The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Tournament of Champions

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 2, 2019 05:40

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Tournament of Champions

Happy New Year to friends both old and new! Welcome to 2019 and what for me always feels like the true beginning of the PGA season. After a month of rest and relaxation, I am back to working late into the morning hours every Wednesday for the next eight months in what is sure to be an exciting new year on the PGA Tour. For those of your who took a break in the fall during the NFL season, welcome back. We had another fantastic run in cash games this season based upon my columns. Including the Thanksgiving column that I posted to go with the other 17 weeks, I closed the year at a record of 12-5-1 with a garbage time TD from George Kittle this past weekend pushing me to one break even week as a bunch of my teams slid just out of the green on that nonsense. Fortunately, for those of you who stuck with me in the fall, it was an incredibly profitable season and one that I really enjoyed preparing for as the season wore on and the results got better and better. We still have two, four game slates these next two weeks so you will still see that we have NFL content and columns posted for the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds of the playoffs. If you normally get your NFL coverage elsewhere, give it a look and see what you think. I believe that our analysis on the NFL is every bit as good as what we provide for golf so check it out and I’ll do my best to keep the momentum going.

Of course, the big reason that you are here today is to help launch the PGA season for 2019. I really like the way the PGA sets up the schedule throughout the year. They do not immediately start throwing out big events, but allow us to work our way into the mix in the first few weeks before pushing forward with the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Open near the end of January and then leading up to Super Bowl weekend. The tour seems to realize that it takes a little effort to kick start the players off of an extended break so they make it a little easier to return with a couple of events in Hawaii to start the year, followed by the west coast swing in January and February. For DFS purposes, this is incredible as it gives us a few extra hours to get our lineups set on Thursdays and also means that we (and by we, I mean Jeff) do not have to get up at 5 am to wait on any potentially painful withdrawals.

To get you focused on the year, you will want to start breaking the season down into pieces based on the geographic location of where the tour is at during a given point. The west coast portion is where we start and that takes us from Hawaii at the Tournament of Champions all the way through February and the WGC Mexico Championship. You should begin to familiarize yourself with the types of courses that are played on in Southern California and other desert regions as many of these courses will have similar grass and vegetation which will allow for players who grew up or lived in that area to really shine during the early part of the year. Most of the names will be obvious if you have been playing for a few seasons, but be sure to do your research on the new players that joined the tour this season. Get a good check on where they were born, where they went to college and where they now reside. PGA Tour players tend to be pack animals so it is not surprise to find them clustered around places like San Diego, Scottsdale or Las Vegas. Check out our Player Database page on the main menu of the home page to get a little refresher on starting the season.

On of the things that I recommended to all of you in the fall that I myself am going to consciously try to follow up on each week, is in how I approach the tour throughout 2019. It’s easy to just start throwing money around into events after going for a little bit of time without PGA DFS in our lives, but I really want you to focus on how you are putting your money into play this year. Have a game plan that gets you through the entire season so that you have not blown up your bankroll by the end of the month if you get off to a slow start.

I want you to start selecting the events on the PGA calendar that you really want to prepare for and also those where you are going to pull back a bit or even a few weeks here and there to take a break. For myself, I like to use the events in Hawaii as a nice little warm up to get comfortable with the new year. I don’t now about you, but after months of really grinding away at football and how those lineups really coordinate together from top to bottom, it’s always refreshing to get back to building PGA teams where I am not worried about stacks or ‘bringing it back’ or RB/DEF combos. That said, I also can get a little lineup happy as I start pounding through iterations over and over as it is so easy to put together fun teams, especially in a week like the TOC where we have an all-star field and pricing that is very similar to what we will see around the majors. I will play a few cash games this week, but nothing heavy for a no cut event. I will dip my toe into some of the GPP contests this week, but will focus on small field, single entry or 3 max events. If I hit a stud lineup, I do not want to share it with a bunch of other players as can often be the case for a tournament like this. Next week,

I will mix in additional cash game plays as the Sony gets us back to a full field and the historicals there are useful enough so that we can reasonably chart a path to success based upon what we know of the course. In two weeks, the Desert Classic (CareerBuilder last year) arrives and the tour shifts stateside. I am not a huge fan of events that rotate over three courses as it can be tricky to figure out the most advantageous rotation among the courses and with a three round cut on easier layouts, it tends to be a birdie fest which can get a little painful with a weak field. I’ll play light that week and then be prepared for a bigger buy-in at Torrey Pines at the end of the month when we get a really nice field on a challenging layout. Yes, there are two courses, but it’s much easier to work with wind forecasts over two days on two courses instead of three. From there, we get a real nice stretch of events that takes us all the way through the WGC Mexico Championship at the end of February. In March, the tour heads south where I will likely lighten up my play again as Florida golf, especially in March, tends to drive me insane with tricky layouts and water everywhere and winds gusting all over the place. Some DFS owners love that part of the season, but as I watch shot tracker on my phone on those Friday afternoons, I can feel the years being subtracted from my life as my blood begins to boil watching my players go into the water again and again.

For this week, however, my intention is to sit back, relax and listen to ukulele music and watch enviously as the players enjoy a variety of fun, tropical activities with their families while I freeze here in the middle of winter. The field is really strong and my only regret is that Tiger, Phil and Justin Rose all decided over the last couple of weeks not to participate. It must be nice to be at a point where you can pass up a free payday and a few days in Maui, but each had a pretty massive year in 2018 so I don’t think they are all that worried about it.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua is deceptive in that it is over 7,400 yards, but plays as a Par 73 and given the elevation changes and downhill tee shots, overall, this is actually a course that plays on the short side with four Par 5 holes and eleven Par 4 holes in the mix. Another factor that helps to shorten up the course this week is that the fairways are as wide as we are going to see all year on tour. There really should be very little trouble getting the ball out onto the fairway and then working a wedge in the rest of the way. Accuracy is not much of an issue this week, but as always, approach play is a key factor. For the bombers, those players who excel with a wedge and putter will be in good shape while the shorter hitters will be more reliant on short to midrange iron play. The scores are going to be extremely low this week however, so it will be important for players to be able to knock in those birdie or eagle putts when they have the opportunity as saving par will not help in moving up the leaderboard. The winds are the biggest defense for the course each year and it does look like they will play a factor on Thursday and Friday with some heavy gusts exceeding 30 mph before becoming less of a factor over Saturday and Sunday. In looking at comp courses, Jeff laid out a nice case for using Augusta this week as the wide, rolling fairways, elevation changes and large greens all check. The major difference with Augusta is that here at Kapalua, the Bermuda greens are extremely slow and much easier to navigate than the lightning fast greens of Augusta. Many of the key stats still apply in terms of needing to play well around the greens, but where as Augusta is tough for anybody when it comes to putting, here there are no excuses for not being able to score.

Key Stats:

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Strokes Gained Putting: 15%
Par 5 Scoring: 15%
Scrambling: 10%
Driving Distance: 7.5%
Prox greater than 200 yards: 7.5%


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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 2, 2019 05:40

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