You heard correctly, golf makes its first appearance in the international games in over 100 years of absence and I can’t help but find myself getting fired up early to play fantasy this week as a result. The field will consist of 60 golfers from all over the world, ranging from Web.com Tour players to some of the top names on the PGA tour.
There will be no cut in this event, so you can count on getting six golfers through to the weekend which should make this event as exciting as it gets. Below is a list of golfers I love, like and hate for some guidance when building your rosters this week.
Golfers I Love
Henrik Stenson ($12,400) – This golf course was designed by American Gil Hanse who is well known for his many works including Castle Stuart, which has been the home of the Scottish Open on several occasions including, most recently, the 2016 Scottish Open. Since this course has never been played professionally we’ll have to rely on similar courses to do the job this week, and in the times the Scottish Open has been hosted at Castle Stuart, Stenson has never finished outside the top fifteen, and has a top five and top ten finish. All of this coupled with the fact that Stenson has the hottest form of any golfer coming into the event make him a fantastic option this week.
Justin Rose ($11,500) – It is truly amazing to me how low Justin Rose’s ownership continues to be, despite being one of the most consistent players on Tour all year. With only four results outside of the top twenty five all year and four top ten finishes, Justin Rose has a combination of upside and low ownership that makes him a great play. With his price being inflated nearly $1,500, I expect most people to steer clear of Rose despite his winning ability this week.
Danny Willet ($9,900) – Danny Willet has not been playing his best golf as of late, and his ownership has dropped in a major way as a result. In his last two events (both majors), this Masters Champion was under ten percent and five percent owned respectively. As the ninth ranked golfer in the world, there are only two golfers who are higher in the world rankings in this field which makes Willet a perfect GPP play with low ownership potential and high upside.
Danny Lee ($8,400) – I have been known to overlook Danny Lee often, but I won’t be passing on him this week. Lee finished third in this year’s Scottish Open which called my attention to him. However, it’s his elite tee-to-green and sand save numbers that lead me to believe Danny Lee could do very well here.
Alex Cejka ($6,600) – Par 3 Scoring, Scrambling, and Birdie or Better Percentage are all strengths of Alex Cejka’s game which is a big reason that he comes in as the fifth ranked golfer in my statistical model this week. Look for Cejka’s ownership to be inflated for many of the same reasons I already mentioned, but in all likelihood I’ll have a big chunk of Cejka in my lineups.
Golfers I Like
Sergio Garcia ($11,900) – It’s hard to ignore the fact that Sergio Garcia is coming off a missed cut, but prior to not making the weekend two weeks ago, Sergio was playing some of the best golf of his career. As the second ranked golfer in my projections model, Sergio makes an interesting pivot when you take into account what should be lower ownership after his recent missed cut. While it’s not a stat that I target often, I think Par 3 Scoring is a factor this week with the course containing five of them, and Sergio is the best scorer in the field on par threes. As one of the best tee-to-green players in the game, Garcia has what it takes to really thrive on this course this week and definitely has the ability to win this event.
Matt Kuchar ($10,100) – As expected, Matt Kuchar played a solid four rounds of golf last week but was never truly in contention to win. I typically have no problem playing Kuchar knowing he is likely to finish somewhere between twentieth and fifth on any given week, and this week is no exception. With a field that doesn’t include any of the top four golfers in the world and has marginal talent throughout, I’m perfectly fine with taking Kuchar and looking for him to find his way into the top ten this week.
Soren Kjeldsen ($8,500) – If you haven’t heard of Soren Kjeldsen yet, it’s about time you get introduced. As a player who makes many of his starts on the Euro Tour, you may not recognize the name, but Kjeldsen has missed only three cuts all year between the two tours and has four top ten finishes this year including two which occurred at major championships. Kjeldsen may not be a household name, but in a field of sixty golfers he certainly stands out to me and makes a great GPP or cash option.
David Hearn ($7,400) – It may have been over a century ago, but a Canadian was the last nation to win a gold medal in golf, and if I had to choose a Canadian to repeat that feat this year, it would be David Hearn who ranks eighth in Par 3 Scoring and in the top fifty in Scrambling, Sand Saves and Greens in Regulation. Hearn is no lock to win, but with stats like those, I’ll be happily rostering Hearn at under $7.5k.
Nicolas Colsaerts ($6,900) – Here is another golfer who you may not have heard of. Colsaerts makes an extremely credible value pick this week. At the Scottish Open, Colsaerts has made his last four cuts and finished third twice and eighth once. While I don’t think Nicolas is a must have by any means, I think the information we do have points to Colsaerts as one of the few golfers under $7k who has significant upside.
Golfers I Hate
Bubba Watson ($10,500) – I am going to be treading very carefully with Bubba Watson as the season progresses. Bubba’s price continues to stay high despite a long string of underwhelming performances on every type of course imaginable. With a lack of ability to score on par fives, and poor scrambling and sand save numbers, Bubba is going to be at a severe disadvantage this week no matter how you paint it.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,600) – This choice is a very difficult one for me to make and hinges a lot on the ownership numbers I expect Grillo to come in at. As a golfer who has continually outperformed his salary at big events (including majors), Grillo is certainly no lock to underperform. But with what I expect to be very high ownership on Grillo and poor Sand Save, Scrambling, and Par 3 Scoring I think there is a strong case to be made for fading Grillo.
Jeunghun Wang ($7,500) – It’s possible I’ll change my tune on Wang at some point down the line, but with four missed cuts in five events I am concerned Wang is not playing his best golf coming in. As a back to back winner on the Euro Tour this year, his game may come around at some point, but at this price, I’m not sure he’s worth a shot.
Gregory Bourdy ($7,000) – If you are looking at the same information that most golf fantasy fanatics are, you probably will have noticed that Gregory Bourdy has pretty good recent form compared to his price with top twenty five or better finishes in three of his last four events. On the surface, Bourdy makes a great play. However, I expect him to be very popular, and in his four recent tries at the Scottish Open, he has never finished better than forty-ninth. Bourdy may be a good cut making option for cash, but ultimately I will be off of him in my lineups.
Fabian Gomez ($6,300) – Gomez ranks no better than sixty-sixth in any of the major stat categories I’m looking at and ranks outside the top 125 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Birdie or Better Percentage, Good Drive Percentage, Greens in Regulation and Scrambling which is just too much for me to ignore despite the name recognition and a discounted price.
Do you have questions about golfers who aren’t in this article? Get more weekly analysis and answers to any of your questions by following me on Twitter @BradMessersmith
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is IthinkIcan1) 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.