Each week, including this week’s 2018 Tour Championship, 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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For $75 per year or $225 for lifetime access, GNN+Forebucks members get even MORE, including our course fit modeling, Quality Stokes Gained data, course demand insights, grass-specific performance and further tools, as well individual access to fantasy expert Ryan Ballengee for your unique questions.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS INCLUDE
- Searchable PGA Tour results database — A full database of PGA Tour results dating back to 2011, including strokes gained breakouts, money, designers and grass info.
- PGA Tour top-15 finish trends — A look at the players who have finished in the top 15 in any of the last five PGA Tour events.
- 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.
- NEW! Strokes gained by course length
- NEW! Strokes gained by course par
- 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 Tour Championship preview
It all ends this week — well, for a few weeks. The PGA Tour season finale is here, and the top 30 are in Atlanta for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. This is the final year for the tournament as know it, with the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship format changing next year to fundamentally make this a handicap tournament. (It’ll be very interesting to see how DraftKings and FanDuel try to score this event next year, but I assume it’ll remain the same, ignoring the handicapping.)
East Lake Golf Club is a vaunted test, and the PGA Tour has worked with the club to flip the nines for the Tour Championship to put the most dramatic holes on the back nine, ending in a par 5 that could turn the course of the FedEx Cup.
If you like Bermudagrass, you really like East Lake. If you like thick rough, you like East Lake. If you like hitting a variety of clubs in your bag, you like East Lake.
2018 Tour Championship 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, non-opposite-field, stroke-play PGA Tour events.
- Bryson DeChambeau – 2 – WIN The Northern Trust, WIN Dell Technologies Championship
- Tony Finau – 3 – 2nd The Northern Trust, T-4 Dell Technologies Championship, T-8 BMW Championship
- Rickie Fowler – 2 – T-12 PGA Championship, T-8 BMW Championship
- Billy Horschel – 3 – T-11 Wyndham Championship, T-3 The Northern Trust, T-3 BMW Championship
- Dustin Johnson – 2 – T-11 The Northern Trust, T-7 Dell Technologies Championship
- Brooks Koepka – 3 – WIN PGA Championship, T-8 The Northern Trust, T-12 Dell Technologies Championship
- Hideki Matsuyama – 4 – T-11 Wyndham Championship, T-15 The Northern Trust, T-4 Dell Technologies Championship, T-15 BMW Championship
- Rory McIlroy – 2 – T-12 Dell Technologies Championship, 5th BMW Championship
- Phil Mickelson – 2 – T-15 The Northern Trust, T-12 Dell Technologies Championship
- Francesco Molinari – 2 – T-6 PGA Championship, T-8 BMW Championship
- Kevin Na – 2 – T-15 The Northern Trust, T-12 BMW Championship
- Justin Rose – 2 – 2nd Dell Technologies Championship, P-2 BMW Championship
- Webb Simpson – 2- 2nd Wyndham Championship, T-6 BMW Championship
- Cameron Smith – 2 – 3rd The Northern Trust, 3rd Dell Technologies Championship
- Justin Thomas – 3 – T-6 PGA Championship, T-8 The Northern Trust, T-12 BMW Championship
- Gary Woodland – 2 – T-6 PGA Championship, T-12 BMW Championship
- Tiger Woods – 2 – 2nd PGA Championship, T-6 BMW Championship
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 15 in this event in the last 5 years, though the venue changes annually:
- Paul Casey – 3
- Jason Day – 3
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Dustin Johnson – 2
- Hideki Matsuyama – 2
- Rory McIlroy – 2
- Justin Rose – 4
- Webb Simpson – 2
- Justin Thomas – 2
- Bubba Watson – 3
It seems to me the best way to use Strokes Gained data is to give a sense of a course fit. My working theory is a player is a course fit — or a potential course fit, at least — if their Strokes Gained breakout when they finish in the top 25 is similar to the average for top-25 finishers at this week’s event. (This week, I’d say top 15 finish.)
Of course, current form then informs thinking around these possible course fits. However, in concept, many of these names make some sense and help narrow down a potential list of golfers.
East Lake is a Donald Ross golf course, meaning the skill of putting is somewhat mitigated by bewildering surfaces. But that means approach play is more valuable because getting the ball to the hole location results in an easier putt.
Here’s a breakdown of what we’re looking for this week:
Some players who fit this mold include:
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Tiger Woods
- Jon Rahm
- Kyle Stanley
- Justin Rose
- Justin Thomas
- Bryson DeChambeau
2018 Tour Championship DraftKings recommendations
$10,000 and up
We have five players in this group, and I think you can go with any of them. However, Justin Thomas is again undervalued, and Rory should get plenty of points, even if he doesn’t putt well.
We have seven players in this group, and I always love building your team in this range. I’m on Tony Finau and Bryson DeChambeau in this range. Rickie Fowler is a tad overpriced because of his driving stats, but he’s worth a look if you’re reluctant to get in the $10,000-plus range.
DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. There are still plenty of good choices in this range. Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson and Billy Horschel seem downright automatic in this group.
Below or at $7,000
We’re looking for bargains in this range, and I think you can find one with Bubba Watson, who seems to like this course. Maybe DraftKings knows something I don’t, but pricing Kevin Na at $6,000 with Patton Kizzire is outrageous.
My primary DraftKings lineup
- Justin Rose – $11,400
- Rickie Fowler – $9,100
- Tony Finau – $8,600
- Webb Simpson – $7,500
- Billy Horschel – $7,300
- Kevin Na – $6,000