After a somewhat strange PLAYERS Championship which saw 16 of the Top 32 ranked players in the field miss the cut on a course that played extremely easy before the weekend and saw Jason Day win, embedding himself as the world’s best golfer (it’s not even close) the PGA Tour moves back to the state of Texas to play the AT&T Byron Nelson. It will be held at TPC Four Seasons at Los Colinas which has hosted this event since the 80s but went through a massive course redesign in 2008, meaning course history before 2008 is basically useless. It is a tough track and is routinely voted as one of the worst courses on Tour by the players. It is also difficult to predict for DFS purposes because a myriad of players have won here ranging from the world’s elite (Jason Day and Adam Scott) to guys who can’t even break 80 anymore (Stephen Bowditch and Brendon Todd). Mike Weir came in second place just two years ago. Mike friggin Weir… Another difficult aspect of this course for DFSers is the fact that winners here have ranged from long bombers to short knockers leaving the majority of the field as possible options to roster this week. It’s tough to shorten down the field with length or accuracy off the tee because both types of golfers have faired well here in the past.
Golfers that hit it a mile should have an advantage because of the hard to hit fairways (missing the fairway and having a wedge in your hand is a lot easier than missing and having a 7 iron) but accurate short hitters who hit a lot of greens have just as good of a shot at a high finish. Weather is another big factor as we saw last year when 12 inches of rain fell on the course in the days leading up to the tournament, including 5 inches of rain falling in one night in between the first and second rounds. This led to a hole being shortened from a normal par 4 to a 100 yard par 3 because of all the standing water. Rain is in the forecast Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week but it doesn’t look like we’ll have the same problems as last year because it’s not going to be too torrential. Wind can also play a big part in the outcome as seen by Keegan Bradley’s win a few years ago where he shot just -3 to get the victory. Wind played havoc that week but as of now, it looks like the wind will be light.
TPC Four Seasons is a 7,166 yard par 70 course with four par 3s and only 2 par 5s which are both reachable by most. Off the tee golfers will face tight tree lined fairways with many bunkers and water on 8 of the holes. These fairways are tough to hit as only around 55% of drives here actually land on the fairway. The trees aren’t that tightly bunched and if golfers are super wild off the tee they could still be ok as if you miss extremely left or right you could fly over the tree line onto an adjacent fairway, making your approach shot much easier than if you actually hit it into the trees. Rain is in the forecast for the two days prior to the tournament and if they are heavy enough, the rough might not be able to get mown. This could make the rough very thick but this is all conjecture as of now. Check the Golf Channel or other media outlets to get an idea of how thick the rough will be. On approach shots golfers will see large undulating greens with runoffs and closely mown areas around the green. Bunkers and water will be in play once again on most approaches. The greens are bent grass and are average in speed with a stimpmeter rating of around 11.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G), which are key stats every week.
Good Drive % (GD%)
Hitting fairways will be important and hitting greens when missing the fairway will be key as well since nearly half the tee shots hit don’t make it to the fairway. GD% takes both of these factors into account and I think it will be a good base to see which golfers you want to roster this week.
Par 4 Scoring (P4):
Since there are twelve par 4s on the course I will be looking at P4 this week. Since 2008 22/30 golfers that finished Top 3 with recordable stats were inside the Top 90 in this stat for that specific year.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
Making birdies is always important but according to the trends it might actually be more important here than other courses. Since 2008 21/30 golfers that finished Top 3 were inside the Top 90 in this stat for that specific year.
Proximity from 150-175 yards (Prox150) AND Proximity from 175-200 yards (Prox175):
Hitting it close on these large greens is important from any distance but there have been more approach shots hit from these distances than any other since 2008. Nearly 50% of all approach shots will be coming from these two ranges so finding golfers who fair well in both could give you a leg up this week.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
Dustin Johnson ($11,900):
Other than Spieth, DJ is by far the best golfer in the field. He has had numerous Top 10s this year but hasn’t been able to hold the trophy on Sunday, yet. This could be his week to pick up his first victory of 2016 as he has had success here in the past and has great stats for the course. He’s 8th in SG:T2G, 3rd in BoB%, 10th in P4, 37th in SG:P, and 9th in Prox150. His GD% is not great but he’ll be hitting it so far off the tee that he’ll have a short iron in his hands on almost all approach shots which will give him an advantage even if he is in the rough. He has four Top 10s in six events played a TPC Four Seasons since the course redesign. If a big name golfer wins this tournament this week I think it will be DJ and not Jordan Spieth. (GPP and cash)
Matt Kuchar ($10,500):
I honestly think Kuchar is the third best golfer in this tournament and with only a $10,500 price tag I think he is actually cheaper than he should be in a weaker field like this. He is my #1 ranked golfer overall in my model this week. He’s 19th in SG:T2G, 39th in BoB%, 34th in P4, 49th in GD%, 68th in SG:P, and 36th in Prox175. He is coming off a strong performance last week at The PLAYERS and has two Top 10s in his last three events played on Tour. Kuchar has also made his last seven cuts at TPC Four Seasons with three Top 15 finishes. He will be a staple in my cash lineup this week and a victory for him is not out of the question. (GPP and cash)
Brooks Koepka ($9,600):
Koepka comes in as my #1 ranked golfer this week when it comes to stats. He’s 45th in SG:T2G, 27th in BoB%, 22nd in P4, 16th in GD%, 65th in SG:P, 59th in Prox150, and 6th in Prox175. He has had an up and down season so far this year but still has three Top 10s. He finished 16th here last year and has the game to be an elite player. If it truly happens is anyone’s guess but I will be using him in quite a few GPP lineups this week. (GPP only)
Marc Leishman ($9,500):
Leishman made a lot of people happy last week by going -3 on his last six holes of round 2 to make the cut on the number. He faded a bit on the weekend but everyone did (except Ken Duke) because of the somewhat unfair playing conditions presented to the golfers on Saturday at The PLAYERS. He has had success at this course making 5/7 cuts and finishing inside the Top 12 in all five of his cuts made. Stat wise he is in my Top 10 this week. He’s 54th in SG:T2G, 23rd in BoB%, 24th in P4, 94th in GD% (still above average for the field), 14th in SG:P, and 77th in Prox150. He’s a little too volatile to use in cash games this week at his price but I like him in GPPs. (GPP only)
Others to look at in this price range:
Charley Hoffman ($10,800)
Zach Johnson ($10,200)
Mid Level Golfers ($7000-$8900)
Ryan Palmer ($8,900)
Ryan Palmer is from the Lone Star state and enjoys this course. He has made his last five cuts here with three Top 10 finishes. He has had a fairly consistent year so far with twelve made cuts in a row and seven Top 26 finishes in that span. He came in 4th a few weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open and looking at previous winners here, the majority of them have a Top 20 finish leading up to their win at TPC Four Seasons. His stats are good but not great for the course but I can look past that due to his current form and familiarity with the course. He is 3rd in par 5 scoring which could help him this week as golfers will need to score fairly well on the two par 5s to contend especially if they don’t play par 4s that well. (GPP and cash)
Scott Piercy ($8,000):
After an injury derailed a promising start to his career, Piercy seems to be back on track making 11/12 cuts this year with seven Top 25 finishes. He has had success at TPC Four Seasons in the past with three Top 26 finishes in his last three appearances including a 5th place finish in 2013. He has very good stats for the course and I like how he hits the ball long (26th in DD) with some semblance of accuracy off the tee as well (89th in DA). I like golfers like that a lot this week and Piercy is no exception. He also makes a ton of birdies and hits a lot of greens which should be helpful as well. (GPP and cash)
Colt Knost ($7,800):
Knost is probably playing some of the best golf of his career this year making 15/16 cuts with two recent Top 16 finishes including a 3rd place finish last week at The PLAYERS. His stats for the course are just above average but he avoids bogeys, is supremely accurate off the tee, has a great GD%, and is a great scrambler and putter. He finished 10th here last year and expect him to continue his good run this week. (GPP and cash)
Lucas Glover ($7,500):
Glover is far and away my favorite play in this price range this week. He comes in at #2 in my model when looking at just stats and he is my #3 ranked golfer overall this week, even above Jordan Spieth. I know this sounds crazy but let’s take a look at his key stats for the course. He’s 20th in SG:T2G, 77th in BoB%, 6th in P4, 5th in GD%, 16th in Prox150, and 17th in Prox175. He’s also #1 in GIR on Tour this year. I know stats don’t paint the whole picture but he has been playing really solid golf during his last few tournaments making 5 cuts in a row with a 8th place finish a couple weeks ago at Wells Fargo. His putting sucks but if he can find form in his flat stick for one week he can make some noise. Remember, he is a former Major Championship winner. I think the upside is there for him this week and he’ll be my highest owned golfer by far in this price range. I’m not sold on him for cash games because he has never played the course but I actually don’t mind if you decide to use him in those formats as well. (GPP only)
Others to look at in this price range:
Danny Lee ($8,600)
Gary woodland ($8,500)
Keegan Bradley ($7,900)
Russell Henley ($7,800)
Jhonnathan Vegas ($7,100)
Low End Value Picks ($5400-$6900)
Alex Cejka ($6,800)
It’s a tough week to find golfers that I really love in this price range but Cejka definitely is one I can get on board with. A lot of the time when it comes to golfers in this price range I like to look at current form over stats and his form is solid. Cejka has made five of his last seven cuts on Tour with THREE Top 21 finishes including an 11th at the Puerto Rico Open and a 9th place finish last week at The PLAYERS. He also has solid stats for the course for his price this week which is a nice bonus. He’s 66th in SG:T2G, 25th in BoB%, 26th in P4, 82nd in GD%, 69th in SG:P, and 86th in Prox175. He has only missed one cut in five tries since the course redesign in ’08 and has a couple of Top 25s in that span as well. (GPP and cash)
Tim Wilkinson ($6,800):
Shockingly Wilkinson is my 14th ranked golfer overall this week. He has been having a good stretch on Tour making his last four cuts with three Top 30 finishes including an 11th place finish a couple of weeks ago at the Wells Fargo in Charlotte. He has spotty course history here making only two of five cuts since 2008 but in those two made cuts he posted a Top 25 finish. Stat wise he has an above average tee to green game, avoids bogeys, is great at P4, putts very well, and has elite Proximity stats as a whole. He also is the #1 ranked scrambler on Tour this year which should be helpful. I’ll be using a bunch of him in GPPs this week. (GPP only)
Chez Reavie ($6,600):
Reavie is my 7th ranked golfer when it comes to key stats for the course this week. He’s 23rd in SG:T2G, 30th in P4, 6th in GD%, 28th in Prox150, and 14th in Prox175. He was a DFS darling for a little while earlier in the year but has faded recently missing his last three cuts. This should keep his ownership very low and if he plays well it could make you some money. (GPP only)
Will Zalatoris ($5,400):
If you’re looking for a super sleeper play at minimum price, Zalatoris might be your guy. He is a sophomore at Wake Forest and is from Texas. As a youth he won the Texas State Amateur tournament and won a couple of Texas state titles in high school. College golfers have made some noise this year at minimum pricing on DraftKings. Curtis Reed made the cut at the Valero, Bobby Wyatt came in 4th at the Zurich Classic, and Bryson Dechambeau has been doing his thing on Tour as well. If you’re interested in making a Spieth/DJ lineup, having Zalatoris in your lineup might not be the worst idea.
Others to look at in this price range:
Spencer Levin ($6,700)
Andrew Loupe ($6,600)
Scott Pinckney ($6,300)
Mark Hubbard ($6,100)
Greg Owen ($5,900)
That’s it for this week. For more PGA DFS knowledge check out my Podcast. It’s called Fantasy Golf Degenerates and you can find it on iTunes. I also host a web chat on Slurv.com every Wednesday at 1pm EST so if you have questions you can ask me there. I will be posting a video with my favorite cash game plays on Slurv.com every week as well. Follow me on Twitter for more fantasy golf info! Good luck to everyone this week and hopefully you win big!
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Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.