There is a lot of information 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 an obvious key.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in every DFS sport, these two topics are a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course and who comes into the event in good form correlate significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
- This is a no-cut tournament with a field of just 61 players.
BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Jim Furyk, $9,500
Furyk has absolutely dominated the South Course at Firestone, recording four top-10s in the last six years and never finishing worse than 23rd. His course adjusted round score of 67.8 is the best in the field among players with multiple WGC Bridgestone appearances. Furthermore, Furyk has quickly dispelled concerns over his injured wrist by backing up an impressive T2 at the U.S. Open with an immediate T21 at Quicken Loans a week later.
2. Justin Rose, $10,200
I’m not expecting many people to be on Rose as he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, has battled back problems and is only $1,900/$1,500 cheaper than chalk top-tier options Jason Day/Dustin Johnson. I would not use him in 50/50s or Double Ups on DraftKings. But Rose’s elite course history makes him a very interesting GPP play at a projected ownership under 10 percent. The Englishman’s last four trips to Bridgestone have resulted in T3, T4, T17 and T5.
3. Kyung-tae Kim, $6,200
Due to an elite yet tiny field of 61 players, there are very few cheap options. So perhaps we can take a sleeper GPP look at K.T. Kim, who is currently ranked 40th in the Official World Golf Rankings because he dominates the Asian and Japanese Tours. This 29-year-old recently had an absurd stretch of five straight top-3 or better finishes out there. Kim has also fared reasonably against strong fields, making the cut in 8-of-12 major appearances. He’s played the WGC Bridgestone twice, finishing 24th in 2012 and 6th in 2011.
BRIDGESTONE INVIATIONAL COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Phil Mickelson, $8,900
Firestone Country Club has been Mickelson’s house of horrors. He’s played the event in each of the last seven years and finished outside the top-40 five times. Phil’s adjusted round score at this course over the last six years is 70.1, worst among all players with at least two appearances. On top of all that, Mickelson has missed the cut in each of his three big tournaments this season: The U.S. Open, The PLAYERS and the Masters.
2. Branden Grace, $9,700
The 28-year-old Grace is quietly one of the rising stars on Tour. So perhaps we should give him a pass for his poor results at this event because they came while his career arc was still ascending. Still, he’s never finished higher than 17th in four tries, and his course adjusted round score of 69.9 is second-worst in the field among players with multiple appearances.
3. Dustin Johnson, $11,600
I’m expecting Dustin and Jason Day to be among the most popular plays on DraftKings this week. Johnson is the hottest player on tour with an incredible five top-5s in his last seven events – a stretch that includes a win at the U.S. Open. So if we’re looking to fade the chalk due to a combination of inflated price and ownership, we can lean on course history. It’s been a struggle for DJ at Bridgestone as he’s never finished higher than 15th in the last six years and has been outside the top-30 three times in that span. His last two trips (2015, 2013) resulted in a 53rd and a 33rd.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Jason Dufner, $8,500
Dufner has exceeded his DraftKings salary-based expectation in five straight events and made the cut in six straight. That run has included two top-10s in his last three events and a T8 at the U.S. Open. Dufner also has solid course history here with two top-10s in three WGC Bridgestone appearances.
2. Brooks Koepka, $9,900
Koepka’s hot streak has included a run of 13th (U.S. Open), 2nd (St. Jude) and 2nd (Byron Nelson) in his last three events. It’s also ballooned his DraftKings price tag as he now costs more than stars such as Matt Kuchar ($9,800) and Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300). Still, Koepka finished T6 in this event last year – his lone appearance – and is now a weekly threat to win against all fields.
3. Daniel Berger, $8,200
The 2015 Rookie of the Year is in the midst of an even bigger breakout in 2016. He picked up his first career win earlier this month at St. Jude, hasn’t missed a cut since February and has six top-20s in his last eight events. Only Harris English ($7,300) has a better recent adjusted round score among players cheaper than $8,500 this week.