WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – PAUL CASEY
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 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 comes into the event in good form does correlate with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
*The Travelers Championship has been played at TPC River Highlands since 1991.
TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Marc Leishman, $9,300
Leishman has played this event in each of the last five years, making the cut each time and never finishing worse than 39th. It’s a run which includes a win in 2012, an 11th in 2014 and a ninth last year. The Australian also comes in with good recent form, booking top-30s at the U.S. Open, the Memorial and the Byron Nelson over the last month.
2. Webb Simpson, $6,900
Simpson has the best course history here once salary is factored in. However, a lot of it is somewhat outdated since he skipped the event in both 2015 and 2014. That said, his last four trips (dating back to 2011) have resulted in a 34th, 5th, 29th and 13th. Simpson is playing his best golf of the season right now as he finished 16th at the tough-field PLAYERS, fifth at DEAN & DELUCA and 35th at last week’s U.S. Open.
3. Bubba Watson, $8,400
It’s tough to pay $8,400 for a player struggling like Watson is right now. He was just $6,600 a few weeks back against a similar field at the Memorial and has missed the cut in three of his last five events. But we do know that TPC River Highlands suits his game – Bubba won here in 2010, finished second in 2012, finished fourth in 2013 and won again in 2015. His worst finish at the Travelers over the last five years is a 31st in 2014. I would expect some inflated ownership on Bubba this week as many folks will be aware of his history here.
TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Kyle Stanley, $8,600
Perhaps we should disregard all of Stanley’s previous results since he’s in the midst of a career year, obviously setting a new high in money and tying his previous career high in top-10s. But it’s still worth noting that he’s missed the cut in three of his last four trips to the Travelers, especially when we add in an $8,600 price tag. That’s the highest he’s been all season after opening as a $6,000 player at the first event of the year (Sony Open).
2. Zach Johnson, $8,300
Johnson has played this event each of the last six years and has finished 47th or worse four times. His best finishes during that span are a sixth in 2015 and a 24th in 2011. It’s a concerning history for a player who has struggled all season, dipping to 95th in the FedEx Cup Standings while failing to record a top-10 since early January.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Paul Casey, $9,700
I highlighted Casey in the “Coming in Hot” portion of this article last week and he stayed scorching early in the U.S. Open with a 66-71 Thursday-Friday. A 75-74 weekend left him with a 26th-place finish, but it’s still 11 straight made cuts for the Englishman. He’s been especially strong lately with five straight top-26 finishes despite facing extremely tough fields during that span at the aforementioned U.S. Open, THE PLAYERS and the Masters.
2. David Lingmerth, $7,900
After a poor start to the season, Lingmerth has found the form that made the 29-year-old one of the game’s most interesting prospects in 2015-16. The Swede has four top-21 finishes in his last five events, smashing salary-based expectation each time. The price is now $500 more than it’s been all season, but he’s still cheaper than guys like Chad Campbell, Daniel Summerhays and Kevin Tway.
3. Jamie Lovemark, $7,700
A long-hitting, volatile player with upside, Lovemark has strung together some nice rounds lately. It included back-to-back 69s on Thursday-Friday at the U.S. Open, a 10th-place finish at Memorial and an 18th at Byron Nelson. Lovemark is quickly catching up to his breakout pace last season when he booked nine top-25s in 27 events. So far this year, he has six top-25s in 20 events.
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.