There is a lot of data to digest when researching for golf. Course characteristics can tell us whether we want to favor long hitters, great putters or the best scramblers. Weather is crucial as strong wind early on Thursday would mean we want players teeing off later in the day. Figuring out exactly how good a golfer is relative to his DraftKings salary and the field sounds simple but is crucial.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this article is course history and recent form (to be added next week). Like every other stat in every DFS sport, this topic is a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course correlates significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
**The Masters has been played at Augusta National since 1934. This article will focus on history following the 2006 adjustments.
Masters Course History: The Good
1. Jordan Spieth, $11,500
Spieth is one of the best golfers in the world, so of course, he should play well. But his performances at the Masters are a major outlier. The 23-year-old has played this event three times and finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd. It’s obviously an unsustainable run and will likely inflate ownership, but Spieth is clearly very comfortable at Augusta.
2. Lee Westwood, $7,200
Westwood is an interesting case as he’s fallen out of his prime at age 43. He finished fourth in the Official World Golf Rankings in 2009, first in 2010, second in 2011 and seventh in 2012. But he was 50th in 2015 and 42nd in 2016. However, he’s consistently played well at the Masters as he’s made the cut 10 straight times. That run includes a five top-10s an 11th and a 2nd-place finish last year.
3. Matt Kuchar, $7,400
One of the best golfers to never win a major, Kuchar has given himself the best chance at the Masters. He’s made the cut in each of the last seven years, finishing inside the top-8 three times and inside the top-30 six times.
4. Justin Rose, $9,200
Rose finished a disappointing 15th in the Official World Golf Rankings in 2016 but was no worse than seventh in the four years prior to that. He also performs well in majors with seven top-10s in his last 20 starts. Rose’s favorite of those majors is the Masters, where he’s made the cut nine straight times and has finished no worse than 25th in any of his last seven appearances.
Masters Course History: The Bad
1. Branden Grace, $7,500
Grace was a breakout star on the PGA Tour last year, booking six top-10s and one win in just 18 events played. The South African has come back to earth this year as he has zero top-10s in nine events played. The Masters will be an unlikely spot for him to get going as he’s missed the cut here three straight years.
2. Jason Dufner, $7,100
Dufner did book a 24th in 2012 and a 20th in 2013. But his last three trips to the Masters have resulted in MC, 49th, MC. So even though he comes in cheap here relative to his talent and in really good recent form, there’s at least a bit of concern.
3. Martin Kaymer, $7,200
Kaymer has shown up big in some majors, winning the PGA in 2010, the U.S. Open in 2014 and making the cut at all four majors in 2016. However, his history at Augusta is hideous. Kaymer has played the Masters nine times and never finished better than 31st. That includes five missed cuts.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Adam Hadwin, $6,900
Hadwin is the hottest golfer on tour priced under $8,000 and it’s not close. He’s made the cut in all seven events he’s played this year, a run which includes 2nd at the Career Builder, 12th in Phoenix, a win at Valspar and a 6th at Arnold Palmer. The 29-year-old Canadian isn’t a household name and has never played The Masters before, but I still expect him to be among the most-owned golfers this week as a value play.
UPDATE: Dustin Johnson (back) took a serious fall in his Augusta Rental home and is now QUESTIONABLE to compete at the Masters.
2. Dustin Johnson, $11,300
Of course Dustin Johnson should have good results, he’s the second-most expensive player in the field and No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. But Johnson’s run this year is worth highlighting, even for him as Johnson’s last four results are 1st, 1st, 1st and 3rd. He’s also shown improving feel at The Masters as he finished 4th last year and 6th in 2015.
3. Jon Rahm, $8,600
I highlighted Rahm in this space last week as he was coming in hot to the Houston Open. He stayed hot with a 10th there and has now finished top-10 in five of his last six events. Rahm has made the cut in all 10 of his 2017 events. The fact that he’s never played The Masters (like Hadwin) is a bit scary, but Rahm’s game appears to fit as he’s long off the tee (302.9 average driving distance).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) 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.