Looking for 2017 Hero World Challenge picks, either for betting or fantasy golf games like DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, Golf Channel or the PGA Tour?
We have your 2017 Hero World Challenge rankings and expert picks, as we do each week of the PGA Tour season.
We are at the only silly season event that really matters. The Hero World Challenge has been Tiger Woods’ comeback event each of the last two playings, including this one. Hideki Matsuyama defends, but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth really headline.
For those new to our weekly picks, we offer our top 10 players for free — but we’re doing nine this week since that’s half the field. GNN Plus members get additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 Hero World Challenge rankings: Top 9 picks
1. Justin Thomas — Thomas is a par-5 stud, and he can smoke the golf ball all over the place on this resort-style course. Best on the planet right now.
2. Jordan Spieth — Spieth has a nice little track record in two years here, and he placed well in the Aussie Open with a stone-dead putter. He’ll need it this week.
3. Rickie Fowler — Fowler loves Albany, too, and he’s been in the runner-up position in two of his last three PGA Tour starts.
4. Brooks Koepka — Brooks won the Dunlop Phoenix by 9. NINE. He defended his title with aplomb, running away on the final day.
5. Justin Rose — Rose let the Euro Tour finale get away from him in Dubai, but he’s been all-world class the last 60 days.
6. Dustin Johnson — Kinda blah to end the PGA Tour playoffs, and he choked away a six-stroke lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions to Rose. But he should be fine.
7. Kevin Kisner — Kisner has been inside the top four in his last two PGA Tour starts, including a good run at The RSM Classic.
8. Hideki Matsuyama — The baffling clunker at the WGC-HSBC aside, Matsuyama has been in the top five in his other two recent starts.
9. Tommy Fleetwood — C’mon. He’s the Race to Dubai winner with three top-10s in his last six starts.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
- Rickie Fowler – $9,600
- Brooks Koepka – $9,200
- Justin Rose – $8,600
- Hideki Matsuyama – $8,200
- Kevin Kisner – $7,100
- Tommy Fleetwood – $6,800
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GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual PGA Tour events.
- NO ONE — Pretty much none of these top players played more than a few PGA Tour events this season.
Justin Rose hasn’t, but he has won two of his last three worldwide starts and nearly won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. So, consider that.
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 6 at this event multiple times in the last two years at Albany:
- Jordan Spieth
- Rickie Fowler
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Salaries for this event are ridiculous, for myriad reasons. The primary reason, however, is that to field a six-man team of golf superstars and legends assembled here, you need some guys to be the low players. Ranking guys like Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood — who won the European Tour Race to Dubai, for God’s sake — below $7,000 is insanity, but practical insanity.
- Justin Thomas — $11,100
- Dustin Johnson — $10,700
- Jordan Spieth — $10,500
- Rickie Fowler — $9,600
- Brooks Koepka — $9,200
- Justin Rose — $8,600
- Hideki Matsuyama — $8,200
- Henrik Stenson — $7,800
- Patrick Reed — $7,500
- Daniel Berger — $7,300
- Kevin Kisner — $7,100
- Matt Kuchar — $7,000
- Tommy Fleetwood — $6,800
- Francesco Molinari — $6,600
- Tiger Woods — $6,500
- Kevin Chappell — $6,400
- Alexander Noren — $6,300
- Charley Hoffman — $6,200
Success at Albany Golf Club
Generally speaking, birdies and eagles are in plentiful supply at Albany Golf Club. It’s a private club with a resort course feel. There are five par 5s, so there are five must-birdie holes each round. The par 3s offer some of the most challenging shots on the course. Missing these big greens lead to a lot of runoff areas with tight-lie chip shots, but it’s nothing these top pros can’t handle.