The final major of the year, the PGA Championship, is being contested at Bellerive CC in St. Louis this week. Mother nature appears to be playing a major factor this week. The course is currently very soft after a lot of rain has fallen. The soft conditions have increased the effective width of the fairways which should favor the long hitters. The greens are expected to be fairly soft and a bit slower than a typical PGA Championship due to all the moisture the course has received in combination with the heat and humidity that St. Louis usually experiences in August… One interesting thing to note about Bellerive is that the green complexes are fairly simple to scramble around. I would expect a lot higher up and down percentage this week than in a typical major. With players being able to fire at pins on the soft greens and scramble easily if they miss, I expect the scores to be low. We might see someone break the PGA Championship scoring record of 265 or even the major record of 264. Knowing how the course is going to play is key for both DraftKings and One and Done leagues.
As we typically see for majors, DraftKings has provided a lot of value in the pricing. This will cause some high ownership of some players. One or two decisions in your lineup can be the difference between not cashing and winning $1,000,000 in the Millionaire Maker.
Start Russell Henley $6,700 over Thorbjorn Olesen $6,700
Olesen will be one of the highest owned value plays of the week. I love Olesen and think he has a good chance to succeed, but I just think the best chance at winning the million dollars is fading his 15-20% ownership this week. I’d rather play the similarly priced Russell Henley who has won multiple times on the PGA Tour at low ownership. Henley’s game is built around solid ball striking and a hot putter. His major struggle is usually with scrambling for par around the green. With the current course conditions, I think it favors Henley’s strengths and lets him hide his weakness. I’ve talked with Andy about the course as he walked in on Tuesday. He says it reminds him a bit of Golf Club of Houston. That just happens to be the course on Tour that Henley has had the most success.
Start Bubba Watson $8,000 over Tony Finau $8,100
Finau will be one of the highest owned players in this salary range based on the fact that he has finished in the top 10 in each of the majors this year. He also racked up another top 10 finish last week at the WGC Bridgestone. I think he will be around 20% owned and once again I think the best play is to face him if you are looking at having the best chance to win a million dollars. You can play Bubba Watson instead. Bubba will have lower ownership even though he has won 3 times this year and has won multiple majors. Bubba should feel comfortable on this course as the fairways will play wide and oftentimes will perfectly suit his fade off of the tee. A pivot play like this could be the difference this week.
The best piece of advice I can give you right now is to make sure you plan out the remainder of the year before making a pick this week. You should make a list of the remaining golfers that you have left and try and see where you may play them in the remaining 6 events. You also should take a look at the teams at the top of your league and see who they have left to pick. If you are trailing by a good amount, you will want to avoid those players so you can have a chance to catch up. I’m assuming most people have already burned through the top studs such as DJ, Spieth, Thomas, Rory, etc. so here are some other players to consider for this week:
If you are looking for a low owned option this week, I think Justin Rose will be your man. I expect people to be hesitant about choosing him because he took a week off to rest his back. If he is back to 100% health, he is one of the favorites to win this week. If you don’t choose to play him this week, he will be a viable option for the Tour Championship as he has had a lot of success there in the past.
Jason Day’s best major has historically been the PGA Championship. He has 6 top 15 finishes in 8 starts including a victory in 2015. Day showed that his game is in good form last week at Firestone. The soft conditions should help Day to keep it in play off of the tee.
If you are looking for a bit of a dark horse or are just running low on some top studs, then Schauffele is a great pick. He has a knack for contending in the largest of events. This year he has finished 2nd at the Players, 6th at the US Open and 2nd at The Open. Xander’s strength lies with his driver which will allow him to put himself in great position off the tee this week.
If you want more insight check out Paulie’s full field ranking here.