WATCH: PGA IMPACT PLAYER – PHIL MICKELSON
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 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.
*The St. Jude Classic has been played at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee since 1989.
St. Jude Classic Course History: The Good
1. Phil Mickelson, $10,200
Mickelson checks in as the fifth-most expensive golfer this week but easily has the best history at this course. He’s played the St. Jude in each of the last four years, finishing 2nd, 3rd, 11th and 2nd. It’s an interesting situation this year as Mickelson says he plans to skip next week’s U.S. Open so he can attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Normally, he uses the event as a tune-up for the major.
2. Seung-Yul Noh, $8,100
The weak field and Noh’s course history is certainly factored into the price here as he hasn’t been more than $7,600 since March. But we can’t ignore Noh’s 7th in 2016, 3rd in 2015 and 7th in 2012. He’ll likely go under-owned thanks to his inflated price and poor recent form, which includes a mysterious withdraw at DEAN & DELUCA.
3. Brooks Koepka, $11,500
On the surface, the par-70 TPC Southwind isn’t a great fit for the long-hitting Koepka as it requires pinpoint accuracy at small greens. But Koepka has flashed his all-around game in three appearances here, finishing 2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2015 and 19th in 2014. Similar to Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott, Koepka’s natural talent towers over this weak-field event.
4. Billy Horschel, $9,500
It doesn’t feel great to pay $9,500 for Horschel just a week after he was $6,700. But he’s shown serious signs of life lately, winning at Byron Nelson, finishing 34th at DEAN & DELUCA and then following up a woeful opening 78 with a 71 on Friday at Memorial. That gave Horschel a much-needed break ahead of this week’s St. Jude, where he’s fared very well. His last three trips have all resulted in top-10s.
St. Jude Classic Course History: The Bad
1. Graeme McDowell, $7,500
McDowell is one of the bigger names in the lower tier of pricing and comes in with good recent form (five straight made cuts). That could boost his ownership into moderate levels. However, the Irishman has struggled here at TPC Southwind, failing to make the cut in three of his last four appearances.
2. Kyle Reifers, $6,300
Reifers has had some intriguing results this year, including a 20th at Byron Nelson, 37th at Valero and 17th in Puerto Rico. It’s all come at bargain-basement prices, just like this week. However, Reifers has never made the cut at TPC Southwind in three appearances.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Kyle Stanley, $8,400
Stanley continues to sniff the winner’s circle most weeks. He was 6th last week at Memorial, 4th at THE PLAYERS in May and 8th at Houston in April. Stanley has the fourth-best Recent Adjusted Round Score in this field, via FantasyLabs. Only Francesco Molinari, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott are ahead of him.
2. Danny Lee, $7,200
The maddeningly inconsistent Lee comes in cheap and with solid recent form. He finished 5th at Byron Nelson, 6th at DEAN & DELUCA and then 49th last week at Memorial. Most importantly, we know Lee has the ceiling in this cheap price range that many others don’t have this week. He’s posted 25 top-25s across the last three seasons, a run which includes 12 top-10s.
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.