The PGA Championship will make its debut at TPC Harding Park, with nearly all of the top-50 players in the golf world getting set to tee it up in San Francisco. TPC Harding Park hosted the 2015 WGC Match Play and 40 players from that field will participate this weekend. With all the big names in action, including Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas, to name a few, there will be no shortage of worthwhile picks for your PGA DFS lineups.
As is always the case with with putting together a daily fantasy golf lineup (or betting card, for that matter), you need to know about the course and what types of players to target. TPC Harding Park played as a Par 71 when it hosted the Match Play in 2015 but will be a Par 70 this weekend. The yardage could be as long as 7,400 yards depending on the tee placements but is listed at 7,234 yards. There are just two Par 5s on the course, which means the scoring has got to be done on the Par 4s. There are three short Par 4s and seven Par 4s that reach out more than 450 yards. That’s why, once again, I’ll put Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 back into my key stats this weekend.
When really looking through the information on this course and how the PGA Tour will set it up for these players, I got a sense that this will be a combination of a U.S. Open with an Open Championship. The course will feature narrow tree-lined fairways, thick punishing rough, and fast greens like most U.S. Opens. The course also has little-to-no water, tough bunkers, and high winds, which makes you think of an Open Championship. Length off the tee will be at a premium, but with these thin fairways, I’m going to focus on total driving which takes into account distance and accuracy.
MORE: Complete betting guide to the 2020 PGA Championship
This deep rough will give fits to even the best scramblers in the world, but I’m going to add that to my key stats. The winner this weekend will be the player who can avoid the big numbers (like Bryson DeChambeau’s 10 and Dustin Johnson’s 9 over the past few weeks), which is why I’m putting bogey avoidance back in the mix. Finally, as I say every week, you can’t make up ground on the field without making birdies — and you can’t make birdies without putting yourself in good positions on the approach.
So, what kind of players should you target this week? That’s the million dollar question because you want a player with distance off the tee but not one who sprays it all over the yard. You want an accurate player to keep the ball in the short stuff, but they have to be able to take advantage of the short Par 4s. I’m going to do my best to spread the wealth this weekend. There are 156 players in the field this weekend, so I decided to give you more plays than usual.
Lastly, the weather looks to be terrific this weekend with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s throughout the tournament. The one thing these players will have to contend with will be the winds. Thursday looks to be the worst, with winds getting close to 20 mph, but the rest of the weekend will be in the low teens. There are players who play better in swirling winds, such as Marc Leishman or some of the European tour players who are used to these conditions.
KEY STATS: Strokes Gained: Approach, Total Driving, Scrambling, Bogey Avoidance, and Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards.
ONE-AND-DONE PICK: Jon Rahm
PGA Championship expert picks
Justin Thomas: Do I really need to give you reasons to like Thomas this weekend? He has four top-10 finishes since the restart, including a win last week and a runner-up at the Workday. He’s also first in Strokes Gained: Approach, fourth in Bogey Avoidance, and fifth in Scrambling.
Jon Rahm: I didn’t put him in my Playbook last week but now I’m getting him at a discount with a chip on his shoulder. He did finish up his week at the WGC with a Sunday 66. Remember, he just won the Memorial two weeks ago and remains the No. 1 player in the world. He’s second in Total Driving, eighth in Bogey Avoidance and 20th in Par 4 Efficiency (450-500).
Xander Schauffele: Just amazing across the board this weekend. First in Ball Striking, sixth in Bogey Avoidance, seventh in Scrambling, 10th in Total Driving and Top 35 in both Par 4 and Approach. He’s gotten better in each of his past four starts: T20, T14, T13 & T6 (last week at the WGC). I’ll likely be overweight on him.
Hideki Matsuyama: He is a sleeping giant at a great price this weekend. One of the premiere ball strikers on tour still ranks in the Top 15. He has three top-25 finishes in his past four starts on Tour. He’s also third in Strokes Gained: Approach, 30th in Bogey Avoidance, and 36th in Total Driving. Moreover, he’s seven-for-seven on cuts made at the PGA Championship with two top-five finishes.
Kevin Na: Did you know Na has two top-10 finishes in his past four starts? I don’t think anyone knows because that’s the type of guy he is — a very under-the-radar talent. He’s great around the greens and on them, fifth in Scrambling, and third in Strokes Gained: Putting. He also consistent and doesn’t have many blow-up holes, ranking 24th in Bogey Avoidance. I have a feeling he’ll make for a great value this weekend at just $7K.
Brendan Steele: At one point, Steele was the best total driver on the PGA Tour. He currently ranks 24th but has always been one of the best drivers. He also ranks 27th in Par 4 Efficiency (450-500) and 32nd in Strokes Gained: Approach. His past four finishing positions on Tour are sixth, 52nd, 13th, and 53rd. If the pattern holds, we should be in for a real treat this weekend.
Dustin Johnson: I just can’t quit DJ, especially at his current price point. The talent is just too great not to throw him into a bunch of lineups. While he does not have a Wanamaker Trophy his collection, he does have five top-10 finishes in his 10 career starts, including a second place last year. He’s also fourth on Tour in Total Driving.
Chez Reavie: He has three straight finishes of T22 or better, including that sixth place at the WGC last weekend. He hasn’t missed the cut at the PGA Championship in five trips and finished 14th last year. He’s another premiere ball striker when his game is right, and it looks pretty right. He’s 36th in Bogey Avoidance, climbed from 56th to 38th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and went from 72nd to 42nd in Scrambling. He’s basically a lock button for almost everyone this weekend.