What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! Let’s hope you pivoted to Hideki Matsuyama last week and built up the bankroll for this year’s last major!
The PGA Championship has arrived – glory’s last shot. It’s also your last shot to win a million bucks on DraftKings until football season rolls around. The 99th PGA Championship will be held at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a 7,400 yard Par 71 course that will test all aspects of a golfer’s game. Being long and accurate off the tee will be important to attack Quail Hollow’s long Par 4s. Reports are circulating that the rough could be as long as five inches in some areas- hitting fairways will be crucial. A solid approach game is always a must, specifically from 175 yards and out, where over 50% of shots will be hit from. Since the approaches will be coming from distance, not every shot is going to find the putting surface – scrambling will be very important as well. This will be the first time Quail Hollow will be played on their new Champion dwarf bermudagrass greens. Typically, new greens play firm and fast, so golfers who have had success on faster, tougher greens in the past may have a slight advantage.
With that quick breakdown of the course, the key stats I am looking at are;
25% – Strokes Gained Approach
20% – Strokes Gained Off the Tee
15% – Birdie or Better %
10% – Scrambling
10% – Par 4 Scoring Avg
10% – Proximity 175+
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Rory McIlroy – $11,800
It’s time to eat allll the chalk in the world. Boring yes, but if you go 60% Rory this week, you will still be overweight on the field and can differentiate elsewhere. This is Rory’s week to lose. All signs are pointing in his direction – the dominate course history, PGA Championship history and recent results. He has back-to-back top five finishes in world class fields. Rory gained 8.1 strokes on the field last week, while LOSING 1.5 strokes on approach shots. No one has ever worried about Rory’s approach game, so when that turns around this week at Quail Hollow, we could see another runaway victory.
Hideki Matsuyama – $10,500
The reason why targeting elite ball strikers who excel tee to green rather than putters, is Hideki Matsuyama. He is known to be one of the worst putters on tour, yet when his elite approach game is on, his putter just has to be average for him to win. I do not see a reason why his form from last week won’t continue into this week. Hideki gained 6.4 shots approaching the green and 5.8 shots around the green last week, both will translate well to Quail Hollow. We have seen Hideki win back-to-back events as early as this past December, so winning hangovers are not a thing for him. A Hideki – Fowler start to cash games will be super popular this week, with good reason.
Adam Scott – $8,600
The price tag on Adam Scott is getting to a point where you have to jam him in. He is priced below Matt Kuchar? Come on. In any scenario heads up, everyone would take Scott over Kuchar, yet ownership this week will likely tell a different story. Scott has been showing consistent form lately, missing one cut since Augusta and his last three results are trending towards a top ten finish. He has always been one of the best ball strikers from 200+, something that should separate him from the field this week. Scott would bring elite upside to a balanced lineup construction.
Daniel Berger – $7,700
Continuing the trend of eating chalk this week for my staples, Daniel Berger is another “jam him in” play. Berger’s price tag makes him super attractive, one of the reasons why he sits 3rd in tags on FanShareSports this week. He has three top fives in his last six events, including a win at the St. Jude and a runner up to Jordan Spieth’s hole out at the Travelers. Berger’s betting odds have plummeted from over 100:1 a few weeks ago to 50:1 heading into Thursday. There is a buzz around the industry that this will be Berger’s week, and I don’t want to miss out if it is.
Tony Finau – $7,000
This price on Tony Finau is an absolute steal. There are few golfers in the game right now that are playing better than Finau. He has five straight top 30s including a T5 in Canada and T7 at the Greenbrier. He has slowly became one of the most consistent golfers on tour, he just hasn’t had a lot of chances to showcase it on the big stage. His off the tee game is unfair, ranking third in SG:OTT in his last 12 rounds. Add that to his birdie making and bogey avoidance abilities, he has a great make up for Quail Hollow. He also has two top 30 finishes at Quail Hollow in his only trips to this course. Finau will be super popular this week, but even high ownership won’t scare me off of him. I can see a top 10 finish coming from Tony.
Xander Schauffele – $7,000
Xander Schauffele is making a strong run at rookie of the year. Since his win at the Greenbrier, Schauffele has finished T20 at The Open and T13 at the Bridgestone. He can hang with the big boys on tour and he will have another week to prove that at Quail Hollow. He is long off the tee, which will leave him with manageable distances into these greens. Xander has solid proximity stats from 175+, but his main weapon is his putter. He is one of the best putters in the field as of late, and if these greens are rolling firm and fast, his prowess on the greens should give him a slight advantage. With all of the popular options at $7,000, I think Xander will go slightly underowned than projections suggest. The general public still does not know who X-Man is, and this weekend will be flooded with non-golf fans playing DraftKings PGA.
PGA Championship Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jordan Spieth – $12,000
The most expensive golfer on the board, a pivot? It seems that way. With only 19 mentions on FanShareSports, Spieth is being blindly ignored because Rory is sitting right below him. Spieth is one week removed from back-to-back wins, not that people need reminding he won The Open. Spieth always finds a way to put his name in the mix during major weeks, and this week will not be any different. He ranks 1st in my weighted stats ranking this week furthering the point that Spieth cannot be ignored this week simply because of Rory. If Spieth is below 20% owned this week, a ton of people have made a huge mistake.
Jason Day – $10,400
Every week, Jason Day seems to find his way into the perfect pivot position. His game has not been where we expect from Day, but he did flash some form last week at Firestone. He won’t see any ownership in the Milly Maker, when people are loading up on Fowler and Matsuyama. I won’t be shocked to see Day’s ownership be 10%, which for a golfer above $10K, is unheard of. He has an incredible PGA Championship record and the last time he played at Quail Hollow, he finished T9. If you want to bring on the riski with Day and take a few stabs at a million bucks, he would be a solid low owned option to go to.
Sergio Garcia – $9,400
Sergio was still battling the post wedding hangover last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, which led him to an average T39 finish. Garcia only has 15 tags on FanShareSports, compared to Koepka’s 30 who sits $200 cheaper. Garcia has the all around game that will work well at Quail Hollow. Long, accurate and good around the greens, if Garcia is on, he could find his way into a late tee time on Sunday.
Alexander Noren – $7,900
The first couple of times Alex Noren made the trip across the pond, he was extremely popular because of his high world ranking and the fact that DFSers like shiny new toys. Now after multiple starts in the U.S., the love for Noren has disappeared after not turning in top finishes. He only has nine tags on FanShareSports, despite his solid last two events. Noren’s price tag will likely keep his ownership down, as most lineups constructed this week will be stars and scrubs. This seems like a perfect stage for Noren to finally make a splash on North American soil.
Hudson Swafford – $7,000
With only five tags on FanShareSports, Hudson Swafford’s ownership is going to be tiny. At the $7,000 range only, you have Poulter, Chappell, Finau and Xander, all popular players on FanShareSports. Swafford over his past 12 rounds, ranks 15th in SG:APP and 33rd in SG:OTT, both very solid for someone priced this low. He is also trending in the right direction, with T58, T32 and T10 in his last three starts. Swafford is the play if you don’t want to eat $7,000 chalk.
Francesco Molinari – $6,800
Francesco Molinari ranked so highly in my weight stats model over the past 12 rounds, I had to jam him in somewhere in this article. Noticing how loaded the $7,000 range is and how Zach Johnson will likely be a chalky pick, Molinari became a great low owned target for me. He only has 10 tags on FanShareSports, and likely off people’s radar because he is a short hitter. He is however, deadly accurate and is the best player in this field from 200+ yards over the last 12 rounds. Unlike ZJ, who I will be fading because of his projected higher ownership, I like Molinari to bunt his way around Quail Hollow and make up for it in long approaches.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Henrik Stenson – $9,800
Out of the top guys in this field, Stenson has by far the worst course history. He has a T58 and three missed cuts in his last four appearances at Quail Hollow. His recent stats aren’t the best either. He ranks 68th in SG:OTT and 46th in SG:APP in this field over his last 12 rounds. Combined that with his terrible course history, and he becomes an easy fade priced as the eighth most expensive in this field.
Matt Kuchar – $8,800
The weekly fade Matt Kuchar play is back. He came up short in returning value the last two events since The Open, coming T32 in Canada and T17 last week in a 76 man field. $8,800 isn’t an unfair price for Kuchar, but it’s still too much for me to pony up for. This will be his fifth event in a row, with some grueling travel in between. His lack of distance is also a concern here. Too many question marks for me to take the plunge on Kuch.
Matthew Fitzpatrick – $7,400
Something is wrong with Matthew Fitzpatrick’s game and I am not willing to burn $7,400 to see if this is the week he turns it around. Fitz’s best finish since early June is a T35 at the U.S. Open, has missed two out of six cuts. In his last 12 rounds, Fitzpatrick ranks 130th in SG:OTT and 121 SG:APP in this field. His betting odds suggest he should be priced about $500 cheaper.
Padraig Harrington – $7,000
This is a free square under the fades section. There is no way Harrington should be priced $7,000 next to guys like Finau, Chappell and Kisner. Paddy and Quail don’t get along either – his last four appearances here have resulted in an average finish of 132nd.
Zach Johnson – $6,800
This is my ownership fade of the week. Zach Johnson has been playing much better lately and it is being recognized across the DFS community. He currently leads all golfers in tags below the $7K mark with 23, suggesting he will be the chalk of the value plays. The length of Quail Hollow might be too much for ZJ to overcome, who is struggling off the tee and with long approaches. In his last 12 rounds, he sits 64th in SG:OTT and 51st in Proximity from 200+. Jump off now before ZJ comes crashing back down to earth.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Dustin Johnson – $11,400
Dustin Johnson only has 21 tags on FanShareSports. That is incredible for a golfer, who on paper, could easily tear Quail Hollow apart. He has the length, approaches, short game and putting that when clicking leads to domination we saw earlier in the season. But after multiple average finishes in a row leading up to the PGA, people seem to be abandoning DJ in favour of Rory and Rickie. The world #1 might see ownership levels below 15%, and if that is the case, his GPP playability is through the roof.
Justin Rose – $9,000
This might finally be the week where Justin Rose returns to the ownership levels we got use to last season. His stock “rose” this season after his Masters performance, and he began to see an inflated price and higher ownership. Now at $9,000, Rose is returning to a course where he has had plenty of success. In his last two trips to Quail Hollow (for the Wells Fargo) he has a 3rd and 5th place finish. With only 15 tags on FanShareSports, Rose’s upside and low ownership will make him a great tournament option.
J.B. Holmes – $7,400
The former winner at Quail Hollow is off people’s radars this week with only 13 tags on FanShareSports. J.B. Holmes showed form at the RBC Canadian Open but crushed a lot of lineups last week with his T60 finish at Firestone. His driver, which let him down earlier in the season, is back as he ranks 16th in SG:OTT in this field over his past 12 rounds. If he can continue to drive the ball as well as he has been, J.B. will have a huge advantage if the course sees some rain this week and is playing soft. At $7,400, he will not see a lot of ownership as he falls in a dead range in the DK pricing.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello – $7,100
Heading into last week’s Bridgestone Invitational, Cabrera-Bello had a win at the Scottish Open and and a T4 at the Open Championship under his belt. He was $7,900 last week and had 18 tags on FanShareSports. RCB rewarded those who rostered him with a near dead last finish and now, RCB is going unnoticed. He only has three mentions on FanShareSports and finds himself in a crowded price range on DraftKings. He is in a prime bounce back situation at an ownership that could fall under 5%.
Thanks for reading the PGA Championship preview article! I hope you enjoy the final major of the season! You can follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody!!