Geoff Ulrich is one of the lead PGA contributors to the DraftKings Playbook. You may see him playing at DraftKings with the username ‘wavegoodbye’ where he’s made a name for himself specifically playing daily fantasy golf, hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @thefantasygrind
As discussed in previous articles, no two tournaments are alike on the PGA tour. Every week, the players face an entirely new set of challenges. This can be one of the most interesting (and frustrating) aspects of fantasy golf, as each week will require you to look at a variety of different factors and statistics. This article is going to delve deeper into some advanced statistics from the PGA that you can use to help counteract the weekly variance of the PGA tour… and hopefully help you make some quality fantasy teams.
Where to Look
The best place to find player statistics is at pgatour.com. There may be other sites out there that house player histories, but the PGA tour website contains almost all of the relevant information you will need and more.
Whereas our previous article recommended using scoring average as a general guide to help with finding lower-priced value plays on DraftKings, this article recommends using Birdie Average in certain situations to help you find players who have a higher-than-average propensity for making birdies. Birdie Average is just what it sounds like; it measures a player’s ability to make birdies. The higher the ranking in this category means that the player has scored more birdies per round over the year than those below him.
When to Use: Birdie Average is especially useful in weeks where low scores will be needed to win a tournament. Easier course profiles where winners typically exceed -15 are usually great times to employ this statistic. Additionally, given DraftKings scoring rewards birdies more than bogies (see our scoring article), Birdie Average is a great tool to use as a tiebreaker in a given week between two players. Since a higher number of birdies means more fantasy points, why not choose the player who has traditionally scored more of them over the course of the year?
Strokes Gained Tee to Green
Strokes Gained Tee to Green is a stat that measures a player’s performance from everywhere on a hole up until he hits the green. The score is measured by comparing a player’s performance to other players in the field in this same category. The great thing about this statistic is that it completely takes putting out of the equation and gives you real insight into how a player is hitting the ball. This can be useful to find players who are playing well, but perhaps just not getting enough putts to drop to land a top finish
When to Use: Strokes Gained Tee to Green should be used when ball striking and good iron play will be at a premium for a given week. Tough courses which feature lots of rough or challenging approach shots will often favour those ranked highly in these areas. Courses which feature less challenging greens and easier putting conditions can often be a great time to rely on this stat. Looking back at past leaderboards to see when players ranked highly in this category were successful can be helpful in deciding when to use Strokes Gained Tee to Green as part of your research.
Approach Proximity can be a useful tool, but it also takes some care to ensure it is applied correctly. Approach Proximity measures a player’s distance to the hole from his approach from the fairway. There is a general stat which measures the players overall proximity from all his approach shots, but there are also specific approach stats which measures players proximity from specific distances.
When to Use: I would advocate using Approach Proximity on a week-to-week basis from a certain distance, depending on the nature of the course that awaits the players. For example, a shorter par 70 test would often be a good time to use proximity stats from between 100-150 yards, as the players will generally have shorter approaches to the green. Conversely, when faced with a long par 72, using approach stats from 175 and further can be useful since most times players will have long second shots into the green.
Scrambling measures the number of times a player misses a green in regulation, but also manages to still make a score of par or better. This stat can be useful for predicting player performances in a couple different ways. First, some players may have a low greens-in-regulation ranking but could be making up for it through their scrambling; therefore, they are masking poor tee-to-green play. Second, a player who is excelling in this category, and showing good form tee-to-green, could be demonstrating that his all-around game is in good form and is ready for some big weeks soon.
When to Use: Generally, Scrambling becomes more important the harder the course becomes. Demanding courses mean that players will simply have much lower greens-in-regulation percentages than usual and will be forced to rely more on their short games as a result. Often-times, tough events, such as the US Open, will be a great time to use scrambling as a key identifier of players, since good ball-striking and solid play around the green will both be required.
Continue Reading PGA Training Camp
PGA Hall of Fame – Lesson 01 – PGA Scoring Bonuses
PGA Hall of Fame – Lesson 02 – Tournament Strategy
PGA Hall of Fame – Lesson 03 – Understanding Courses and Tournaments
PGA Hall of Fame – Lesson 04 – Advanced Stats