Each week, including this week’s 2018 US Open, Golf News Net offers daily fantasy (DFS) golf advice, picks, lineups and tips for DraftKings PGA Tour games, scrutinizing the pricing model and looking for players who will perform best in both guaranteed prize pool (GPP) events and cash games.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]
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- Player-course fit modeling — This one is experimental, but I think it has lots of potential. This tool looks at the breakdown of each player’s Strokes Gained Putting, Approach, Off the Tee and Tee to Green when they finish in the top 25 and compare to the averages in those categories for top 25 finishers at each week’s event. I believe similarities in the breakouts can help clue us in to potential course fits (or horses for courses).
- Player performance comparison — Each player has different strengthes and, therefore, a different path to success, be that finishing in the top 15 or making the cut. So, we compare Strokes Gained Putting, Approach and Off the Tee when each player finishes in those positions to help understand player strengths and weaknesses.
- Strokes gained putting by grass type — Some guys just putt better on Bermudagrass or Bentgrass, the two dominant strains on the PGA Tour. Always helps to see specialists on either surface.
- Course demands: Each week, you’ll be able to see the strokes gained breakout — putting, approach, off the tee, tee to green — for each host course compared to the PGA Tour as it relates to winners, top-15 finishers and top-30 finishers.
- Top average Quality Strokes Gained for the year: Our Quality Strokes Gained combines strokes gained and strength-of-field figures into a single statistic, so this data shows the players who perform the best against the best competition.
- Top 50 QSG performances of the year: We wanted to help you understand Quality Strokes Gained more broadly, so we have the rolling list of the top 50 QSG performances of the year.
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2018 US Open preview
This is going to be a special week. Shinnecock Hills is back hosting the US Open, and it’s going to be an incredible week. The William Flynn design is probably the best in American championship golf — it’s at least in the top three — because of the property, the design, the conditions and the history. I sincerely hope Shinnecock will be redeemed for what the USGA did in 2004, and I’m confident it will be.
I’ve written a few different pieces about personal experience playing Shinnecock, and I think it’s worth a read if you want some perspective on the course demands. But, in short, it demands everything. Even with the width, the wind expected — particularly on Thursday and maybe Sunday — will narrow the fairways in a hurry. The penalty for missing them can be huge. Approaches have to be solid, if not close to perfect, to get realistic birdie chances. YOU CAN’T GO LONG. The greens are fair, but at US Open speed, they’ll be especially tricky, including on Nos. 4, 7, 8 (on the right side), 9, 10, 13, 16, 17 and 18.
The short game will matter because the run-offs will require imagination to find the right shot to play to try to save a par, and then the execution will be a whole other matter.
This golf course is difficult, but it is so much fun to play.
I was on the grounds on Tuesday (and Jay Flemma will write for us all week from Shinnecock), and a couple of players told me the course was softer than perhaps they anticipated coming to an Open. However, with the weather forecast calling for rain on Wednesday and no other day of championship week, the course should continue to dry out over the four days. If the USGA does it right, they’ll have the course on the edge for Saturday afternoon, and then they’ll dial it back a little on Sunday.
The wind is going to be an important factor in playing this golf course. First, the wind will be heavy throughout Thursday, and the wind will be moderate on Friday morning before dying down in the afternoon. The wind also tends to clock around and change directions through the day. Based on my limited two days there, it seems like the wind turns against the prevailing direction later in the day. When I played, the wind kicked up through the day, not died. But, based on what we have forecast at this point, I’d give an edge to the early-late draw who will get Shinnecock slightly softened on Thursday morning, then get the died-down wind on Friday.
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2018 US Open DraftKings picks
Each week, we’ll offer players in 3-5 buckets of pricing so as to offer some mix-and-matching with your lineups based on our recommendations.
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, stroke-play PGA Tour events.
- Jason Day – 2 – WIN Wells Fargo Championship, T-5 The Players
- Bryson DeChambeau – 2 – 4th Wells Fargo Championship, WIN Memorial
- Rickie Fowler – 2 – T-14 Colonial, T-8 Memorial
- Emiliano Grillo – 2 – T-9 Wells Fargo Championship, 3rd Colonial
- Dustin Johnson – 2 – T-8 Memorial, WIN FedEx St. Jude
- Chris Kirk – 2 – T-8 Valero Texas Open, T-11 Colonial
- Brooks Koepka – 2 – T-11 The Players, 2nd Colonial
- Danny Lee – 2 – T-7 The Players, T-14 Colonial
- Phil Mickelson – 2 – 5th Wells Fargo Championship, T-13 Memorial
- Joaquin Niemann – 2 – T-6 Valero Texas Open, T-8 Colonial
- Louis Oosthuizen – 2 – T-5 Colonial, T-13 Memorial
- Justin Rose – 2 – WIN Colonial, T-6 Memorial
- Charl Schwartzel – 2 – T-9 Wells Fargo Championship, T-2 The Players
- Adam Scott – 2 – T-11 The Players, T-9 Byron Nelson
- Kyle Stanley – 2 – T-13 Wells Fargo Championship, P-2 Memorial
- Justin Thomas – 2 – T-11 The Players, T-8 Memorial
- Jimmy Walker – 2 – 2nd The Players, T-6 Byron Nelson
- Aaron Wise – 2 – 2nd Wells Fargo Championship, WIN Byron Nelson
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 15 in this event in the last five years:
- Jason Day – 4
- Jason Dufner – 2
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Jim Furyk – 2
- Branden Grace – 2
- Dustin Johnson – 3
- Brooks Koepka – 3
- Matt Kuchar – 2
- Shane Lowry – 2
- Hideki Matsuyama – 2
- Patrick Reed – 2
- Charl Schwartzel – 2
- Adam Scott – 2
- Brandt Snedeker – 3
- Brendan Steele – 2
I would typically turn to year-over-year data about a course to tell me some potential great course fits (if a player plays to their ability). We don’t have that here, particularly because Shinnecock is a lot different than in 2004 — 450 extra yards, fescue replaced ryegrass, width, green expansion, mowed-down greenside areas, etc. — so that’s not really helpful to tell us who will do well.
As I mentioned at the top, this course asks EVERYTHING. Of course, SG T2G is critical here, but I believe SG Putting and SG ARG are about 45 percent of the equation in doing well. So I turned to our Course Fit tool and looked for balance, at least some measure of it. That said, guys like Jason Day and Jon Rahm, who drive it great and have tremendous short games, have deceptive season-long numbers in 2018 that will make them seem like they’re not a fit. They are.
Based on that data, some great course fits include:
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat
- Justin Rose
- Kyle Stanley
- Jon Rahm
- Jason Day
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Justin Thomas
- Rickie Fowler
- Peter Uihlein
- Cameron Smith
- Jimmy Walker
- Branden Grace
- Charl Schwartzel
- Emiliano Grillo
- Henrik Stenson
- Matt Kuchar
- Marc Leishman
- Martin Kaymer
- Webb Simpson
- Brooks Koepka
- Patrick Reed
- Dustin Johnson
2018 US Open DraftKings recommendations
$10,000 and up
We have six players in this group, and I think we you’re best looking at Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Jason Day. Rickie Fowler is worth a look, but I think the others have better form and are more worthy of that spend.
We have 14 players in this group, and you could build a great lineup just staying in this range. Justin Rose is $9,900, so basically $10,000, but he would be strong. Rahm, Koepka, Stenson, Grace, DeChambeau, Fleetwood and Casey have to be considerations.
DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. This is typically very much hit-or-miss territory. However, we have some fantastic names in this range.
Marc Leishman should handle wind well. Louis Oosthuizen is on form and he can put on a ballstriking bonanza. Webb Simpson is worth a good look. Charl Schwartzel should fit here, in concept. Cameron Smith has a balanced game, and Aaron Wise is as hot as they come right now. Brandt Snedeker is built for the US Open, and he may be coming around. I love Jimmy Walker’s game here, and I think Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Kyle Stanley are criminally low-priced.
Below or at $7,000
We’re looking for bargains in this range with a threat to top-10. Please try to avoid this range this week, or at least don’t dip beyond $6,800.
Chez Reavie really intrigues me to make the cut, and I love Matt Wallace out of England. He’s having a breakout year on the European Tour, and not many people know him. Ben An is worth a look for sure. Brendan Steele is a stud, and Alex Levy is a top 50 player in the world at $6,800. That’s nuts despite the blah results in his last three events.
My primary DraftKings lineup
- Jason Day – $10,500
- Brooks Koepka – $9,000
- Bryson DeChambeau – $8,300
- Paul Casey – $8,000
- Emiliano Grillo – $7,100
- Peter Uihlein – $7,100