What's up PGA DFS family? I hope you all have recharged your golf batteries during the short (but much needed) break! The PGA Tour doesn't sleep long and we're heading into the 'Swing Season' this week. It's honestly one of my favorite times of the year, with football gearing up and some nice opportunities for us to profit in golf over the next several weeks.
The last PGA Tour event was the TOUR Championship, but this week's A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier will look much different from what we saw in Atlanta. These fall events are generally comprised of young players that have just recently earned their Tour card and veterans that are trying to extend their careers, with just the occasional star opting to tee it up. That said, this week's field has some relatively good depth for a 'Swing Season' event.
The highest-ranked player in this field is Bryson DeChambeau. Young guns Viktor Hovland, Joaquin Niemann, and Sungjae Im (of course!) will also be in attendance, in addition to players like Scottie Scheffler, Tom Lewis, and Harry Higgs that are fresh off conquering the Korn Ferry Tour. Kevin Na will be back to defend his 2018 title after an injury-plagued close to the 2018-19 season.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!
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Overview
Thanks to the PGA Tour's leaner, meaner schedule, The Greenbrier now finds itself in September rather than its traditional July time slot. While the 'Swing Season' is often an afterthought for golf fans, this tournament will be awarding full FedEx Cup points and privileges, so it is very important to these players.
We've seen a variety of different 'styles' be effective at The Greenbrier over the years, but the common characteristics of winners is accuracy, solid ball striking, and a hot putter. If you want to look at past winners from a narrative-based angle, we really don't see the 'big names' in the field actually win this tournament very often. Previous winners have generally been either up-and-comers or experienced veterans.
One interesting note, this will be the first event to utilize the PGA Tour's new cut line rule of Top-65 and ties. While I wouldn't completely change my strategy yet, it will be interesting to see how this change impacts the amount of 6/6 lineups we see. This week, we'll take a look at some players with good course history, as well as some of the exciting young players that you should keep an eye on. Golf is back! Let's tee it up!
You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week.
The Course: The Old White TPC
Par 70 - 7,286 Yards, Greens: Bent
We head to beautiful White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia this week. The Greenbrier Resort is one of the favorite family destinations on the PGA Tour, and in addition to the amazing falconry (lol), these guys will also be playing a little golf. The Old White ranks about middle of the pack in difficulty when compared to other courses on the PGA schedule and we're most likely looking at a winning score of around 15-under par. These are some of the biggest (and easiest to hit) fairways on Tour and players can bomb away with drivers off the tee, which makes me want to emphasize Strokes Gained: Off the Tee statistics. As always, ball striking is of the utmost importance, so SG: Tee to Green and Approach will definitely be areas I'm targeting this week. With just two Par-5s on the course, I'll also be weighting Par-4 scoring a little heavier than normal.
Viktor Hovland (DK - $10,900)
Notable Course History: None
Ok...I admit it, I've got a DFS crush on Viktor Hovland. I closed out the 2019 season by rostering Hovland basically every time he teed it up and I plan on kicking off the 'Swing Season' with V-Hova once again anchoring the majority of lineups.
To me, it's not a question of if Hovland will win, but rather a matter of when. He's got that type of game. He showcased his ability in limited PGA Tour starts at the end of last season, when he ran off three-straight top-16 finishes and a solo fourth over his last four starts. Hovland came up just short of securing his PGA Tour card (which was ridiculous), but cruised through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to grab Tour status for this year.
He's still progressing with his short game, but his tee-to-green numbers are off the charts. Over the last 24 rounds, Hovland ranks first in this Greenbrier field in the following categories: Total, T2G, Ball Striking, Off the Tee, Approach, and DraftKings points. The youngster doesn't have any course history at Greenbrier, but he's proven himself to be a fast learner and has excelled on various types of layouts in his short career. It wouldn't surprise me to see Hovland log a Xander-type breakthrough win this week.
Russell Henley (DK - $9,400)
Notable Course History: 10th ('18), T5 ('17), 5th ('15)
A little course-history play here, as Russell Henley has been superb in his prior visits to the Greenbrier. Henley has two top-fives and a 10th in his last three starts on the Old White and the former Georgia Bulldog showed some life during the last few events of the 2019 season, posting a runner-up at the John Deere and a T15 at the Barracuda.
Henley has gained strokes off the tee in his last five starts on the PGA Tour and gained strokes on approach in seven of his last eight. He grades out third in this field in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds and is eighth in Opportunities Gained in the same time frame. His putter held him back for the majority of last season, but he will be extremely comfortable on these Old White greens on which he's gained at least three strokes putting in each of his last three Greenbrier appearances. His big price tag is a little scary, which should make him an interesting contrarian option in GPPs.
Scottie Scheffler (DK - $9,300)
Notable Course History: None
If you are less than a hardcore PGA DFS player, you might be wondering, "Who is this Scottie Scheffler guy at $9.3k?". Well, don't let the price scare you, because the kid can flat out play. He was downright dominant on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, winning both the regular season and Finals points titles. The 23-year-old had a huge college career at the University of Texas, and is now set to attack the PGA Tour. He's already shown that he belongs by racking up almost $140k in winnings in just four PGA starts last season, and I expect big things from the young man in the upcoming year.
It's not apples to apples when comparing Korn Ferry stats to PGA Tour stats, but Scheffler's numbers on the KFT were staggering last season. He was first in both Scoring Average and Birdie Average, second in Ball Striking, sixth in Total Driving, and fifth in GIR %. The bottom line is that this kid can stripe it. His short game isn't great, but he can get hot enough with the putter to get himself into contention. Like the aforementioned Henley, the price tag might scare folks away, but I'm always willing to gamble on young talent.
Brandon Hagy (DK - $7,400)
Notable Course History: T18 ('17)
If we're gonna load our rosters with players in the $9k price range, we'll need to do a little bargain shopping. I'm really drawn to the upside that Brandon Hagy brings to the table at $7.4k. The bomber's promising career has stalled a bit, as he's battled a wrist injury for over a year. He didn't play well in limited PGA Tour appearances last season, but I'm encouraged by his recent performances in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Hagy logged a T5 at the Nationwide Children's Open in mid-August and followed that up with a T2 at the Albertson's Boise Open that included a final-round 64.
He heads to an Old White layout where he recorded a T18 in 2017. His prodigious length off the tee will give him a big advantage this week. I'm hoping that casual DFS players will glance at his DraftKings game log and cut record (1/13), and scroll past him. We could possibly get a leg up on tournament fields just by knowing that Hagy appears to finally be healthy and rounding into form.
Brendon Todd (DK - $6,700)
Notable Course History: T6 ('15), T4 ('14)
If you're uncomfortable with Brandon Hagy, you're probably gonna be really nervous about Brendan Todd, a player that literally lost his game a few years ago. There's no doubt that he's a scary player to roster, but if we remove all the psychological baggage from the equation, then Todd makes tons of sense at this price...he's got tremendous course history at Greenbrier and he's currently playing well.
Todd logged two top-25s in three PGA Tour starts in July and cruised to a runner-up finish and a T20 in the recent Korn Ferry Tour Finals. The 34-year-old has a win and 12 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour over his career and it appears as if he finally has exorcised his golf demons. I'm will to take a shot on him in GPPs at this price.