WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – ADAM SCOTT
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 topic I’ll be focusing on this week is recent form. Like every other stat in every daily fantasy sport, this is just one piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who comes into the event in good form does correlate with success on DraftKings.
*This year’s Open Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. This course hasn’t hosted the event since 2008, rendering any course history data irrelevant.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Tommy Fleetwood, $9,800
The 26-year-old Fleetwood is a rising star on the Euro Tour. He’s up to 14th in the Official World Golf Rankings thanks to a hot run over the last month: fourth at the U.S. Open, sixth at the BMW, first at the Open de France and 10th at the Irish Open. Now he gets to play the British on his home course as Fleetwood grew up in Southport, England and snuck onto the course as a young boy. Of course, a lot of this is priced in as Fleetwood costs more than the likes of Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott.
2. Paul Casey, $8,100
Perhaps we should classify Casey as “good” rather than “hot.” He’s beaten DraftKings salary-based expectation in 10 straight events and made a whopping 11 straight cuts. His last event, the Travelers, resulted in a fifth-place finish. And for what it’s worth, Casey did play the Open Championship back in 2008 when it was here at Royal Birkdale, booking a seventh-place finish at the age of 31.
3. Marc Leishman, $7,800
Leishman is riding a streak of six straight made cuts, a run which includes four top-20s and a fifth in his last event (Quicken Loans). The Aussie also has shown an ability to play well at Open Championships, as he booked a fifth in 2014 (Royal Liverpool) and second in 2015 (St. Andrews). We do have to pay a bit of a premium here as Leishman was just $6,700 at last month’s U.S. Open and is now up $1,100.
4. Brian Harman, $6,600
Harman’s sixth full season on tour has been his breakout. He’s already nearly doubled his previous career high in earnings and is sitting ninth in the FedEx Cup standings. Harman has an impressive five top-10s in the last eight events he’s played, including a second at the U.S. Open and a 10th at last week’s John Deere. Harman has played the Open Championship twice, finishing 26th in 2014 and missing the cut in 2015.
COMING IN COLD: RECENT FORM
1. Tyrrell Hatton, $8,000
It wasn’t too long ago Hatton was one of the most impressive young players on tour as he racked up four top-10s in the first few months of the season. But the wheels have fallen off lately with four straight missed cuts – U.S. Open, Open de France, Irish Open and last week’s Scottish Open. Rostering Hatton at $8,000 this week will be a leap of faith.
2. Jason Day, $10,000
Off-course issues seemed to be in the rearview mirror, but then Day missed the cut at the U.S. Open and missed another cut at the Travelers Championship. Those are the last two times Day has teed it up. He’s also struggled a bit at Open Championships, finishing inside the top-20 just once in six appearances.
3. Rory McIlroy, $11,000
McIlroy has burned a lot of people at high ownership lately, missing three of his last four cuts. That includes last week’s Scottish Open, the Irish Open the previous week and the U.S. Open last month. Of course, McIlroy’s long-term form remains fine as we saw back at the Masters (7th) and Arnold Palmer (4th). McIlroy has also performed well at his home major, finishing fifth in 2016 and winning in 2014.
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.