WATCH: COURSE PREVIEW – TPC SAWGRASS
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 PLAYERS Championship has been played at TPC Sawgrass since 1982.
THE PLAYERS Course History: The Good
1. Martin Kaymer, $7,300
With salary factored in, Kaymer has the best course history at TPC Sawgrass. He’s made the cut each of the last seven years, booking a win in 2014 and five top-40s during that span. Kaymer also comes in with solid recent form, missing zero cuts this year. That includes PGA Tour events, as the German finished 32nd at The Heritage, 16th at The Masters, 23rd at Arnold Palmer and fourth at the Honda.
2. Zach Johnson, $7,200
Johnson appeared to find his form last week, finishing 18th at the Wells Fargo on the back of a 69-71 weekend. That’s good news as he gets a course that fits his ball-striking style. Johnson, who has a poor long-term Adjusted Driving Distance of just 281.7 yards (via Fantasy Labs), has finished inside the top-26 at this event in six of the last seven years.
3. Rory McIlroy, $11,200
Rory bombs the ball, but has still flashed outrageous recent form at TPC Sawgrass. His last four finishes are 12th, eighth, sixth and eighth. He’s also finished inside the top-10 in his last seven stroke play events. I suspect McIlroy will likely be among the highest-owned players this week, along with Dustin Johnson, who is up at $12,000.
4. Hideki Matsuyama, $9,700
Deki will likely come at low ownership as he’s failed to meet salary-based expectation in three of his last four events. So he’ll be an interesting GPP play as a talented player at a bit of discount on a course which he’s succeeded. Matsuyama has three appearances here, netting a seventh in 2016, 17th in 2015 and 23rd in 2014.
THE PLAYERS Course History: The Bad
1. Jordan Spieth, $10,800
Spieth is likely to be less-owned than Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and John Rahm in the top tier. His last four events on DK have resulted in an 11th at The Masters, an ugly missed cut in Houston, a 12th at the no-cut WGC and a 22nd at the Genesis. Spieth did finish fourth at THE PLAYERS in 2014, but he missed the cut in both 2015 and 2016. He’d be a pure ownership-pivot play for me.
2. D.A. Points, $6,800
Perhaps Points will be on people’s radar because he beat a weak field in Puerto Rico, finished 23rd in Houston and was 12th at last week’s Wells Fargo. He’s already made $790,992 in 11 events this season after making $1,060,510 in 71 events over the previous three seasons. Points has been particularly rough here at THE PLAYERS, where he’s missed the cut in three of four appearances. He finished 48th in the other.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Adam Hadwin, $6,800
When we last saw Hadwin (the Texas Open in late-April), he disappointed with a 72nd at a $9,100 salary. That included a strange 82 on Saturday of that event. Perhaps he was just tired after playing the previous three weeks and making the cut in every event he’s played his season. That run includes a win at Valspar, second at CareerBuilder, sixth at Arnold Palmer, 22nd at The Heritage and 36th at The Masters. Hadwin’s, priced just $300 over minimum, is incredibly cheap relative to the golf he’s played this season.
2. John Rahm, $9,600
Rahm has been highlighted in this section nearly every time he’s teed it up over the last couple months. At this point, Rahm isn’t just hot – we could make an easy case he’s a top-five golfer in the world. Rahm has an incredible five top-fives in his last eight events and hasn’t missed a cut since last August. He checks in as the seventh-most expensive golfer this week.
3. Sung Kang, $7,200
The 29-year-old Kang has shown a big ceiling this year relative to his price. He finished 12th in Phoenix and 22nd at Genesis early in the season. Then he got hot again in April, going sixth, 11th, second in three events last month. There’s a low floor here in a player ranked 88nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, but he’ll likely come at low ownership and has solid upside.
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.