DraftKings PGA Championship Millionaire Maker Picks
The final PGA Major kicks off tomorrow morning, so we wanted to share our top plays for the week. When we approach a major tournament, we create a pool of players that we want to highlight throughout our lineups. We then give a confidence rating to each player, which directly translates into just how exposed we are to him throughout our lineups.
There are several things we consider when creating this pool of players. The first is current form. We don’t want golfers that are struggling with one part of their game, or haven’t been in the best form in the 3-5 tournaments heading into the major.
The second is a thorough statistical analysis of the golf course and the players in the field. We identify which stats matter the most for the tournament and then target golfers that excel in those areas. Baltusrol is an extremely long par 70 course, which means you need guys that score on long par 4’s. So what stats matter? We looked at approach shots between 200-250 yards, because a solid drive on these 500 yard par 4’s is still going to leave you with a 200+ yard second shot.
Generally when you play a long par 70 course like this you want to target bogey avoidance. We may be looking at a week where -7 wins and anyone -2 or better is in contention. That being said, if it rains you have a long, soft course so you also need guys capable of scoring in those conditions. Keep an eye on Birdie to Bogey % and Par 4 birdie or better leaders.
The last and most important factor is targeting 6 golfers that are going to make the cut. We aren’t targeting anyone under $7,100 in more than 10% of our lineups. So everyone out there that is ‘all-in’ on guys like Grillo, Finau, Na, Woodland, Vegas, Johnston, Molinari, etc… Ease up a bit and make sure that you aren’t over-exposed to anyone in this group.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that group of golfers, and a lot of them pass the analytical test in addition to the eye test, but I want proven players in big tournaments. Case in point, we had 4 of the top 14 in several lineups for last week’s Canadian Open and the winner Vegas was our highest owned player, but just barely doubled up because one or two of our main targets missed the cut in every lineup.
Keeping these factors in mind, here is our top 10 players to target in the 2016 PGA Championship.
Our Top 10 Targets for the 2016 PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy – $11,400
I think if it does rain like the forecast is calling for on Friday and Sunday, this tournament may line up perfectly for Rory. Look back at his first four majors, long courses, wet conditions. If he can go out and bomb it up onto slow greens, he’s the guy to beat this week. He’s 3rd in approaches 225-250 yards out, and is 8th in driving % over 300 yards. He’s our favorite play in that top group, but we will have a little Day and DJ exposure as well.
Adam Scott – $9,600
If I had to pick a winner this week it would come down to Rory, Day, DJ, and Scott. All 5 guys are in great form, and have the games and mentality to win on this course. Scott is not only the cheapest of the group, but I think his game particularly fits well here. He’s by far 1st on tour in approaches from 200-225 yards, and is 13th in birdie to bogey ratio. With 2 wins and 7 top 20 finishes in his last 10, his form is solid, and I thought he golfed better than the T43 he finished at The Open. As always, it all comes down to putting with Scott so you don’t want to be overexposed here.
Patrick Reed – $8,100
Reed’s one of my all-time favorite golfers, and a big reason for that is his long iron play. He’s absolutely fearless, and while he’s top 10 in the PGA from 200-225 yard approach shots, the fact that he is -18 relative to par in this category (second only to Spieth) is even more impressive. Coming off of a T12 at The Open, I’m betting Reed is locked in and has a solid PGA Championship.
Brooks Koepka – $7,800
Brooks is the biggest risk/reward play in the field this week. He’s mashes the golf ball, and racks up a ton of birdies which means scoring on DraftKings. However, this is his first tournament back from an ankle injury that has kept him out since late June. If he is in decent form, I think he contends here as it’s a course tailored to his game. However, there is significant risk around the state of that ankle and his game after taking a month off. He’s not a strong cash game play, but may be worth a shot in your GPP lineups. Swim at your own risk.
J.B. Holmes – $7,700
Another masher that could benefit if we get some rain this week, J.B. is at or near the top of most driving distance statistics, but his game has evolved into more than that this season. He’s finished top 4 in 2 of 3 Majors this year with a solo-3rd at The Open, and T4 at The Masters. He’s 16th in approaches 200-225 yards, 11th in par 4 birdies or better, and top 20 in several other scoring categories. If it does rain, he will be able to control the ball on his approaches better and really do some scoring on Friday and Sunday.
Webb Simpson – $7,500
Webb is a guy that has burned us several times in the past, and we didn’t expect to like coming into this week. However, every time we ran pulled a statistic relevant to this golf course, Webb was near the top of the field. Every type of approach shot relevant to this course, par 4 scoring, long par 4 scoring, etc… Webb’s game is a fit for Baltusrol. He missed the cut at the US Open, finished T39 at The Open, and finsihed T29 at the Masters, but finished top 11 in 3 of his last 5 overall.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello – $7,300
We will keep targeting Cabrera-Bello until his price is corrected on DraftKings. He’s a the 4th overall player on the European Tour, and is top 10 on DraftKings in PGA scoring. He has made 15/16 cuts in PGA events this year, but is yet to get a win and has only 5 top 10 finishes. That being said, he can score, will make the cut and give you 4 days of scoring, finished T17 at the Masters, solo 4th at the French Open, and in addition to being 4th on the European Tour is top 10 in strokes and GIR.
Justin Thomas – $7,200
Thomas will likely be a popular pick this week. He’s another bomber that is great with the driver and great with the long irons. He’s a risky play as bogey avoidance isn’t his thing, but if he makes the cut, he’s long enough to score on the par 4’s here. Few players have the upside of Thomas, where if he gets hot with the putter his game is good enough for a top 20 finish. Finished T18 in this tournament last year.
Jason Dufner – $7,100
Dufner will be a popular pick this week. I think we will likely see 15-20% ownership out of him. He’s in great form and has scored par 4’s about as well as anyone for the past two months. His final round at The Open was phenomenal, and if he can carry that momentum, as well as the momentum from a T8 at the U.S. Open into this tournament I think he will hang around in the top 20 heading into Sunday.
Bill Haas – $7,100
It’s become a running joke here that I love Billy Haas in major championships, but it’s true, I do. That being said, his approach is particularly perfect for this week’s tournament. He’s top 20 in bogey avoidance, but that number jumps way up when you look at major championships. He’s coming off a top 10 at The Open, and I expect him to just hang around and not only potentially grab a back-door top 10, but to contend this week.