There is a lot of information 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 normally focus on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. However, course history doesn’t apply this week at Royal Troon because it hasn’t hosted a professional golf tournament since 2004. So I’m going to discuss recent form in an expanded way, highlighting golfers playing both well and poorly coming in. It doesn’t mean this form will hold in this week’s Open Championship, but we do know that good recent form correlates significantly with DFS success.
RECENT FORM: THE GOOD
1. Dustin Johnson, $12,000
Johnson, who projects as one of the highest-owned players, has been the best player on Tour this season. His last four events have resulted in two wins, a fifth and a third. That included a win at the U.S. Open, which was stacked on top of a fourth at the Masters in April. Johnson has also made the cut in each of his last five Open Championships, a streak that has included three top-12s.
2. Zach Johnson, $8,100
The grinding ZJ continues to be a cut machine, making seven straight. He’s finished 10th (Bridgestone), 8th (U.S. Open) and 17th (Dean & DeLuca) in his last three tournaments. Now he comes to a tournament he’s absolutely owned over the years. Johnson’s last five Open Championship finishes: 1, 47, 6, 9, 16.
3. Scott Piercy, $7,400
Piercy has the best Recent Adjusted Round Score among players priced under $7,500. The 37-year-old is also having the best season of his career with 16 made cuts and 10 top-25s in 18 tournaments. Most impressively, Piercy has back-to-back 2nd-place finishes against two of the toughest fields on the calendar in Bridgestone and the U.S. Open.
4. Charl Schwartzel, $7,800
Schwartzel has played four times in the last six weeks and been inside the top-25 each time. Yes, one of those came against a weakened field at the ISPS Handa Global Cup. But he also has an 11th at Memorial, 23rd at the U.S. Open and 7th at Bridgestone. Schwartzel’s British Open history is also solid as he’s made the cut in five of the last six years, a streak that includes four finishes inside the top-16.
BONUS: GOOD OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
5. Adam Scott, $10,600
It’s unclear if there’s a provable link between past Open Championship performances and future ones. But logically, it would make sense as most of the courses in the rotation play similarly: Links style, windy, deep bunkers, tall rough. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Adam Scott, who has finished an incredible 10th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 25th in the last five Open Championships. His recent form is also fine as he booked a 10th at Bridgestone and an 18th at the U.S. Open.
RECENT FORM: THE BAD
1. Rickie Fowler, $9,900
Heading into the Quicken Loans National in late-June, Fowler had missed three straight cuts and was the highest-priced golfer in the field at $12,000. He still wound up with more than 18 percent ownership on DraftKings. This dude’s name carries far more weight than his game lately, as he went on to finish 44th at Quicken Loans. It’s a crime that he costs $2,100 more than someone like Matt Kuchar.
2. Justin Rose, $9,400
Perhaps Rose’s balky back has been bothering him more than he’s let on. He has only played two tournaments since mid-May, missing the cut at the U.S. Open and stumbling to 48th in the small-field Bridgestone. On top of that, Rose’s history at his home major is far from spectacular. He’s missed the cut in three of his last six British Opens.
3. Jamie Lovemark, $6,000
Lovemark almost always garners some ownership because he’s an ascending star at age 28. But it’s been a rocky road lately as he hasn’t cracked the top-50 in any of his last six tournaments. Lovemark also flew off the handle last Thursday in Scotland, shooting an opening-round 82.
BONUS: BAD OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
4. Bubba Watson, $8,000
Watson has missed the cut in each of his last two Open Championships. It hasn’t been a ton better in the five before that as he went 32, 23, 30, CUT, CUT between 2009 and 2013. Watson has also sunk toward mediocrity overall, as his long-term adjusted round score is down at 69.2. That’s only 52nd among all players in this week’s field.
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.