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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2020 PGA Championship


Welcome back PGA family and thanks for joining me here at RotoBaller! Justin Thomas prevailed against an elite field in Memphis to capture the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational title and regain the top spot in the OWGR from Jon Rahm.

JT was one of the players featured in last week's HFTC and we had a very nice tournament with high finishers Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, and Chez Reavie also in last week's write up! This week, we turn our eyes to the year's first major, the 2020 PGA Championship. The PGA rotates venues and will head to TPC Harding Park in California this year. We don't have much course history for Harding Park, which forces us to get a little creative with this week's HFTC. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

Editor's Note: Golf is back! Come join the fun and win big with RotoBaller. Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off! Our exclusive DFS Lineup Optimizer, Research Station, DFS Projections and weekly DFS/betting articles! Sign Up Now!

 

2020 PGA Championship Overview

After a tortuous three-month break due to COVID-19, golf fans have been rewarded with some great events since play on the PGA Tour resumed. The ante gets upped even more this week, as we head to California and TPC Harding Park for the first major of 2020 (the worst year EVER)...the PGA Championship.

Obviously, the field is stacked with golf's best players with Franceso Molinari being perhaps the only notable absence. One major storyline is two-time defending PGA champion Brooks Koepka attempting to win three straight. We'll also see Tiger Woods for just the third time in 2020 after outings at the Genesis and Memorial that were downers for fans of the Big Cat. Perhaps the biggest question mark of the week, outside of Tiger's health, is this TPC Harding Park layout, which we've only seen twice in 15 years (2005 & 2015 WGC events). With basically no real course history to work with when it comes to many current Tour pros, we'll lean to "course fit" with this week's Horses (though there are some with connections to Harding Park). Thanks for joining me for this huge event, let's dive in!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!

 

The Course: TPC Harding Park

Par 70 - 7,234 Yards, Greens: Bent 

At one time a municipal gem that had fallen into disrepair, TPC Harding Park was revitalized thanks to massive renovations just after 2000. The course hosted the 2005 WGC Championship (won by Tiger Woods) and the 2015 WGC Match Play (won by Rory McIlory). Other than that, we don't have a lot to work with outside of some Champions Tour and college events. One notable change to Harding Park came in 2014, when the course decision makers ripped up the Poa Annua greens that are fairly standard on California courses and replaced them with Bentgrass.

While we're not uber familiar with this layout, we have a fairly good idea of how it will play. The quick answer is...long. At 7,234 with just two Par-5s, players will face multiple Par-4s that stretch over 450 yards. Throw in fairways that are lined by Cypress trees, multiple doglegs, rough that is reportedly 4-inches-plus, and cool, damp San Francisco mornings...and this field should have its work cut out for it.

All that said, I don't think this week will be "U.S. Open tough" and players that hit great shots should be able to score. We'll also have a couple of fun, short, Par-4s that will probably be driveable on at least a couple of days by several players. It's probably silly to say that we want to target players that are long and straight off the tee - because that's what we're always looking for - but that will be what's needed on this layout, in addition to sharp iron play, and competency both on and around the greens. It all adds up to me targeting players that are efficient tee-to-green rather than guys that fit into a "type" like "bombers" or "accuracy".

 

Recent Champions & Winning Scores

  • 2019: Brooks Koepka (-8) *PGA Championship wins that came on various courses
  • 2018: Brooks Koepka (-16)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8)
  • 2016: Jimmy Walker (-14)
  • 2015: Jason Day (-20)
 

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Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big in 2020.



More PGA DFS Analysis

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy golf articles and weekly analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

 

The Horse

Justin Thomas

DraftKings: $11,300
FanDuel:
$11,600
Notable Course History: N/A

I guess it's kinda weird to lead off a course history article with a guy that has no course history, but we have to roll with the punches this week, as few in the field have experience at TPC Harding Park. So, despite JT's lack of course history, I'm willing to roll with him as the Horse because he fits perfectly into the mold that I'm targeting this week - excellence tee-to-green.

Thomas has demonstrated just how great of a player he is throughout 2020 with a win in January at the Sentry TOC, a playoff loss at the Workday, and another big victory last week at the WGC-St. Jude Invitational. He leads this PGA Championship field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green over both short-term (12 rounds) and long-term (50 rounds) measurements. That type of T2G efficiency is what will be demanded on this TPC Harding Park layout.

Some might be reluctant to roster JT on the heels of a win last week, but we've seen him run off strong finishes in bunches before, including going for back-to-back wins in the 2017 TOC and Sony Open in consecutive weeks. Thomas isn't the type of player that will let last week's victory lessen his focus on this week's task at hand. He's a former PGA champion and appears primed to add to his major count at some point this year. His game has no real weaknesses at the moment and his overall excellence in all facets of the game should be his biggest asset at Harding Park.

 

 

The Ponies

Rory McIlroy

DraftKings: $10,700
FanDuel:
$12,000
Notable Course History: Winner - 2015 WGC Match Play

I’ve mentioned it several times in articles and podcasts (check out and subscribe to my new golf pod The Turn btw!), but Rory seems to be the player that was most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 layoff. McIlroy hadn’t finished outside of the top-five in any 2020 start prior to play being halted at the Players Championship, but he’s struggled to regain that form since play resumed.

Though he heads to Cali in somewhat scuffling form, he did win the 2015 WGC Match Play at TPC Harding Park, which is at the least a concrete result on this course, something we have for few players in this field. So even though Rory’s game doesn’t appear to be firing on all cylinders, I’m very interested in him when folks are knocking themselves over to roster Brooks Koepka (I like Brooks too and will be discussing him in other RotoBaller articles this week), as we’ve often seen Rory underperform in majors when he comes in with all the hype. I’m intrigued with him as a contrarian option this week, as he's heads into this event sorta outside the spotlight. 

His numbers haven’t been “Rory like”, but they certainly haven’t been horrible either, as he’s gained strokes both T2G and OTT in every post-layoff start. Rory’s just had a couple of spotty weeks of iron play mixed with a short game that’s unquestionably been hit and miss. Would we love for his game to be sharper as he heads to Harding Park? Sure...but this feels like a great “buy low” spot on a player that can win any tournament against any field. 

 

Xander Schauffele

DraftKings: $10,000
FanDuel: $11,100
Notable Course History: N/A

Xander is a California kid that is very familiar with TPC Harding Park and that connection serves as a good enough excuse for him to be featured in this week’s HFTC

In the past I’ve always rostered Schauffele frequently, but I’ve found myself being very light on him since the restart. Maybe I’ve been subconsciously “saving” him for this week in the back of my mind or something? I’ve been spending a lot of time with stats in preparation for this event and Xander’s are unbelievably interesting. He grades out fifth in this field in SG: T2G using recent metrics (and sixth long-term), but it’s how he gets there that is so intriguing. Schauffele is undoubtedly skilled in all facets of the game, but he very rarely seems to have everything clicking at once. Perhaps his best skill is making up for a shortcoming in one area by playing extremely well in another on any given week. Last week’s WGC is a great example, as Xander actually lost massive strokes with his irons (-5.6), BUT he somehow managed to gain a ridiculous 6.3 strokes in the Around The Green category...which was the best mark in the field.  

This ability to “cover” his shortcomings due to his proficiency in all areas is probably why we always see Xander in contention in majors and on tough golf courses. Lots of the elite guys on the PGA Tour have an identity - Rory and DJ are great with the driver, Matsuyama is a great iron player, Spieth’s an awesome putter, etc, etc... - but with Xander, we always just kinda know that “he’s really, really, good” without categorizing it. That ability to do it all is what will be needed - and what I'm targeting - at Harding Park. The scary thing is...what happens when he actually has EVERYTHING clicking in the same week? It feels like he’s oh-so-close and he’s one of my favorite plays in this tournament.

 

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Collin Morikawa

DraftKings: $8,600
FanDuel: $10,700
Notable Course History: T5 in The Goodwin - NCAA Tournament (2018)

We’re reaching for course history narratives this week, but Collin Morikawa’s history with TPC Harding Park is actually pretty solid. The California native is on record saying that he’s very familiar with the muni and while at Cal, Morikawa logged a T5 in the 2018 Goodwin tournament at Harding Park against some of college golf’s best players with rounds of 66-69-72. 

Obviously, he’ll face a much different setup this week, but the young star’s experience at Harding Park makes an already-great option even more tempting. Morikawa is one of golf’s brightest-shining young stars and recently captured his second PGA Tour victory at the Workday Open. 

His style should be a perfect fit this week, as Morikawa routinely finds fairways (second in this field in Good Drives Gained in long and short-term measurements) and is perhaps the best young iron player we’ve seen since Tiger Woods (second in field in SG: Approach). If you want to get picky, you can point to Morikawa’s spotty short game or lack of experience in major championships, but I love this kid’s complete tee-to-green game, mental toughness, and upside this week.

 

Gary Woodland

DraftKings: $7,900
FanDuel: $9,800
Notable Course History: Runner-up 2015 WGC Match Play

So...Gary Woodland heads to a famous California course for a major championship layout that requires length and ball striking in somewhat shaky current form. Sound familiar?

Woodland finally broke through at Pebble Beach last year, taking down the 2019 U.S. Open and finally delivering on the talent that PGA DFS regulars knew he possessed. This is kind of an eerily similar spot for the Kansas Jayhawk, as TPC Harding Park is a sneaky-good fit for him and he will probably garner very little buzz in the DFS industry this week.

The American finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the 2015 WGC Match Play on this course - an event that had a noticeable European flavor to the players that advanced. It’s not surprising that Woody would find success on a course that demands length, accuracy, and great ball striking. His recent output in those areas has been inconsistent, but he’s flashed enough form (he looked sharp in a great two-week stretch at Muirfield Village) to make me intrigued this week, especially if he’s going to go a bit overlooked.

Tommy Fleetwood

DraftKings: $7,700
FanDuel: $10,300
Notable Course History: Quarterfinals 2015 WGC Match Play

The 2015 WGC Match Play had a decidedly European flavor to it and Tommy Fleetwood was a then-unknown-in-the-U.S. Euro Tour player that reached the quarter-finals as the 54th seed.

Fleetwood is normally a major-championship “go to” for lots of DFS players, but the Englisman has been missing for the most part during the PGA Tour’s restart, as he elected to stay home in England before quarantining in New York and finally teeing it up in the 3M Open. The rust was evident for the normally-reliable Fleetwood and he lost strokes both on Approach and Putting in Minnesota. Things looked better last week in Memphis, as he improved his iron play noticeably (+2.8 SG: Approach) and a final-round 65 should send him to California with positive momentum. 

The thing about Tommy isn't that he goes super low all the time, but rather that he has the ability to go very low on extremely tough golf courses when others can't. I'm intrigued by that unique skill set this week. His “usual” major-championship price tag has been significantly reduced for this one, as he comes in at just $7.7k on DraftKings (he's a more "standard" $10.3k on FD). Fleetwood feels like a great value play, but his ownership is worth keeping an eye on as the week progresses and I expect him to be really popular at this price point.

 

Tom Lewis

DraftKings: $7,100
FanDuel: $7,600
Notable Course History: N/A

Last weekend was probably the first time many American golf fans heard of Tom Lewis, but the Englishman has been a Euro Tour presence for many years before earning his PGA Tour card under rather odd circumstances through the KFT Finals at the end of 2019. 

Lewis is a former phenom who kinda flamed out after a fast start to his career. He was the low amateur in the 2011 Open Championship and won quickly on the Euro Tour after turning professional later that year. The Englishman eventually won again in Europe in 2018, but his route to big-time golf in the States has certainly been more circuitous than most expected.

I realize this might feel like a "flavor of the week" play after Lewis’ nice run in Memphis last week, but he’s been low-key good since the PGA Tour’s restart, going MC-T12-T32-T2 in four starts and gaining over five strokes T2G in his last two. We’ve mentioned that this layout was especially kind to Euros during the 2015 Match Play and Lewis fits that mold, as he heads to San Fran ranked second in this elite field in GIRs Gained over the last 12 rounds, while standing 19th in Good Drives Gained over the same time frame. 

 

 

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Things are starting to get difficult for fantasy football managers. Indianapolis, Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore all have the week off, so fantasy managers are already playing shorthanded. Fielding a full lineup is going to be tough as it is if you have a few injuries. If one of your key guys is listed as questionable... Read More


Week 7 Stream Team - Shallow and Deep-League Pickups

Welcome to Week 7 of the NFL season. Each week we will be providing streamer advice for all of those who need it, which is pretty much anyone and everyone. Streaming players with the best matchups each week as well as during your stud's bye weeks is an integral part of winning a fantasy championship... Read More


Lies, Damned Lies, and Fantasy Football Statistics (Week 7)

The more data we get as the season goes on, the better equipped we are to interpret matchups and make informed decisions. Then Week 6 comes along and blows it all to hell. The unpredictability of sports is what keeps us intrigued, as frustrating as it may be at times. Numbers are supposedly to be... Read More


The King's Week 7 Fantasy Football Lineup Rankings (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers!  Below you will find my Week 7 fantasy football lineup rankings. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions. Skill Position analysis is primarily based on the PPR ranks. The rankings are powered by... Read More


Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards... Read More


Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict. How... Read More


How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100%... Read More


NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More