Welcome to Glory’s Last Shot at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. This event has a number of headlines from Jordan’s Grand Slam bid, Mickelson/Els’ 100th majors, Rory’s first major with a new caddy and the renovation of Quail Hollow. (Note: Quail Hollow traditionally hosts the Wells Fargo Championship with exception of 2017.)
What the course looks like:
- Par 71 around 7600 yards with a few holes changed since 2016 (1,4,5).
- Nine par fours playing at least 449 yards!
- Other two par fours might be drivable as they are under 350 yards
- New greens (Champions Ultradwarf Bermuda)
- This type of grass on the greens is genetically engineered to perform better in warm weather and provide firm and fast conditions.
- Courses with this same grass on the greens include: TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic), TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas Open), Austin CC (Dell WGC Match Play), Sedgefield CC (Wyndham), Seminole GC in Florida, Also a few of the Robert Trent Jones courses in Alabama use the grass which you may have played.
- New bunker sand (exact same as used at Augusta National)
- Course has received a fair amount of rain recently which currently has the fairways fairly soft
What Stats to Look At:
- Driving Distance: Required due to 7600 yard length with nearly all par fours 449+ yards
- SG Off the Tee: With long par fours, a combination of distance and accuracy will be needed to score especially with firm greens and juicy rough.
- SG Putting (SGP): Comparing SGP on Champions Ultradwarf Bermuda versus other surfaces
- Course History: Results from Wells Fargo Championship 2016 and earlier
Phil Mickelson $8,500
Want to know what Phil’s average finish over the last 10 events at Quail Hollow is? How about 7.9? That is not a misprint. He has nine top 12s in that span and a remarkable six top fives. Common sense would suggest that Phil wouldn’t be a great fit for the course since he isn’t the longest hitter and tends to spray his tee shots. But, he has had success keeping it in play on this track as it suits his eye. Mickelson also succeeds putting on this new type of grass. He is 2.4 shots per event better putting on these surfaces than all other surfaces. If Phil does miss the greens this week, he will likely find the bunkers which are filled with Phil’s favorite sand (the same as Augusta National). Phil offers the best betting value all week with +250 for a top 20, +500 for a top 10 and +1000 for a top five finish. Those numbers seem awfully high to me.
Charley Hoffman $7,600
Hoffman has been on a tear of late finishing third at the Bridgestone and runner up at the RBC Canadian Open. Even though he is not the longest hitter, he hits it far enough to succeed this week. In 14 of his past 16 events, he’s gained strokes off the tee. Much like Mickelson, he has had great success on Champions Ultradwarf Bermuda greens. He is 4.4 shots better per event on these greens compared to other greens. That is an insane stat! If Hoffman can keep his ballstriking together and find this hot putter….watch out.
Jason Day $10,400
If you are looking for a contrarian play, look no further than Jason Day. Am I saying Day is likely to succeed and play well this week? No, but he he has a chance and I think his salary will cause him to be very low owned (8% or less). His price at $10,400 is within $300 of Matsuyama, Fowler and Rahm all of whom I expect to have high ownership. The general public is down on Day because of his struggles this year and will overlook him at this price. I like this play because it is rare to get a player with Day’s potential at less than 10% ownership. I don’t recommend using Day in all of your tournament lineups. I do suggest that you consider tossing into one or two of your lineups. He has the upside and low ownership needed to win large tournaments such as the Millionaire Maker.
Henrik Stenson $9,800
Stenson has not fared well at Quail Hollow in the past. He has missed four of his last five cuts here (best finish of 58th). At this price range, I don’t see Stenson having the ability to provide enough upside for me to roster him.
If you are near the top of your league and still have Rory available, you should play him this week. He has finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven trips to Quail Hollow. This stretch is highlighted by two victories. Rory swung the driver well last week at Firestone. On the week, he gained an incredible 6.5 strokes on the field off the tee. Furthermore, over his last 12 events, Rory has gained an astounding 57.2 strokes on the field from the tee ball. If he continues to drive it well this week with the soft fairways, he has a good chance to add to his major total.
If you have already used Rory or are looking for a contrarian play, I like Brooks Koepka. He seems to show up in the big events. He has a long streak of top 30s in majors and has finished 11th, 1st and 6th in majors this year. This track rewards elite driving and Brooks has the ability to do that. If you need to make up some ground in the standings you will have to go against the Rory chalk and Brooks is a great option.
Kevin Chappell (80-1 to win, 17-1 top 5, 15-2 top 10, 7-2 top 20)
Chappell has had moderate success at Quail Hollow in the past evidenced by two top 20s in his last three appearances. His recent form is strong with 13th and 8th place finishes in his past two starts. Chappell is another player who putts well on these types of greens as he is 4.3 shots better per event on this grass versus others.
Xander Schauffele (100-1 to win, 20-1 top 5, 10-1 top 10, 5-1 top 20)
Xander is still flying a bit under the radar. He hits the ball long enough to succeed on the long par fours. He has gained strokes off the tee in eight straight events which is great for someone who is 100-1. He has also played well in big events (fifth US Open, 20th Open Championship, 13th Bridgestone) and added a victory to his belt at the Greenbrier. At these odds, I’m more than willing to toss a few shekels on Schauffele.