PGA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL THOUGHTS BY JACK HUMPHREY
Golf’s second major is here and I could not be more excited as we head to Southern Hills for the PGA Championship. Southern Hills has hosted several major championships in the past having hosted the US Open 3 times and the PGA Championship 4 times.
Throw out what you saw last week. This golf course is about to test the best golfers in the world. The course has major Augusta National vibes to it, with elevated, sloping greens, deep bunkers, and short grass everywhere.
This course will offer a true test for the 156 man field that features the best golfers in the world. The top 70 and ties will get the opportunity to play the weekend and compete for the Wanamaker Trophy.
More information can be found on our PGA Championship preview by CLICKING HERE
FanTeam PGA Championship contests start 19th May 13.00pm BST.
This week’s Main Event contest features two buy-ins, €2 and €20. The difference in the contests is of course the prize pool at stake. In the low entry, the prize pool sits at €1,500. A massive €20,000 is up for grabs in the high entry, with €4,000 awarded to first place!
Standard FanTeam golf fantasy scoring applies.
The great thing about FanTeam as a platform is I can play daily fantasy contests, player matchups and make my sportsbook bets all in the same place.
The players this week are about to see every season known to man. Winds, thunderstorms, heatwave and a chilly start await the golfers, just to add to the toughness of this golf course.
Thursday: Sunny with temperatures ranging between 74-92F. Some small wind gusts in the afternoon between 10-20.
Friday: 40% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Temperatures range between 58-87F. Strong wind gusts between 15-25 in the morning.
Saturday: Cloudy day with colder temperatures between 49-63F. Some small wind gusts all day between 10-20.
Sunday: Sunny temperatures between 53-72F. Small wind gusts 5-10.
Obviously things can change hour to hour with weather so I would look again before lock tomorrow but at present the weather favours the AM/PM split for Thursday and Friday.
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP TRENDS
- 5 of the last 10 PGA Champions have ranked inside the top 10 golf world rankings.
- 7 of the last 10 PGA Champions have been American.
- 7 of the last 10 PGA Champions have been age under 30
- 50% of the last 15 PGA Champions have had a top 5 finish in their last event
- Every single PGA Champion made the cut in their last event
- Every single champion inside the last 15 years outside of Phil Mickelson finished in the top 30 in strokes gained tee to green in their last event.
STATS I’M LOOKING AT
All stats in my model are based on the last 50 rounds.
- Strokes gained off the tee (Driving Distance) – The fairways are about double the width that they were back in 2001 so accuracy is not in my model this week.However this course is made for bombers, the long hitters are going to love it so its worth weighting driving distance into models this week.
- Strokes gained on approach – Approach will be the most important attribute this week. The degree of difficulty for approach shots here will be incredibly high due to the uneven lies, leveled off greens, and surrounding short grass. Many approach shots will be with long irons and ranging from 150-200 yards out so great iron play is key.
- Strokes gained around the green –I was extremely heavy on short game at the Masters, and I will be here again this week. If anything, a good short game will be even more important here than it was at the Masters because these greens are smaller than Augusta.
- Strokes gained putting –Ben Crenshaw said this in regards to Southern Hills, “You could putt these greens your entire life and not figure them out.”With the huge banks and contours on these greens I will be weighting putting into my model a little more this week, especially in the 5-10ft range.
- Bogey avoidance – Par will be an incredible score at Southern Hills this week, and it will be important to identify the players that can avoid disaster and bogeys. Much like the Wells Frago hard scoring conditions the players that make par this week will be inside the top 10 so bogey avoidance is worth weighting into models.
TOP 25 PLAYERS IN MY MODEL
Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry, Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Mito Pereira, Daniel Berger, Sam Burns, Harold Varner, Gary Woodland, Adam Hadwin, Aaron Wise, Will Zalatoris, Taylor Gooch, Tom Hoge, Tyrell Hatton, Adam Scott, Seamus Power, Christian Bezuidenhout, Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann
Although I will be entering multi entries, this is one of my lineups for the Wells Fargo Championship contest on FanTeam.
As you can see my selections are based on players within my player pool this week.
Cameron Smith – I’m all in on Cameron Smith for the bounce back after his heartbreak at the Masters. The Players champion ended up finishing tied 3rd at Augusta National but the stat that stands out is the 9.30 strokes he gained on approach “my key stat for this week”. As mentioned I’m factoring in that stat for putting within 5-10ft and Cameron Smith is clutch with it, ranking 2nd in this field over the last 50 rounds. Smith has yet to break out at the PGA Championship but has made the cut in the last 2 years and arguably comes here in the best form of his career.
Patrick Cantlay –.The Fed-EX champion finished 2nd in his last start at the RBC Heritage and won the Zurich classic with partner Xander Schauffele before that so he comes here in red hot form. Cantlay gained 8.7 strokes on approach at the RBC Heritage which was a welcome sign and return to life for his iron play. He has the pedigree to win here and also has good PGA Championship history having made the cut 5 times and a tied 3rd in 2018, I would also expect him to go lower owned so is a great play for me this week.
Joaquin Niemann – As mentioned there will be plenty of long irons this week and that’s something Niemann thrived at during his win at Riviera earlier this year. The Chilean has every shot in his repertoire and that’s something that will be needed around Southern Hills add in the fact that Niemann has gained strokes in every key metric i’m using over his last 30 rounds, I can see him contending this week so he is a must play.
Tyrell Hatton – Now this could go one way for the other and I’m comfortable with that. Hatton should go very low owned this week and I understand the reasons why especially with his blow ups. However I’m all in on Hatton who is a fantastic player in the wind “SO PRAY FOR IT”. Despite the blow ups Hatton has made his last 6 cuts and was 2nd at the Arnold Palmer championship. He is achieving this with fantastic putting and is 5th in this field in that 5-10ft range I like this week. If Hatton can return to form with the irons like what we saw at the Valspar championship then I see no reason why he can not achieve a top 10 finish here this week and return fantasy value.
Christiann Bezuidenhout – C Bez arrives at Southern Hills on the back of an excellent putting week at the AT&T Byron Nelson where he gained 8.1 strokes. He is a cut making machine having made 9 out of 10 cuts this year. Nothing major stands out on the stats with him outside the putting but he does possess an excellent around the green game which should make him a great fit for this golf course this week.
Mito Pereira – A player that is maturing before our eyes. An incredibly talented player who has made 6 cuts from his last 7 events. The one missed cut was at the Players Championship when he got caught up in that weather. If you take that out of the model then Mito has gained 8.21 strokes putting over his last 6 events and gained 4.3 strokes on approach last time out at the AT&T Byron Nelson on his way to a tied 17th finish, his third top 20 finish this year.
FanTeam PGA Championship Contests can be found by CLICKING HERE
What are player matchups?
Player matchups is an exciting FanTeam game that enables players to bet on between 3 and 10, designated 1 – vs – 1 fantasy matchups, with the potential to win up to 500X your stake.
Player matchups essentially act as a fantasy football accumulator, in which the payout increases the more matchups the user bets on. The great thing with FanTeam player matchups is that you are betting against the house rather than thousands of other players.
If you want more info on how player matchups work, please CLICK HERE.
Why do I like player matchups?
The reason I love player matchups aside from the obvious cash rewards is just the fact it’s a simple way to apply my fantasy knowledge without the need to build or manage a fantasy roster.
The simplicity of matchups means all I have to assess is how well I think certain players/teams will perform that week and just bet on the guys/teams I like, rather than managing transfers/rosters etc
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER MATCHUPS
SERGIO GARCIA VS LUKE LIST
Selection: SERGIO GARCIA
This is an easy selection to start this week mainly in part to Luke List putting stats. In a place where I think putting will be crucial a player that has lost strokes putting over his last 197 events simply will not do. Sergio Garcia has made the cut at every event he has played this year and has finally fixed that approach game after gaining 3.6 strokes last time out at the Wells Fargo. He has always been a magician around the green “most of the spanish players are” so I like his game for this course this week. With all this in mind and Luke List putting stats then Sergio is an easy choice to start.
TOM HOGE VS JUSTIN ROSE
Selection: TOM HOGE
Another easy choice for me this week. Tom Hoge has gained strokes on approach over his last 198 events and already has a win to his name this year after winning at Pebble Beach earlier in the year. Hoge has made 5 cuts from his last 7 events including a tied 33rd at the Masters and a tied 17th last week. His opponent Justin Rose on the other hand has missed his last 3 cuts and has lost strokes on approach and around the green in his last 20 events. This is simply a player on the way up and a player in decline so Hoge is an easy choice.
AARON WISE VS DAVIS RILEY
Selection: AARON WISE
Lastly for me with player matchups is Aaron Wise vs Davis Riley. These 2 players rank at different ends within my model this week with Wise 18th and Riley 99th. I like what I’ve seen from Wise in recent weeks having gained strokes everywhere except the putter, now that will have to improve for sure this week but what stands out is the tied 6th at the Mexico open where he gained with the putter and gained 7.8 strokes on approach. Riley on the other hand has lost strokes on approach across his last 61 events, that simply will not cut it this week so Wise is an easy play for me.
A £10 player matchups bet on these 3 selections will return £60 if it should land.
The Player Matchups lobby can be found by CLICKING HERE
FANTEAM SPORTSBOOK BET
Cameron Smith Tournament Winner 20/1- As mentioned I’m all in on the bounce back from Cameron Smith. He has the perfect game for Southern Hills and is clutch with the putter inside 10FT. The strokes gained on approach at the Masters is a real standout stat and if we see that again this is only going to go one way and that’s Smith lifting the Wanamaker trophy.
A £10 bet would return £210 should it land.
Padraig Harrington top 10 – 25/1 – The senior who is a previous major winner himself is lighting it up on the Senior Tour currently and can still bomb it with the best of them. He rolled back the years last year finishing tied 4th so I quite fancy his chances again.
A £10 bet would return £260 should it land.
Tiger Woods top 5 – 16/1 – It’s the greatest golfer of all time and he has the 2 iron in the bag! The last time this championship was played here Woods won it in style so it’s a course he likes if he can overcome the odds again.
A £10 bet would return £170 should it land.
The Sportsbook lobby can be found by CLICKING HERE.
I hope this article has given you plenty of food for thought – especially for those of you that know very little about Golf, but are playing in the PGA Championship contests.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Existing users can click the graphic below for direct access to the game lobby.
Best of luck to everyone entering – I look forward to seeing your usernames on the Leaderboard.