Tiger Woods will continue his search for more major titles this week.
The American moved to 15 majors with his victory at The Masters last month meaning he trails Jack Nicklaus by only three.
That leads Woods ($9,000) to the PGA Championship in New York where a strong field has assembled.
Brooks Koepka ($8,300) is the defending champion and only a handful of the world’s top 100 players won’t tee it up.
They’re all chasing the giant Wanamaker Trophy. The PGA Championship was traditionally played in August but has been moved to May this year as part of a schedule change.
Please note: Justin Thomas, Charl Schwartzel and Sam Ryder have withdrawn. Do not roster them.
The event will take place at the challenging Bethpage Black layout, a daunting 7,432-yard par 70, designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1936.
Woods will have some nice vibes at Bethpage because he won the US Open there in 2002. He was also T6 in 2009 when Lucas Glover ($5,800) triumphed.
The course will play long and tough. Plenty of rain has fallen in the area recently and the rough will be thick. The greens are Poa annua.
It’s not expected to play as hard as it did during the aforementioned US Opens but it won’t be a picnic.
This track also hosted FedEx Cup playoff events in 2012 and 2016, won by Nick Watney (not in this field) and Patrick Reed ($6,700), respectively.
This is a deep 156-man field but 20 of those players are PGA club professionals. This is a long-standing tradition and unique aspect of this event.
Unless you know something most of us don’t, I’d steer away from these club pros.
So if we throw them out, this is essentially a 136-strong field where the top 70 and ties will make the cut. There’s no secondary cut – known as the MDF – in majors.
Getting 9/9 through the cut will be a lot tougher than last month’s Masters given the strength of the field. That challenge will push me towards a collection of steady players to build my core around in Moneyball.
There’s a cracking $9K on offer in the $20 GPP this week and a 9/9 lineup will be nearly a must if you want to take top spot.
Who do we like?
Like most tournaments, I will lean towards pure ball-strikers.
Length off the tee will be valuable here but I also want someone who can keep it straight.
You require players who can hit long irons and given the greens are elevated, some will be missed, making scrambling important.
This doesn’t shape as a birdie-fest and when par is a good score, bogey avoidance is crucial.
This week I will toss up two leans per category and one fade.
My statistics come via Fantasy National, a useful study tool. When I am referencing a player’s past 24 rounds, that is in comparison to the field and the past 24 tracked rounds each player has completed. Rounds from The Masters aren’t included as Augusta National doesn’t release the strokes gained data.
$8 and $9K Range
Dustin Johnson ($8,900) – On a long, testing track, I am led to Johnson. The big American stripes it off the tee, hits long irons well and putts nicely on Poa. T2 at last month’s Masters and he is No 1 in this field for bogey avoidance across the past 24 rounds.
Brooks Koepka ($8,300) – The defending champion is a demon off the tee and has an elite short game. The stats might not wow you regarding his iron play but the defending champion always lifts in majors.
Rory McIlroy ($8,700) – I won’t knock anyone for playing any guy from this range but McIlroy is my fade. The Irishman doesn’t project to return value for me given his shaky Sundays recently. The stats are eye-popping so this is a worrisome fade. Poa is his least-favoured putting surface.
Justin Rose ($7,900) – The one-time major champion burned a boatload of people at The Masters with an ugly missed cut. But I am a forgiving type and this course sets up well for Rose. I want all-round players without a notable weakness and Rose’s game is as solid as anyone across the board. He ranks 12th overall in my statistical model and most importantly, I can’t ignore that price.
Rickie Fowler ($7,400) – Long overdue to win a major and this could be his time. Fowler is regularly in contention at the big events because he is proficient in all facets of the game. He drives it well, putts nicely, and is second in this field for proximity from 200+ yards in the past 24 rounds, a key distance here.
Francesco Molinari ($7,800) – The Italian has improved out of sight in the past 18 months but his lack of length concerns me. His final round meltdown at Augusta will have likely left a mark, therefore he’s an easy fade for me.
This is the busiest range where there’s a lot of strong options
Adam Scott ($6,500) – Because Scott is an Australian, Moneyball players will probably flock to him. With that in mind, you may need to diversify your lineups elsewhere but Scott shapes up nicely here at this price. Scott was fourth at this track at The Barclays in 2016. Most importantly, he gears his game towards majors nowadays.
Bubba Watson ($6,400) – While Scott might be chalk, Watson looms as anything but. The left-hander is rarely popular in DFS but this course suits his eye. He has three top-18 finishes in tournaments at this course and has been in good form of late. Second in strokes gained: off the tee in the past 24 rounds in this field and 12th in ball-striking, therefore I can’t leave him out.
Jordan Spieth ($6,900) – The form just isn’t there, no top-20 finishes this season makes him a clear fade.
Kevin Kisner ($6,200) – He might be having a good season but he’s not long enough off the tee and doesn’t like putting on Poa. He also said on the ‘Tour Junkies’ PGA DFS podcast last month that this event wouldn’t set up well for him.
Luke List ($5,400) – Long, tough courses suit List’s game. He can’t putt but his ball-striking – 25th in this field across the past 24 rounds – should carry him here. He hits long irons well too.
Ross Fisher ($5,200) – The Englishman drives the ball nicely and is eighth in this field for greens in regulation across the past 24 rounds. Also recorded a top-five finish at this course at the 2009 US Open.
Branden Grace ($5,900) – He plays tough courses well but I’ve been sucked in too many times. Struggling with his irons lately, so he’s off my list.
As always, you shouldn’t be in this range. But, if you must …
Bronson Burgoon ($4,900) – As a card-carrying member of the Bronson Burgoon Fan Club, I find it offensive he is priced lower than some club pros. That’s about it though, the form has been dire.
Michael Kim ($4,900) – Kim is a great putter but that’s all he can hang his hat on. His off-the-tee game is woeful, I’d be shocked if he threatened the cut line.