The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – PGA Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 14, 2019 17:03

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – PGA Championship

It was just a few weeks ago that Tiger raised his fists triumphantly at Augusta bringing the attention of the sports world back firmly to the PGA Tour. Typically, we get a little break between the first and second major tournament of the year, but with the new schedule, the buzz immediately started to swirl around Bethpage Black and the PGA Championship. When it comes to the Tiger hype train, it seems that there are only two ways to cover him as we’ve seen over the last five years. On one side, we had the camp that told us he was done and would never win again. On the other side, we now have those that think he will win every major this season. I’ll do my best to avoid the absolutists on either side and try to stay right in the middle, assessing each event, as well as Tiger’s overall physical and mental condition to make my player selections from event to event.

The positives of the schedule change are many fold this year. I like that the FedEx Cup playoffs will be all wrapped up before the NFL season kicks off in September. I also enjoy the fact that there is always a big event on the near horizon within a few weeks all the way through August. That said, last week was definitely a low grade filler event and given how close many of the big tournament are to one another during the year, it is conceivable that we will see many good players skip over most of the tour schedule outside of the majors for the rest of the season. This week will be the first appearance we have seen of Tiger since his win at Augusta. It is possible that Tiger’s schedule for the rest of the summer will look something like this: PGA Championship, the Memorial, US Open, The Open Championship and then the FedEx Cup playoff events in August. I think many players will follow suit with this and play fewer of the tournament on the periphery during the year. We will still get a big name or two at every tournament, but I think outside of those tournaments that I listed, the fields are going to look very similar to last week at Trinity Forest for the rest of the year.

In looking back at last week, there were some nice hits as well as a few misses. On the positive side, I went 6/6 with my cash game lineup. If you followed along with the four key starters that I laid out in my column, you were 2/3 of the way there yourself so I am hoping that it worked out well for all of you. Although we did not get monumental performances out of Keith Mitchell, Aaron Wise or RCB, they all made the cut which is all we really care about in cash games. Matt Jones came through again in a big way for us and had another solid finish building on his momentum this season. Scottie Scheffler was another player that I used in cash games which made me nervous since that is the type of play that generally blows up in my face, but he played fine and finished in 35th place. I also used Dylan Frittelli, who was largely uninspired throughout the week and who tried to blow his chances of making it to the weekend by missing a short putt on the last hole, but who did squeak through and was able to contribute to my cash game success, while simultaneously ruining several solid GPP rosters.

There were a few bumps in the road along the way in Dallas. CHIII continued his downward slide with a withdrawal after a lackluster first round. He would have missed his third cut in a row and at this point, I am beginning to feel some concern about his play. His putting had been so good to start the season and I had raved about his turnaround over the last year on the greens, but lately, things have not been going his way. Over his last twelve rounds, he has lost on average, roughly .3 strokes per round, a far cry from his strong season long numbers. He cited a hip injury for his WD so now we’ll have to wait to see if there is any additional news forthcoming or if he was just ready to get the hell out of Texas and onto NY to focus on the major tournament.

The other big WD that hit was with Marc Leishman. I owned about 15% so it was not totally devastating, but still frustrating to have so many lineups drawing dead before the action could really even get going for the week. He cited a back injury as the culprit for the week which certainly should be considered a concern going into this week. Leishman started the season strong with a win and a handful of Top-5 finishes, but has been quiet since the Genesis Open in February. He is the type that run very hot when momentum is on his side, but with recent results being a little lackluster, you do have to wonder if the back issue is more serious than a casual withdraw the week before a major would suggest.

The other highlights of last week were the shares I owned of both Brooks and Piercy. All throughout the week leading up to the event, I kept adding to my Brooks position, starting with nothing and then working up to having him as a core player for the week. His dominance of American links style courses just made his value to strong to pass up. With Piercy, he is finally starting to look competent on the greens this season. He’s usually sharp from tee to green so normally, it is just the putter that holds him back. However, if you pull up his stats over the last sixteen rounds, you’ll see that not only is he putting better, but his putter has turned into a strength as he’s gained over .5 strokes per round during that short time frame. I am not certain that this will hold up as Piercy has never been know for his putting skills, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward this season and especially this week where his price is incredibly low at just $6,500. Check out our Odds vs Pricing Tool and you’ll notice he’s right there at the top of most mispriced players this week.

I am excited about the placement of the PGA Championship on the schedule this season. Usually, this major feels like an afterthought when it finally arrives in August each year, but this year is a little different. Bethpage Black has hosted two US Open events (2002/2009) and two PGA events (Barclarys 2012/2016) over the last seventeen years and it is course that is very worthy of a major tournament. In recent years, we’ve had a wide variety of courses that have popped up for the US Open and PGA Championship that have been very hit and miss as far as the viewing and playing experience is concerned. There will not be any second guessing Bethpage this week. It is the type of course that should work really well in being both challenging, but not in a comical sort of way.

The course will play as a Par 70 this week at around 7,450 yards. This is a change from recent years when it played as a Par 71 so realize that one former scoring opportunity is now flipped to a hole where golfers are just praying for par as it will still play at over 500 yards. Bethpage Black will challenge even the best players off the tee. The fairways are long and narrow and there are a lot of blind tee shots with doglegs so golfers will really have to fight for position all weekend. There are many bunkers around the landing zone off the tee and the rough will likely be difficult, though not quite to US Open standards. Most courses like these, you would see a lot of players club down off the tee, but if that is the case, then they better be excellent with their irons from over 200 yards as there are seven Par 4 holes beyond 450 yards and three that are over 500 yards. This will be an event where driver is key and that something that I have heard again and again from the players this week. The greens are poa annua this week and will play fast. This is a huge factor to me as there are just certain players that are vastly different golfers when playing on one type of surface over another. Be sure to check out our new putting splits tool to see which players have large differentials on poa over other types of grass. The greens are also on the small side with some undulation and there are bunkers that protect almost every hole.

The players that we are looking for this week are similar to what we wanted at Augusta in that short game will be important as far as being able to get up and down to save par from some tricky misses around the green will be essential for those in contention. This course averages above par for events, even those that were not major tournaments so keeping mistakes to a minimum is important. Tee to green play is important, as it is every week, but driving accuracy is much more important than what we would normally see with narrow, tree lined fairways and thick rough to deal with. Where Augusta is forgiving off the tee with open fairways, Bethpage will be a struggle for those that get too wayward with their drives. Long iron play will be key this week. For the longer hitters, we’ll look from 150 yards and up and for the shorter ones, 175 yards and up. Greens are small so precision will be really important this week.

As far as the weather this week, it still seems about a day too early to tell if there are going to be conditions that are more favorable to one wave over the other. Once the hour by hour drops for Friday’s forecast, we should be able to make a better assessment. Right now, the winds look about the same all day on Thursday for the hourly and for Friday, it is still too tough to tell if AM or PM will have an edge. Here is a link on Windfinder so check that throughout the next couple of days.

KEY STATS

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 30%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Proximity: 10%
Scrambling: 10%
Driving Accuracy: 5%
Par 5 Scoring: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 14, 2019 17:03

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