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Dustin Johnson clearly wasn’t fazed by the added pressure of being the top-ranked player in the world, as he went back-to-back to win the WGC-Mexico. We saw this last year when he won the WGC-Bridgestone after his U.S. Open victory. He’s dialed in with his irons right now, and was already the best driver of the golf ball in the game. Although he struggled with short putts last week, he made so many 20’ putts that the field had so chance. He’s off for the next couple of weeks, so we’ll get to see some new blood in the winner’s circle.
Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
The Copperhead Course is one of the hardest tracks the players face each year, headlined by the Snake Pit. Very similarly to PGA National’s Bear Trap, the Snake Pit consists of a three hole stretch that often determines the tournament on Sunday afternoon. The course is a par-71, checking in just over 7,300 yards. What’s important to note is the course still has four par-5s, so bombers tend to do well. There is an extra par-3 this week, which again emphasizes how important ball-striking and proximity will be this week. Certain bombers who can club down off the tee (Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, Daniel Berger, and Jason Kokrak) are main targets for me this week.
As usual, we need to look towards Florida and bermuda green specialists during the Florida swing. While the courses are all a little different, accuracy, ball-striking, putting on bermuda surfaces, and handing the wind are all characteristics we need to target. The wind has played a major factor here in the past, so make sure to check the weather reports on Wednesday to see if one wave has an edge over the other.
In terms of stats I feel are important, SG:Approach, SG:Tee-to-Green, par-3 scoring, and scrambling stand out. Correlating courses that I’ll take a small look at this week are Colonial, TPC Sawgrass, and Harbour Town, with an added emphasis on bermuda, Pete Dye, and hard course specialists.
This week’s field is headlined by Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, and Daniel Berger. If I had to pick one of these guys to win this week, it would be Henrik Stenson.
Recent Tournament History
Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:
Finished in the top-20 each of the last three years: Jordan Spieth, Charles Howell III.
Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson, Ryan Moore, Patrick Reed, Bill Haas, Graham DeLaet, Kevin Na, Jason Kokrak, George McNeill.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. I have included the top-20 from the past three full-field events: the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and last week’s Genesis Open.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
There are really not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage, because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. Guys like Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Robert Garrigus, Gary Woodland, and Luke List come to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie makers. Bombers, you see. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in fantasy points while not finishing anywhere close to the top-10 in the actual event.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP):
Copperhead is a ball-striker’s course, so I’m targeting elite iron players this week. I’m going to target SG:APP because players who find the most greens and give themselves the most birdie opportunities will capitalize most. The thick, bermuda rough is always a challenge, making scrambling very difficult. If you have a player who sticks approach shots inside 10’ consistently, he’s going to shoot up the leaderboard and contend on Sunday. Some names that stand out in the field are Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, Byeong-Hun An, Justin Thomas, and Kyle Stanley.
Par 3 Scoring (P3):
Copperhead is a par-71, but is unique because it features five par-3s. This is going to make par-3 scoring a major metric this week, since long irons will come into play more here than at most venues. If you look at par-3 scoring average and long iron play, there are plenty of names on both lists. Some players who popped out to me were Webb Simpson, Martin Laird, Nick Watney, Bill Haas, and Adam Hadwin.
Bogey Avoidance can help us predict players who will perform well at Copperhead, but it isn’t a great metric when making DraftKings picks. We want birdie makers more than bogey avoiders. But the leaderboards here in the past have been littered with accurate players who keep the big numbers off their scorecards. Names that stood out to me in this field were Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Charles Howell III, and Chris Kirk.