DRAFT PGA Value Watch: The Open Championship
Each week, Justin Van Zuiden will list the players he is overweight (heavier exposure than the field) and underweight (lower exposure than the field) on. Dominate your DRAFT drafts with this cheat sheet from one of the best in daily fantasy sports!
The Open Championship
Golfers I Am Overweight On
Rory McIlroy – I’m a sucker for McIlroy in these big events, and that’s not going to stop this week. His statistical profile remains outstanding, with elite ranks in ball striking (13th), par four scoring (3rd), strokes gained around the green (21st), and total driving (19th). He has ten top ten finishes over his last 13 worldwide starts. The overall ability is right there as perhaps the best golfer on Tour right now, but he hasn’t turned that ability into major wins lately. It’s coming. One of these times, he will put four rounds together and win himself another major. He is my preferred first round selection no matter what pick slot I draw.
Hideki Matsuyama – Hideki is a cut making, ball striking ATM machine who makes cuts everywhere he goes. There’s a super safe floor with him, and he’s one of the better picks in the 8-10 overall range. His steady game should keep him out of the trouble that lurks all around Royal Portrush, and he’s a great pick on any DRAFT roster.
Henrik Stenson – For months, I hesitated on rostering Henrik Stenson because we had seen absolutely nothing in the way of recent form. Those concerns are now out the window. Stenson is playing with impressive confidence right now as he is riding a streak of three straight top tens, including one at the U.S. Open and one last week in Scotland. His game is a fantastic fit for links golf, and his skill set with his long irons is near the top of the golf world. That should come in handy on a course with a lot of beefy par fours. If you look at his full season stats, they are still lagging a bit, but the recent trends are great. We can only hope that the stat hawks stay away from him in order to get him at a later pick. The current form and the course fit outweigh any lingering concerns in my eyes.
Bernd Wiesberger – Wiesberger is absolutely on fire right now. He always got some attention in past Opens because of his links prowess, but you can double or triple that attention this year. After slumping a bit earlier int he year, he won the Made in Denmark tournament in May. He finished second two weeks ago at the Irish Open. He won last week at the Scottish Open. He ranks inside the top 25 favorites in the betting markets, and he’s pegged near the bottom of the entire board on DRAFT. Give him a look in the final round of shorter roster games and in the 4th round of larger field DRAFT games.
Other Potential Links Specialists – You could get some other golfers in the later rounds that tend to play better on links, particularly European Tour regulars. Guys like Andy Sullivan and Mike Lorenzo-Vera fit the mold as potential late round picks in larger DRAFT games.
Golfers I Am Underweight On
Bryson DeChambeau – His game is not suited all that well for links golf, as the way you have to play these courses requires more than the scienc-y knowledge he likes to use on the golf course. His first two Open appearances have resulted in a missed cut and a 51st place finish. His odds are cratering. There’s no reason to spend a first or second round pick here.
Jason Kokrak – While Kokrak is having a breakout season, his form has faded a bit in recent months. His game also isn’t the best fit for a links layout. In his only previous Open appearance, he missed the cut by shooting 72-78 at Carnoustie a year ago. He will require an early to mid-round pick in larger DRAFT games, and that doesn’t interest me at all.
Jordan Spieth – A trip to Europe doesn’t suddenly make a struggling golfer better. Course fit hasn’t mattered with Spieth for months now, and he continues to hit the ball all over the place. Miracle pars aren’t going to happen out of the thick rough on a links course. Disaster is waiting around every turn, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he misses the cut.
Gary Woodland – He broke through with a big major victory at the U.S. Open, but this course will be a different type of test for Woodland. He has extensive Open experience, having played in seven previous editions. While he tends to make the cut, he has a grand total of one finish better than 30th in those outings. He will likely get over-drafted because of his form on U.S. soil, and I’ll end up being underweight. However, I don’t mind grabbing some exposure if he falls beyond his projected DRAFT slot a bit.
Phil Mickelson – The links track record is great. The current state of his game is not. With six straight worldwide finishes of worse than 50th place, including four missed cuts, I want nothing to do with Mickelson in any format right now. It’s that simple.
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