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

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte August 21, 2019 03:27

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

We have arrived at the end of the season and the Tour Championship is upon us. It always feels strange to end the season here at East Lake, somewhat anti-climatic in a way. No other sport goes as quietly into the night the way the golf season does no matter how much money FedEx spends to try to amp up the energy. Even with a $15 million prize going to the winner this week, it still feels like a secondary event, almost an afterthought. It would be like in the NFL if there were huge games in Week 4, 8, 12 and 16, but then the playoffs did not garner a lot of attention. Perhaps it is the format, but more likely just the traditions surrounding the biggest tournaments in golf that make this championship event more of a paycheck moment for the winner than one that defines careers.

Of course, that is not to say that we will not all be watching intently. Whenever you get 30 of the best golfers in the world together to play for meaningful money, you typically get some very exciting golf over the four days. Few memories stand out for me of this tournament more than the last four years and some of the epic moments that went down to end each season. In 2015, Jordan Spieth completed his masterpiece season by taking down the final event and capped a season that saw him win five times, including two majors. In 2016, it looked as if DJ was going to run away with the FedEx Cup title until he faltered in the final round and Rory McIlroy made a heroic charge, beating Ryan Moore in a playoff and slipped past DJ to take home the title for the year. In 2017, young Xander Schauffele punctuated his rookie season with a surprising win, cementing his place as one of the top, young players in the game, though JT took home the big dollars after finishing off his own impressive season. Finally, nobody will ever forget last fall as the crowds followed Tiger up the final fairway in a moment that even gave me goosebumps as he won for the first time in many years to solidify his comeback for the year.

While we all remember Tiger’s win last season, it takes a moment to recall who won the FedEx Cup title for the year as Justin Rose won it after a brilliant year, but casual fans were left wondering how someone could win an event called the ‘Tour Championship’, and not actually be the champion of the season? Thus, the folks at the PGA Tour decided that some changes were in order, even before Tiger made the march with his army down the fairway of the 18th hole to end last season. You are all likely aware of the changes by this point as we are peppered with it endlessly throughout the playoffs, but if you somehow have not heard, the Tour Championship will now start out with players staggered on the leaderboard with a stroke advantage depending on where they are currently in the FedEx Cup point standings.

This will take a little bit of an adjustment for everyone this week from the players down to us folks in the DFS world. It reminds me a little bit of the Round 4 Showdown contests that DK has run over the last couple of years, but it is a much smaller field and we have four full rounds which means that a couple of strokes are not going to be nearly as valuable as they would be if things were decided in just one round. Adam included a nice table in his preview column this week breaking down the starting positions for each player, the number of strokes they each start with and the corresponding number of DK points for where they sit in terms of finishing position.

This creates a dilemma for DFS players in trying to craft lineups. Since this is really a new type of game for DK, they had to do a little guessing on the pricing this week and DK and FanDuel each had very different takes on how to start things off at the top. On FanDuel, it is really easy to get JT into your lineups and still have some flexibility, but DK is a little trickier since his price is so much higher than even the second highest priced golfer in the field. We are going to need to do a little work as far as working through the numbers.

My initial thought is to take advantage of the best value plays on the board. I think that finding those players who are better than what their current position dictates should be the best players for us to target. You need to decide if you want to start with the lead or try to chase JT down. I can envision a scenario where JT could win the tournament, but not be on the winning GPP rosters in certain contests. I think back to Augusta where Tiger won, but the Millionaire Maker winner did not have him on his team. This could be a week where having golfers all finish inside the Top-10 could produce a winner even if JT holds on just by virtue of the fact that owning JT will make it nearly impossible to own more than one other stud to stack with him. You can even stack JT and Cantlay together, but your margin for error with that team is tight as neither one can afford to drop back. I would rather be in a position to chase at the outset. It will play with the heads of the leaders on the first day to start off with a stroke advantage and I would rather put my chips down on four or five players within range having four rounds to work with rather than hoping that JT just plays lights out from start to finish and the best value plays near the bottom all outperform as well.

In quickly looking back at last week, it was another winning week for our cash games to continue a nice summer roll. With the no cut events, your fortunes can swing wildly from day to day and it was no different for me last week. The four players that I chose to build around for the BMW included: Cantlay, Scott, Horschel and Im. Those were the players that I wrote up and then my last two golfers that I added were Hideki and Niemann. I loved Hideki last week and he was a big time core play for me. I hadn’t felt that good about Hideki since going back to Torrey Pines when his price came way down to the low $8k range and we swooped in and grabbed him for a 3rd place finish. Same scenario last week as he came in off of a couple of less than stellar performances, but over the whole season, he had been great and he was again last week in finishing 3rd. Niemann started slow and was in last place at +2 after the first round, but then pulled himself together and salvaged a 31st place finish that could have been even higher had he not gone +3 over his last six holes. The rest of the team played almost exactly as I expected. We worked with tee to green and long iron specialists in Cantlay and Scott getting a 2nd and 9th place finish. Sungjae roared up the board over the last three rounds to finish 11th and Billy Horschel started out poorly the first two rounds, but picked it up the last two rounds to finish 37th, a slightly disappointing performance, but far from a killer. All in all, no real sweat on Sunday although we did bounce in and out of the money the first three days before settling into the green comfortably by Sunday afternoon.

In GPP play, I whiffed for the week. A couple of late, key decisions while building my player pool came back to haunt me as I rode with Justin Rose over JT for the week which ended disastrously in both directions with Rose not even finishing in the Top-50 and JT getting the win. I also veered away from Tony Finau late into last Tuesday night after starting at 25%. I thought he would be highly owned as he usually is and pivoted more shares to Louis, Bryson and Billy….ouch. I did have a lot of Patrick Cantlay, Hideki, Adam Scott, Jon Rahm Corey Conners, Sungjae, Louis, and even Lucas Glover, but when you fade two chalk players like Finau and JT and one wins and the other is in the Top-5, it’s curtains for the week as far as winning a big prize so the week was about break even for me as I hit in cash, but amped up my GPP exposure in a final fit of excitement so was able to hold steady, which overall, I was not upset about, especially once our own, Statboy took 2nd in the $888 with all the chalk in the world and won a cool $125k. I am so excited for him. He still has not told his wife about it yet and is planning to surprise her this weekend for their 10th wedding anniversary. The traditional wedding gift for the 10th anniversary is tin. Apparently, this year Erik is rolling back the clock to Anniversary number one because this year’s gift is a whole lot of paper!

It’s a shame that this event does not generate more excitement as East Lake really is a premier golf course in terms of what it demands of the players each year. The style is reminiscent of the way that many US Open courses are setup each year in that it is a long, 7,300 yard plus course with narrow, tree lined fairways and firm, fast Bermuda greens. The length of the course is such that players will not be able to attack by leaving their driver in the bag all week, which will create an interesting dynamic for those players that cannot find the fairway. Most of the holes on the course are fairly straightforward without a lot of water or doglegs that would present tricky angles for the players to navigate, but there is a huge difference in whether or not you are able to hit greens in regulation based upon being in the fairway or the rough. More so than most others, this is truly a ball strikers course. As you would expect from the length of the course, the Par 4 holes are going to be challenging with eight of them being at least 440 yards and one actually coming in at a whopping 520 yards. The Par 3 holes are also on the long side this week with the shortest coming in at 197 yards. The two Par 5 holes on the course will be about the only times when players have legitimate scoring opportunities, but even the Par 5, 18th hole is on the long side at 590 yards so there are no gimmes this week. We are looking for players who can keep the ball in the fairway and those who excel in their approach play, particularly from the longer distances.

KEY STATS

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Proximity: 15%
Driving Accuracy: 10%
Scrambling: 10%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte August 21, 2019 03:27

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