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Brooks Koepka

Well, I may have a small part of premonition on the PGA Tour last week in our preview of the Wells Fargo Championship. I mentioned that there may be some hope for punters trying to find some value with no Scottie Scheffler in the field and Ludvig Aberg WD with knee injury concerns. I went on to say that it probably meant Rory McIlroy would win. We duly struck a blow for punters, becoming yet another short-priced favourite to win on the PGA Tour. There, I will fess up, I jinxed it. Sorry, all.

True to form, I mentioned an interesting PGA stat I found in the lead-up to the Wells Fargo Championship preview. Just two winners had sat outside the Top 31 for ball speed when they won at Quail Hollow. It may be frustrating to see another short-priced winner, but it was reassuring to see our analysis played true in that regard.

But, let’s get honest. It has been a dire season for nearly all golf punters. It has been either very short-priced favourites or extreme long-shots taking out most tournaments for the season. So often, golf betting value is found in the 50/1 to 100/1 range. There have been just 4 such winners on the PGA Tour this year. Fortunately, finding Pavon at 125/1 at the Farmers Insurance Open has saved us from complete decimation. However, we stick to the process with the knowledge that when it comes to golf analysis following the numbers will eventually lead to a positive result over the long run.

Valhalla Golf Club Course Analysis

Valhalla plays host to our PGA Championship preview

Speaking of Rory McIlroy, the PGA Championship returns to Valhalla Golf Club, a course we last had the chance to preview some 10 years ago. That was the venue of Rory’s last major victory, and he arrives in a rich vein of form off the back of consecutive victories. Included in that was the win at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, where Quail Hollow should play analogous to Valhalla.

This feels like another venue that will do what it says on the tin. Valhalla, designed by Jack Nicklaus and played in the state of Kentucky, is an epic 7,609 yards par 71. Quail Hollow is also a par 71 and a mere 51 yards shorter. Both also feature a driveable par 4 and reasonably narrow fairways.

That is a hallmark of Nicklaus-designed golf courses. He tests every element of a player’s game. So, if pulling driver, you will be rewarded with extra distance if you keep the ball in-play. However, fairways narrow significantly at landing areas with thick hay and fairway bunkers awaiting any tee shot that falls too astray.

Greens are a little smaller than Quail Hollow and are bentgrass. They will be firm and fast, typical of a PGA Championship venue. Par will often be a very good score and see you gaining strokes on the field.

Finally, we have a rare emergence of zoysiagrass fairways. This grass type features rarely on the PGA Tour. We see this at regular stops at TPC Craig Ranch, TPC Southwind, and East Lake Golf Club. This polarizing grass has a higher rate of water retention. Some players comment that it feels like hitting the ball off a tee. Others complain that it can produce flyers, with the grass getting caught between the ball and club face and traveling further than expected.

Valhalla Course Comps

As mentioned, this is a rare circumstance where last week’s tournament provides not only some guidance of recent form but a course that should demand similar skills from our golfers in this PGA Championship preview.

Quail Hollow matches in a large number of metrics, from overall performance off the tee, and similar approach metrics as expected this week where any shots over 175 yards will see a disproportionate weighting compared to other PGA Tour venues.

Given some of the weather to be discussed shortly, I think that the 2022 PGA Championship could be a reasonable guide to this week. Oak Hill also is far from the worst guide to consider.

I have also included some weighting in my model to recent zoysiagrass performances. Although the venues often produce lower-scoring tournaments, we can look into the approach numbers at these PGA Tour stops to identify players who may prefer this grass type.

PGA Championship Weather Preview

Weather certainly looks like it could play a role in this year’s PGA Championship preview. Thursday currently looks to be quite calm, although early morning fog may see play delayed by an hour or two if heavy. Particularly, Thursday morning looks to be quite still and should provide optimal scoring conditions with the course still a little moist from rain earlier in the week.

Friday afternoon, we could see some more volatile weather arrive. There is a chance of thunderstorms from 1pm and winds will increase, gusting up to 25-30mph. There is always the risk with thunderstorms that play is delayed. This can cause any weather edge to flip 180°.

However, in this instance, forecasts have Saturday being very windy and high gusts all day. Thos on Friday PM would only find themselves in more volatile winds should they need to finish round 2 on Saturday morning.

That leads me to believe there should be a weather edge for tee-times from Thursday PM/Friday AM for the first two rounds. That always comes with the caveat that weather forecasts can flip quickly, especially when there is the looming chance of thunderstorms.

Ensure you have signed up for WinDaily Premium to access all our final weather decisions closer to tee time. Information is available right up until play starts to provide you with any identifiable weather edge that can be gleaned. This is particularly for DFS, with players priced under $7,500 most affected by any weather edge. You will find this information and more in the WinDaily Premium Discord here.

PGA Championship Preview Golf Betting Tips

If you want to read my golf betting tips for the PGA Championshipyou can preview these in the WinDaily Premium Discord here.

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Thank you for reading our preview and tournament analysis of the PGA Championship. I look forward to welcoming you into the WinDaily family and celebrating many, many wins with you in 2024!

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For most punters, it’s fair to say it has been a polarizing season on the PGA Tour so far. Mixed in between a number of extremely short-priced Scottie Scheffler victories, whose four wins all came at less than $7.50, there have been a number of long-shot winners. In fact, an outstanding 8 of the first 13 tournaments this year were won by a golfer paying triple figures come tournament start. Just five victories have come at less than 80/1 this year that weren’t Scheffler. Fortunately for us, we managed to hit Matthieu Pavon at 125/1, which has helped to keep our head above water. Also fortunately for this week’s Wells Fargo Championship preview, we picked Wyndham Clark successfully here at 75/1 for his debut PGA Tour victory.

In case you were wondering, those five winners under 80/1 in 2024 (who weren’t Scottie Scheffler) are as follows. They were Wyndham Clark at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (60/1), Jake Knapp at the Mexico Open (40/1), Stephan Jaeger at the Houston Open (50/1), Akshay Bhatia at the Texas Open (50/1), and Billy Horschel at the Corales Puntacana (20/1).

Finally, perhaps the largest stroke of fortune in hopefully finding some value this week is that Scottie Scheffler is not playing. With the withdrawal of Ludvig Aberg from a course that should’ve really suited him also has to assist. Which, of course, probably means Rory McIlroy wins this week.

A short tangent into the history books

The host course this week, Quail Hollow Club, provides many advantages for our Wells Fargo Championship preview this week. Firstly, this tournament has been hosted at this venue on 18 prior occasions. The golf course also hosted the Kemper Open on 11 occasions, if you wish to deep-dive back to the 1970s. This provides a wealth of data to delve into. Secondly, the course does exactly what it says on the tin.

Initially, the mention of those 1970s tournaments may seem pretty inert. Until you find out that Tom Weiskopf won the event 3 times in that 11 year span. He was regarded as one of the longest drivers of the golf ball at the time, along with one of the most consistent ball-strikers of his era.

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Quail Hollow Course Analysis

Not much has changed some 50 years later. That helps our preview of the Wells Fargo Championship. The golf course is a mammoth 7,558 yard par 71. Pound-for-pound, that makes it the longest PGA Tour venue of the regular stops for the year. It should come as no surprise, then, that driving distance is a real asset at this golf course.

That translates as far as the approach shots. A whopping 75% of all approach shots will occur from over 150 yards. If there is a flaw in Rory McIlroy’s game, it is perhaps his wedges. Therefore, it should be no surprise that he has won three times, finished runner-up twice, and an additional four Top 10s to boot on a course where he really ends up with a short-iron in hand. That’s a remarkable rate of 2/3rds of his appearances resulting in a Top 10 here.

Quail Hollow plays host to our Wells Fargo Championship Preview

Given those metrics, and particularly weighing in the approach data, ball speed is an interesting statistic to consider this week.

Since 2007, only two winners at Quail Hollow have ranked worse than 31st in ball speed for the PGA Tour season. Those were James Hahn (2016, ranked 83/207 at tournament start) and Rickie Fowler (2012, ranked 46/187 at tournament start). Last year’s champion Wyndham Clark finished 3rd in that ranking for both the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

As a matter of curiosity, here are the current players ranked 31st or better for the season in ball speed that are in this week’s field:

4th Wyndham Clark
5th Rory McIlroy
7th Gary Woodland
9th Tony Finau
10th Xander Schauffele
11th Jake Knapp
16th Nick Dunlap
17th Cameron Young
26th Byeong-Hun An
30th Taylor Pendrith

Sam Burns, ranking 32nd, is the bubble boy.

Quail Hollow Course Comps

Alongside the wealth of data to delve into for our Wells Fargo Championship preview, we also have the added benefit of a course with some of the stickiest course history on the PGA Tour. Only Augusta National, Riviera, TPC Scottsdale, and Bay Hill hold stronger correlations.

What does that mean? Well, that this golf course prefers a particular type of player, and it’s repeatable. Further, arriving in a lack of form is less of a hinderance than at other venues if you have played well at Quail Hollow before.

If you weren’t following these pages back at the 2023 US Open, we went one further on Wyndham Clark and also successfully tipped him at 80/1. Part of the reason was we suspected Los Angeles Country Club would play quite similar to Quail Hollow.

We weren’t disappointed. The tournament produced a leaderboard near identical to a Wells Fargo Championship.

Alongside Clark, we also selected Rickie Fowler who was first round leader, tied with Clark for the lead entering the final round, and finished 5th. Plus Xander Schauffele, who was also FRL, 6th entering the final round, and finished 10th.

Fowler has the 3rd best strokes gained total of all recorded rounds at Quail Hollow, including his maiden PGA Tour win. Xander ranks in the top 15 for SG of those who have played the course at least 4 times. Rory McIlroy finished runner-up. Fleetwood finished 5th at both courses in 2023, with English finishing 3rd at Quail Hollow and 8th at LACC.

Another to consider is Bay Hill, a long driving golf course where ball-striking is at a premium. And, finally, the Valspar Championship which requires a large number of approach shots over 200+ yards and shares the same bermuda greens overseeded with poa annua.

Wells Fargo Championship Weather Preview

As we have mentioned previously at these signature field events, the reduction in size to just 69 players does limit any weather edge that can be gained. Whereas in a larger field tournament there is more dispersion in tee-times, here all golfers will be out on the golf course within 2 hours of each other. As such, there is less opportunity for any particular tee-time to gain an advantage by being on the golf course at a certain time.

Thursday looks a windy day, with prevailing winds reaching 15-20mph and gusts over 30mph. There is a small chance of thunderstorms, but likely insufficient to result in play not completing that day. Friday morning should provide calmer winds in the morning, but quickly increasing from 1pm onwards to similar levels seen on Thursday. Given the first tee-times are at 11am local, there may be a minor advantage for those going out first on Friday morning.

All models point to Saturday and Sunday being calm, with scoring likely to be best on these days.

Wells Fargo Championship Preview Golf Betting Tips

If you would like to read my golf betting tips for the Wells Fargo Championshipyou can preview these in the WinDaily Premium Discord here.

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We are right back into it this week as we preview the RBC Heritage! The PGA Tour really have no option but to make this a signature event. The tournament has a lot of legacy behind it. The tournament has been played the week after The Masters for the past 40 years. Arnold Palmer was the inaugural champion here, with co-designed Jack Nicklaus winning here a few years later. It is a relaxing change of pace from Augusta National which the players enjoy. Further, the PGA Tour get to strike while the iron is hot and attempt to capitalise on new fans who joined to watch The Masters. Finally, RBC is one of the biggest sponsors of the PGA Tour and support multiple events. All this leads to a situation where we can have no Masters hangover and have to dive into another signature event preview at the RBC Heritage.

In regard to The Masters, the phrase I have seen most often this week to describe Scottie Scheffler’s emphatic victory is “inevitable”. That does a disservice to his efforts and achievement. There were four golfers tied for the lead with 10 holes to go. As they say, The Masters doesn’t really start until the last 9 holes on Sunday. Scheffler simply slammed the door shut on everyone. A run of 5-under across 9 holes under those circumstances was incredibly impressive. So, there is one word I would use to describe his performance. It was clinical.

Zalatoris was our closest charge last week, racking up another Top 10 at Augusta National. 250/1 selection Ryan Fox was also just 2 shots off the lead Saturday, before fading after perhaps surprisingly finding himself in contention.

Harbour Town Course Analysis

Certainly, any time you can take on a short-priced favourite you will be able to find some value further down the board. Other than the fact that Scottie Scheffler is on constant baby-watch, there may be other reasons to take on the best player in golf right now. And aiding our RBC Heritage preview this week is this golf course.

This niggly test is polar opposite to Augusta National in nearly every way. Long hitters have often found success at The Masters, with ample space off the tee and driver used often. Greens are large, although the actual target area is reduced substantially given the undulating greens and multiple tiers.

Harbour Town is, instead, a fiddly test. Accuracy off the tee is paramount. This goes beyond finding the fairway to being on the right side of the fairway. Hanging trees can often impede players on approach, so finding the right angle is imperative for accessing these very small greens. They average just 3,700 sq ft in size.

Harbour Town Golf Links hosts our preview of the RBC Heritage

Those small greens also sees a large uptick in ATG performance as a predictive factor. It is inevitable that greens will be missed around this golf course. Taking a look at the last two champions, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jordan Spieth (who was also runner-up in 2023), they represent two of the best players on Tour with their short-game creativity.

Finally, there is an interesting dispersion of approach shots at Harbour Town. Given players being forced to play from similar spots, we see just one predicted approach shot from 50-100 yards and 2 shots from 200+ yards. Consequently, there is a large uptick in approach from 150-200 yards (9 shots predicted) and 100-150 yards (6 shots). This is some of the largest disparity we see on the PGA Tour all year.

Harbour Town Course Comps

Pete Dye’s iconic course designs feature frequently on the tour. This provides a multitude of options to consider in your RBC Heritage preview. But, of those, TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship) and Austin Country Club (WGC Matchplay) provide short courses where accuracy and scrambling are essential.

TPC Sawgrass (The Players) is worthy of consideration, although it doesn’t quite match the required approach numbers strong performances there are noted. Sedgefield Country Club maintains links as a positional course where shorter drivers can thrive but driving accuracy is at a premium. Sedgefield is also highly correlated to TPC Sawgrass, adding to those ties for your RBC Heritage preview.

The Sea Island courses (RSM Classic) have strong correlating connections to here. It is another tree-lined coastal course, meaning driving accuracy and approach are key. Waialae Country Club (Sony Open) tells a similar tale.

RBC Heritage Weather Preview

There is little to note in the weather this week. Firstly, the condensed 69 man field means that all players will be on the course at relatively similar times. This reduces the opportunity for any tangible weather advantage to develop which is worthy of actioning.

Secondly, the weather itself looks pretty benign. The course is sheltered with trees for the most part, with only a few holes truly exposed to the coastline. Winds look to hover at a maximum of mid-teens for gusts. There is a small chance of thunderstorms on both Friday and Saturday. Again, the small field should ensure that even if play is disrupted they should be able to get the tournament complete in good time.

RBC Heritage Preview Golf Betting Tips

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The 2024 Masters is nearly upon us. What is it about Augusta National Golf Club that makes this golf course so very special? Is it because this is the only major played at the same golf course every year? Is it the legacy; where winning here places you firmly amongst the greats in the annals of golf history? The lack of cell phones; in an age where we are addicted to those glowing white screens? Or the $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches; which have not changed in price in over 20 years? The blooming azaleas, the roars on Sunday, the carefully manicured grass, or the spring sunshine glistening through the tall pines?

Whatever it is that makes this event special for you, the 2024 Masters feels a little more so than most. As the fractured game of professional golf puts all those conflicts aside (hopefully), we see the best in the game all play together for a change in pursuit of donning the green jacket. A tradition unlike any other.

The Masters 2024 will be played at the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club

Our Record at The Masters

Typically, this is actually one of the more predictable events on the PGA Tour. Certainly, it is the easiest of the majors. Although the field averages between just 80-90 players, you can further strike a line through a number of amateurs and past champions who realistically have little chance of success in The Masters for 2024.

I’ve correctly tipped Danny Willett at 100/1, Garcia at 50/1, Woods at 20/1, and Matsuyama at 50/1 over recent years. We even had Charl Schwartzel in 2011 at 100/1 (if you want to go back before I was covering golf more seriously). Add in a few close calls and near misses as well.

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This week more than most, you will see all sorts of trends thrown around. Those desperate to unravel the 2024 Masters winner will latch onto any thread they may stumble across in order to try tip who will eventually lift the Augusta National clubhouse trophy aloft come Sunday.

The inherent flaw of any trend is you can make it suit whatever timeframe and statistic suits the trend’s narrative. Trends like “7/10 recent winners had a top 12 in the month before The Masters” only matter if this is statistically significant compared to other venues. Is 70% having a 12th place finish or better in the last month disproportionally higher than those winning other tournaments? Or, is some general decent form in the past month a reasonable guide to those who have a chance to win any upcoming tournament?

My favourite recently was that 7/8 of the recent winners had finished 37th or better in their prior Masters start. Reed had a MC the year before, demonstrating how you can manipulate a trend to display something “meaningful”. Particularly, I enjoyed this because you then supposedly have to exclude a player who finished 38th. Imagine Scottie Scheffler finished 38th last year. Sorry Scottie, know you are playing great, but you just don’t fit the trend. And the field only has 90 players, so is finishing 37th really all that determinative?

There is merit to those who have had opportunities to learn the course. However, you will likely hear the average number of starts prior to winning is 6. Again, limiting it to that many events means Will Zalatoris gets punished for having finished 2nd and 6th. Or Theegala is excluded for having finished 9th on debut.

In short, my advice is to approach trends with caution and a dose of skepticism.

Finding Possible Champions for The Masters 2024

Augusta National Golf Club Course Analysis

What makes identifying a potential winner at The Masters easier than most golf courses?

Firstly, it is well documented that Augusta National has the stickiest course history of any PGA Tour event. What does that mean? Well, if you have played here well previously, that is a very good predictor of playing well again here in the future. There is perhaps no finer recent example than a 52-year-old Phil Mickelson turning up to this event in 2023, having played competitive golf just three times with finishes of 27-30-41 in a 54 man tournament, and still finishing 2nd.

The next question is: why? Much of that comes down to the heavily contoured greens. The subtleties (and, sometimes, severities) of these green complexes, along with often very sharp runoffs, reduces down the effective size of the target depending on where the pin is placed. At Augusta National Golf Club, more than most, the pin is the destination but your optimal journey may involve aiming away from the target initially. As such, SG: ATG is important with the ability to get up and down from tight lies and bunkers key to keeping momentum.

Driving distance is a real asset, with the golf course ranking in the top 5 for length on the PGA Tour at 7,545 yards. The attention to detail goes as far as the landscapers extends to mowing the grass in the direction of the tees to further inhibit carry distance from off-the-tee. As such, we see a disproportionate number of approach shots from 200+ yards but particularly from 150-200 yards. The list of past champions reads of some of the best ball-strikers the game has ever seen.

Augusta National Course Comps

Secondly, we also have some of the best comp courses as predictive form guides towards Augusta National. On the PGA Tour, those are Riviera Country Club, host of the Genesis Invitational, and the Plantation Course at Kapalua, host of The Sentry. That goes well beyond Jon Rahm winning both events enroute to putting on the green jacket last year.

Riviera is a ball-striking paradise, where shot shaping is key alongside a stout short-game. Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson has won three times at Riviera. 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott has won twice there. Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson is also a two-time winner at Riviera in 2008 and 2009. Dustin Johnson won there in 2017 and, most recently, 2021 Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama won at Riviera earlier this year.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua is heavily undulated with multiple elevation changes. This often results in iron shots with the ball either above or below your feet, much akin to what is required at The Masters. On paper, they are a very similar yardage as well at 7,545 yards vs 7,596 yards at Plantation.

Spieth finished 2nd in the 2014 Sentry, won the 2015 Masters, won the 2016 Sentry, then nearly defended at the 2016 Masters. He finished 3rd at The Sentry again this year. Cam Smith has an excellent record at Augusta National. He won the 2022 Sentry before finishing 3rd at The Masters. Other winners completing the double are Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Mark O’Meara, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and Tiger Woods.

Don’t forget the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour. Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia both won in Dubai the same year they won The Masters, a promising sign for 2024 champion Rory McIlroy.

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Weather Forecast for The Masters 2024

Finally, regular readers of these pages will know that weather plays an important factor in our process. No sport is more susceptible to the elements than golf. Additionally, bookmakers are notoriously slow to reacting to weather forecasts, potentially providing a weather edge for those going out at a certain tee-time.

Thursday and Friday simply look decidedly gnarly. Thursday currently has forecasts for heavy rain, thunderstorms, and winds gusting above 45mph. Friday should see clearer skies, but winds in the vicinity of 38-42mph based on long-run forecasts.

It is likely to early to accurately predict whether early or late starters get an advantage. However, there is a very real possibility that some form of weather advantage will exist this week. Although The Masters 2024 field numbers 89, all players go off the first tee meaning a wide range of tee-times are experienced.

Make sure you stay locked in with us right until tournament start. We will be posting the latest weather predictions using our premium modelling in the WinDaily Premium Discord here.

The Masters 2024 Player-by-Player Guide

Having enjoyed our tapas, we arrive at the basque ribeye portion of the article.

The players below are listed in order of odds for The Masters 2024, from favourite to the longest of long-shots. I’ve covered every player in the field who is priced less than 150/1 to win the tournament.

Provided are each golfer’s odds, best Masters finish, Masters record, Masters average score, number of Masters scores in the 60s, Riviera record, Plantation record, and Dubai Desert Classic record if it exists.

Remember The Sentry tournament (which aptly dropped the “of Champions” part of the title this year) features a limited field of golfers. Previously only featuring the winners from the previous calendar year, it is now slightly larger by also including all golfers who qualified for the Tour Championship. Therefore, read the Plantation course form in this context as finishing 20th there is actually a relatively poor week.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Scottie Scheffler

Average Betting Odds: $4.50
Draftkings Pricing: $12,100

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2022)
Masters Record: 19-18-W-10
Masters Average Score: 70.69
Riviera Record: MC-30-20-7-12-10
Plantation Record: 13-7-5

Scottie Scheffler arrives at The Masters as the shortest-priced favorite since some bloke named Tiger Woods in 2013. He has also been hitting the ball consistently at a rate only previously seen by Tiger Woods. The issue for the last year has been the putter. Had the flat-stick been firing and gaining only one strokes to the field per round putting, he would easily have at least another half-dozen PGA Tour victories to his name.

The odds have only plummeted further after a switch to a new mallet putter found immediate rewards. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, successfully defended against the strongest field in golf at The Players Championship, and then came 2nd at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. The latter also saw him miss a 7-foot putt at the last hole to take it to a playoff.

Scheffler has finished 12th or better in an absurd 31 of his last 35 starts without missing a cut. That is 88.5% of his tournament starts finishing in the Top 12 since August 2022. Quite easily the best golfer in the world right now.

Obvious huge chance.

Rory McIlroy

Average Betting Odds: $11
Draftkings Pricing: $10,800

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2022)
Masters Record: 20-MC-15-40-25-8-4-10-7-5-21-5-MC-2-MC
Masters Average Score: 71.50
Riviera Record: 20-20-4-4-5-MC-10-29-24
Plantation Record: 4
Dubai Desert Classic Record: MC-52-MC-W-6-10-5-9-W-6-2-3-W-W

Oh Rory, Rory, Rory. Where to start with you. McIlroy arrives at Augusta National once again pursuing the final title to complete the career grand slam, a feat only completed by 5 golfers.

Although 2022 was his best finish yet, he was never in contention before a final round 64. I hoped that round would give him the confidence to exorcise some of the demons he has accumulated over the years at The Masters. He duly missed the cut.

I recently rewatched the 2011 Masters. He held a 4 shot lead entering the final round and you have to feel a tinge of sadness for the then 21-year-old McIlroy given the context of what has transpired since.

On paper, the course is a perfect fit for Rory’s game. He possess the physical skills and talent to win here. But, The Masters is not played on paper. And the hallowed turf of Augusta National has had the mental measure of McIlroy on many an occasion now.

In a positive for his chances, he has recently visited Butch Harmon again. The results were immediate, finishing 3rd at last week’s Texas Open (albeit losing by 9 strokes after an epic duel between Bhatia and McCarthy). Promisingly, he found his irons again. He was 3rd for SG: APP for the tournament, including ranking 2nd for SG: APP when gaining+3.72 SG: APP in the final round alone. Undoubtedly another positive is stepping away from his spokesperson role with PGA Tour in dealing with the LIV Golf threat. It was an unnecessary distraction to his primary purpose: playing golf and winning The Masters.

Who knows?

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Jon Rahm

Average Betting Odds: $13.00
Draftkings Pricing: $11,200

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2023)
Masters Record: 27-4-9-7-5-27-W
Masters Average Score: 70.50
Riviera Record: 9-17-5-21-W
Plantation Record: 2-8-10-7-2-W

Jon Rahm enters the 2024 Masters as the defending champion and easily the biggest name to defect to LIV Golf.

How those two factors influence his title defense are anyone’s guess. Being champion comes with a multitude of obligations, from additional press conferences to hosting the Champion’s Dinner. Likewise, we can expect he will be questioned on his decision to move to LIV Golf.

Whilst the former may well be a distraction, I believe the latter may act as a catalyst. Rahm seems to be at his best when he is a little bit angry. I’m sure some savvy reporters can illicit that emotion from him this week.

Rahm won both The Sentry and the Genesis Invitational enroute to his Masters title, further entrenching those strong bonds entering 2024. Since the move to LIV he has not won, but has also performed as expected finishing no worse than 8th from 5 starts. Also boasts the joint lowest scoring average from The Masters 2024 field, a notable feat having played 28 rounds here.

Would become just the 4th golfer to successfully defend The Masters joining Jack Nickalus (1965, 1966), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990), and Tiger Woods (2001, 2002).

He is a strong chance to do so.

Xander Schauffele

Average Betting Odds: $15.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,900

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2019)
Masters Record: 50-2-17-3-MC-10
Masters Average Score: 71.32
Riviera Record: 9-15-23-15-13-33-4
Plantation Record: 22-W-2-5-12-WD-10

Theoretically, this may be the best chance for Xander to finally knock the monkey off his back and get his first major victory.

Xander ranks out the 2nd best golfer for SG: Total over the past 6 months in this field. He has finished 18th or better in the 7 majors since missing the cut here in 2022.

The difficulty comes as it often does with Schauffele: actually winning. He has now failed to win a tournament in any format since July 2022. He had a fabulous opportunity to close out The Players Championship earlier this year, before missing several key putts on his way to a runner up finish.

His most notable achievement has been winning the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Although, it should be noted he finished runner-up here to Tiger Woods’ return to glory in 2019.

Would not be surprised if he finishes top 5 without ever being in contention. Again.

Hideki Matsuyama

Average Betting Odds: $19.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,000

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2021)
Masters Record: 27-54-MC-5-7-11-19-32-13-W-14-16
Masters Average Score: 71.54
Riviera Record: 23-4-11-MC-9-5-MC-39-MC-W
Plantation Record: 3-2-4-41-13-21-58

Matsuyama looks to have rediscovered his very best form right before The Masters for 2024.

After a 13th at the long and tricky Torrey Pines, and a weird weather affected Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Hideki has hit his stride. 22nd at the WM Phoenix Open was followed by a win at the correlated Riviera, with one of the finest final rounds we may see this season. Keeping his hot hand, he has ticked off a 12th at Bay Hill, a 6th at The Players, and 7th last week in the Texas Open.

The fact those results have come off the back of a return to his best ball-striking is even more promising. That is the fundamental profile of Hideki Matsuyama as a golfer, and why Augusta National is such a good fit for him.

Strong chance to become a multiple Masters champion.

Jordan Spieth

Average Betting Odds: $21.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,300

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2015)
Masters Record: 2-W-2-11-3-21-46-3-MC-4
Masters Average Score: 70.66
Riviera Record: MC-12-4-MC-22-9-51-59-15-26-MC-DQ
Plantation Record: 2-W-3-9-21-13-3

It still amazes me that Jordan Spieth is only a one time Masters champion. It truly feels like he has compiled at least three here.

Much of that comes from his stunning introduction to Augusta National, finishing runner-up on debut to then win the title the following year and go close again in 2016. Finishing 4th or better in 60% of his Masters starts is no small feat. Not only is Spieth strong enough off the tee to contend, his irons can fire at any time, and his magical short-game is a superb asset few possess at Augusta National.

Finished an admirable 3rd at The Sentry and was well on track for a good Genesis Invitational finish before an untimely wrong scorecard saw him DQ.

He played the Texas Open in perhaps the most Spieth-ian fashion one can imagine. That featured an opening round with 5 bogeys and a double bogey, plus a hole-in-one. Finished his Sunday by purposely hitting onto the clubhouse as his best option given his situation, en route to a final round 69 and 10th place finish. Predictably unpredictable.

You could tell me Spieth wins this week or finishes 43rd and I would believe you.

Brooks Koepka

Average Betting Odds: $21.00
Draftkings Pricing: $10,200

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2019, 2023)
Masters Record: 33-21-11-2-7-MC-2
Masters Average Score: 71.46
Riviera Record: MC-43-38-MC
Plantation Record: 3-34-24-28
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 3

Don’t let the record at the comp courses or his recent form perturb you. Koepka cares about literally nothing but the Majors.

Few golfers can boast that they have won fewer PGA Tour events than Majors. None can say they have won 5 Majors, but just 4 regular season PGA Tour tournaments. Truly bizarre.

That freakish ability to simply turn on his game for these events is what makes Koepka so difficult. I could write about how dreadful he looked last week in LIV Miami, finishing 45th out of 54 players. Or that he has one win and one 5th place finish since July 2023. Because none of that really matters. The man is an enigma.

Will be keen to make right the final 29 holes from last year, where he lead by 4 shots before a rain delay and subsequent collapse to open the door for Jon Rahm.

Could win by multiple strokes from nowhere.

Joaquin Niemann

Average Betting Odds: $26.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,600

Best Masters Finish: 16th (2023)
Masters Record: MC-40-35-16
Masters Average Score: 73.21
Riviera Record: 44-MC-43-W
Plantation Record: 5-2
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 4

It was pleasing to see Niemann earn a special invitation to this year’s Masters. It was awarded, deservedly so, after some superb play over the past 6 months.

Although the argument can certainly be made that the LIV Golf defectors knew the consequences of their actions, I do have some sympathy for those who joined early. They were promised by Greg Norman they would have OWGR points all nicely tucked away shortly. All whilst LIV failed to make any changes necessary to address the two key issues: lack or promotion/relegation and proof that team golf could influence play in individual leaderboard.

Niemann has earned the chance to play here and has been determined to do so. He took opportunities to play on DP World Tour where they were available, winning at the Australian Open to qualify for The Open Championship and finishing 4th at the Dubai Desert Classic. Two additional wins on the LIV tour made a compelling case for the Masters board. If only Talor Gooch had done the same.

His record at The Masters is one of continual improvement. 16th last year, he was also sitting 3rd after the first round in 2022.

We tipped Niemann at 50/1 in 2022, following his emphatic win at Riviera. We managed to snag a 2024 Masters bet on him at the same number with 5 places in the WinDaily Premium Discord as soon as he was added to the field. That number is long gone, delivering more CLV for our Premium family.

Leading chance.

Ludvig Aberg

Average Betting Odds: $29.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,100

Best Masters Finish: N/A
Masters Record: N/A
Masters Average Score: N/A
Riviera Record: 19
Plantation Record: 47
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 70

Were he to win, Aberg would make an even larger splash on the world of golf than he has made already. Not only is this his first appearance at The Masters, it is also his first major. Ever.

That is a rare feat, given the majority of world number one amateurs manage to earn a Masters start by one of the numerous other pathways available through winning amateur tournaments.

Only two golfers have won on their major debut in the last 100 years. They were Ben Curtis at the 2003 Open Championship and Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship. Aberg would also become the first player to break the curse on debutants since the 1979 win of Fuzzy Zoeller.

There may be no better chance for that record to fall than this week. The combined threat of Aberg and the next golfer in this list both provide a credible charge at the title.

Given his relative lack of tournament play anywhere, it is a little difficult to gauge where his performance may sit at The 2024 Masters. On paper, he possesses all of the talent required for success at Augusta National.

Would cement his name in the best 5 golfers on the planet for the foreseeable future with a win here.

Wyndham Clark

Average Betting Odds: $29.00
Draftkings Pricing: $10,000

Best Masters Finish: N/A
Masters Record: N/A
Masters Average Score: N/A
Riviera Record: 17-8-DQ-33-MC
Plantation Record: 29

Wyndham Clark became an immediate favourite of the WinDaily Sports family, having been successfully tipped for his debut win at the Wells Fargo Championship at 75/1 and then again at his US Open win at 80/1.

Clark has since gone on to gain a reputation as a big game player. He finished 3rd at the Tour Championship, then started the year quietly before winning a signature event in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in wild weather. He popped back up again at two more signature events, finishing runner-up to Scottie Scheffler both at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and then The Player Championship a week later. His odds were immediately cut from 50/1 to the 28s you can find now.

Of some concern would be the fact that outside the US Open win he has finished no better than 33rd in his other 7 major starts. However, I would point out that he is quite a different golfer than he was for the majority of those starts.

What changed for Clark was his approach play. He developed from simply a very long driver who could also putt well. Adding in his irons makes him a very dangerous prospect on any golf course, now ranking 13th for SG: APP in this field over the last 3 months.

Victory may be a bridge too far on debut, but wouldn’t be surprised by a top 10.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Average Betting Odds: $31.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,900

Best Masters Finish: 7th (2016)
Masters Record: MC-7-32-38-21-46-34-14-10
Masters Average Score: 72.24
Riviera Record: 30-5-MC-MC
Plantation Record: 7-14
Dubai Desert Classic Record: MC-45-5-MC-16-45-17

Notably for Fitzpatrick, his biggest victories have come at golf courses he shares a personal connection with. He won the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, where he used to visit as a child. His debut major victory came at the US Open on the same golf course he won the US Amateur.

Making significant strides in his driving distance is an undoubted asset when arriving at Augusta National. You have to think as well that should the wild weather remain as forecast that would benefit Fitzpatrick, a well-renowned “mudder”. He won the 2023 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the DP World Tour in torrid conditions.

Certainly playable in DFS given his low price tag, but unsure he represents any value in betting markets.

Viktor Hovland

Average Betting Odds: $31.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,500

Best Masters Finish: 7th (2023)
Masters Record: 32-21-27-7
Masters Average Score: 71.69
Riviera Record: 5-4-20-19
Plantation Record: 31-30-18-22
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 23-W

It was a landmark 2023 for Hovland as he finished 7th at The Masters, 3rd at The Players Championship, 2nd at the PGA Championship, won The Memorial at Jack’s place, played a key role in Europe’s Ryder Cup win, then recorded back to back victories in the playoffs to lift the FedEx Cup.

So, Viktor did the only logical thing. He fired his coach.

Since then it has been, well, dreadful. 22nd at The Sentry is not all that impressive in a field of just 59. 19th at Riviera is at least correlated to here, but again came in a limited field with the tournament moving to a signature event. Outside of that, he has finished 58th, 36th, and 62nd. Perhaps there is more to the split than simply wanting to try something new, but Hovland has proven true the old adage of not fixing what ain’t broke.

In one positive, you can get a massive bump in his odds as a result. There is no chance you would find him anywhere above 15/1 had he shown a modicum of form over the past 3 months.

Can’t touch him until he shows something. Anything.

Beautiful Augusta National hosts the 2024 Masters

Patrick Cantlay

Average Betting Odds: $36.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9,400

Best Masters Finish: 9th (2019)
Masters Record: 47-MC-9-17-MC-39-14
Masters Average Score: 72.38
Riviera Record: MC-MC-4-15-17-15-33-3-4
Plantation Record: 15-4-13-4-16-12

Undoubtedly a talented, if somewhat frustrating and boring, golfer.

Much akin to his good friend Xander Schauffele, he is a perennial underachieve in the majors. Cantlay has perhaps managed even less in the biggest events, managing just 4 tops 10s in 26 attempts at the majors.

To his credit, he does look to have shown some improvement in that area. Since missing the cut in the 2022 PGA Championship, he has gone 14-8-14-9-14-33 in the majors. He also finished 4th at Riviera this year, backing up a 3rd place finish there in 2023.

The difficulty comes that he has never really felt the heat of battle down the final stretch. Further, he finished a lowly 68th at The Players and 36th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his two starts when losing on approach both tournaments.

Has the talent, unsure he has the moxie.

Bryson DeChambeau

Average Betting Odds: $36.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,200

Best Masters Finish: 21st (2016)
Masters Record: 21-38-29-34-46-MC-MC
Masters Average Score: 72.96
Riviera Record: WD-41-15-5-MC
Plantation Record: 26-7-7-25
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 18-W-8

Augusta National has a funny way of enacting karma on it’s victims. None more so than Bryson DeChambeau, who outrageously claimed the course was a “par 67” for him in 2020. His record at The Masters since tells the rest of the story.

He attempted to walk back those comments somewhat last year, saying that he respected the course and what he really meant was that if you have the driving distance and you are also on your “A” game that there is a good chance of being able to do that. Ironically, Bryson has yet to bring that here since, only shooting his mythical “par” once since.

Despite a recent run of 4 Top 10 finishes on LIV, data suggests much of that has come from his driving distance alone. That might work on other courses but, despite driving distance being a prerequisite here, you need to show a bit more at Augusta National. Namely, on approach with your irons. Bryson has gained only +0.14 SG: APP per round this season.

Unlikely to contend.

Will Zalatoris

Average Betting Odds: $36.00
Draftkings Pricing: $9.200

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2021)
Masters Record: 2-6
Masters Average Score: 70.50
Riviera Record: MC-15-26-4-2
Plantation Record: 11

Holding an impeccable record at Augusta National, Zalatoris nearly won here when 2nd on debut and followed that up with a 6th place finish in 2022.

The form extends to other majors. He has a 2nd and 6th at The US Open and 2nd and 8th at the PGA Championship. It leads to an outstanding record to say the least.

I’ll reiterate: Will Zalatoris has finished 8th or better in 6/8 majors he has played to completion (given WD from Open Championship in 2021 with injury). Including 3 runner-up finishes. Talk about knocking on the door. He is basically smashing it down with a battering ram.

Having missed the 2023 Masters with a back injury which saw him out of the game for 9 months, Zalatoris is clearly back to full health. We really started to see murmurs of that return at The American Express, before 13th at major venue Torrey Pines followed by a runner-up at the heavily correlated Riviera (where he was also 4th in 2023).

The current price on Zalatoris is really a factor of two things. One, being some lingering concerns in markets of the injury. Second, a missed cut at The Players Championship and 74th at the Houston Open. Before those results, he had narrowed as low as 16s before drifting back out again sharply. However, he lost all his strokes putting and the ball-striking remained stout. He has gained a significant number of strokes putting at both Augusta National starts.

Played a practice round with Tiger Woods and undoubtedly would’ve gained some valuable knowledge from that time with the GOAT.

Could knock this one off on his third attempt.

Beautiful Augusta National hosts the 2024 Masters

Justin Thomas

Average Betting Odds: $36.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,700

Best Masters Finish: 4th (2020)
Masters Record: 39-22-17-12-4-21-8-MC
Masters Average Score: 71.70
Riviera Record: 41-54-39-9-2-MC-MC-6-20-MC
Plantation Record: 21-W-22-3-W-3-5-25

It was a difficult 2023 for JT, where he missed the FedEx Cup playoffs and required a Captain’s Pick in order to make the Ryder Cup team.

Looked to find a bit of form in the fall season events and start of 2024. However, now arrives after a four tournament stretch of MC-12-MC-64. Of some promise is that his trademark ball-striking has started to return, gaining on SG: APP at every tournament bar one since September 2023.

A two-time winner at The Sentry, Justin Thomas also holds a runner-up finish at Riviera previously. A windy and wild forecast for the first two days could prove helpful. He won the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in very windy conditions.

Capable of winning this at his best, but no signs he is near that currently.

Shane Lowry

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,000

Best Masters Finish: 3rd (2022)
Masters Record: MC-39-MC-MC-25-21-3-16
Masters Average Score: 72.62
Riviera Record: WD-MC-14
Plantation Record: N/A
Dubai Desert Classic Record: MC-66-MC-MC-12-11-27-24-MC

Talented Irishman who easily won the 2019 Open Championship by 6 shots.

Outside that result, has not won on the PGA Tour since 2015 although has two victories at big events on the DP World Tour.

That 2015 win came at Firestone, a golf course that has produced its fair share of crossover to Augusta National outside the fact that Tiger Woods won there 8 times. Completing the double includes Matsuyama who won in 2017, Dustin Johnson in 2016, Adam Scott in 2011, and Vijay Singh in 2008. Masters Champions Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, and Phil Mickelson all finished runner-up there.

He has been in excellent form since September last year. Included in that was a 4th place at the Cognizant Classic, with PGA National having its own correlation to major champions. Lowry has finished 5th and 2nd there in 2023 and 2022. Additionally, he was 3rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with Bay Hill another stern test.

Lowry has found much success at Augusta National lately, finishing in the top 25 for 4 consecutive years. Taht included when selected in these pages at 50/1 when finishing 3rd. Has finished 28th or better in 13 of his 19 most recent major starts, including 7 finishes of 12th or better.

You would have to think the weather is a massive positive for Lowry. Any wind and rain will toughen conditions and surely remind Lowry of the green pastures of Ireland. The tougher the better for him.

Big chance to win a 2nd major this week.

Tommy Fleetwood

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,500

Best Masters Finish: 14th (2022)
Masters Record: MC-17-36-19-46-14-33
Masters Average Score: 72.23
Riviera Record: 37-28-20-10
Plantation Record: 47
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 57-10-MC-47-50-MC-6-16-11-17-12-59-14

Likeable Englishman, although often coming across as quite… mellow.

Fleetwood started off the year well, snatching victory from Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Invitational before a 14th a week later at the more correlated Dubai Desert Classic. 10th at Riviera Country Club was also his best finish in the Genesis yet.

However, he has never really shown very much at The Masters. From his 7 visits here, he has only shot two rounds in the 60s. Still yet to achieve his first PGA Tour victory, although that has not often come from fading in the heat of battle more from not putting himself in contention enough.

Have always thought he is capable of winning a major, but far more likely at The Open Championship.

Dustin Johnson

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,800

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2020)
Masters Record: 30-38-38-13-MC-6-4-10-2-W-MC-12-48
Masters Average Score: 71.52
Riviera Record: 59-10-3-MC-2-2-4-W-16-9-10-8-MC
Plantation Record: 11-16-9-W-6-10-6-W-4-7-11

2020 Masters champion, DJ had been threatening a victory for some time. However, he did benefit from a delay in the tournament during COVID to November which suited his game perfectly. Subsequently, he romped to a 5 strokes victory.

Having won both at Riviera in 2017 and Plantation Course in 2013 and 2018 again links those two key courses to Augusta National. Won LIV Las Vegas, before three middle-of-the-pack finishes and no better than 21st in the last two months. Given a lowly ranking of just 336th in OWGR, he has the added motivation (or pressure, depending on your perspective) to perform well here and make the most of this start.

Has the credentials to compete here, but may be coming in a little underdone.

Sahith Theegala

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,700

Best Masters Finish: 9th (2023)
Masters Record: 9
Masters Average Score: 70.75
Riviera Record: 49-48-6-37
Plantation Record: 33-2

As debuts at The Masters go, they don’t come much better than for Sahith Theegala. Finishing 9th in his first appearance, he shot a final round 67.

Correlated form could be found with a 6th at Riviera. We selected him as our best value selection at The Sentry to start 2024, given The Masters and Genesis form. He duly cashed both as our 60/1 FRL selection and finished 2nd for a full place at 80/1 in win markets. We snagged him at that same number for The Masters 2024 in a future bet. You’ll now only find him at half that price.

What impresses me with Theegala is he has now transformed from a player with known huge upside. Perhaps best demonstrated by his Fortinet Championship win in September, but also reiterated in the boom-or-bust potential of his top 5 finishes mixed with missed cuts.

Instead, we now have a golfer who has began to show a significant amount of consistency in his game. 6 consecutive finishes of 37th or better demonstrate his increased ability for course management. Included in that stretch was a 9th place at The Players Championship, a course that on paper should not suit him given his inaccurate driving on a TPC Sawgrass course which has trouble at every turn.

Has to rate a chance.

Collin Morikawa

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,400

Best Masters Finish: 5th (2022)
Masters Record: 44-18-5-10
Masters Average Score: 71.44
Riviera Record: 26-43-2-6-19
Plantation Record: 7-7-5-2-5

Having long been regarded a home for those who draw the golf ball, I’ve always struggled with where Morikawa would potentially fit into that picture when he is here at his best. The ability to hit a strong draw has littered previous Masters leaderboards, as has the success of left-handed golfers here.

I had a similar conversation with Ben Coley, a fellow golf analyst I respect immensely. With the increased distance and advances in the golf ball, many of the lines at Augusta National may now become a bit blurred and move way from that narrative.

Has a deep connection to The Sentry, a runner-up at Riviera, and The Masters form has continued to improve. Unfortunately, Morikawa looks to be well and truly stuck currently. He has finished no better than 14th since that 5th at The Sentry and has lost on approach in three straight tournaments. Since 1 January 2024, he has shown negative regression in nearly every approach metric you look at.

Could win here when his approach is firing. Which it isn’t.

Cam Smith

Average Betting Odds: $41.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,900

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2020)
Masters Record: 55-5-51-2-10-3-34
Masters Average Score: 71.61
Riviera Record: 63-28-6-49-MC-4-33
Plantation Record: 17-24-W

Masters record speaks for itself for the 2022 Open Champion. Withdrew at LIV Miami following a dose of food poisoning, although all reports indicate he is feeling much better now.

Prior to that, lost in a play-off at LIV Hong Kong. He won The Sentry with a PGA Tour record -34 in 2022 to beat Jon Rahm by one. Holds a 4th at Riviera as well. 4 top 10s, 3 of which were Top 5s, in his 7 Masters starts.

Has to be respected.

Cameron Young

Average Betting Odds: $46.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,500

Best Masters Finish: 7th (2023)
Masters Record: MC-7
Masters Average Score: 72.67
Riviera Record: 2-20-16
Plantation Record: 13-33

On paper, a great course fit for Cam Young. His excellent ball-striking metrics and long driving distance makes an intrguing prospect for Young.

The issues comes that I struggle to see him getting his victory on the PGA Tour at The Masters 2024.

Threw away the aforementioned 2022 PGA Championship, although notable he was right there with JT in windy conditions. Was in contention when chasing McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic. Any time he sniffed the lead in the final round, he managed to find a way to lose.

Holds an excellent record at Riviera and 7th at his second Masters start also worthy of attention.

Wouldn’t be surprised if he were in contention, would be surprised if he got the job done.

Brian Harman

Average Betting Odds: $56.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,800

Best Masters Finish: 12th (2021)
Masters Record: MC-44-12-MC-MC
Masters Average Score: 73.29
Riviera Record: 51-3-MC-72-MC-51-47-43-MC-44
Plantation Record: 17-3-16-5

Augusta National isn’t necessarily the best course fit for Harman. His record here demonstrates as such, having made just two cuts and only holding one finish of any note.

Conversely, he is easily playing the best golf of his career currently. Had a chance to win The Players when selected on these pages at 80/1, with putts to force a playoff with Scottie Scheffler. Also finished 5th at The Sentry, where he was also 3rd in 2018.

Won The Open Championship by a landslide in windy and wet British conditions. That came with an epic display of short-game prowess, gaining +11.92 SG: PUTT. You have to think he would need a similar putting display to overcome the obvious short-comings at this venue.

Playing great golf, just likely on the wrong course.

Russell Henley

Average Betting Odds: $56.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,200

Best Masters Finish: 4th (2023)
Masters Record: MC-31-21-11-15-30-4
Masters Average Score: 72.12
Riviera Record: MC-MC-61-44-17-38-33-MC-24
Plantation Record: 27-3-17-30-52

Consistently disrespected in betting markets and DFS pricing, Data Golf rank Henley as the 9th best golfer in the world currently. And before you LIV-bros come at me, remember that Data Golf uses strokes gained data including LIV players. You’re welcome.

The issue for me, like others in this article, is that he doesn’t win anywhere near as much as he should. I’ve started to develop a nagging feeling that Henley can stumble in victory, as statistically he should have won by now in this run. That includes when we tipped him at the Sony Open, where he looked the likely winner until playing his final 5 holes at +1. A birdie at the par 5 last would’ve been sufficient to make the play-off.

4th place in 2023 Masters was impressive, although the manner is concerning for me to his chances in 2024. He achieved that result solely with the putter and SG: ATG, never a sustainable way to build a result that provides little confidence. The poor record at Riviera is also a red flag here.

Avoid the chalk in DFS and spend your money elsewhere.

Tyrrell Hatton

Average Betting Odds: $56.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,600

Best Masters Finish: 18th (2021)
Masters Record: MC-44-56-MC-18-52-34
Masters Average Score: 73.88
Riviera Record: MC-40
Plantation Record: 14
Dubai Desert Classic Record: MC-55-8-3-38-22-4-38-31

Any time Hatton says he hates something, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Because Hatton as a general aura of hating everything and anyone at times.

However, he may be genuine in his hatred for Augusta National. A record where he has never finished better than 18th is not what you would expect for a golfer of his standard. Likewise, gave Riviera one go before being somewhat persuaded to play in 2023 as a signature event. His record at the Dubai Desert Classic is also poor for a golfer often stepping back to DP World Tour level.

Easy fade.

Jason Day

Average Betting Odds: $61.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,700

Best Masters Finish:
Masters Record: 2-WD-3-20-28-10-22-20-5-MC-MC-39
Masters Average Score: 71.85
Riviera Record: MC-MC-62-64-MC-9-9
Plantation Record: 9-3-10-12-13-10

Former world number 1 golfer, who showed a return to form in 2023 leading to a well-deserved return to the winners circle at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Followed that with a 2nd place finish in a wet and windy Open Championship, his best major finish since 2016.

Although finished 2nd on his Masters debut in 2011, he never held the lead on the final day and benefitted from the collapse of Rory McIlroy. Finished 9th in the last two editions of the Genesis Invitational, which is doubly impressive given the elevation to a signature event seeing the best players in those editions.

Has gone off the boil a little since, going 36th at the Arnold Palmer, 35th at The Players, and missing the cut at the Houston Open.

Could be sneaky.

Sam Burns

Average Betting Odds: $56.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,100

Best Masters Finish: 29th (2023)
Masters Record: MC-29
Masters Average Score: 73.00
Riviera Record: MC-23-3-MC-MC-10
Plantation Record: 19-32-33

Was absolutely on fire in February, racking up 4 top 10s in strong field including a 10th at Riviera.

Multiple time winner at the Valspar Championship is not the worst comp course. Spieth won there in 2015 prior his Masters victory and Paul Casey went back-to-back there in 2018-19 holding 5 Masters Top 10s and a Dubai Desert Classic win.

Much like the next name, contending in the majors is the next step for Burns but he is yet to show much. Has only finished a best of 20th in 14 attempts.

Prefer to see him in the heat of battle for a major title before recommending.

Beautiful Augusta National hosts the 2024 Masters

Max Homa

Average Betting Odds: $56.00
Draftkings Pricing: $8,300

Best Masters Finish: 43rd (2023)
Masters Record: MC-MC-48-43
Masters Average Score: 74.08
Riviera Record: MC-MC-37-5-W-10-2
Plantation Record: 25-15-3-14

On initial glance, it may be surprising to see Homa so far down the betting market. Until you remember his major form.

Managed his first 10 at a major at The Open Championship, which has always shaped as his most likely major. Outside that and a 13th at the 2022 PGA Championship, he has finished 43rd or worse in 15/17 majors including 9 missed cuts.

Homa is a real student of the game. He absolutely loves the history and legacy of golf, which may well be a hinderance at the major championships. It is almost if these events actually mean too much to him.

Offering the smallest glimmer of hope is the weather. His 13th came in the windy Southern Hills tournament, and his top 10 at the Open was also in torrid weather. His wins at the Wells Fargo and Fortinet also came in foul weather, and he holds an excellent record at Riviera.

Would be a surprise winner. But he will probably still have a great time in the merch tent.

Si Woo Kim

Average Betting Odds: $67.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,100

Best Masters Finish: 12th (2021)
Masters Record: MC-24-21-34-12-39-29
Masters Average Score: 72.38
Riviera Record: MC-MC-MC-3-37-MC-73-MC-44
Plantation Record: 30-10-23-25

Si Woo will always pop in my models given his consistent excellence on approach. Unfortunately, I just struggle to ever see this being a reasonable course for him.

Far too short off the tee, Si Woo possesses a hot and cold putter that could prove his demise at this event.

Often found missing the cut or down the pack at both The Sentry and Riviera, he lacks the power to ever be considered a viable option in betting or DFS here. Even easier to avoid given his projected ownership being very high in the latter.

Might sneak a Top 30, struggle to see anything more for him.

Corey Conners

Average Betting Odds: $67.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,500

Best Masters Finish: 6th (2022)
Masters Record: MC-46-10-8-6-MC
Masters Average Score: 71.85
Riviera Record: MC-MC-MC-61-24
Plantation Record: 19-18-33

Went on a run of three consecutive top 10 finishes starting in 2020. It is easy to see why.

The perennially classy ball-striker is one of the best in the game with his irons and enters the event as the 3rd best for SG: APP over the past 6 months in this field. He is particularly strong on approach from 150-200 yards, a range that sees a disproportionate number of approach shots at Augusta National.

Has finished with Top 25s in 4/5 of his recent starts, including a 13th at The Players and 18th at the Arnold Palmer.


Patrick Reed

Average Betting Odds: $67.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,400

Best Masters Finish: 1st (2018)
Masters Record: MC-22-49-MC-W-36-10-8-35-4
Masters Average Score: 71.89
Riviera Record: MC-59-51-MC
Plantation Record: 16-W-2-6-25-2-21-15
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 2

Impossible golfer to root for. However, you have to acknowledge The Masters record.

4 Top 10s in his last 6 Masters starts included a win in 2018. Finished 2nd in a battle with Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic, his only appearance there, following controversial incidents on the Emirates Golf Club driving range.

The 4th recently in Macau should be tempered by the fact it was a very weak field and he performed only as expected at best. The 9th at LIV Miami when last seen was more impressive, with Doral holding some links to Augusta National.

Possible villain on Sunday. Would hate to see it and dread how his victory interview would go.

Adam Scott

Average Betting Odds: $81.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,100

Best Masters Finish:
Masters Record: MC-33-27-27-25-MC-18-2-8-W-14-38-42-9-32-18-34-54-48-39
Masters Average Score: 72.56
Riviera Record: W-2-69-14-MC-17-10-2-11-53-7-W-38-4-65-19
Plantation Record: 7-5-2-18-21-6-21-29
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 9-7

From one of the most classless golfers in the professional game to arguably one of the classiest.

Scott is a previous Masters champion, but also boasts extensive correlated form. He won at Riviera on debut, adding another victory there in 2020, along with two additional runner-up finishes. He has also finished runner-up at The Sentry and accumulated two Top 10s in both Dubai Desert Classic starts.

The likeable Aussie was also in superb form either side of the New Year. That included a run of 7 consecutive top 20 finishes all around the globe. Finished 14th last week at the Texas Open. Ranking 2nd in this field for SG: PUTT over the last 6 months could prove useful if the winds get as bad as forecast.

Don’t be surprised if he finishes Top 10.

Akshay Bhatia

Average Betting Odds: $81.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,200

Best Masters Finish: N/A
Masters Record: N/A
Masters Average Score: N/A
Riviera Record: N/A
Plantation Record: 14

Earned his way into the field with his Texas Open victory last week.

Ended up in an epic tussle with Denny McCarthy, having looked like he would run away with the tournament holding a 6 shot lead at one point. Keeping his nerve when surprisingly finding himself in a play-off was impressive. For context, Bhatia and McCarthy ended up 9 strokes clear of Rory McIlroy in 3rd place.

Have to think that he would benefit for a go or two around this place, although on paper this does look to be a good fit for the talented 22-year-old. Left-handed golfers also hold a good record at The Masters with Mike Weir, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson all victorious here.

Some interest in “Best Lefty” markets at $3.00.

Min Woo Lee

Average Betting Odds: $81.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,300

Best Masters Finish: 14th (2022)
Masters Record: 14-MC
Masters Average Score: 73.33
Riviera Record: MC
Plantation Record: N/A
Dubai Desert Classic Record: MC-13

Talented young Australian who is looking to replicate his sister’s achievements, with Min Jee Lee already a two time major champion.

Min Woo Lee can struggle with his approach and ranks just 67th over the last 6 months in this field of 89. He has lost on approach in both his Masters starts, only finishing 14th on debut thanks to sitting 3rd in the field for SG: Putt that week. Also, Min Woo is in some pretty average form. Outside a 2nd at the Cognizant Classic, he has finished no better than 43rd in 6/7 tournaments since January.

Suspect he will be a chance at the US Open, where he has already finished 27th and 5th in two starts.

Avoid here for now.

Sergio Garcia

Average Betting Odds: $91.00
Draftkings Pricing: $6,800

Best Masters Finish: W (2017)
Masters Record: 4-MC-46-MC-MC-38-45-35-12-8-MC-17-34-W-MC-MC-MC-23-MC
Masters Average Score: 72.97
Riviera Record: 20-6-46-4-13-4-MC-49-37-37-MC-39
Plantation Record: 10-7-11
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 20-17-MC-W-32-3-23-6-12

Became the second golfer after Danny Willett to win both the Dubai Desert Classic and The Masters in the same year.

In doing so, he got the monkey of his back as one of the best players to never win a major to that point. Named his daughter Azalea a year later after the famous flowers dotting Augusta National.

Price nose-dived from 150/1 to 90/1 following his 2nd place finish at LIV Miami last week. Has done little here since his Masters win, but could be in the top 20 if his recent result actually means anything.

Hard to argue he presents value, but playable in DFS if you find yourself down there.

Denny McCarthy

Average Betting Odds: $101.00
Draftkings Pricing: $6,200

Best Masters Finish: N/A
Masters Record: N/A
Masters Average Score: N/A
Riviera Record: MC-37-MC-14-39
Plantation Record: 43

Silly price on Draftkings, given they released pricing early before his charge at the Texas Open last week. But, bear in mind he will also be very high ownership as a result.

Likely lacks the driving distance and ball-striking consistency to really say Augusta National suits him. However, he would be far from the first excellent putter to find a way around the course. Especially, after an emotional loss last week he might need another week to recover from still not being a PGA Tour winner in his 7th season.

Would be happy with a top 30 on debut here.

Byeong Hun An

Average Betting Odds: $101.00
Draftkings Pricing: $6,700

Best Masters Finish: 33rd (2017)
Masters Record: MC-MC-33-MC
Masters Average Score: 74.40
Riviera Record: 55-16
Plantation Record: 4
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 13-4-6-12

Having started his career on the DP World Tour, made his way across to the PGA Tour before struggling with the step up in class. Was demoted to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022, before earning his Tour card again and playing some of his best golf yet.

Held an excellent record at Emirates Golf Club prior to his move to the USA, as well as a 4th earlier this year at The Sentry, and a 16th at only his 2nd try around Riviera in an elevated event. This will mark his first return to The Masters 2024 field since 2020. So, although he has never shown much of anything at Augusta National, you could argue he is playing much better than he ever was during those starts.

Likely goes more under-owned than he should in DFS given a poor Masters record on paper.

Sungjae Im

Average Betting Odds: $101.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,600

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2020)
Masters Record: 2-MC-8-16
Masters Average Score: 71.64
Riviera Record: MC-MC-33-56-44
Plantation Record: 5-8-13-5

Have to say that Sungjae’s record at The Masters is impressive, although his 2024 leaves much to be desired.

Sungjae finished runner-up on debut at just 22 years old, never slipping outside the top 5 all week. He has since added an 8th and 16th place finish at Augusta National, as well as being the 2022 first-round leader.

Had looked to have found some form at the end of 2023, carrying that into the start of the 2024 year with a 5th place finish at The Sentry making him a tempting Masters prospect. However, since then he has really fallen off the boil.

Most concerning is he has lost his irons completely. Typically, this is the strongest aspect of Sungjae’s game. He ranks a lowly 61st in this field for SG: APP over the last 6 months. Combined with his high DFS price, he is likely to go very low owned. If you wanted to take a risk, he might be worth popping into a few line-ups in large GPPs if relying solely on his form at The Masters.

Will likely be on my Masters betting card if he arrives back here with a smidge of form in future.

At the moment, he has none.

Rickie Fowler

Average Betting Odds: $111.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,300

Best Masters Finish: 2nd (2018)
Masters Record: 38-27-38-5-12-MC-11-2-9-29
Masters Average Score: 71.47
Riviera Record: MC-35-62-MC-20-55-20-35
Plantation Record: 6-5-4-5-56

Unfortunately, I’m increasingly convinced that the story of Rickie Fowler’s career will be one of what could have been.

A marketers dream with his baby-faced looks and obvious talent, Fowler has compiled 12 Top 10 finishes in majors over his career. Entered some particularly dark years between 2020 to 2023. Having achieved his first win in 4 and a half years in July 2023, many would have hoped to see that spur him on to even better things.

Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred. Fowler looks like he is firmly back in the doldrums. Since the start of the year, he has played 9 times, missed 3 cuts, and finished no better than 35th. He has not played in The Masters since the November 2020 event and may well struggle on his return.

Easy fade.

Harris English

Average Betting Odds: $126.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,000

Best Masters Finish: 21st (2021)
Masters Record: MC-42-21-43
Masters Average Score: 73.64
Riviera Record: 51-10-30-39-MC-MC-MC-12-7
Plantation Record: 11-W-30-14

Although his Masters record may look average at first glance, this should also be interpreted that he was in pretty poor form at each of those starts. In 2023, he arrived after a missed cut and winning just 1/3 matches in the WGC Matchplay. He had incoming form of 32-MC-MC-66-26-42 when arriving here in 2021. Likewise, in 2016 he had two missed cuts and a 57th as his lead-in. 2014 he actually had his best incoming form, although a missed cut can be forgiven for a debut at Augusta National.

So, all considered, 3 made cuts in that context is perhaps better than it appears. English has finished 12th at Riviera in 2023, followed by 7th there two months ago. He was a winner at The Sentry in 2021.

Most promising is his recent form is much better. He accumulated finishes of 17th at the WM Phoenix Open, 7th at the Genesis Invitational, 21st at the Arnold Palmer, and 19th at The Players Championship. A missed cut last week came after playing the final 4 holes in +5, although I hardly think arriving earlier at Augusta National is necessarily a negative for him.

English has also already shown upside in majors. Particularly, this is true at the US Open where he has 3 finishes of 3rd, 4th, and 8th since 2020.

Ranks inside the top 15 for both SG: ATG and SG: PUTT in this field over the last 3 months is an undoubted asset. Given the forecast, missing greens will be inevitability for at least the first two days of play.


Tom Kim

Average Betting Odds: $126.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,400

Best Masters Finish: 16th (2023)
Masters Record: 16
Masters Average Score: 71.50
Riviera Record: 45-24
Plantation Record: 5-45

Given his emergence on the professional golf scene, it is easy to forget that Tom Kim is still just 21 years old.

Impressed on debut when finishing 16th, especially given coming in with indifferent form. He had 4 made cuts, but no finish better than a 34th and won just 1/3 in the WGC Matchplay.

Unfortunately, he has started 2024 in poor form. He has recorded just one top 20 in 8 starts, including a lowly 45th out of 59 at The Sentry and finishing 24th at Riviera. Have to suspect Augusta National will be a tricky course for him until he adds some more driving distance. Maybe after he has done some more speed training with Matt Fitzpatrick.

Prefer others.

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Justin Rose

Average Betting Odds: $126.00
Draftkings Pricing: $7,200

Best Masters Finish:
Masters Record: 22-5-36-20-11-8-25-14-2-10-2-12-MC-23-7-MC-16
Masters Average Score: 71.79
Riviera Record: 59-58-39-62-MC-37-9-13-45-16-4-56-MC
Plantation Record: 12-40
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 35

Has accumulated an impressive record at Augusta National over the years, missing the cut just twice in 17 attempts.

After a rather excellent 2023, has shown little to start 2024 in the lead up to The Masters. Outside of an 11th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (where he was defending champion), he has finished no better than 40th in his other 6 starts. The 40th came at The Sentry, meaning he still placed in the bottom third of that field.

Would need to show a remarkable turn in form to feature this week.

Large GPP option only.

Tiger Woods

Average Betting Odds: $126.00
Draftkings Pricing: $6,800

Best Masters Finish: 1st (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019)
Masters Record: 41-MC-1-8-18-5-1-1-15-22-1-3-2-2-6-4-4-40-4-17-32-1-38-47-WD
Masters Average Score: 71.19
Riviera Record: MC-MC-20-2-18-13-5-7-13-WD-MC-15-68-45-WD
Plantation Record: 5-1-8-10-4-3
Dubai Desert Classic Record: 2-5-1-3-1-20-41-WD

Rounding out our player profiles with Tiger is only apt. To put in perspective how good he was in his era, the first name on this list was Scottie Scheffler. He would need to remain ranked as the best in the world for the next 604 weeks to match how long Tiger Woods was World Number 1. That would be until 8th November 2035.

The fact his betting odds moved from 150/1 to 125/1 from some pretty inane comments from Will Zalatoris speaks to the fact so many would love to see Tiger competitive here again.

Sadly, his body is broken. He has played just a round and a half of competitive golf in 2024. That came at the Genesis Invitational before withdrawing midway through the 2nd round.

The main issue is the leg injury from his car crash. And, Augusta National is not an easy walk. It features some of the largest undulations and elevation changes of any venue on the PGA Tour.

Should he make the cut, he would hold the outright record for the most consecutive cuts made at The Masters. It is a feat he currently shares with Gary Player and Fred Couples.

Maybe that is the equivalent of a return to glory in the current situation for Tiger.

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In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at the PGA Tour’ Championship helping you find some winning teams in GPPs!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Just 30 golfers & no cut
  • Players starting “scores” are determined by their FedExCup positions (-10 thru even par)
  • Those starting scores are reflected in the pricing
  • The course: East Lake Golf Club (Atlanta, GA)
    • Par 70: 7,346 yards – Donald Ross design (renovations have made it tougher over the years)
    • Bermuda Greens
    • Long par 3s and 4s
      • Other Ross courses with correlative success: Sedgefield, Plainfield, Aronimink Golf Club, Oak Hill, Pinehurst #2.
      • Weather expected to have minimal effect this week, course will be receptive during outset
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Ball Striking, Opportunities Gained, SG: Putting (Bermuda), Par 4s Gained (450-500), Par 5s Gained, Good Drives Gained

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $11,000 and up):

Patrick Cantlay (DK $13,400) – It’s going to be hard to pay the obnoxious price for the guy starting off 10 strokes under par, but the performance of Cantlay’s driver and putter in that epic playoff victory shows that he’s really in a good place (with a two shot lead over the heading into the Tour Championship. I have more interest in the other guys but will find a way to fit him into 2/10 GPPs.

Jon Rahm (DK $13,000) – After a hot start at Caves Valley, Rahm seemed to get a bit distracted and annoyed and faded down the stretch, finishing in a share of ninth place after shooting a two-under 70 in the final round of the BMW Championship. He’s only four back of the lead heading into the Tour Championship, but he’s awfully expensive, so he almost has to win to justify the price. I’ll use him in 2/10 GPPs.

Tony Finau (DK $11,800) – Finau already has a one stroke lead on Rahm and sits just three back after a blistering final round 63 that included birdies on five of his final six holes – the lowest round of the day by two shots. His confidence and putting is at an all-time high and those are traditionally the only things that have kept him from the elite tier of PGA Tour golfers.

Also consider: Bryson DeChambeau (GPP), Justin Thomas (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $8,000 to $10,900):

Dustin Johnson (DK $10,700) – I’ve got to hand it to Steven Polardi (AKA Sicily Kid) with his DJ pick last week, since I was unconvinced he had his driver figured out. Johnson’s 27 birdies were the second most in the field for the week, and East Lake, while difficult, has been one of his favorite venues. DJ also ranked fourth in SG: OTT last week and seventh in SG: Putting, so he’s got a shot at defending his title this week.

Rory McIlroy (DK 9,300) – Rory is just way too cheap given how well he’s been striking it (he ranked second in SG: OTT and fourth in SG: T2G last week). At this price he really only needs to sneak into the Top 5 for the week, and he’s only four strokes off of that slot to start the tournament. He’s a horse for the East Lake course and will be in my core for cash and single-entry GPP.

Xander Schauffele (DK 8,900) – Schauffele’s in a similar position to Rory (starting at -2) and is even $400 cheaper. Sia points out in the Initial Picks article that Xander’s true score in last year’s event was -15, and his solid course history (and track record in no-cut events) means he’s an excellent (but likely popular) value play this week.

Viktor Hovland $8,000) – Hovland immediately stuck out to me as a guy who we routinely look to in cash builds for his consistency, and even if that hasn’t ben there of late (largely due to a poor putter), the change of venue and immediacy of the Tour Championship should help him exorcise some of those demons and finish in the Top 10.

Also consider: Cameron Smith (GPP), Harris English, Sam Burns (GPP)

Value PGA DFS (DK $5,000 to $7,900):

Brooks Koepka (DK $7,800) – Something has been off about Koepka for a while now, but he made 21 birdies last week despite some poor putting and we know he usually saves his most epic performances for high profile events. He may not have a great shot at winning, but he’s in the same starting position as McIlroy and Schauffele and comes at a severely discounted price.

Scottie Scheffler (DK $6,800) – As well as he hit the ball on approach last week, I could see Scheffler getting his driver straightened out and come out firing with a 65 or 66 and cutting the gap to five strokes of the lead after Day 1. He’s a sneaky play at this price and will be in my single-entry core.

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $6,400) – We know that Deki can make birdies in bunches when he’s rolling it good, since his ball striking remains elite on the PGA Tour. The reigning Master champ is coming off a disappointing week at Caves Valley, but he’s bound to popular at this price.

Daniel Berger (DK $5,800) – Berger will garner a ton of ownership and makes a lot of sense as a starting value piece for cash game builds, especially considering he finds a way to sneak into the Top 15 at East Lake almost every year. My GPP ownership will be predicate don where the field lands.

Joaquin Niemann (DK $5,600) – Niemann started off slowly last week but came alive with 15 birdies over his last two rounds to sneak into the Top 30. The price is way too low and he’ll be in my core of GPP value plays, possibly making the final cut for my single-entry builds.

Also consider: Sungjae Im, Jason Kokrak, Erik van Rooyen

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We’ve got another no-cut event to cover in our PGA DFS contests for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, and our picks will help you green up those screens!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Strong field of 66 golfers, including 48 of the OWGR top 50
  • Back to Thursday morning lock
  • No cut event
  • The course: TPC Southwind (Memphis, TN)
    • 7,200+ yards, Par 70
    • Zoysia fairways and small Bermuda greens – both a little harder to hit than most courses
    • Tree-lined course features lots of water in play – in the form of lakes, streams and ponds in a bucolic farm-like setting (there’s even a couple of silos!)
    • Tough Par 3s and difficult finishing hole (Par 4, 461 yards alongside a water hazard)
    • Mostly long Par 4s (450+) with some doglegs, and just two Par 5s – including one “must” birdie hole at No. 16
    • All-around game is rewarded, as winners tend to be good throughout the bag
    • Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-13); 2019 champ: Brooks Koepka (-16); 2018: Dustin Johnson (-19)
    • Comps (similar layout/design): TPC River Highlands (Travelers), Harbour Town GC (RBC Heritage)
  • Course history shows some players tend to fare better here than others
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach; SG: Ball Striking; Birdie or Better %; SG: Off the Tee; SG: Around the Green; SG: Putting (Bermuda); Par 4s Gained (450-500), Opportunities Gained

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Collin Morikawa (DK $11,000) – I’ll chalk up last week’s podium no-show to a bad putting week and the leveled playing field of a gettable Olympic course. This week, he’s on faster putting surfaces that seem to help better ball strikers and guys who flourish at majors, and he’ll rely on his game’s all-around brilliance over four days to contend for a WGC title. In this week’s must-see breakdown, Joel talks a little bit about how to pick your top-tier PGA DFS guys and how this is a week where the cream will rise to the top – favoring players like Morikawa.

Brooks Koepka (DK $10,600) Koepka is one of a few golfers who play well at TPC Southwind and could walk away with the trophy this week, so we’ll have to mix in some shares of him in GPPs. I’m never too keen on using him in cash games, but this could be the week that I deploy him there and in a small- and large-field single-entry GPP contests banking on a top 5 finish – something he’s done a lot here. He’s already notched a win (2019), a T2 (2020) and a T2 in 2016 before TPC Southwind was a WGC event – and his form is solid with T4-T5-T6 in his last three tournaments.

Dustin Johnson (DK $10,200) – With lots of ownership going to Koepka, DJ makes for a cheaper pivot in GPPs and certainly has the right skill set to get it done at TPC Southwind. My usual worries about putting are alleviated in the switch to the faster Bermuda greens, since it’s a little easier for him to compete with the better, more aggressive putters when he doesn’t have to worry about slamming in ten-footers.

Justin Thomas (DK $9,900) – Like DJ, he’s a course horse and a fan of these putting surfaces, which – let’s be honest – has been the most glaring issue with JT’s game over the past few tournaments. Both he and JT are guys who like to get the line right and give it a good roll, and that’s rewarded here – as opposed to the bumps and bounces of Bentgrass and “pop-it-in” Poa. He’s another bargain PGA DFS GPP pivot given his upside, though there’s moderate risk if he doesn’t see many putts go in in the first two days.

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $9,600) – Louis is on quite the heater, notching four second-place finishes in his last eight starts worldwide, including a solo second at the U.S. Open and T2 at the PGA Championship. He also finished T3 at the Open Championship and he likes this course – with T20-T6 in his two trips to Memphis. He’s a solid putter on any surface and this may be the best he’s hit the ball in his celebrated career.

Also consider: Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy (GPP), Viktor Hovland (cash)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Daniel Berger (DK $9,200) – Berger has taken advantage of this venue in his four appearances at TPC Southwind, winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic twice and sharing runner-up honors in the WGC last year. He’s among the better PGA DFS values in the field when we consider form, course history and his superiority in target golf. Berger is a solid play in all formats and has winning upside despite the insanely strong field.

Matt Fitzpatrick (DK $8,800) – I’ll be rooting hard for Matty Fitz to get his first PGA Tour victory this week, and this golf course is a good place for that to happen. The English standout seems to thrive at this venue and on courses with similarly small Bermuda greens. With four guaranteed days for him to get hot and make some birdies, he should climb the leaderboard and be in contention come Sunday.

Webb Simpson (DK $8,500) – We have to like this price point for Simpson, who has struggled in 2021 but should benefit from a no-cut event on a Bermuda greens and a recent T19 at the Open Championship. He finished second here in 2019 and T12 in 2020, so it’s as good a place as any for him to get back in the swing of things.

Abraham Ancer (DK $8,300) – Ancer could be downright dangerous this week, as he finished T14 at the Olympics and has logged six top 10s among 15 official top 25s this season. He also plays well at WGC events, notching top 20s in his last six appearances in dating back to the 2019 WGC Match Play. I love getting him for all four rounds and seeing just how hot he can get with his pin-seeking approaches.

Corey Conners (DK $8,100) – Conners isn’t the best putter in the world and there’s always the risk of three-jacks on greens this fast – but he undoubtedly has the T2G chops to avoid the ubiquitous water trouble that threatens both tee balls and approach shot at TPC Southwind. I’d consider him a decent cog in balanced PGA DFS GPP builds but a longshot to win.

Tommy Fleetwood (DK $8,000) – His ball-striking may still be along way from the days when he earned the “Fairway Jesus” sobriquet, but his T16 finish among some excellent competitors at the Olympics and fondness for the switch to Bermuda could mean good things for him in Memphis this week. I’m nowhere near “all-in” status with Tommy, but a  low score on one of the first couple days could help propel him to a top 10 finish this week, so I’ll have some exposure in GPPs.

Will Zalatoris (DK $7,900) – Zalatoris is a relatively high-risk GPP wildcard this week, since there’s really no telling if his back is okay after the withdrawal at the Open Championship, and he hasn’t played this course before. Regardless, he’s a talented ball striker and he’s got four days (if his body holds up) to navigate the hazards and hard-to-hit greens at TPC Southwind. I’d steer clear in cash games and single-entry, but ownership should be low and I’m fine using him in 5-10% of GPPs.

Sungjae Im (DK $7,700) – I love Sungjae on Bermuda greens and I’m not deterred by the hectic schedule that had him competing for a medal in Tokyo just last week. He could be a super sneaky GPP play and possibly a solid staple for single-entry if you’re buying into his upside at this affordable price.

Also consider: Hideki Matsuyama, Scottie Scheffler, Paul Casey, Shane Lowry, Cameron Smith (GPP), Harris English

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Brian Harman (DK $7,500) – Harman had been getting it done prior to his WD (undisclosed) at the 3M Open after tying for 19th at the Open Championship, earning top 20 finishes in four of his last five starts dating back to the Charles Schwab Challenge. Other than a missed cut at the PGA, his game has flourished in major championships and the tougher-field events in 2021.

Sergio Garcia (DK $7,300) – I like having Sergio on Bermuda for four days, since he’s got the ball-striking prowess to excel at TPC Southwind and avoid some of the water than could swallow up less experienced players. Since a T20 at Colonial, he’s notched four straight top 20s and finished T25 at the 3M Open, so he’s worth a look in all formats at this bargain price.

Billy Horschel (DK $7,100) –It’s been a spell since I’ve considered Horschel, probably because he has only played four tournaments since the start of June, and he wasn’t a PGA DFS factor in any of them (67th at the Memorial, a disappointing MC at U.S. Open, T54 at Scottish Open and T53 at Royal St. George’s). TPC Southwind, on the other hand, favors his game and has historically ben a get-right spot for the native Floridian, who favors Bermuda over the surfaces we’ve seen recently on tour. He’s a fine risk-reward GPP play this week.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,000) – Value like this is sometimes difficult to find in no-cut events, but Poulter offers plenty of upside considering all the factors of pricing and performance in the focus stat categories. If he can stay out of trouble and avoid the big numbers, he’ll be a solid value over four days in Memphis, where he finished in eighth place in 2019 but faltered (T69) in 2020. Whether you need to include a guy like Poulter depends a lot on your roster construction, but I have a feeling I might end up using him a bit.

Kevin Kisner (DK $6,800) – TPC Southwind, on a cursory glance, really seems like another good spot for Kisner to post a Top 20 or better finish. The venue features small Bermuda greens and plenty of doglegs, making it comparable to venues where he’s done some of his best work on the PGA Tour (including Copperhead and Harbour Town). He’s finished T25 and T27 the past two years, and any improvement on that should work for the builds that include “Lil’ Kis” and his positive putting pedigree this year.

Phil Mickelson (DK $6,600) – Getting Phil at $6,600 is just too good to pass up given his record at TPC Southwind and familiarity with the venue. Sure, he may flake out and start three-putting or miss a bunch of fairways and be playing catch-up after a couple days, but he’s good enough to post a low number early and let his talents carry him the rest of the way. I’ll have exposure in GPPs, though I’m not forcing him into my builds as he’s more of a “last piece” flier.

Robert MacIntyre (DK $6,600) – Like Phil, this lefty has the overall game to flourish at this venue, even if he lacks the course history/experience to be a no-brainer value play. Bobby Mac is a risk since he finished T59 in the 2020 WGC-FedEx (his first and only try), but a string of solid finishes in 2021 may have given him added confidence heading back to Memphis this year.

More value golfers to consider: Tyrrell Hatton (GPP), Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Justin Rose (GPP), Matthew Wolff (GPP), Cameron Champ (GPP)

Longshot Punts PGA DFS (DK $6,500 and under):

Ryan Palmer (DK $6,500) – Let’s start by referring to what Sia said in his Initial Picks article, where he touted Palmer as “the type of player that you simply wouldn’t take in a normal cut event” because of his form and the inherent risk you assume with the possibility of the dreaded “two days and done.” If he can post good scores in one or two rounds, that might be enough to return value in stars-and-scrubs builds.

Stewart Cink (DK $6,500) – It’s nice to see other WinDaily writers on the same punts as me, although that could mean elevated ownership, and some of our leverage could “Cink” if we invest a bit too much in good ol’ Stewie Kablooie this week. This is where I’ll stop having anything more than 15% ownership in my tournament entries and keep the remaining suggestions to one or two entries out of 20 in the big field GPPs.

Additional GPP punts: Kevin Na, Lucas Glover, Garrick Higgo, Matt Jones, Jim Herman

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This week’s PGA DFS picks article should help you find some winning combinations and focus your player pool for the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Field of 156 golfers including the best players in the world
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 70 and ties play the weekend
  • No 2020 tourney; Defending (2019) champion: Shane Lowry (-15)
  • The course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Sandwich, England)
    • 7,268 yards, Par 70
    • Traditional seaside venue that can be affected by drastic wind changes and weather
    • Bentgrass greens
    • Tough links style course with deep bunkers and some OB providing a challenge
    • Some blind tee shots and plenty of humps and bumps that can send balls off track
    • Just two par 5s and four Par 3s – so Par 70 specialists could fare well
    • Length not that important, as most par 4s are in the 400-475 range
  • Wind and rain expected, with 20-25 MPH gusts blowing on Saturday and Sunday
  • Focus Stat Categories: SG: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, SG: Around the Green, SG: Tee to Green, Bogey Avoidance, Driving Accuracy, Scrambling, Par 70 (and links) performance

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Jon Rahm (DK $11,300) – Despite the lack of a top 10 finish at the Open Championship (his best finish was a T11 at Royal Troon in 2016), Rahm enters the week as the betting favorite and highest priced PGA DFS golfer in the field. There’s no real weakness to his game; he currently leads the PGA TOUR in adjusted scoring – and ranks second in SG: T2G. His ball-striking has been on point this season, he loves links courses and he’s in play for all formats this week.

Rory McIlroy (DK $10,900) – I refuse to give up on Rory and think he’s a good GPP play this week in the wake of the missed cut at the Scottish Open – which he jumped into a little late because his wife and child are still stateside. He may end up being the lowest-owned golfer in the $10K+ range and that’s what we’re looking for since his upside is still in the trophy-hoisting territory. “Rors” is both familiar with this giant-killer venue (T25 here in 2011) and the elements that could stymie a large portion of the PGA DFS field.

Brooks Koepka ($10,700) – Because of his impressive history in majors (four wins in the past five years) and the Open Championship (three top 10s since 2015), Koepka isn’t cheap, but he’s a fine GPP play. The polarizing figure was a 13-year-old spectator in 2003 when Ben Curtis won at Royal St. George’s, and while he said Tuesday morning (in an interview that had the NYT writing about it) that while this isn’t his favorite British Open venue in the venerable rotation, there’s no reason to leave him off your builds with his uncanny ability to compete in the world’s biggest tournaments.

Jordan Spieth (DK $9,700) – The former Open champion (2017 at Royal Birkdale) is impressive on links courses and has the requisite elements to his game is solid form heading into this week’s test. We have plenty of options in the $7,000-7,500 range this week if we’re rostering Rahm-Spieth to start, and if we’re fading Rahm there’s a great route to balanced builds that start with Spieth as the highest spend ($8K+ remining per golfer). I’ll be hoping to land around 25-40% ownership in GPPs.

Also consider: Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $9,300) – There’s not much more to say about the former Open champion than what Sia said in his U.S. Open Initial picks piece and what I covered in the picks column leading into Torrey Pines, when he finished solo second after being edged out by Rahm. He’s not playing in the Olympics, so this tournament has to be an important one for him as he continues playing solid golf in the late summer/early autumn of his fantastic career. He’s a guy I love in basically all the majors for PGA DFS, but I know he’ll be popular this week.

Viktor Hovland (DK $9,100) – Hovland – the No. 14 golfer in the world – became the first Norwegian winner in the history of the European tour when he prevailed at the BMW International Open in Germany a couple weeks ago, and his steady play  and positive attitude should help him navigate the inexorable bounces and bumps of Royal St. George’s. The only drawback is his last of experience, as this will be his Open Championship debut, and it’s one of those things that’s got Sia concerned, as he explains in the breakdown.

Patrick Reed ($8,800) – While I’m a little skeptical that Reed can endure the elements and win the Open Championship, he’s certainly in play at this low price because of his ability to finish in the top 15. The form isn’t great, and his accuracy could be a problem here, but the ironically nicknamed “Captain America” loves to play the villain and he’s a shrewd large-field GPP play with an elite short game.

Paul Casey (DK $8,600) – Casey disappointed with a T54 at this venue in 2011 (a third-round 78 the main culprit), and his Open Championship finishes have left a bit to be desired through the years. But he’s a much more consistent golfer these days and has six top 10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments, so I like his chances for a top 10 this week, especially at this relatively fair price.

Tony Finau (DK $8,400) – I’ve said “never again” after being burned by Terrible Tony many times, but the talent level is off the charts and the price is a reasonable one despite two straight MCs at the U.S. Open and Travelers. Finau has not missed a cut at the Open Championship in four tries, and three of those attempts have yielded Top 20 finishes (solo third in 2019, T9 in 2018, T18 in 2016). He probably circled this on the schedule the minute he trudged off the 18th green at Torrey Pines, and I will be surprised (and angry) if he sabotages my GPP lineups again this week.

Matt Fitzpatrick (DK $7,900) – As you may have noticed if you’re a regular reader of PGA DFS Picks, Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite golfers to roster in single-entry and all types of GPPs, and I’ll continue that approach this week at Royal St. George’s – a venue where he should thrive – despite the disappointment of coming off a playoff loss to Min Woo Lee at the Scottish Open. His best finish in the Open Championship was the most recent iteration in 2019 (T20), and I believe he’s ready to break through with a top 10 (or better) this time around – when distance is not as important (it’s even shorter than it was in 2011) and he can plot his way around the golf course. In fact, Fitzpatrick came here last year (after having been told that he wasn’t going to enjoy it because of the blind shots and uneven lies) shot 67 and loved the course.

Shane Lowry (DK $7,900) – The defending champion is under $8K this week, and that alone puts him in play in all formats, even if he’s exceedingly popular. Lowry performs well in weather and wind, and he was the only player who didn’t collapse in the gale-force gusts that plagued the final round at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019. There’s plenty of PGA DFS upside in this price range, and both Fitzpatrick and Lowry make for fine core plays in all kinds of builds.

Sergio Garcia (DK $7,600) – His last Top 5 at a British Open came in 2016, but he finished T9 here in 2011. He’s far from a safe play and I wouldn’t touch him in cash games despite the low price, but he’s a great GPP option given his upside and the dynamic quality of game and ball-striking prowess. He’s had a hard time closing things out this season, with some good rounds giving way to PGA DFS tumbles over the weekend, but he’s in play at this venue in large-field GPPs.

Also consider: Collin Morikawa (GPP), Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Scottie Scheffler (GPP), Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Francesco Molinari (DK $7,300) The talented Italian won the Open Championship in 2018 and finished T11 in 2019 – impressive finishes that show he can handle links style courses with the best of them. He missed the cut at Royal St. George’s in 2011, but a decade of additional experience in major championships should help him this week.

Harris English (DK $7,300) – English has piled up the top 10 finishes this season (seven), and he’s one of just five golfers to notch two wins on tour this season. In the focus stats/metrics, he checks some crucial boxes for Royal St. George’s, ranking eighth in SG:T2G and seventh in Bogey Avoidance over his past three tournaments. He’s also missed the weekend just once in five Open appearances and has made cuts in 13 consecutive majors – something that makes him a solid play for single-entry and cash games as well as large-field GPPs.

Rickie Fowler (DK $7,300)Fowler is teeing it up in his 11th Open Championship, with only one MC at this event (and three finishes of T6 or better – including a T2 from 2014 and a T5 at Royal St. George’s in 2011. That level of experience is a big help, and he’s finally rounding into form after a rough stretch in late 2020/early 2021. The fan favorite has now secured a weekend pass in three of his last four starts (T8, T11, MC and T32) and the impressive T8 was at the year’s second major – the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Robert MacIntyre (DK $7,300) – MacIntyre is right there with the rest of the high-upside players at this price point, even if PGA Tour golf fans aren’t that familiar with his record. Bobby Mac impressed at the Royal Portrush in 2019 at his Open Championship (and major tournament) debut, concluding in difficult conditions with a final round 68 and eventual T6 finish. He’s now ranked No. 53 in the world, making the cut at five straight majors – a T12 at the Masters this April his best major finish since the 2019 Open. MacIntyre shot under par in all four rounds last week and posted a T18 at the Renaissance Club in the Scottish Open – a links with at least a passing resemblance to Royal St. George’s. Excluding a COVID-related withdrawal at the Irish Open recently, The Scotsman has made a remarkable 25 of his last 26 cuts worldwide and may even be viable in cash games this week.

Branden Grace (DK $7,200)Grace is usually hit-or-miss in major championships, but he arrives sporting some good form due to some sparkling iron play over his last dozen or so rounds. He has a history of going low at the Open, dating back to his 62 in Round three Saturday at Royal Birkdale in 2017 – when he finished T6 with Koepka, Marc Leishman, Alex Noren and Matthew Southgate at -4. The 33-year-old South African also finished inside the top 20 at the Open Championship in 2015, and arrives at this week’s edition on the heels of two consecutive top seven finishes on the PGA Tour, including a T7 at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,200) – Since missing the cut at Royal St. George’s in 2011 (which surely sticks in his craw), Poulter has a spotty history at the Open Championship with five MCs and three top 15s – a testament to his dynamic play and viability as a GPP play. His 2021 record is actually a lot more steady: Since the PGA Championship, he’s 6-for-6 with two top five finishes including T4 at the Scottish open this past week.

Alex Noren (DK $7,200) Noren has a distinguished record at the Open Championship, finishing T11 with Rahm, JT, Molinari and Tom Lewis in 2019 and earning top 10s in 2017 and 2012. He’s also finished among the top 15 (including a T4 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic) in two of the past three starts, sporting excellent T2G numbers in that stretch. I wouldn’t pencil him into all my single-entry lineups, but I’m willing to take as stab in the lower-fee SE and in all types of large-field GPPs.

Matt Kuchar (DK $7,000) – Kuchar is my choice for sneaky veteran bargain play – especially on a course that’s not all about mashing and/or the traditional “target” golf that’s played on a lot of the modern stateside venues. He’s fared well at the open Championship in the past and finished solo second at Royal Birkdale in 2017. In fact, he’s made nine out of his last 10 cuts in this tournament (and eight straight), the only outlier being the 2011 edition at – you guessed it – Royal St. George’s. The revenge narrative is strong this week and Kuchar should be low-owned with Top 10 upside.

Lucas Herbert (DK $6,800) – The woefully mispriced Herbert won at the Irish Open two weeks ago and notched a T4 in Scotland last week, so he’s in fine form heading into the Open. The plucky Australian also finished inside the top 20 at a couple of relatively prestigious PGA Tour events – the Memorial and the Travelers. He’s now won a couple times in his past 23 starts worldwide and should offer plenty of value as you construct your builds this week.

Lucas Glover (DK $6,600) – Hey – it’s another cheap Lucas! Glover is coming off a huge win at the John Deere Classic, snapping a winning drought that lasted over 10 years, and he should be excited about playing a course where he posted his best-ever finish at the Open Championship – a T12 in 2011. Winning two weeks in a row and collecting just his second major championship is a tall order – no doubt – but he’s a risk-reward play that won’t cost you very much to roster.

More value golfers to consider: Phil Mickelson (GPP), Lee Westwood, Daniel Berger (GPP), Thomas Detry, Matt Wallace, Russell Henley (GPP), Min Woo Lee, Corey Conners (GPP), Danny Willett, Erik van Rooyen (GPP), Kevin Kisner, Stewart Cink, Richard Bland, Adam Long (GPP)

Longshot Punts (DK $6,500 and under):

Justin Harding (DK $6,500) – More of a single day (first-round?) showdown longshot, Justin Harding heads into the 2021 The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club with insanely long (+35000) odds to win, but he’s in play due to the fact that he made the cut and finished 41st in his last appearance at this event in 2019, and he’s super cheap. I’m targeting him for 1/20 GPP entries.

Chris Kirk (DK $6,400) – Kirk made three of his last five cuts, but he’s 17-for-23 this season – decent for a golfer under $6,500. While he missed the cut during his last British Open appearance in 2016, he’s a much better golfer now and should be up to the challenge personally and professionally. Like Harding, I’ll find a place for him in 1/20 large-field GPP entries.

Johannes Veerman (DK $6,100) – Veerman posted a T3 at the Irish Open two weeks ago and is coming off a T8 at the Scottish Open, so the form is solid. He’s seemingly a fans of links-style courses and while he’s a virtual unknown who could boom or bust this week, the price is dirt cheap and he’s one of the better low-cost options in the $6K range – which we’ll need to peruse if we’re going full-on stars and scrubs. He might be my favorite play under $6,600, so I’m willing to click him into 5-10% of my large-field GPPs (and one or two of my 20-max entries).

Additional GPP punts: Sebastian Munoz, Carlos Ortiz, Marcus Armitage, Jason Scrivener, Sam Burns, Chan Kim

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We’re giving you some top PGA DFS picks and looking for green screens at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands!

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Full, deep field of 156 golfers
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 65 and ties play the weekend
  • Defending champion: Dustin Johnson (19 over Kevin Streelman’s -18)
  • The course: TPC River Highlands (Cromwell, CT)
    • 6,841 yards, Par 70 – Old 1928 design reworked by Pete Dye in 1982
    • Varied types of holes on a short course that can produce low scoring (site of Jim Furyk’s 58 in 2016)
    • Small Bentgrass/Poa Greens
    • Just two par 5s, but one is short and yields lots of birdies and eagles; and two driveable par 4s around 300 yards
    • Experience with Pete Dye layouts can help, and there’s plenty of course history at TPC River Highlands
    • Distance not an issue here as scoring clubs more important
  • Focus Stat Categories: SG: Approach, Par 4s: 400-450, Opportunities Gained, SG: OTT, SG: Tee to Green, SG: Putting (Bentgrass and Poa), SG: Around the Green, Birdie or Better %

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,400) – DJ’s game doesn’t look too bad heading into the Travelers, where he’s the defending champ and one of the betting favorites at 12-1. Last year’s title was helped tremendously by a second round 64 and a scorching-hot 61 on Saturday, but it took him a bit to warm up and he closed the deal with a solid 67 on Sunday. That’s just how he could win again this year – with his talent shining through in a couple of low rounds and solid ball-striking carrying him through when his mojo ain’t working.

Patrick Cantlay (DK $10,400) – His projected ownership will probably be the highest in this tier for the consistency he’s shown in PGA DFS events, excluding the poor stretch of MCs from the Players to the Wells Fargo during the spring. Believe it or not, Cantlay is actually the current FedExCup points leader with three top 15s at the Travelers since 2018. I won’t have as many shares as I will of DJ, but I feel like some exposure is warranted.

Paul Casey (DK $9,900) – Casey is my favorite play under $10K and has a great course history at TPC River Highlands, where he’s 6-for-6 with four top five finishes. He also finished among the top 10 in his last three starts (EURO and PGA combined) and is coming off a very respectable T7 at the U.S. Open. Sia is on board and so is Stix, so I’m buying some Casey this week and hoping for another Top 10 finish.

Scottie Scheffler (DK $9,600) – Scheffler missed the cut in his Travelers debut last year, but he was amid a bad stretch of golf during the beginning of the spectator-free COVID tournaments. An opening round 70 sealed his fate, but he’s playing solid golf right now (T7 at the U.S. Open) and checks all the boxes this week.

Also consider: Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka (GPP), Patrick Reed

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Kevin Streelman (DK $9,400) – He’s a solid play in all formats, and he’s probably worth using in single-entry builds for his galling consistency. Nick talked a little bit in The Breakdown about how he’s a near-lock for the Top 40 every week and we just saw him play some marvelous golf at the U.S. Open. “Streels” is one of those guys who just seems to show up every week.

Tony Finau (DK $9,200) – The jury is still out on when we’ll see Finau get his next win, but the price seems fair this week for a guy who just needs the putter to show up to realize his Top 10 upside. He’s missed his last two cuts here but had a T25 and T17 in 2016 and 2017. I’d steer clear in cash games, but he’s worth of consideration for GPPs.

Bubba Watson (DK $8,900) – He’s very popular this week and seems to be everywhere in the “experts” picks on plenty of sites, but he’s not nearly as safe a play as that would dictate. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him play his true “A” game, and the birdie runs are coming less frequently than a few years ago, when he won this tournament in 2018. I’ll have minimal exposure, and he’s not in my player pool for single-entry or cash games.

Brian Harman (DK $8,800) – Harman typically plays about a half-stroke better on Dye courses, and he’s an accurate driver who just closed out a solid week with a one-over 72 on Sunday at the U.S. Open, finishing T19. He’s got a couple of Top 10 finishes at the Travelers in his last three tries (MC in the tumultuous 2020) and has now placed among the top 20 in seven of eight starts going back to his T3 at the Players.

Si Woo Kim (DK $8,500) –Another “Dye desirable,” Kim has made three of his last four cuts at the Travelers with a T11 in 2020 and solid finishes in 2016 and 2018. His form isn’t bad either, with a T9 at the Memorial and T40 last week at a grueling U.S. Open on a course that didn’t; necessarily fit his strengths. He’s a fine GPP play this week.

Keegan Bradley (DK $7,900) – Bradley likes Pete Dye courses and this is the first of two “home games” for the underpriced golfer, who has had a really strong 2021. He finished T2 in 2019 and makes sense for all kinds of builds this week.

Francesco Molinari, (DK $7,700) – Molinari is rounding into form and while he doesn’t play a lot of events, he always has a shot at winning because he can get ridiculously hot with the putter. I think the T13 finish at the U.S. Open should give him the confidence necessary to capitalize on his opportunities this week and make a splash on the weekend.

Doc Redman (DK $7,600) – After a stretch of spotty play earlier this season, Redman has turned in some solid performances in recent weeks, posting a T9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson and a T2 at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. He also debuted here last season with a T11 and he’s usually a decent leverage play that’s a little off-the-radar.

Also consider: Abraham Ancer (GPP), Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Smith (GPP), Harris English, Sam Burns (GPP), Max Homa (GPP), Jason Day (GPP)

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Lanto Griffin (DK $7,400) – Griffin’s ball-striking was good at the U.S. Open and while he didn’t miss the cut, I was hoping for a better finish than T35. There’s a bunch of high-upside/high-risk golfers in this price range, and Lanto fits the bill for GPPs and as a 100-1 longshot to win.

Rickie Fowler (DK $7,300) – I’m a huge Fowler fan and the disappointment of missing the U.S. Open this year has to be weighing on the veteran golfer. Rickie’s game has had its ups and downs but has shown improvement over his last two events. There’s not much recent history at the Travelers to go form, but he had a T13 in 2014, closing with a 64 on Sunday. A return to New England and a course that fits his game could be just what he needs as he and Allison Stokke await the birth of their first child.

Mackenzie Hughes (DK $7,100) – He might get chalky after three days of brilliance at the U.S. Open (but not a fourth), because the price is very nice. The Canadian is 4-for-4 at the Travelers with an impressive scoring average (68.19) and a T3 last year. He’s in play for all formats.

Carlos Ortiz (DK $7,100) – If you need a pivot from Hughes with just as much upside but a lot more risk, look no further than Ortiz. He’s missed the cut here in his last two Travelers appearances but finished T17 in 2016 and has the chops to post some low scores here.

Chez Reavie (DK $7,000) – The $7K range is loaded with players who we’d like to play when they’re in good form, and Reavie makes for a wonderful GPP play this week as he’s coming off a T14 at the Palmetto and T40 at the U.S. Open. Reavie doesn’t typically play well on Dye courses, but we an make an exception this week because it’s a good spot.

Kyle Stanley (DK $7,000) – Stanley isn’t a very good putter, but his iron play is consistently strong and he’s once again underpriced for what he offers in PGA DFS. His course history is good and he’s a real bargain this week given his Top 20 upside.

Adam Long (DK $6,800) – Long has finished T20-T26 in his last two tournaments and is a solid ball-striker who’s accurate off the tee – an important factor in creating opportunities here. If he can keep form having the one blowup round that usually mars his chances, he’ll be in good shape for the weekend.

More value golfers to consider: Kevin Na (GPP), Aaron Wise, Brendan Steele (GPP), Stewart Cink, Patton Kizzire (GPP), Will Gordon (GPP), Ryan Moore (GPP), Scott Stallings (GPP), Henrik Norlander (GPP), Hank Lebioda (GPP), Wyndham Clark (GPP), Austin Eckroat (GPP)

Longshot Punts (DK $6,500 and under):

Brian Stuard (DK $6,400) – A lot of folks will look to Satoshi Kodaira and the very consistent Vincent Whaley, but I like Stuard’s chances of rebounding after missed cuts at the Palmetto and U.S. Open. He has an extensive course history with spotty results, but something clicked last year en route to a T20, a finish I think he could duplicate here in 2021.

Tyler Duncan (DK $6,300) – He’s a total longshot (and hasn’t posted a Top 10 since he won the RSM in 2019), but he’s accurate off the tee and has made three straight cuts at this event. If you need a final piece and only have $6,300 to spend, he’s worth throwing in one or two out of 20 GPPs.

Additional GPP punts: Satoshi Kodaira, Tom Lewis, Vincent Whaley

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This week we have a stacked field and find you some winning PGA DFS teams at the highly demanding and difficult Torrey Pines South Course in the U.S. Open!

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Star-studded major championship field of 156 golfers that includes amateur and local and international pro qualifiers
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 60 and ties play the weekend (just 38.46% of the field)
  • The course: Torrey Pines South Course (La Jolla, CA)
    • Over 7,700 yards, Par 71 – William Bell, Sr. (1957) with Rees Jones redesign (2001, 2019)
    • Long and brutal seaside/cliffside course
    • Scene of Tiger Woods’s epic 2008 U.S. Open victory over Rocco Mediate
    • Tees and fairways are Kikuyu overseeded with Rye; unpredictable (and often bumpy) Poa annua greens
    • Classic U.S. open layout with long, thick rough that will require punch-outs and cause a few lost balls (and PGA DFS frustration)
    • Putting (and Three-Putt Avoidance) will be key, as 4-8 foots putts drop just below the 2/3 make rate (normally 68-70%) on these complex, tiered greens
    • Long Par 4s require good long iron play from >200 yards
  • Weather should be pleasant this week, but greens could bake and make putting and approaches very difficult
  • Focus Stat Categories: SG: Approach, SG: OTT, SG: Putting (Bentgrass/Poa), SG: Around the Green, SG: Tee to Green, Bogey Avoidance, Three-Putt Avoidance (3PA, for short), Par 4s: 450-500, Driving Distance

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Jon Rahm (DK $11,200) – Rahm’s only flaws seem to be mental, but he seemed mature, reflective and generally loose and comfortable during his interview on Tuesday, even when peppered with a lot of questions about the COVID snafu and how that all transpired. Rahmbo is No. 12 on tour in SG: APP this season, and he’s second and third (respectively) in SG: T2G and SG: OTT. He was playing great golf at the Memorial before he had to withdraw, and the 2017 Farmers champion LOVES Torrey Pines (T7-2-T5-T29-WIN in his last five years here). The Spaniard also finished second at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, so he’s definitely in play – I just worry a bit about his quick backswing and equally quick temper on a course that will play tougher than it usually does.

Dustin Johnson (DK $10,700) – As always, my main concern is putting with DJ, who doesn’t make a whole lot of 5-10 footers, a stat that is crucial at the U.S. Open – and a reason I’m not looking too hard at Hideki Matsuyama this week (despite the current
Masters champ’s amazing long iron play and decent record at Torrey Pines). Of course, because DJ’s PGA DFS ownership should be relatively low this week, his talent and length make him a fine contrarian play for GPPs. If I come in slightly ahead of field ownership, I’ll be happy, because there’s no need to go all-in with this guy, even if he is the OWGR No. 1.

Rory McIlroy (DK $9,900) – Like DJ, I’m interested in Rory because of his projected ownership (even if it creeps up a bit as we approach Thursday morning), and he’s under $10K this week in a tournament he has every intention of winning. I’ll talk more about the likely chalky Xander Schauffele later, but starting off a lineup with McIlroy and X-Man still leaves you with $7,700 per golfer (Phil Mickelson’s price this week), a strategy I’ll be using in several GPP lineups. Rory still kills it off the tee and knows how to grind out even par and one-under rounds in tough conditions, and the baby discount could help us by allowing a roster construction that avoids playing a bomb elsewhere in that dicey low-mid range.

Collin Morikawa (DK $9,500) – Morikawa’s elite ball-striking (he basically gains anywhere from five to ten strokes per round on approach) will probably keep him in any golf tournament at this point, but the difficulty of these Poa annua greens may prevent him from winning another major until the next Masters or PGA Championship. Still, he’s a fine PGA DFS cash game anchor because even on the most difficult surfaces, his spectacular iron play keeps him on the leaderboard.

Also consider: Bryson DeChambeau (GPP), Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Xander Schauffele (DK $9,300) – Schauffele checks all the boxes this week and makes a lot of 5-10 footers (No. 10 on tour). Currently the No. 6 player in the world, he also finished second here at the Farmers in January during a 2019-2021 run that included nine straight Top 17s and a remarkable 17 straight Top 25s. His missed cuts at the Players and PGA Championship could keep a few folks away, but I like him in all formats this week (cash or tourney) and he’ll be a staple of my single-entry and large-field GPPs.

Patrick Reed (DK $9.000)Reed is No. 1 on tour in 3PA, which is going to be one of those stats that should help weed out similarly priced players in single-entry GPPs. It sounds as if preventing meltdowns on these putting surfaces could be a huge help in making the cut and getting in contention, and while Reed’s extremely spotty off the tee, his putter will keep him in most tournaments. His projected PGA DFS ownership is still pretty high, but again – we can find some leverage elsewhere if we need to.

Tony Finau (DK $8,900) – I may prefer spending the extra few hundred on Schauffele or Cantlay in cash games, but Finau has played sparkling golf at Torrey Pines in the past five years (T2-T6-T13-T6-T4) – albeit under less difficult conditions. And while he’s not electric with the flatstick, he ranks in the top 50 on tour this week in 3PA. Winning a U.S. Open for your second PGA Tour victory is a bit of a stretch, but we know he can finish in the Top 15, which he’s done in all three U.S. opens when he’s made the cut, including a T8 in 2020.

Will Zalatoris (DK $8,600) –A great ball striker who can putt a bit and likes both Poa annua and Torrey Pines, his length will help navigate some of the distance on the long par 4s and he’s already shown an ability to contend on the big stages of major championships. I don’t think his ownership will be oppressively high – at least to the point where he’s a bad play in large-field GPPs, and even if he lands in the 15-20% range, I’m buying.

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $8,100) – I’ll be including Oosty in my PGA DFS player pool for just about every major unless the back injuries that have plagued him in the past flare up – even if it’s hard to tell when that may happen. The swing is still very pure, and he’s an elite putter from 5-10 feet (ranking first on the PGA Tour this season). Sweet Louie is just very hard to get away from when I’m perusing this price range.

Cameron Smith (DK $8,000) – I love how Smith’s game developed in 2021, and while his overall SG numbers are decent, the thing that separates him from a lot of other golfers in this range is his elite putting. He’s solid at getting up and down and he doesn’t three-putt that much because he one-putts 44.15% of the time! Sia talked a bit about him in the Breakdown and I’ll be overweight on the field. While his ball-striking remains the biggest concern, I’m willing to take a stab and play the Aussie in single-entry for some leverage.

Jason Kokrak (DK $7,600) – Aside from Phil and his astounding win at Kiawah Island, Kokrak has probably had the best 2020-21 of anybody in this range, with his first two career wins coming at the CJ CUP in October 2020 and another victory at the Charles Schwab at the end of May. Kokrak has massive upside for a guy who’s easy to roster in all kinds of builds, and he’s made the cut in his last three U.S. Opens, including a T17 at Winged Foot in 2020.

Also consider: Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Scottie Scheffler (GPP), Tyrrell Hatton (Cash), Matt Fitzpatrick (GPP), Phil Mickelson (GPP), Shane Lowry

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Marc Leishman (DK $7,400) – Leishman has burned me more times than I can count, but I refuse to give in to the “never again” thinking that keeps DFS pros from winning GPPs. I might not make him a staple of my single-entry builds, but he’s certainly in play in most formats at this price point and has a truly impressive course history at Torrey Pines (T18-WIN-T43-T8-T14 in his last five Farmers Insurance appearances). Leishman is adept at hitting some different shot shapes – a helpful trait this week – and he’s a solid enough putter to post a Top 5 or 10 finish, an attainable goal in this price range.

Harris English (DK $7,300) – His form has come around a bit since a few MCs earlier in 2021, and he’s made the cut at all five U.S. Opens he’s participated in, including a T4 in 2020 at Winged Foot. The downside is that he’s missed three straight cuts at the Farmers after some moderate success in 2017 and 2018 (T8 and T14). He may be flying under the radar a bit, but we can double-check ownership projections before lock and make some adjustments to our exposure in GPPs.

Stewart Cink (DK $7,200) – We’ve talked before about Cink’s resurgence and solid numbers off the tee, but it’s important to point out how much experience he has at this venue. This will be his first U.S. Open appearance since 2017, when he finished T46 at Erin Hills, but there’s still plenty of game left in his old bones. I’ll be using Cink at about a 10-15% rate in my 20-max and large-field GPPs.

Ryan Palmer (DK $7,100) – A course horse with a pair of second-place finishes in the Farmers over the past four years, Palmer has missed his last two U.S. Open cuts but stands to benefit from his familiarity with this popular tour venue. I’m most concerned with how he handles the longer rough this week, but he checks most of the boxes in our focus stat categories (No. 34 on tour in SG:OTT) and seems underpriced given his upside.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,000) – Poulter is coming off a T30 at the PGA Championship, a T3 at the Charles Schwab, and most recently a T25 at Congaree in the Palmetto Championship, and he’s well known for solid numbers on Poa annua greens and from 5-10 feet. The length of Torrey Pines could be an issue this week, but for this bargain price, I consider him worthy of a few GPP entries.

Brendan Todd (DK $6,900) – Another putting specialist who can elevate his game to the next level when he’s striking it well, Todd’s biggest challenge will be overcoming the 20-30 yards of distance he’ll be losing to the longer hitters in the field and hitting approaches from 175-200+. He’s GPP only because of his struggles off the tee and on those longer approach shots, but he’s still in my player pool as of now for his short game prowess.

Lanto Griffin (DK $6,800) – I’m a little surprised Griffin isn’t more than $7K this week based on his metrics and course history, which include a T7 at the Farmers this year and a T12 in 2018. With four MCs over his last five tournaments, the form is pretty ugly, but the venue and his skill set portend a better finish more along the lines of the steady stretch of Top 35 he posted in February and March.

Justin Suh (DK $6,600) – A USC standout who’s often forgotten among all-star crop of 2019 rookies, Suh has yet to make his mark on the PGA Tour but has played Torrey Pines 20+ times in his life. It won’t be playing as easily as it probably did during his junior and collegiate days, but Suh qualified last week to tee it up again here – and he could make for a decent final piece in a few GPP lineups.

More value golfers to consider: Gary Woodland, Adam Scott, Brian Harman (Cash), Charley Hoffman, Max Homa (GPP), Christian Bezuidenhout (GPP), Carlos Ortiz (GPP), Charl Schwartzel (Cash), Kevin Kisner, Mackenzie Hughes (GPP), Jhonattan Vegas (GPP), Adam Hadwin, Wyndham Clark

Longshot Punts (DK $6,500 and under):

Patrick Rodgers (DK $6,500) – He made the cut at the U.S. Opens in 2016 and 2018, and he’s had some special individual rounds this season. He also has two top 10 finishes at Torrey Pines in the past five years and while he’s not known as a guy who can put together four good rounds, if he shines in the first two days he could finish among the Top 25 and make value.

Chan Kim (DK $6,100) – Kim is worth slotting into a few GPP entries based on his near-minimum salary, where he’s basically the only one I’ll be using. Nick “Stix” Bretwisch turned me onto the South Korean’s game, and while he’s yet to make the cut in his previous three U.S Open appearances, he’s got the lowest betting odds in this range and he does have a T11 at the R&A’s Open Championship in 2017.

Additional GPP punts: Brendan Steele, Jimmy Walker, Sam Ryder, J.J. Spaun

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