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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2023 PGA TOUR Hero World Challenge

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the Hero World Challenge with winning trends and his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

PGA: TOUR Championship - Final Round John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $200K Pitch + Putt [$50K to 1st]


The Field

This is a tiny 20-man, invite-only field. The event is sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation and none of the prize money (first is $1M) counts towards the PGA TOUR’s money list. Some OWGR ranking points are awarded, though, which is interesting considering how limited the field is. The good news for fantasy is there is not a cut, but the bad news is that in such a small field, there’s really no room for error with your choices.

Player-wise, we have an incredibly strong field with world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and world No. 4 Viktor Hovland both in attendance (Hovland won this event in 2021 and 2022). Max Homa and Justin Thomas are also in the field.

The big news this week, of course, is that Tiger WILL be competing. Yes, Tiger is teeing it up after he had to pull out of last year’s event (foot). As of now, reports suggest that Tiger will attempt to play all four majors in 2024 and a few other events as well. That would be incredible for golf fans and hopefully something that comes to fruition.


The Course

Albany Golf Course, Bahamas

Par 72, 7,449 yards

This is the eighth time this course will be used for the Hero World Challenge. The Albany Golf Course is an Ernie Els design and sets up as a very exposed, links-styled venue. There’s some serious bunkering on the course too, with over 50 in play throughout the property. Els himself described it as a venue that mimics some of the classic links designs from Scotland — even comparing it in layout to St. Andrews at one point.

The course is also quite dissimilar from most PGA TOUR venues in that it is actually a par 72 but has five par 5s and five par 3s (and only eight par 4s). While the par 5s may give longer hitters a better shot at landing an eagle throughout the week, the lack of par 4s actually diminishes the advantage good drivers of the golf ball have here. Over time, we’ve seen this play out as players like Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson — who rely more on their irons and short game — have all experienced solid success at Albany.

Lots of different styles have thrived at Albany, but one thing that many of the past winners have had in common is good links experience. Two-time winner Viktor Hovland has had some of his best success on exposed, links-style venues, posting top 15 finishes at the Open in each of the past three seasons. Wind is almost always a factor at Albany just given its relative closeness to the sea, and with smaller greens in play, solid approach and iron play should get hyper-emphasized once again for statistical purposes.

This is certainly a week not to get too drowned out in stats either. We don’t get shotlink data from this venue and most players will be coming in with varying form, and some with little to no competitive practice over the past two months. Looking for players with good strokes gained data in windy conditions, or players who have simply thrived overseas on links-styled venues isn’t a poor idea at all.

One interesting note, each of the past five winners of this event have finished T4 or better at the Open Championship at some point in their career, and pure links tests like St. Andrews and Carnoustie are great courses to use as comparables this week.

2023 Weather Update: We should see decent scoring this season. Wind is always prevalent, given the small island location of this course but gusts look set to stay in the medium to low ranges. Thursday and Friday will be the two windiest days of the event, with gusts approaching 15mph or greater. We’ll see the wind die down a bit on the weekend, though, as gusts look set to be in the 10-12 mph range for the final two days. The calmer weather will likely allow veterans like Tiger and Justin Rose a little better chance to make some birdies and allow their superior putting prowess to shine through. Expect scores to approach 20 under this season if the forecast holds.


Last 5 winners

2022—Viktor Hovland -16 (over Scottie Scheffler -15)

2021—Viktor Hovland -18 (over Scottie Scheffler -17)

2020—no event due to COVID-19

2019—Henrik Stenson -18 (over Jon Rahm -17)

2018—Jon Rahm -20 (over Tony Finau -16)

2017—Rickie Fowler -18 (over Charley Hoffman -14)


Winners Stats and Course Overview

2022 Winner: Viktor Hovland -16

(2022 lead-in: T23-T10-T21-T5-T34)

  • 2021 was Hovland’s first time playing Albany, which perhaps speaks to how well-suited it is for players who have a fondness for the links, as he took to the venue right away.
  • In each of the past two seasons, Hovland has played a busy fall schedule and it has obviously helped him out at this event from a competitive aspect. This year, he’s played a few less events but has played well when he’s tee’d it up.
  • Last year, the conditions were quite gusty and we saw two of the most elite ball-strikers in the game in Hovland and Scottie Scheffler duke it out (as they also did in 2021).
  • With slightly calmer conditions expected for 2023, there is the potential for a few more names to get in the mix this year.

Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.

Sam Burns +2000 and $7,100

Comparables:

  • Jordan Spieth +2000 and $7,400
  • Rickie Fowler +2000 and $8,000

Justin Thomas +1600 and $8,400

Comparables:

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick +1600 and $9,200
  • Cameron Young +1600 and $8,700

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


With most players having limited starts over the past month or so, we’re focusing in on course history this week. This event has been held at Albany eight years in a row now and has seen a lot of the top players become repeat attendees.

HORSES FOR COURSES

1. Viktor Hovland ($10,800; best finish: win-2021, win-2022): It’s a rare thing for a PGA pro to repeat as a winner at the same event, and an even rarer thing when a PGA pro visits a venue for the first time and bests a group of top pros on his first go. Hovland has done both of those things now at Albany and comes in as the two-time defending champion of this event and the clear lead horse this week.

2. Tony Finau ($9,300; best finish: second - 2018): Finau finished second to Jon Rahm at this event in 2018 and also landed two solid seventh-place finishes at Albany in 2021 and 2022. He’s barely played over the fall but has performed well off long layoffs in the past.

3. Justin Rose ($6,900; best finish: T3 - 2019): Rose could certainly be considered a sleeper this week and it’s worth remembering that another European veteran, Henrik Stenson, was able to grab a late-career win at Albany back in 2019. Rose last played here in 2021 (T9) but also finished T3 at this event in 2019. He’s a Bahamas resident and certainly someone familiar with the climate.


DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: Trust Hovland to keep producing

I do like the chances of Collin Morikawa ($10,000) this week but if you are planning on using just one player above 10k in price for cash game formats, then paying up for Hovland is admittedly just fine. He hasn’t been quite as busy this fall as he has been in past years but Hovland did finish runner-up at the recent DP World Tour finals and brings a level of upside with his course history that is essentially unmatched in this field. While he’s been a little erratic, Cameron Young ($8,700) has also played a few events over the last month or so and was T3 at this event last fall. Given his solid Open Championship record, you have to like his chances for another decent week at Albany and he certainly makes sense as a trustworthy target in the 8k range this week.


Tournaments: Justin Thomas is due

You hate to use the “he’s due” argument in sports (betting or DFS) but Justin Thomas ($8,400) rarely goes more than a year without a win. He’s played a decent amount of competitive events over the fall, producing top-five finishes at the Fortinet and the Nedbank Challenge (DP World Tour). As for players lower down the totem, both Justin Rose and Jason Day are veterans who may benefit from slightly easier conditions this week. Rose has played well at this event in the past and played a few times over the fall, making him more trustworthy. Day has done well at seaside venues like Pebble Beach over his career, but it certainly seems like the riskier play of the two.


MY PICK: Collin Morikawa ($10,000)

Morikawa makes a lot of sense to me as a target this week. Similar to Hovland, Morikawa has already had a lot of success on the links, winning the Open Championship on his first go at that event back in 2021. While he tends to struggle a bit with his short game, Albany doesn’t have a high degree of difficulty around the greens, especially when the winds aren’t overly gusty. It’s worth noting that Morikawa also comes into this year’s event off some great fall form.

The two-time major winner was able to grab a win at the Zozo Championship in October and his fall success mirrors that of two-time Hero winner Viktor Hovland from 2021 — when he won in Mexico in November and then was able to build off that momentum by grabbing a win at this event as well. Morikawa is one of the game's true elites and this spot seems like another great spot for him to make up for the lack of wins he’s had over the last year and a half. At $10,000, he’s a solid core target for DFS and makes sense as an outright betting target, even at shorter +800 odds, just given the small field we have in play this week.


MY SLEEPER: Sepp Straka ($6,700)

I’ll stick with the Open Championship theme and recommend another player who has had success at that major as my sleeper in Sepp Straka. Straka was the alternate for this event last year when Tiger Woods had to pull out and he performed admirably on short notice (T10 in 2022). While he can be inconsistent at times, Straka’s iron game measures up well against the best in the world when he’s in form, and his runner-up finish at the Open this season certainly shows what kind of upside he possesses on setups like the one in play this week.

Straka hasn’t played a ton this fall outside of the Ryder Cup but did play in the DP World Tour season finale a couple of weeks ago. As a big field tournament target for DFS, he’s the kind of player who could certainly challenge for a top-five finish if his irons get hot. He likely brings some of the best upside in the sub-7k range, which is filled with veterans who haven’t played much and a returning Will Zalatoris ($6,600) who is fresh off a long injury-related absence.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $200K Pitch + Putt [$50K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.