For the first time ever, the Black Course at Bethpage State Park will play host to a PGA Championship. The course itself is a par 71 that plays about 7,500 yards. The average green size is 5,400 square feet which are smaller than the average tour stop. The length and setup of this course will mean that we’re seeing longer approaches than usual, which makes the greens difficult to hit. Most of the trouble lies in the bunkers. Per the GCSAA, there are eight acres worth of bunkers that golfers have to contend with as they make their way around Black. For a more in-depth look, check out the course preview article.
Checking the Chalk
When parking your boat is newsworthy, you know you’ve made it big. Tiger Woods’ ($11,300) yacht Privacy has been parked in Oyster Bay for a couple of weeks as he’s gotten prepared for the PGA Championship. In his past eight events, Tiger hasn’t finished outside of the top 30. That includes a win at the Tour Championship and also this little tournament called The Masters – or something like that. Over that span, he’s averaging 73% of GIR per the RotoViz Splits app.
Brooks Koepka ($10,400) has been inside of the top five in each of his past two events, including a runner-up at the Masters. In six of his past eight rounds, he’s finished in the 60s. Some of you reading this might be able to break 70 at Trinity Forest, but it’s impressive nonetheless. In his past two events, he’s 21-under on Par 5s alone. Koepka already has a Wanamaker Trophy on his mantle and is looking for his third major win. It’s hard to argue against his fit on a 7,500 yard par 71 course.
Sergio Garcia ($7,900) had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the crowd at Bethpage in the past. He channeled the heckles into two top-10 finishes including a third-place finish in 2012. He’s now made six of his last seven cuts, including three top-10 efforts recently. Over that stretch, the Spaniard has broken 70 DK points on five different occasions. This time last year he was right around the top 10 OWGR. His tumble in the rankings was well-deserved after a difficult stretch last season.
Jhonattan Vegas ($7,100) will probably be popular this week. It’s for good reason, too. Vegas has some positive experience here, with a 22nd place finish back in 2016. More importantly, he’s on a string of a half-dozen made cuts with no finish outside of the top 30. Over the past six seasons, per the RotoViz Splits App, Vegas has performed well on longer courses. He averages 0.5 SG: Approach on courses over 7,400 yards compared to 0.1 on shorter courses. If you’re looking to zig-zag the ownership and save a few hundred bucks while you’re at it, there is an option at $6,800 listed below that makes some sense.
Ownership has the potential to go pretty flat at the top so it’s hard to call him a total pivot. But, Jon Rahm ($9,500) is my pick to win. Dating back to the start of 2019, Rahm has made nine starts. Seven of those starts have resulted in top-10 finishes. As great as he’s been, it’s not like he’s playing above his baseline in an unsustainable way. Rahm is on the verge of taking the golf world by storm, and a win at a venue like this could vault him to the forefront.
With Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200) sandwiched between Rickie Fowler ($9,300) and Xander Schauffele ($9,100), we could be looking at a bit of an ownership vacuum. It’s incredibly rare for three golfers within a space of $300 to all see high levels of ownership. On courses longer than 7,400 yards, Fleetwood gains more strokes on approach, off the tee, and tee to green than on shorter courses. This is, by no means, a knock against Fowler or Schauffele as they both rated quite highly in my model. At the end of the day, with similar expectations in this price range, we should almost always pivot to lower ownership.
Jason Kokrak ($7,600) is a few hundred bucks cheaper than Sergio and performed admirably against him head to head in my model this week. Kokrak has the longest made cut streak on Tour with 21 cuts in a row. But, he won’t see insane ownership because of those around him in the high $7,000s. Since the start of 2018, Kokrak has gained more strokes on approach on courses longer than 7,400 yards than shorter courses.
This is a wild one, but Joost Luiten ($6,800) is worth a dart throw in one of your lineups if you’re building 20 or more. He got an 87.9 from the Sim Scores app to Tiger Woods based on their last three events. This only counts Luiten’s efforts on the PGA Tour, not the Euro Tour. Luiten’s exploits on the Euro Tour recently are nothing to scoff at, though. He’s made six straight worldwide cuts, including four finishes inside of the top 12. Luiten’s worst GIR% over that time is 69.4% at the Valero Texas Open a few weeks back.
So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 31/34 made cuts, 21/34 top 30s, and 12/34 top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:
- Jon Rahm ($9,500)
- Jason Kokrak ($7,600)
Ownership Projections and Model Results - PGA ChampionshipNote: FINAL RUN
|Name||DK$||Own Projection||Model Score|
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||7300||7.36||0.53|
|Si Woo Kim||7200||2.96||0.60|
|Charles Howell III||7000||3.52||0.84|
|Erik Van Rooyen||6700||1.53||0.51|
|Cheng Tsung Pan||6700||1.50||0.43|
|Mike Lorenzo Vera||6600||0.01||0.04|
|Rich Berberian Jr.||6100||0.11||0.07|
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