Tournament History, Performance, Stats and Salaries At Bottom!
This is my 35th article written on dfsondemand.com and I’m saddened to say it is my last. My weekly articles will be moving on to another site starting next week. I’d like to thank Rick aka RickRunGood for giving me the opportunity to give my PGA DFS opinions week in and week out for the last 10 months. Without him I wouldn’t have had the chance to reach out to all of you, the readers, with sometimes half decent fantasy golf knowledge. Dfsondemand.com will be running strong with all of Rick’s insight and videos for PGA DFS on the site and Brad Messersmith, my cohost on the Fantasy Golf Degenerates podcast will still be writing his thoughts on the European Tour each week. Rick also has tremendous information on his site for ALL fantasy sports including football, baseball, and basketball. He has grand plans for more Fantasy Golf information on the site in the future. Make sure to check his Twitter for all the latest upgrades to the site. Thanks to all of you that have been reading my material here on dfsondemand.com. You have truly made this one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Alright, enough of this emotional BS (no not ball striking), let’s move onto what you really want to read: ALL THE US OPEN INFO!!! Here we go!
Golfers head to Oakmont, PA this week to play the US Open from Oakmont Country Club. The USGA loves this place as it is the ninth time a US Open has been held here. Oakmont CC is a 7,254 yard par 70 with four par 3 and two long par 5s. At first glance you wouldn’t think the course is too difficult because there is no water, hardly any trees, and large greens. This is definitely not the case. The winning score in 2007 (the last time a US Open was held at Oakmont) was +5. Phil Mickelson earlier this week stated that this course is one of the most difficult courses in the world. You may be asking how this is possible without the usual hazards you see week in and week out on Tour. Well let’s start off the tee. Golfers will be hitting into narrow fairways that slope heavily one way or another leaving uneven lies on approach shots. If the course is dry, the fairways will be firm and quick, which will make holding tee shots on the fairway very difficult unless the golfer hits it in the exact right spot. If golfers miss the fairway they will have to deal with treacherous rough. The first cut of rough will be around 2.5 inches tall and will extend about 15 ft in both directions from the edge of the fairway. Golfers will still have a chance to advance the ball if they just barely miss the fairway and are hitting it out of this first cut of rough. If golfers miss wildly off the tee they will have to deal with a second cut of rough which could be up to 5 inches tall. One of the PGA Tour Live commentators this week said that you could lose a small child in this rough. In 2007 Phil Mickelson hurt his wrist hitting out of the rough and afterwards called the rough “dangerous.” Hitting it in this second cut of rough will be equivalent to a one stroke penalty since golfers will only be able to hit a wedge out and barely hit the ball 100 yards. There are also A LOT of deep bunkers around the fairways the most famous of them being the church pew bunkers on the 3rd and 4th fairways.
The course superintendents actually cut the rough down a little bit around the bunkers, so instead of the ball being stuck in the rough off a missed tee shot, some will trickle into these deep fairway bunkers. Hitting into these fairway bunkers will almost be as penal as hitting it into the rough. There is no water on the course but there are drainage ditches in play on a lot of the holes. These ditches have high, thick fescue growing in them. Members of Oakmont CC have stated that they usually take the stroke penalty and drop out of these ditches. Since we’re dealing with Tour professionals many might decide to hit out of them. This could be a mistake and I’m sure we’ll see a few strokes lost by certain golfers who are trying to be brave and hit it out of these deep drainage ditches. The crazy thing about Oakmont CC is that the tee shot will not be the hardest part of the course. On approach shots golfers will be seeing larger than average greens but they could be rock hard (depending on weather), with wild undulation, and lightning speeds. The greens use poa annua grass and will have a stimpmeter rating of 14 or more. 14 on the stimpmeter is very fast. I heard one quote this week comparing putting on these greens to putting down a flight of stairs with the hole in the middle stair. The rough around the greens are once again very thick and bunkers are in play on almost all approach shots. Another difficult part about approach shots is that a lot of the greens don’t slope from back to front like most courses on Tour. For example hole #1 slopes from front to back and is considered one of the toughest opening holes in golf. If golfers hit it in the rough on the tee shot, there is no way the ball will stop on the green on the approach. If they land short of the green, the next shot will be virtually impossible to stop near the flag due to the front to back slope and the quickness of the green. There are plenty of green configurations like this at Oakmont to go along with many greens sloping heavily from right to left or vice versa. A few other tidbits about the course/event. The par 5s are HARD.
In most tournaments golfers expect a good amount of scoring on the par 5s. This does not reign true at Oakmont CC. In 2007 both par 5s played over par for the week. Another huge factor this week is the weather. If it rains this course can play a lot easier. It will soften the fairways and greens making them both more receptive to golf balls. Everyone remembers Johnny Miller’s 63 in the final round at Oakmont in 1973 to win the US Open. While it was a great feat, it wasn’t that big of an aberration. Oakmont received multiple inches of rain leading up to the tournament and the course played much easier. Not only did Miller shoot a 63, but there were two 65s, two 66s, and a total of 29 rounds in the 60s that week. As of now there is rain in the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so there is an outside chance that the course could play easier than everyone is saying. Lastly, the cut is Top 60 and ties. This means more golfers will be cut than a usual tournament. From a DFS standpoint usually in cash games you don’t need the winner to win in Double Ups and 50/50s. You just need as many guys as possible making the cut with maybe a few guys inside the Top 20 on your roster. Because of this I usually don’t roster the most expensive guys each week in my cash lineup. This week is different. Having golfers that finish high will greatly help your chances in succeeding in cash games especially since it will be difficult to get a lineup with 6/6 through or even 5/6 through.
The DraftKings bonus points for placement will be huge this week for your cash game lineups. Since the best odds of winning are usually from golfers that are very expensive, having one of the Top 3 golfers (Rory, Day, Spieth) in your cash lineup could be a good idea. I will definitely be having 1 of the big three in my cash lineup this week. For GPPs the cut being Top 60 and ties doesn’t really change the approach too much. To take down a GPP this week you’ll need the winner, a bunch of guys in the Top 10, and have some low owned guys in your roster that perform well.
Looking at the course description above a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats and current form to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups. I will be placing more emphasis on form than usual since I rely on trends when looking for specific stats at a course. They haven’t played here since 2007 so finding stats based on trends is not feasible. The stats I’m using are based specifically on the course description.
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.
Ball Striking (BS):
BS is a combination of Driving Accuracy, Driving Distance, and Greens in Regulation. Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation will be incredibly important this week. The fairways and greens are both tough to hit so looking at this stat makes sense in my book. Distance is not too important but it won’t hurt either.
With all the trouble around the course, greens will be missed. Finding golfers who consistently get it up and down will be a plus this week.
Par 4 Scoring (P4):
Anytime there are twelve par 4s on a course, I will look at this stat.
Bogey Avoidance (BA):
Pretty self explanatory here at Oakmont.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
Jason Day ($12,100):
I’m not going too far out on the limb but Jason Day is my favorite golfer this week and I think he is going to win. I think the big advantage for him will be hitting his 2 iron off the tee like he did at his victory at The PLAYERS. He’s deadly accurate with that club and still hits it about 290 yards. Another advantage Day has is the height of his approach shots. He hits his 5 iron as high as most golfers hit their 7 irons. This will be very helpful to hold the greens on his approaches. He is also a great scrambler, is exceptional from the sand, and is the best putter on Tour this year. I’ll be using him in all formats this week including cash games. (GPP and cash)
Jordan Spieth ($11,900):
I like Rory as well this week but if I had to pick between Rory and Spieth, I’ll take Spieth by a nose. He just shows up in Majors. He has been in the final couple of pairings on Sunday in the last 5 Majors played. He gears up for Majors just like Tiger used to. Even though it seems like he’s been struggling off the tee, he’s actually 18th in SG: Off The Tee this year. His main struggles have come on approach shots but he more than makes up for it with his putting and scrambling skills. He’s going to be supremely motivated after his collapse at Augusta and I think he’s mentally strong enough to not let that haunt him. (GPP and cash)
Justin Rose ($10,500):
This pick hinges on the health of Rose. As of now, everything points to him being healthy for the tournament. I like him this week because he has the patience and mental fortitude to get around this tough track. When he won the US Open a few years ago he started off with four bogeys in his first 11 holes. He fought back and finished that round with a 71. A lot of golfers would have folded but he didn’t and he ended up getting the victory at Merion. He also has experience at Oakmont with a Top 10 finish here in 2007. I think his ownership will be low because of concerns with his health and I think he makes for a fine GPP play this week. (GPP only)
Others to look at in this price range:
Dustin Johnson ($11,000)-GPP and cash
Rickie Fowler ($10,700)-GPP only
Phil Mickelson ($9,300)-GPP only
Mid Level Golfers ($7100-$8900)
Sergio Garcia ($8,900):
Garcia has six Top 11 finishes in eleven events this year on both the Euro and PGA Tours. He finally got another Tour victory in his last tournament played at the Byron Nelson a few weeks ago. He has come oh so close at Majors in the past and you know he’s itching to finally break through and take one down. Stat wise he’s solid. He’s 11th in SG:T2G, 50th in BA, 42nd in P4, 6th in BS, and 1st in GIR. He also has a masterful wedge game so if he does hit the ball in the rough and has to punch out, he can stick his wedge in close giving him opportunities for par. He struggles a bit around the green but hopefully he hits enough greens this week where it won’t hurt him too much. (GPP and cash)
Matt Kuchar ($8,500):
Kuchar comes in as my #1 ranked golfer overall according to my model. When it comes to stats, he’s elite. He’s 15th in SG:T2G, 12th in BA, 7th in P4, 53rd in BS, 25th in Scr, and 19th in SG:P. He has been red hot the last couple of months with five Top 10s in his last six events including three Top 5s. He also has four Top 15s in the last six US Opens. I know it’s not the same course but the USGA usually sets up the US Open venues in similar fashion. Kuchar will be a staple in my cash game lineups this week and he has solid GPP potential. (GPP and cash)
Patrick Reed ($8,400):
Reed has the talent to win Majors and I think he has a chance this week. He has been having a great year so far and leads the Tour in Top 10s. He has a great tee to green game, avoids bogeys, plays par 4s well, and is an elite scrambler. He has made the cut in seven of his last eight Majors played including back to back made cuts in the last two US Opens. I think he’s underpriced and I like him a lot this week. (GPP and cash)
Daniel Berger ($7,200):
As I’m writing this I am watching Daniel Berger stripe every fairway and make huge birdie putts as he’s in the lead going into the last few holes at St.Jude. If he does win this tournament we are getting tremendous value with him at the US Open. If prices came out after the St. Jude he would be at least $1,000 more. If he can continue this stellar play next week, he can make some noise. (GPP only)
Others to look at in this price range:
Brooks Koepka ($8,100)-GPP and cash
Brandt Snedeker ($8,000)-GPP only
Charl Schwartzel ($7,500)-GPP and cash
Marc Leishman ($7,300)-GPP only
Jason Dufner ($7,200)-GPP and cash
Low End Value Picks ($5500-$7000)
Webb Simpson ($7,000):
Webb seems to have found a way to putt half way decent. He switched to the Matt Kuchar grip (long putter leaned up against the left arm) right before the Dean and Deluca Invitational. He finished 3rd at the D&D Invitational and followed that up with an 11th place finish at The Memorial. He was 17th in SG:P at the D&D and 66th at The Memorial. The rest of his game is solid and US Open ready. Webb is a former US Open winner and if he can keep his putter going like he has the last few weeks, he’ll be a great value in all formats. He also had a baby last month so the Nappy Factor is in play. (GPP and cash)
Retief Goosen ($6,300):
Goosen is a two time US Open winner and has been playing his best golf in years recently. He has three consecutive Top 15 finishes and has made 12/13 cuts this year. He loves putting on fast greens and I think he should be a shoe in for a made cut with possible upside this week. (GPP and cash)
Lucas Glover ($6,200):
Glover is another former US Open winner and has great stats for the course. He’s 24th in SG:T2G, 3rd in BA, 20th in P4, 1st in BS, and 71st in Scr. He has three Top 11s this year but his fate is going to be decided by his putter. If he can catch some fire with the flat stick he could surprise people this week. The rest of his game seems well suited for the course. (GPP only)
Others to look at in this price range:
Brendan Steele ($6,900)-GPP only
Bill Haas ($6,900)-GPP only
Harris English ($6,700)-GPP only
Angel Cabrera ($6,500)-GPP only
Robert Streb ($6,200)-GPP only
Anirban Lahiri ($6,100)-GPP and cash
Andrew “Beef” Johnston ($6,100)-GPP only
That’s it for me! If you enjoy my work, follow me on to my next endeavor. Check my Twitter to see which site I’m moving on to next. Also check out the Fantasy Golf Degenerates podcast on iTunes, where Brad Messersmith and I go over our favorite plays each week. Good luck to all of you and hopefully you win some cash!!!