PGA Insights: Hero World Challenge

The final PGA event of the calendar year tees off Thursday morning from the Bahamas. Albany, a single-named course in a luxury resort setting, is playing host to it’s first-ever professional event, as the Hero World Challenge moves here after a brief stint in Florida. The tournament, hosted by Tiger Woods, benefits his charity and several others, and features only 18 golfers, ranging from Jordan Spieth at #1 in the world (along with four others in the top-10) to #43 in the world, Bill Haas.

There are so many variables that go into building a DFS roster for a tournament like this one, starting, of course, with the limited field. When everyone involved is one of the most talented golfers in the world, how do you differentiate? My advice: in GPP play focus on the cheap options you’ll use being people you actually think could WIN, and in cash games focus on making sure your expensive choices are people who you are reasonably sure won’t kill you.

But before you can focus on the field, you need to focus on the course. There has never been a professional tournament here before, so you can’t rely on course history, so what can you rely on? Well, aside from the fact that you should know that Justin Rose and Adam Scott actually LIVE IN HOUSES located on the course, you should also probably be aware of the fact that the course was designed by Ernie Els, and opened only in 2010. Designed as a links-style challenge, the par-72 layout sits at 7,400 yards and features five par-5’s, five par-3’s and just eight par-4’s. Different styles have succeeded on links courses before though, of course, so I am not sure how much that will help you.

So, the factor I want to focus on for just a second, to make sure you remember, is the time of year. Yes, this is the final event of the calendar year, so there is a brief break coming up for the PGA Tour, but golf is a year-round sport. From the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs until sometime in late January or early February, the schedules of these top pros is all over the place. Some guys are playing in Europe, a bunch of people spent a few weeks in Asia playing in a handful of marquee tournaments, and right now, the Australian Grand Slam is still going on. So, if you want to get a sense of how a guy is playing right now, his PGA stats just aren’t going to cut it. So beyond the CIMB Classic and the HSBC Champions, make sure you check out the results from the Hong Kong Open, the BMW Masters, or the action from Australia over the past month or so before making any decisions. Just please don’t look at the DraftKings player card for Jordan Spieth and think “wow, he’s had a nice break for the last month – does that mean he’ll be well-rested, or rusty?” Because the answer is neither – he is coming off a 2nd place finish to Matt Jones at the Australian Open just last weekend, on the other side of the world. But then you have J.B. Holmes, on the other hand, who HAS had a nice break since the Presidents’ Cup, so he will be nice and well-rested… or rusty. You decide.