Course: Albany (New Providence, Bahamas)
Yardage: 7,379 – Par 72
Purse: 3.5 M
Field: 18 players
Recent RSM Classic Winners
I hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving last week. Before the holiday week, our last DFS event was the RSM Classic, and for the second year in a row the event was won by a rookie. Last year, Mackenzie Hughes burst onto the scene with his first ever Tour victory, winning in a five-way playoff. This year it was the Arkansas native Austin Cook who would win his first tournament in just his fourth PGA Tour event played. Cook played like a veteran all week long and left nothing to chance, winning by three strokes over J.J Spaun and shooting a total of 21 under for the four days. Last year, Tour rookies combined for seven victories (two by Xander Schauffele) and Cook has the rookie class off to a good start yet again this season.
This week is the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge and if you haven’t heard, well, then you’re hearing it here. TIGER WOODS IS BACK. You may want to slow your roll when it comes to picking Woods in daily fantasy, but for anyone who loves watching Tiger play, he’ll be teeing it up for the first time since the Farmers Insurance Open at the beginning of 2017. Prior to that, Woods hasn’t played since the Wyndham Championship in 2015. So, this will be Tiger Woods’ second tournament in the last two years and three months. It’s been a long road to recovery for Tiger. Aside from his personal life issues, the only Tiger golf-related news we’d been getting was what activity his doctor would clear him for. First, it was chipping, then he was allowed to take 60-yard wedges. Eventually, he worked his way up to some full swings, and now finally, the 14-time major champion is back and ready to compete at his own tournament.
There are 17 other players in the field this week who will most likely play better golf and get far less attention. The small but very strong field consists of Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, and of course the host, Tiger Woods. Aside from Tiger, the entire field is ranked within the Top 32 in the world, so despite the lack of size, it really doesn’t get any more competitive. This is an unofficial PGA Tour event, and there is no cut, so all the players will play four rounds this week barring any withdrawals.
The Hero World Challenge is held at Albany on New Providence Island in the Bahamas. This is the third year that this event has been held here, so you can look back to 2015 to see how golfers have fared. The winning scores have been 18 under or better, so players who can rack up the birdies with a solid Birdie or Better % will fare well. Unlike most courses, Albany has five par 3s and five par 5s. There are some weeks in which players only play eight par 5s all week. This week they’ll be playing a total of 20 par 5s. This course should favor the longer hitters, so players who excel in Driving Distance and Par 5 scoring will be able to take advantage easier than the par 4 maestros. There are also five par 3s on the track at Albany, so Par 3 scoring is going to be just as important as scoring on the par 5s this week. Overall, there will be more par 3s/5s than Par 4s this week, so golfers will need to be sharp on the short and long holes this week. Let’s look at some of my favorite plays for this week:
DFS Golf Picks
*Prices are from Draftkings
Dustin Johnson ($10,700)
At the second highest price this week behind Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson is still the number one ranked golfer in the world. Johnson can bomb it and will feast on the Par 5s this week, but everyone already knows that. What separates him is that he is one of the best at Par 3s this year. He ranks third on Tour in Par 3 scoring. In his one event this season, he shot three under for the week on the Par 3s. Most players are just trying to play the Par 3s even, while Johnson is trying to birdie every hole.
Rickie Fowler ($9,600)
Rickie Fowler has it all going so far this season. He finished runner-up in the OHL Classic by racking up birdies on over 30 percent of the holes. Rickie hits it long, dominates Par 5s, and ranks first on Tour this season in Par 3 scoring. Fowler had a solid year in 2017, but he is on the short list of players expected to win a major that hasn’t yet. He has something to prove still.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,200)
Matsuyama had a rough week last month at the HSBC Champions, failing to shoot below 72. He underperformed on the Par 5s, where he is usually lethal. As one of the best ball strikers, Matsuyama can routinely hit irons from 230-40 yards onto the green, turning many Par 5s into Par 4s. This season he currently ranks ninth on Tour in Par 3 scoring. Even with the small field, when you consider that this is a Top 5 world ranked golfer who is also the reigning champion here, $8,200 is a steal.
Henrik Stenson ($7,800)
Henrik Stenson seems to thrive in these small field tournaments. He has finished runner-up in two of the last three editions of this event. One of those two finishes was here at Albany last year, when he finished two shots behind Matsuyama. This season Stenson ranks Top 10 in both Par 3 scoring and birdie or better %. The greatest Swedish golfer to ever play, Stenson is still in terrific shape for his age (41) and will continue to be a DFS play when his irons are hot.
Kevin Kisner ($7,100)
Last season, Kevin Kisner started in the 7-8K range for pricing. He racked up a handful of Top 3 finishes and quickly became a 9-10K range player. Just as he seemed to be joining the company of the elite players, he fell back into the crowd with a months-long stretch of mediocre golf. Kisner came out two weeks ago and fired four rounds of 68 or better at the RSM Classic to finish in fourth place. Kisner has a lot of upside at this price, and will look to continue his hot start to the 2017-18 season.
Kevin Chappell ($6,400)
For $100 less than Tiger Woods you can have Kevin Chappell. With no cut this week, I like spending low on some guys, so that I can increase my odds at picking the winner, who I assume is closer to the top end of the pricing. Chappell is one of the longer hitters on Tour, averaging over 315 yards per drive. As a result, he is one of the better par 5 players on Tour. He currently ranks in the Top 30 in Par 5 scoring. He should rack up the birdies on the 20 par 5s this week. If he can shoot close to even for the rest of the holes, he will have a great chance at contending.