One more sleep before the 103rd PGA Championship gets underway. This week should bring excitement with the Pete Dye Ocean Course as the backdrop and the chance for golfers to cement themselves in Major history.
The golfers $10,000 and above are reasonably even, and most are coming in with solid form. Rory McIlroy ($11,500), Justin Thomas ($11,300), Bryson DeChambeau ($10,200) and Jordan Spieth ($10,100) are all coming into this week with a win under their belt this season, which is the type of form that has led to a win at the PGA Championship.
As with all Majors, there’s value to be mined. A $1 million prize and a seat at the ToC are up for grabs, so choosing the correct players to leverage off the chalk is paramount this week.
For a full course preview and who I like in the betting market, please refer to the DraftKings Preview and DraftKings Sportsbook articles. Here are the pivots we should be considering this week on DraftKings.
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Projected Popular Golfer: Jordan Spieth ($10,100)
Pivot: Dustin Johnson ($10,900)
Like Rory a couple of weeks ago, there are seldom weeks throughout the year where you can get talent like DJ’s at a cost that’s this cheap. Besides Viktor Hovland ($9,300), few have played better recently than Spieth, who’s hitting it exceptionally well and sets up perfectly for this course, especially if the conditions get dicey. Johnson, the world’s No. 1 golfer, is dealing with a nagging knee issue, withdrawing from last week’s Byron Nelson, but he looks to be healthy this week and ready to go. All golfers coming into the week with injury question marks are risky, and Johnson’s been playing more like the 101st ranked golfer instead of the top-dog. Still, DJ is coming in with back-to-back second place finishes in the last two PGA Championships and he ranks first in SG: Total on Pete Dye courses over the previous 50 rounds. DJ is a perfect pivot, even if his roster percentage increases a little throughout the week.
$8,000 to $10,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Victor Hovland ($9,300)
Pivot: Webb Simpson ($9,200)
The PGA Championship has seen some breakthrough performances from players who’ve later grown into superstars on the PGA TOUR. McIlroy and Thomas are two golfers who etched their respective names into the Wannamaker trophy early in their careers, and that could be Hovland this week with the way he’s hitting it Tee-to-Green. Still, this is a Carolina Pete Dye course, which means Webb needs to be considered this week, even though he’s coming into the tournament, like DJ, with a recent WD (Wells Fargo) due to injury. However, also like Dustin, there haven’t been pre-tournament signs of Simpson’s injury, which means everything points to him being a full-go this week. Over the previous 50 rounds in Dye courses, Simpson’s stats read seventh in SG: Total, 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green and ninth in DraftKings points gained. Also in consideration this week is Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,400). His irons haven’t been great; he’s lost through approach in his last four events. Still, Fitzpatrick’s start to his 2021 PGA TOUR campaign was a thing of beauty with a fifth at the Genesis Invitational, a couple of top 15 finishes in the following weeks, a ninth at THE PLAYERS and a fourth at the RBC Heritage. Fitz has a knack for playing well on these longer courses and is sporting an Off-the-Tee game that ranks 17th over his previous 50 rounds.
$7,000 to $8,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Paul Casey ($7,700)
Pivot: Russell Henley ($7,200)
There’s a lot to love about Casey’s game right now, especially at a course where ball-striking will reign supreme. Not only is he playing tremendous golf, but he also ranks second in Tee-to-Green on Dye courses over the previous 50 rounds. Still, if you’re interested in Casey, be prepared to roster someone who’s projecting as the fifth-most popular golfer right now, per fantasynational.com. Henley’s game has been erratic of late, but like Webb, if it’s a coastal course, Henley needs to be on the shortlist of players to consider rostering. The Kiawah Island native (yes, he lives here) may have added pressure playing in front of his family, but that shouldn’t supersede his experience with the weather, mainly the wind. Henley has won on a coastal course and ranks 38th in SG: Ball-Striking over the previous 50 rounds on Dye courses.
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