2019 TOUR Championship Picks, Predictions, Preview

In the season finale of the golf picks show, Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2019 TOUR Championship Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from East Lake. Plus a look at the Korn Ferry and European Tour event and Q & A session from the viewers.

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2019 TOUR Championship Field

Field: 30 Players | No Cut
First Tee: Thursday, Aug. 22 at 11:40 a.m. ET
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods

There’s a fantastical $60M in the prize pool this week, as the PGA Tour season reaches its conclusion at the 2019 TOUR Championship. The winner, he gets a clean $15M for his effort; the runner up, a paltry $5M.

Historically, we saw the TOUR Championship crown two winners: The actually winner over four rounds at East Lake and the overall FedEx Cup Playoff champion. Both were paid accordingly. However that’s all gone now. Starting this season, instead of being a new set of FedEx Cup points to begin the season’s final tournament and earning more points at the TOUR Championship to be added to their previous total entering the week, the field has now been assigned a score to par to begin the event and the overall winner after 72-holes will be crowned the FedEx Cup playoff champ.

There are only 30 players who’ve advanced to the TOUR Championship and in this no-cut event, they’ll start in this order

-10 Justin Thomas
-8 Patrick Cantlay
-7 Brooks Koepka
-6 Patrick Reed
-5 Rory McIlroy
-4 Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Abraham Ancer
-3 Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama
-2 Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner
-1 Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners, Sungjae Im, Chez Reavie
Even Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen, Charles Howell III, Lucas Glover, Jason Kokrak

2019 TOUR Championship: Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
Par 4s Gained
Opportunities Gained
Par 5s Gained

Mayo’s Custom Stat POWER RANKINGS from FantasyNational.com

2019 TOUR Championship: Course

Course: East Lake
Par: 70
Yardage: 7346
Greens: Bermuda
Rank: 24/51 in 2018 Difficulty
Par 5 Eagles in 2018: 9

2019 TOUR Championship: Past Winners

2018: Tiger Woods -11
2017: Xander Schauffele -12
2016: Rory McIlroy -12
2015: Jordan Spieth -9
2014: Billy Horschel -11
2013: Henrik Stenson -13
2012: Brandt Snedeker -10
2011: Bill Haas -8

2019 TOUR Championship: Notes

Since the field is starting at different strokes to begin the week, the DraftKings pricing and scoring has been tweaked for this event. As it pertains to scoring, players will be given finishing points immediately to start the tournament. So, Justin Thomas will start the week with 30 fantasy points before he even hits a shot. He does NOT get credit for 10 birdies however, just the finishing points, which has been baked into his price. Thomas is the most expensive player in the DraftKings pricing at an inflated $15,500. Now, he will start the TOUR Championship with the 30 DK points, but he would still need to win in order to maintain those points.

Per Rick Gehman, the top four players account for over 75% of the overall win equity while 22 players enter with less than a 2% of winning at their current position.

Since the winning score never seems to get completely out of control, treading water, or potentially even gaining on the longer Par 4s will be key. Of the 12 littered across the grounds, six measure more than 450 yards, four of them being the most difficult holes on the course. Over the past 36 rounds, Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott have been the best players on holes of that length.

Players hit the fairway on approximately 61% of their drives on the average TOUR course; that number is only 54% at East Lake. GIR Rate and Scrambling percentages are almost exactly TOUR average.

East Lake is a Donald Ross design like Detroit Golf Club and Sedgefield from raider this year.

Players will encounter 74 bunkers and six water hazards at East Lake.

Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson have the most Strokes Gained: Total over the last five years.

Hideki Matsuyama was the only player in the field last year to record a bogey-free round (Round 2; 66).

2019 TOUR Championship Picks — Targets From Each Range

Justin Thomas

There’s a critical decision all DraftKings players must make this week: All-in or full-out fade on Justin Thomas. His $15,500 DraftKings price accounts for 31% of your overall salary cap, leaving you few options to construct your teams in a unique fashion. However, it’s likely (not a lock) you’re going to need the winner on your roster to compete for the top prizes this week and spotting the hottest ball striker on the planet a two-stroke advantage over the next closest competitor may be too much to overcome. Especially considering JT has never finished worse than T7 at this event in three starts at East Lake.

Rory McIlroy

The 2016 winner at East Lake, Rory may be best suited to track down down JT. Yes, he’ll begin the week five-strokes behind, but it will only take one of those patterned nuclear rounds to close that gap. With two Top 2 finishes in his past four starts at East Lake, it’s clear Rory’s a fan of the layout, and the switch back to Bermuda greens may be an equalizer. Over the last two years, McIlroy is gaining just under a stroke per event on Bermuda, while losing on all other surfaces. If he can stabilize his irons, continue mashing it off the tee and get some putting luck, he’s the best equipped to make a run at the giant payday.

Sungjae Im

The only rookie to make it all the way to the final leg of the playoffs, the Korean enters with quality form after a solid weekend at the BMW Championship. Im has gained on approaches in nine of his past 11 rounds, and from he key approach range of 175-200 yards, he’s been in the positives in proximity gained in 10 of his past 12 rounds. Plus, he consistently scores well against the field on Par 5s despite a hindrance due to lack of distance and plays length Par 3 better than field average.

Other notable names appearing near the top of stat models and the win simulator at FantasyNational.com: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Jason Kokrak

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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2019 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Podcast of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Video award, and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2019 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year). His 17 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.