Why Season Long Fantasy Golf Is Here to Stay

Why Season Long Fantasy Golf Is Here to Stay

A few months ago now, Rick sent me a text posing a very simple question, “Why doesn’t season long fantasy golf… exist?” To be honest, I had never put much thought into this, but the wheels started turning quickly.

I am an avid lover of fantasy football. I’ve had a way too serious home league going now for seven years, and I have two other leagues that I am also heavily invested in. Although I’ve had a ton of success, I will never claim to be a fantasy football sharp, or one who can articulate a decision making process and statistical model the way that I can with golf. For this reason, I actually consume a lot of fantasy football content. I rely on others more to help me make decisions, whereas in golf, I consume virtually zero content, and am borderline over reliant on my numbers and beliefs.

As someone who is heavily invested and consumes tons of content in fantasy football, I began to examine what makes this ecosystem so successful. When I really dove in, I could not believe how giant of an industry that fantasy football has become.

Within a decade, Matthew Berry went from writing a fantasy football column to being one of the pre-game hosts for primetime Sunday Night Football. Point being, fantasy football grew because there were a few people who strongly advocated for it. Matthew Berry is not solely responsible for the boom of fantasy football, but he did play a meaningful role in getting it to the point that it is at today. Fantasy football needed a few charismatic and thoughtful advocates with a big enough platform to get the public to believe in it. I really believe that the only reason season long fantasy golf hasn’t taken off yet is because we’ve never had a person with any form of platform advocate or care about the product.

When I posed this theory to Rick, I was unsurprised to find that he felt the exact same way. There are only a handful of people in our very niche industry of daily fantasy and golf betting that are in a position to actually reach enough people. Rick is certainly one of those people. To a lesser extent, I am too. So is Joe Idone, who has also been in our earliest discussions.

With that being said, it’s not like Rick or I could snap our fingers and expect any sizable number of people to start playing and loving fantasy golf. It was going to take some hard work, and Rick posed two very crucial barriers that season long fantasy golf will be forced to overcome. Barrier number one is that there is no agreed upon format, and barrier number two, as simple as it may sound, is that there is no place to play. I would even add that the third barrier is that season long fantasy golf content does not exist!

Diving into number one, the vast majority of fantasy football leagues are either in the standard or PPR format. Most leagues are also snake draft or re-draft leagues from one season to the next. Almost all leagues end on one of the last few weeks of the NFL regular season. The trade deadline and waiver claim process are very similar in most leagues. Ultimately, there is an agreed upon format that fantasy football plays within. As the industry matured, many new formats (dynasty, best ball, etc.) were spawned, but that is only because the first giant wave of players were introduced to a format that was fair, made logical sense, and featured content around it.

Barrier number two is going to be a lot harder to accomplish on our end, but is certainly worth the investment. The few options that exist for season long fantasy golf are generally under-developed with little live scoring and zero investment into the technology and content that has made fantasy football so successful. We do not have enough time to launch a fantasy football hosting platform on Rickrungood.com before the start of 2023, but we’ve already started to lay the breadcrumbs. Fantrax.com is a worthy placeholder for this year.

The solution to barrier number three is essentially covered in the original plan that Rick proposed. We need a league of eight to ten dedicated players who produce content. The idea is for us to build the gold standard league that is supported by our content. Our league will produce a livestream of the draft, answer start/sit questions, rank players, propose trades, and essentially mimic the content that has made fantasy football so popular.

Here is the general format that we believe is a great place to start:

  • 8-12 Teams
  • Head to Head Scoring
  • Re-draft at the start of every new season
  • Snake Draft, 12 rounds
  • Rosters
    • 12 players per team
    • 6 Starters, 6 Bench
    • Waivers open Monday at 12:01 AM and close on Monday 11:59 PM
    • Processed on Tuesday, free agency opens
    • Trade deadline is malleable, but U.S. Open week feels like a good a spot? The U.S. Open is the 21st event of the regular season, with seven weeks remaining.
  • Gameplay
    • DraftKings-ish scoring, excluding bonuses for birdie streaks, four rounds under 70, etc. Highest scoring wins the matchup
    • Four to six teams make the playoffs. Four in an eight man league makes sense, but so does 6 in a 12-team league.
  • Schedule
    • Regular season is the Sony Open to the Wyndham (28 events: Play each opponent four times)
    • Also an option to make it 21 events, play each opponent three times and remove some of the weaker events.
    • Both versions exclude Match Play, Zurich, and alternate field events
    • For 6 teams make the playoffs:
      • First round (top two in standings gets a bye:) Wyndham
      • Semi-Finals: FedEx St. Jude’s
      • Finals: BMW Championship
    • For 4 teams make the playoffs:
      • Semi-Finals: Fed-Ex St. Jude’s
      • Finals: BMW Championship
    • Also open to the finals being the Tour Championship, which adds a totally different element of strategy to the fold, as that event only has 30 players! This would place a much greater emphasis on keeping an eye on the FedEx Cup standings throughout the season.

 

None of this is set in stone. We will learn and adapt in season number one, and we welcome feedback to either Rick or I both in the comments section or through direct message on the RickRunGood.com slack channel.

Ultimately, the reason why we are so bullish on season long fantasy golf is because it hits many of the same checkpoints that make season long fantasy football so successful, and avoids many of the pitfalls of season long fantasy basketball and baseball. 

Each week is aligned with one tournament, which makes the waiver period cleaner and centers the action around Sunday. There is a great deal of strategy involved in season long NFL based upon matchups. In golf, that strategy is even more compelling, and focused upon course fit and who is playing each event. 

For example, it’s Wyndham Championship week, do you pick up Webb Simpson to be used primarily for this week, and risk dropping a player that is higher in the FedEx Cup standings? It’s Valero Texas Open week and Charley Hoffman is struggling and unlikely to make the FedEx Cup playoffs. Do you pick up Charley Hoffman and risk dropping a player that will be more valuable to you as the season progresses? Where are you in the standings? Do you need a win this week, or are you playing the long game?

Let’s also address the elephant in the room: LIV! At what point in the draft do you start to say, Dustin Johnson or Cam Smith, who will be both under 25/1 at all four majors, are more valuable than say… Nick Hardy? In Fantasy Football, those who drafted DeShaun Watson are sitting pretty right now, but what happens if your season goes south and you need bodies throughout the season? For reference, Hardy earned 820K last year. If DJ/Cam Smith had an average finishing position of 20th at all four majors, they would have earned 736K. Yet how many times would Hardy be in your starting lineup? DJ/Cam Smith are a must play at all four major championships.

I will attempt to answer these questions over the upcoming weeks on RickRunGood.com, where starting Wednesday, I will be breaking down my big board from 100 all the way down to one. You can also reach me in the RickRunGood.com slack channel at any time for questions, and throughout the season, I will be providing rankings for all 28 weeks, and answering start/sit questions. We hope you are as excited as bullish about season long fantasy golf as we are, and we welcome as many new ideas, critiques, and feedback as possible. Buckle up!

 

V For Valspar | Valspar Championship RunGood RunDown

V For Valspar | Valspar Championship RunGood RunDown

Valspar Championship | Stats, Trends & Things You Don’t Need To Know

Copperhead Course (Innisbrook)
Par 71 – 7,340 Yards
Fairways Hit: 58.64% (20th hardest out of 51)
Greens Hit: 57.25% (6th hardest out of 51)
Birdie or Better: 17.79% (11th hardest out of 51)
Scoring Average: 70.96 (20th hardest out of 51)

Big Boy Par 3s

Maybe the most unique feature of the Copperhead Course layout are the (5) Long Par 3s. Every single one is over 195 yards on the scorecard and they played a combined 0.51 strokes over par, per round, last year. With those holes making up 27.7% of the routing, I figured we should look at the best golfers on Long Par 3s — defined by 190 yards or longer.

  1. Harold Varner III +0.119 per hole
  2. Alex Noren +0.108
  3. Jason Kokrak +0.102
  4. Zach Johnson +0.099
  5. Dustin Johnson +0.097

Note the chart below — Varner gets better as the Par 3s get longer.

Scramble Heat Check

For those of you living under a rock, Andy Lack and I go LIVE ON YOUTUBE every Tuesday and Friday for a show called The Scramble. We’ve been attempting to bankrupt PrizePicks by giving out props and we are WHITE HOT. We are on a 23-2 run of props and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Here’s what we gave out on Tuesday:

  • Alex Noren R1 Under 72 Strokes
  • Bubba Watson R1 Under 72.5 Strokes
  • Keegan Bradley R1 Over 11 GIR
  • Justin Thomas R1 Under 12 GIR

Those lines have probably already moved with how many people are tailing so here’s one more thing that has my interest.

Hole 11 props are available, which is a Par 5 that played to a 4.722 scoring average last year. There are three golfers available who have played hole 11 before:

  • Justin Thomas: 6/10 overs
  • Dustin Johnson 6/8 overs
  • Viktor Hovland 3/4 overs

We can wait to see the wind direction and pin location but the early lean is overs on hole 11.
Play: Code “RICK”
Link: https://bit.ly/3oxONZw

Most Improved Approach

Two golfers in the field have made significant gains in approach play recently.

Since the start of 2022, Adam Hadwin is gaining 0.74 strokes on approach, the 9th best mark in this field. Compare that with the 0.17 strokes he lost per round in 2021 and you’re looking at nearly a full stroke improvement per round in approach play.

Alex Noren played 89 measured rounds last year and lost 0.12 strokes per round during the year. In 2022, he’s gained 0.82 strokes per round! Another full stroke improvement in the approach category.

Those are the two largest year-over-year improvements in the field.

Secret Comp Courses

Andy’s new course breakdown on RickRunGood.com has really opened the nerdy side of my brain recently. He makes the case for using a few different courses as comps for Innisbrook. I won’t spoil the exact courses because Andy deserves the clicks. But here are the best players on those courses for the last four years.

Would You Be Interested?

Would you be interested if I told you a golfer in this field checked all these boxes?

✅ 2nd in SG: T2G Last Week
✅ 2nd in SG: TOT over final three rounds
✅ Played Last 2 Holes at +3, still finished 5th
✅ Took a Garbage Penalty in R2, still finished 5th
✅ Runner-up Finish at Valspar Last Year

If I told you his name was Keegan Bradley, would you still be interested?

Back-To-Back Bracket Weeks!

Next week is the WGC Match Play Event! One of my favorite events of the year! There is also some small amateur thing starting this week.

If you like that collegiate amateur thing, I used math to create the optimal bracket. I know nothing about the game and it’s one of my most popular videos each year. Weird world. Click To Watch.

Baan Breaks Record

Anirban Lahiri did not win THE PLAYERS Championship. But if you backed him in the Jock MKT (stock market DFS), you were part of history. Lahiri closed IPO last week at $1.23/share and paid out $20.00/share. That’s a 1,500+% ROI — the largest in Jock MKT History. Here are the others:

Code “RICK” Play: https://bit.ly/3mnWkdg

Rick Infiltrates The TOUR!

I was asked to join the PGA TOUR’s Twitter Space this week. We covered the course key stats, golfers to watch and a variety of other topics. The information is valuable but I also ask for your support to listen and share it. This is a moment where we can raise DFS/Betting/Data voices to a larger, broader audience. We can show the TOUR that there is a thirst for this type of content.

 

Remember, Live Chat is Wednesday at 6pm ET! Pushed it back this week with the late start.

Good luck
Rick

20 Million Reasons To Read | THE PLAYERS Championship | RunGood RunDown

20 Million Reasons To Read | THE PLAYERS Championship | RunGood RunDown

THE PLAYERS Championship | Stats, Trends & Things You Don’t Need To Know

TPC Sawgrass
Par 72 – 7,256 Yards
Fairways Hit: 59.48% (24th hardest out of 51)
Greens Hit: 66.31% (27th hardest out of 51)
Birdie or Better: 70.09% (21st hardest out of 51)
Scoring Average: 72.42 (16th hardest out of 51)

March vs. May

From 2007 to 2018, this event was held in May. In 2019, it was moved back to March and there are some significant differences in weather, grass surfaces, winds and much more. If you’re looking for “course history”, consider “short course history”. Here are the best players in the field since the March move (2019 & 2021).

RRG Has Just Gotten More Nerdy

For those of you living under a rock, Andy Lack has been the co-host of The Scramble with me since the start of the year. I love his expertise on course architecture and how that could be valuable in the betting/fantasy markets. We’ve come together to expand his role in the RickRunGood eco-system. What that means:

Andy will write (2) articles a week for RickRunGood.com.
1) In-depth course breakdown with nerdy, actionable information.
2) Wednesday Final Thoughts piece with all available data, ownership and more.
This is really just the start for this relationship but it fits so well with the existing “brand” that is RRG and provides more value to subscribers. Win-Win.

If you don’t believe me when I say “in-depth”, here’s a real actual exert from this week’s article written by (a presumably human) Andy Lack.

Read the rest: https://bit.ly/34kC2e0

The Emergence of Cameron Young

I’ve been fawning over Young’s raw talent for the last few weeks, but I think he’s been even more impressive than I realized. Over the last 20 rounds, Young has been the 7th best playing in this field in raw Strokes Gained (+1.98). However, when you consider strength of field and looked at weighted strokes gained, Young actually gets better!

Expect A Little Carnage

Florida Golf is just built a little differently and it pans out in fantasy circles. Dating back to 2018, 24.44% of golfers who were priced $9,000 or more at THE PLAYERS Championship went on to miss the cut. Their average finish was 46.73, which is the 13th highest finish out of 36 qualifying events in that stretch. If you’re a fan of high-priced missed cuts, here are the events for you:

  1. The American Express: 40.54% MC Rate
  2. Sanderson Farms Championship: 38.89%
  3. Valspar Championship: 38.88%
  4. Honda Classic: 38.3%
  5. RSM Classic: 37.5%

The Par 5 Cheat Code

There’s another snippet from Andy’s Course Preview that highlights the rarity of Par 5s at TPC Sawgrass. Each of the (4) Par 5s have a birdie rate over 30% and a bogey rate over 8%. That’s unique and speaks to variance. I present to you, the best golfers in the field on the (4) Par 5s at Sawgrass (2, 9, 11, 16) dating back to 2016 …

Is PrizePicks Bankrupt Yet?

Seriously, has anyone checked on them? The amount of winning screenshots that I saw from last week was bonkers. In the last four Scramble Episodes, Andy and I have given out 17 props — 15 of them have won. That’s pace will likely dwindle at some point, but let’s try to stay hot. A few notable props early in the week:

Collin Morikawa over 10 Fairways (R1)
– Has hit 10+ FWs in 12 of his last 17 rounds
– Wet conditions could help

Paul Casey under 9 Fairways (R1)
– Wet condition could help Casey too, but he’s been brutal.
– under 9 FWs in ten straight rounds (!!)
– under 9 FWs in 4 of his last 5 at TPC Sawgrass

These lines will probably move within a few minutes of this email being sent out, so please be quick. Code “RICK” — Link: https://bit.ly/3oxONZw

Pivot Central

With a huge influx of casual players, soft pricing and potential carnage at TPC Sawgrass, there may never be a better time to — PIVOT! Here are the highest ranked golfers in DraftKings Points Gained, this year, who are averaging ownership below 10%:

  1. Cameron Young +24.9 (6.2%)
  2. Keegan Bradley +23.5 (6.1%)
  3. Francesco Molinari +21.3 (4.0%)
  4. Chris Kirk +20.7 (8.7%)
  5. Sepp Straka +18.5 (2.6%)

Good Luck!
Rick

Red Cardigan Season | Arnold Palmer Invitational RunGood RunDown

Red Cardigan Season | Arnold Palmer Invitational RunGood RunDown

Arnold Palmer Invitational | Stats, Trends & Things You Don’t Need To Know

Bay Hill Club & Lounge
Par 72 – 7,466 Yards – Bermudagrass Greens
Fairways Hit: 55.38% (13th hardest out of 51)
Greens Hit: 52.58% (5th hardest out of 51)
Birdie or Better: 18.13% (12th hardest out of 51)
Scoring Average: 73.02 (9th hardest out of 51)

Matty FitzPatty

I’m trying to look away but my eyes keep going back to Matt Fitzpatrick. He has (2) really good things in his favor this week:

  1. His ability to drive the ball — dating back to last year’s Genesis Invitational, he’s played 16 measured events. He’s gained strokes off-the-tee in 14 of them. The two that he lost were (-0.34) and (-0.08). Over his last 100 rounds, he’s gaining 0.47 strokes per round which is more than Dustin Johnson, Sungjae Im and Scottie Scheffler (to name a few).
  2. He seems to constantly show up in tough fields and/or tough courses. Stick with that same stretch of golf as above, he has (8) Top 11 finishes. The average Strength of Field on this events is 509.1 (PGA TOUR average is about 448). This doesn’t include his win on the DP World Tour nor his T2 in the DP World Tour Championship.
  3. Oh you want more? You want a third thing? Three straight Top 10s at this event.

Elite Course History For Rors

Rory McIlroy is really good at golf on nearly every course on planet Earth. However, he’s really really good at Bay Hill. He’s averaging 2.41 strokes gained per round over 28 rounds.

Since 2008, there are only (9) instances of a golfer gaining at least 2.4 strokes per round over 28+ rounds at a single course. Rory is on the list three times. Here are the qualifying players, sorted by SG.

(CHARLEY HOFFMAN SIGHTING!)

Last Week’s Chalk is This Week’s … Chalk?

Sungjae Im (21.4%), Chris Kirk (14%) and Keith Mitchell (17.4%) were all popular options for last week’s Honda Classic. Maybe we should consider them again this week. Behind Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy, those three have gained more DraftKings points of anyone else with multiple starts here since 2018.

Easy Does It!

The 16th hole at Bay Hill is a par 5 that has historically played as the easiest hole on the course… by a mile.

So when PrizePicks released their single-hole props for this week and I saw no. 16 was on there — I started licking my chops! Of the 22 golfers available on PrizePicks, who have played the 16th hole before, they have combined to go under 64.49% of the time! Notables:

  • Scottie Scheffler unders (4/4 — 100%)
  • Corey Conners unders (6/8 — 75.0%)
  • Adam Scott unders (8/10 — 80.0%)
  • Justin Rose unders (14/20 — 70.0%)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick unders (17/22 — 77.27%)

Barring some ridiculous Thursday weather conditions, I think it’s time to smash the unders. You can play here: bit.ly/3oxONZw (Code “RICK”)

Harder Since 2020

There’s a really interesting nugget dropped by Andy Lack on this week’s Tuesday Scramble. Bay Hill hired a new Director of Grounds, Chris Flynn, in 2019. Since then, you can see a tangible difference in scoring conditions. Here’s a few notes:

If you wanted to focus research on the last two years, I think that might be more representative of current course set-up.

MORE MORE MORE!

There’s so much more content available on my YouTube Channel including a full DFS Preview, Props, Matchups, Live Chats and much more. If you’re not subscribed, what are you even doing?!

Good Luck
Rick

Swinging Into Florida | Honda Classic RunGood RunDown

Swinging Into Florida | Honda Classic RunGood RunDown

PGA National
Par 70 – 7,125 Yards – Bermudagrass Greens
Fairways Hit: 57.06% (16th hardest out of 51)
Greens Hit: 61.59% (18th hardest out of 51)
Birdie or Better: 18.42% (13th hardest out of 51)
Scoring Average: 71.10 (6th hardest out of 51)

H2Oh, No!

Yes, yes — there’s water lurking everywhere. It comes into play on 15 different holes, to be exact. There are only six courses on the schedule where water is in play on 10+ holes. Here are the best players, historically, at those courses:

Mini Major

PGA National played 1.102 strokes over par last year, making it the 6th hardest course on the schedule and the 3rd hardest non-major. There were only nine courses in which the scoring average was at least one stroke over par last season. Here’s how the golfers in this field have historically fared on those courses (minimum 40 rounds):

  1. Sungjae Im +1.42 (72 Rounds)
  2. Aaron Wise +1.20 (60 Rounds)
  3. Rickie Fowler +1.19 (196 Rounds)
  4. Lee Westwood +1.18 (135 Rounds)
  5. Patrick Reed +1.17 (137 Rounds)

The Bear Trap

Holes 15, 16 and 17 make up “The Bear Trap”. One of the hardest stretches of holes in golf. The sickos over at PrizePicks created Bear Trap Props this week and set every golfer’s odds to 10.5 — imagine the sweat! Anyway, below is the historic scoring for each golfer with a prop available. A few notes:

  • In only 4 attempts, Patrick Reed has never played the Bear Trap in 10 strokes or less.
  • Shane Lowry has gone “over 10.5” strokes in 10 of his 16 trips through the stretch.
  • Rickie Fowler has looped it 20 times and has gone under 10.5 a staggering 17 (!!) times.

My favorite is Alex Noren under 10.5 for R1 — He’s a solid iron player and short-game wizard. Getting up and down to save par is right in his wheelhouse. He’s played the Bear Trap in 10 or fewer strokes 80% of the time.
Secure These: http://bit.ly/3oxONZw

If that wasn’t enough — #15 and #17 are both in “featured holes” for PGA TOUR Live so you’ll be able to see how these all shake out in real-time.

Finally! The Rahm … has come back … to #2!

For the first time since I can remember (probably a year), Jon Rahm is not the best player on TOUR over the Last 50 Rounds. That honor now goes to Patrick Cantlay. Since neither on this field, it doesn’t really matter. Just wanted to post it before I forgot!

Paper Cuts vs. Guillotine

Last week, Riviera — this week, PGA National. Since 2007, they have played to nearly an identical scoring average. Riviera is 71.53 and PGA National is 71.52.

Riviera is a par-71 and PGA National is a par-70 and we can talk about par being a social construct, yada yada yada — but it’s important to Fantasy Scoring. Here are the scoring types for Riviera which can kill you with multiple paper cuts versus PGA National which just chops off your head on one hole.

Golfers are twice as likely to make a double bogey at PGA National and nearly 8x more likely to make a score even worse.

Penny Stock Spaun

J.J. Spaun missed the cut at Riviera last week, which evened a streak of (3) straight Top 35s. Over his last 11 starts, he has (5) Top 30 finishes. That might not be appealing in all formats, since the likelihood of him winning is nearly 0% and the likelihood of him being offered in a pre-tournament matchup is even smaller.

However, he’s been crushing it in stock market DFS, where golfers simply have to beat their own expectation. He’s returned a profit in eight of his last ten starts in the Jock MKT.

Use code “RICK” for a $50 Deposit Bonus

LIVE & IN STUDIO!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve partnered with Blue Wire for my podcast, 300 Yards to Unknown. They are a great team with plenty of resources to continue to provide the best possible product. Also, I’ll be recording once a week from the gorgeous Blue Wire studio at the Wynn Las Vegas.

I couldn’t have done this without your support and I’m amped to keep creating more golf content. If you haven’t subscribed/reviewed/done all that good stuff, please take a few seconds to do so. Here’s the link to the podcast!

Good Luck
Rick

We’re Going, Going, Back, Back, to Cali, Cali | Genesis Invitational RunGood RunDown

We’re Going, Going, Back, Back, to Cali, Cali | Genesis Invitational RunGood RunDown

Genesis Invitational | Stats, Trends & Things You Don’t Need To Know

Riviera Country Club
Par 71: 7,322 Yards
Poa Annua Greens
Fairways Hit 47.24% (2nd hardest on TOUR)
Greens Hit 54.17% (3rd hardest on TOUR)

Ball-Strikers Reign Supreme

My friend and colleague, Greg DuCharme, is always suggesting new and fun data projects for me. He sees golf through a different lens and I love diving into the data at his recommendation.
Recently he asked me for a statistical breakdown for each golfer, “how they gain their strokes”. For example, if a golfer gains 1.0 stroke per round in total and 0.5 per round come from SG: Approach, that would mean 50% of that golfer’s Strokes Gained comes from Approach.
I ran this for every golfer in the last 50 rounds and the results are clear: the path to the top is with your longer clubs.

Only four golfers in the Top 20, designated with red dots, gain more strokes in their short-game than their ball-striking.

The Greatest Hole On TOUR

For my money, the 10th at Riviera is a perfect golf hole.
It’s a “drivable par-4” but in name alone. It plays anywhere from 280 to 315 yards but only 1.3% (5 of 373) of drives last year finished on the green. Still, two of those drives would go on to three-putt for par.
It’s truly risk/reward. That term is way overused in golf but it’s true at this hole. The average score last year was 3.88 with 373 golfers.
Eagles: 1
Birdies: 106
Pars: 212
Bogeys: 43
Double Bogeys: 11

There are three adopted strategies off-the-tee. 1) You can dump it in the bunker short of the green. 2) You can lay-up short and try to hit something with spin on your approach. 3) You can blast it long and left, take your chances with the angles and lies. The best part – none of them are all that great! Plenty of guys make birdie and bogey from all three locations.

It’s an absolute beauty of a hole. If you’re headed to The Riv in person, post-up behind the green and enjoy the show.

Mr. Consistent

There’s so many different ways to get it done in golf and I often spend time bemoaning about “ceiling”. Let’s switch it up and talk about floor. I took every golfer’s last 50 rounds, worldwide, and wanted to see how often every golfer gains strokes to the field.

1. Patrick Cantlay 42/50 (Gains 84% of his Rounds)
2. Cameron Smith 41/50 (82%)
3. Jon Rahm 39/50 (78%)
4. Rory McIlroy 37/50 (74%)
5. Paul Casey and Sungjae Im 36/50 (72%)

I was a bit surprised not to see Jon Rahm’s name atop that list. However, when you take the same 50 rounds and only count when golfers gain 3+ strokes per round, Rahm separates himself.
1. Jon Rahm 23/50 (Gains 56% of his Rounds)
2. Patrick Cantlay 18/50 (26%)
3. Cameron Smith & Justin Thomas 14/50 (28%)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s only one golfer in the field does not register a single 3+ SG round in his last 50. That man is… Kyle Stanley. Every other golfer has at least three such rounds.:

Rock Bottom Rickie

Rickie Fowler is $6,600 on DraftKings this week, marking the second lowest price on him since the start of 2018 (83 events). The only time he was cheaper was the CJ Cup in October ($6,400). He would go on to score 127.5 DraftKings points and finish 3rd that week.
Now, I’m certainly not saying Rickie will finish 3rd this week, just pointing out the historical territory we are currently in

The Extremes of Riviera

Riviera is difficult. But it’s also easy. Can both be true? Kind of. The Par 5s are some of the easiest holes on TOUR, with all three ranking in the easiest 15% of holes. Number 1 was literally the 5th easiest hole (out of 918) on TOUR last season. If you throw Number 10 into the mix, that’s four holes that rank inside the 27th percentile of easiest holes on TOUR.
However — the opposite is also true. Number 12, Number 15 and Number 14 are all part of the 60 hardest holes on TOUR. The Top 8% of hardest holes if you will. There are few courses that can really boast that many holes that lie on the extremes.
With that being said, it’s a rare opportunity to get one over on the Propmakers over at PrizePicks. They are laying “Birdie or Better” props with the understanding that we will see a stout scoring average this week, but not realizing that golfers could make five birdies en route to shooting something over par. I’m focused on the following:

  • R1: Sungjae Im over 3.5 birdies – He’s made 4+ birdies in 16 of his last 20 rounds and ranks 17th in Birdie or Better % this season.
  • R1: Collin Morikawa over 4.0 birdies – In eight rounds at Riviera he’s never made less than three birdies and half of them have been 4+. He finished 26th and 43rd those weeks so it’s not like he played all that well.

You’ll want to secure those before the lines move (they will).

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Comp Courses

I like using Quail Hollow, Augusta National, TPC Summerlin and PGA National as comp courses for this week. There are some statistical similarities that I think are worth diving into. Here are the best players in the field, at those courses (and this one), since 2008:

Good luck
Rick