The Tour Heads to Hawaii: PGA DFS
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Image Credit: Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Jon Rahm.

We’re back! After a bit of a break for the NFL season, PGA content is live once again. It’s a bit of a “soft opening” for the season with the Tournament of Champions. This year, the field is set with just over 40 golfers and it’s a no-cut event. Typically, in small-field events, I dial back my volume for DFS and betting purposes. These types of tournaments can be fun to watch but the variance and concentration of ownership make these events unique.

Checking the Chalk

Again, with a small field like this, it’s very common to see flat ownership. Especially at the top of the board. That means that if you’re building multiple lineups, you probably want to take multiple shots at the tippy top of the salary scale because you definitely need the winner if you’re going to make any money this weekend.

Dustin Johnson ($11,000) and Justin Thomas ($10,700) will likely be the most owned golfers in this range. They’ve accounted for three of the last four victories at this track and are both solid options for obvious reasons. They also happen to be at the top of the PRK scale for this field. The only angle to take here would be to fade them because of ownership, but as far as golf-specific reasons, it’s hard to make a fade case here. For what it’s worth, Johnson and Thomas each pop up in the optimal lineup from the simulator about 16% of the time. Xander Schauffele ($10,000) and Jon Rahm ($10,400) boast 20% and 17%, respectively. Rahm never goes “low-owned” per se but he’s performed well regardless of whether or not the community believed he would.

Pivots

Cameron Smith ($8,400) looks like a popular option in the mid-tier. Over the course of his career, he’s gone through these streaks where he dips down close to -1 in Raw PRK.[1] He’s approaching that career-best mark once again, and the question is whether you think he’s taking a leap.

Smith is a few months past his 27th birthday and there’s a case to be made that he’s making that leap into the elite tier of golfers. That doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily a must-play this week if he comes in at high ownership, but it does mean we should keep an eye on him.

If you’re looking to pivot off of him, Scottie Scheffler ($8,500) makes sense. He’s another young golfer who could be ready to make a leap.

He’s quickly become a golfer that you must consider week to week. Scheffler showed up in 17% of the optimal lineups from the simulator this week. Daniel Berger ($8,600) is another golfer in this tier that deserves heavy consideration. A combination of Scheffler and Berger is a solid anchor to your lineup regardless of your preferred build this week.

Deep Dives

There are four golfers under $7,500 that showed up in over 15% of the optimal lineups from our simulator.

  • Jason Kokrak ($7,300)
  • Carlos Ortiz ($7,100)
  • Ryan Palmer ($7,000)
  • Mackenzie Hughes ($6,800)

PRK Model Results - Tournament of Champions

NameSalaryPRK_Score
Dustin Johnson11000100
Justin Thomas1070097.5
Jon Rahm1040094.9
Bryson Dechambeau1020082.9
Xander Schauffele1000089.8
Patrick Cantlay980074.9
Patrick Reed960074.5
Webb Simpson940079.6
Viktor Hovland920068.7
Hideki Matsuyama900074.2
Tony Finau890077.5
Collin Morikawa880061.5
Harris English870078.9
Daniel Berger860078.5
Scottie Scheffler850063.6
Cameron Smith840053.5
Joaquin Niemann830063.6
Sungjae Im820059.3
Adam Scott810064.4
Abraham Ancer800063.3
Cameron Champ790041.1
Kevin Kisner780050.9
Sergio Garcia770047.3
Billy Horschel760051.6
Sebastian Munoz750031.3
Marc Leishman74000
Jason Kokrak730057.5
Brendon Todd720048.4
Carlos Ortiz710054.2
Ryan Palmer700050.2
Lanto Griffin690038.9
Mackenzie Hughes680049.5
Kevin Na670041.5
Stewart Cink660029.8
Michael Thompson650011.6
Martin Laird640042.2
Andrew Landry63002.5
Nick Taylor620018.2
Hudson Swafford610018.5
Brian Gay61009.8
Robert Streb600033.8
Richy Werenski600035.3

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 That means about 1 stroke better than the average PGA Tour golfer — in other words, lower numbers are better.

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