put me off him here. He was in contention and striking it great at Erin Hills after three rounds, and he also put in two solid rounds of 67 last week on a very difficult course. While consistency has always been an issue with Henley, his ability to make birdies out of nowhere is hard to match in this week’s field. Henley ranks 33rd in Birdie or Better Percentage on tour and is also one of the most prolific par 4 scorers on tour as he ranks 21st in Par 4 Scoring. He’s played the Greenbrier twice and clearly likes what he sees as he has four rounds of 67 or better on his resume here, including a final round 63 in 2015 which saw him miss the playoff that year by a stroke. Henley’s looking like a great target this week off the back of some decent form on a course he’s clearly taken to in his first two visits.
MY SLEEPER: Robert Garrigus ($6,300)
Garrigus is a streaky fellow for DraftKings purposes as he can string some great results together in a hurry, but he misses a ton of cuts as well. For this week though he looks like an intriguing target as he’s coming off his best finish since a T20 way back at the Shell Houston Open. Garrigus needs to string together some results or will risk losing his tour card next year and statistically this should be a good fit. The veteran ranks 43rd in Par 4 Scoring, 44th in Birdie or Better Percentage and also ranks 15th on tour in Par 4 Birdie or Better Percentage. He’s only played the Greenbrier twice but opened with a 66 and 67 here in 2015 which is very encouraging. While Garrigus rode a hot putter last week that momentum could certainly carry over here on a course which has often rewarded players who get hot at the right time with their flat-stick.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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.