DFS PGA Championship Preview

If you need PGA DFS to help you kill the time leading up to the GOT finale, you’re in luck! As always, my goal each week is to offer targets in each price range, identifying two to three low-cost/reasonable floor targets as core pieces for all my lineups.

In DFS golf, it’s all about getting your guys to the weekend, first and foremost. Generally, I will fill out my roster with guys in the $7,100-$9,000 range. The factors I consider are event history, course layout versus player strengths, recent form, and prime bounce back candidates who are playing well, but happened to miss the cut the prior week.

One factor does not necessarily outweigh another. And, like any good speculative decision-making process, instincts always play a role. Of course there’s my personal favorite factor–as is the same with other fringe DFS sports–the DK pricing model has no clue what the fuck it is doing!

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All that in mind, let’s take a look at the PGA Championship (PGAC) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: Bethpage (Black Course)  Farmingdale, NY  Par 70  Yardage 7,459

We will never know if the PGA’s decision to move up their major championship into May was to align the first two majors with the GOT premiere and finale, but we can all agree it’s improved the quality of life for all of humanity. After the GAME 7/DANY IS A HEADCASE Sunday, we get major golf paired with the end of a cultural influencing show that makes Sur Gregor Clegane seem small.

But before the sun goes down this Sunday, and we say goodbye to some of our best television friends from the last decade, the Wanamaker Trophy will be hoisted in Long Island at Bethpage (BP) State Park. The same venue played host to the U.S. Open is 2002 and 2009, so some veterans will have familiarity with the course. However, modifications  since then and the inevitable “majoring” up of 2019’s version would not have me putting much weight into anyone’s past performance here.

What we do know is that, just like Theon Greyjoy’s seasons four through eight, BP will play long and hard. Here is a hole-by-hole layout, with average yardages on each type:

Par 4s12461
Par 3s4202
Par 5s2563
Keys to Success

My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:

  1. Strokes-gained: Tee to green (SG:T-G)
  2. Driving Distance (DD)

Bombers will no doubt be at an advantage this week. However, more than just power, the combination of precision and patience will be the key to teeing off late Sunday.

Not only is the course long, but it’s littered with trouble off the fairways. Bunkers and heavy tricked out rough will not allow players, even bombers, to spray drives all over the place, and score with short wedge play.

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That’s why SG:T-G is the best metric to target this week. Guys who take BP’s medicine, and scramble errant tee shots with pars in mind, are going to be better off in the 101st PGA Championship.

To help sift through the field regarding just the key stats I put the table below together using all data from the official PGA Tour website. It is listed in order of each players’ composite ranking, averaging each players’ ranking in the two key stats for this week. Sort as you wish:

NameSalarySG: T-GDDComposite Rank
Rory McIlroy10900132
Byeong Hun An71005139
Hideki Matsuyama850031710
Gary Woodland770012910.5
Patrick Cantlay8200101512.5
Luke List680021412.5
Bubba Watson800024715.5
Dustin Johnson1110072616.5
Jon Rahm9500132318
Jhonattan Vegas7100212020.5
Justin Thomas1010024222
Justin Rose9900202422
Jason Kokrak7600173224.5
Xander Schauffele9100193326
Sergio Garcia7900143826
Tommy Fleetwood920045127.5
Tiger Woods1130085431
Tony Finau880056631
Brooks Koepka10400501432
Keith Mitchell7300254032.5
Jason Day9000313533
Bryson DeChambeau8900284436
Paul Casey830096637.5
Rickie Fowler9300453138
Phil Mickelson8000542539.5
Keegan Bradley7200156439.5
Matt Wallace6700423739.5
Kevin Tway6800622242
Adam Scott8100404542.5
Charles Howell III7000375144
Aaron Wise7100682948.5
Emiliano Grillo7100306748.5
Corey Conners680069349.5
Harold Varner III6300594150
J.B. Holmes6600693451.5
Lucas Glover7300168852
Louis Oosthuizen7800525955.5
Sungjae Im7400239157
Cameron Champ6900124162.5
Marc Leishman7800487863
Haotong Li75001002663
Abraham Ancer6600587365.5
Matt Kuchar87001112467.5
Dylan Frittelli6300469068
Tyrrell Hatton7400786169.5
Max Homa6900964671
Troy Merritt6200578772
Ian Poulter76003511072.5
Branden Grace7400876274.5
Russell Knox67003311875.5
Henrik Stenson79003412077
Danny Lee63001064877
Ryan Palmer7200827377.5
Cameron Smith7500738378
Patrick Reed8400917181
Si Woo Kim72006110181
Chesson Hadley6500937182
Jimmy Walker65001125784.5
Rafa Cabrera Bello73004313589
Sam Ryder6100899190
Joel Dahmen73006711591
Sam Burns68001612191
Webb Simpson76001816893
Matthew Fitzpatrick71002715993
Charley Hoffman71007910893.5
Lucas Bjerregaard70001811296.5
Martin Trainer64001662997.5
Daniel Berger690012278100
Kevin Na690083118100.5
Alex Noren720015949104
Zach Johnson720039173106
Scott Piercy650064154109
Adam Long6200109109109
Chez Reavie660055168111.5
Francesco Molinari970094134114
Kevin Kisner770066163114.5
Kiradech Aphibarnrat650016267114.5
Danny Willett670098133115.5
Adam Hadwin6500119115117
Jason Dufner670077159118
Jim Furyk700026211118.5
Martin Kaymer6900113125119
Michael Thompson650071175123
Brandt Snedeker750086162124
J.J. Spaun6400115135125
Davis Love III6200104148126
Beau Hossler660018873130.5
Jordan Spieth860018084132
Kyle Stanley6800140131135.5
Patton Kizzire6200172100136
Billy Horschel7400134143138.5
Justin Harding700021277144.5
C.T. Pan6700120178149
Stewart Cink6600185117151
Graeme McDowell7000137173155
Eddie Pepperell6900138176157
Ryan Armour6100110204157
Pat Perez7000139179159
Charl Schwartzel6900204120162
Brian Harman6700145179162
Andrew Putnam6800157198177.5
Brian Gay6300175212193.5
Satoshi Kodaira6100201193197
Michael Kim6100209209209
Jason Caron6400000
Steve Stricker6400000
John Daly6300000
Rod Perry6300000
Shugo Imahira6300000
Vijay Singh6300000
John O'Leary6200000
Cory Schneider6200000
Craig Hocknull6200000
Padraig Harrington6200000
Brendan Jones6200000
Rich Beem6100000
Daniel Balin6100000
Y.E. Yang6100000
Rob Labritz6100000
Ben Cook6100000
Rich Berberian6100000
Marty Jertson6000000
Justin Bertsch6000000
Ryan Vermeer6000000
Stuart Deane6000000
Andrew Filbert6000000
Tyler Hall6000000
Shaun Micheel6000000
Craig Bowden6000000
Brian Mackey6000000
Casey Russell6000000
Alex Beach6000000
Jeff Schmid6000000

*players without data have not played enough measured rounds in PGA Tour events

There is a separate table for foreign players, with rankings coming from their performance on the European Tour website. They do not have strokes-gained data for tee-to-green so the SG total is the metric used in the table.

NameSalarySG: TotalDDComposite Rank
Julian Suri640082315.5
Thomas Pieters7000242826
Ryan Fox6600551434.5
Jorge Campillo6900116638.5
Kurt Kitayama6400671742
Ross Fisher6500523744.5
Erik Van Rooyen6700435951
Richard Sterne6600198753
Shane Lowry7200312865.5
David Lipsky65002211468
Mike Lorenzo-Vera66003010869
Tom Lewis6700489270
Lee Westwood68001815184.5
Lucas Herbert6400949393.5
Mikko Korhonen62003115995
Joost Luiten68001418097
Jazz Janewattananond640025175100
Brandon Stone630018532108.5
Thorbjorn Olesen730090143116.5
Adrian Otaegui640068167117.5
Alexander Bjork650049215132
Shaun Norris610019076133

Price Range Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 9.1k–11 players)

Who doesn’t love themselves some Eldrick this week? Winning two in a row is probably a stretch, but I’m certainly convinced he’ll contend based on his last three major performances.

I would not be opposed to anyone in this range. However, from a pure price standpoint, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood are my favorites.

Rose and Fleetwood Nov. 15, 2017 (Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)

Rose, out of no where, missed a cut at the Masters last month. He has not missed back to back cuts in major championships since 2010. I do not expect him to buck that trend this week.

I’ve been slurping Fleetwood since last season and see no reason to stop now. As his ranking suggests, he is one of the best tee-to-green players on tour. I think he rebounds after a so so T-36 outing at the Masters.

Sweet Spot (9k to 7.1k–45 players)

With a loaded field, pricing becomes extremely soft on DK. Filling out lineups with as many players in this range will be my general approach this week.

Patrick Cantlay is my number one target based on his price/floor/upside combination. He’s been quietly ascending as one of the game’s top players the last 18 months.

Patrick Cantlay (Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images North America)

Similar to Fleetwood, his all around tee-to-green play is the reason for his success. He is coming off his best career major performance with a T-9 at Augusta.

Other favorites in this range are Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Byeong Hun An, and Hideki Matsuyama.

Sneaky Low % Owned (7k and below–about ~99 players)

This range is where all the GPP difference in the world can be made if you’re willing to take some chances. And, DK pricing may not be catching up with some European tour players that do not regularly play in PGA events.

Julian Suri has been climbing the world ranks over the past year, and has the requisite power to succeed at a course like Bethpage. Last year’s PGA Champsionship was his third major appearance, and his career best performance, finishing T-19.

Suri > Alexa (Getty Images)

Other notable Europeans to not sleep on are Ryan Fox and Thomas Pieters. They would normally be in or near the chalky range in European Tour contests, and both have solid track records of making cuts in majors.

Best Bounce Back Candidates

Sergio Garcia has been scuffling lately in majors, with an MC at the Masters, after missing all four cuts last season.

His key stats are rock solid, and he’s coming off his best finish this season, with a T-4 at the Wells Fargo Championship (WFC) a couple of weeks ago so it might be the right time to invest low on Garcia. Kyle Stanley is also someone who, after struggling early this season, is trending in the right direction.

Before notching his first season top-10 at the WFC, he had his career best major finish, with a T-21 at the Masters. His stats this season don’t bear out, but he has had very strong tee-to-green metrics the last two years on tour. Along with Garcia, he is my favorite buy low candidate this week.

Best Course History Plays

Not much history so no one. And, I do not really care about anyone’s performance here from 2002 or 2009, good or bad.

Core Players

Last season, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock.

These selections are players that I believe have top-25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections:

  1. Kuchar
  2. Cantlay
  3. Fleetwood
  4. Matsuyama

Good luck at Bethpage! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome. Also follow my new podcast!


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