We’ve entered the inevitable crash period that tends to follow a major championship. Despite being Tiger’s event, we have one of the weakest fields of the year. That’s something to be aware of… If you spend $9-10k on a guy, are you getting that much more than some of the $7-8k golfers could give you? I think the answer to that question this week is, for the most part, no. Same logic applies when dropping down from $7-8k to $6k. For that reason, I’d spend up on class like Fowler and/or Reed then spread out my ownership at the bottom. I wouldn’t pay $10k+ for guys like Palmer, Woodland, or Leishman. I’d probably fade Furyk. Outside of Fowler and Reed, he’s the biggest name in the field and he’s coming off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Not a hard fade, just maybe there are better spots out there given the circumstances.
If you’re into course history, make sure to get your info correct. This tournament has been played on and off at this year’s host course, Congressional, for a number of years. Last year, it was held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, so that data isn’t really useful here. Congressional is a tough, long course that has previously held three U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship. Strokes gained of the tee and into greens will be extremely valuable.
TARGET STATS (courtesy of FantasyGolfMetrics.com)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (emphasis on SG:APP and SG:OTT)
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Birdie or Better %
- Par 4 Scoring
- Proximity from 200+ Yards
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
The “Safer” Plays
Rickie Fowler $12000
I’ll say it again, this is a crap field. Everyone carries with them some level of risk. I’d assume at least a portion of the otherwise pro-Rickie crowd will be scared off by his recent results and/or course history. That’s fine. If you look at his 12-week r-data, he’s actually been performing quite well in the key categories.
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee: 1st
- Strokes Gained: Approach: 13th
- Strokes Gained: Putting: 4th
- Par 4 Scoring: 4th
- Birdie or Better %: 21st
So even despite three straight missed cuts, he still grades out as the #1 option in my form/key stats hybrid method. I’d spend up on Rickie and let the chips fall where they may.
Patrick Reed $11700
I’m firmly in the Fowler > Reed camp, but I don’t think Fowler AND Reed is a bad option this week. There’s plenty of value at the bottom, so consider the “stars and scrubs” approach. Reed’s statistical profile isn’t quite as good as some other $10k+ golfers, but he has course history on his side. Granted, it’s only two starts, but he’s averaged +25.2 DK points above field average in those two tries at Congressional. He’s the second best golfer in the field, and I’m a big proponent of keeping it simple: play good golfers.
Charley Hoffman $10500
Charley is probably my #2 option this week (yikes). The main thing here is he’s well above average in all three of the big key areas (SG:OTT, SG:APP, and SGP). He also has seven starts at Congressional to his credit over the past 10 years, and he’s posted a solid +14.6 DK points above field average per start. Hoffman’s easily one of the best nine golfers in the field, his game lines up very well with this course, and he has strong course history. I feel dirty saying this, but he’s one of the safer plays out there this week.
Byeong-Hun An $9600
This is a class + price pick. The idea of paying $1k more than An for Palmer, Woodland, or even Leishman blows my mind. He’s strong off the tee, solid on approaches, and has one of the best birdie rates in the field. I’m not really feeling this upper-middle tier of pricing, but An is the exception.
The “Less Safe” Plays
Granted, we’re dealing with an invitational and only 120 golfers as opposed to 140+, but in a field like this, anything can happen. If it were me, I’d go heavy on the four golfers listed above (or your personal “spend-up” preference) and then employ the “spray and pray” method to fill out the rest. So with that in mind, here are some guys I think are worth taking a chance on.
- Kevin Chappell $9400 – Strong course history (+25.3 PaFA in 4 starts)
- Daniel Summerhays $8100 – Three reasons: putting, par 4 scoring, and birdie rate
- Adam Hadwin $7500 – Played well here in 2011, solid off tee, excellent putter
- David Hearn $7400 – Pretty good price, been posting a fair amount of top-20s
- John Senden $7200 – Solid numbers across the board, decent course history (+8.7 PaFA in 5 starts)
- Anirban Lahiri $6800 – Good off the tee, great on par 4s
- Patton Kizzire $6700 – Too much talent for this price in this field
- Tom Hoge $6500 – Strong on approaches, good putter, good on par 4s, great birdie rate, excellent from 200+
- Luke List $5800 – Best sub-$6k option, risky but has tournament-winning upside
Good luck this week!