Hello PGA DFS fans! Welcome to the 2019 Open Championship DFS Bible! It's honestly a bittersweet feeling to be writing about the Open, because it is the last major championship of this year. While I believe the revamped 2019 schedule is a huge improvement, it does feel like the majors have flown by this season.
Before we dive into the players, let me take a second to say thanks for all of your support throughout the PGA DFS season! This wouldn't be possible without you guys, so let me urge you to spread the word on the great golf content available here at RotoBaller each and every week. Follow us on Twitter: @JoeNicely - @RotoBaller - @RotoBallerPGA - @TeeOffSports, and make sure to like and share both this article and our weekly content!
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If you've been able to check out any of my previous 'Bibles', then you know the deal here. I will be jamming in as much DFS info as I can, on as many players as I can. For the Masters I'm able to cover every player in the field, but that's not really conducive to my sanity for the other majors. Instead, you will see write-ups for all the players you know and love from the top of the salary scale down to $7k, with selected players highlighted and discussed under the $7k price point.
The golfers are listed in descending order of their DraftKings price, just like you would see on DK when building a lineup and any DFS strategies discussed were written with the DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament in mind. After dabbling with the idea of a $100 entry fee for the U.S. Open 'Milly Maker' tournament, DraftKings has went back to the $20 buy-in that we know and love for the Open. With the lower entry fee, the field is once again huge. You will need to beat over 175,000 other DFS players to take down the $1 million top prize. Adjust your strategy accordingly.
Some players are discussed more in-depth than others. I try to mix in stats, DFS info and strategy, as well as my own personal thoughts on each player that's reviewed. You can use this preview as a quick reference to get some thoughts on a specific golfer or you can spend some time with it and become familiar with the field. However you choose to use it, I hope that every reader will find at least one thing they feel is helpful or interesting.
My goal always remains the same...to create a piece that will be helpful to those of you that might be making your first PGA DFS Golf lineup, while also being interesting to you grinders that are slightly obsessed with this wonderful game! Ok, enough with all the formalities, let's get to the golfers for the 2019 Open Championship!
DraftKings DFS Player Preview for the 2019 Open Championship
Rory McIlroy – $11,600
Notable Open Championship Results: Win (2014), T2 ('18), T4 ('17), T5 ('16)
I'm a tiny bit surprised to see Rory McIlroy as the highest-priced player on DraftKings instead of Brooks Koepka, but it's a fairly insignificant difference in actual price and completely understandable given the circumstances. This year's Open Championship heads to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. McIlroy is from Northern Ireland, so you can bet he's had his eye on this tournament for a long time. He also has a special piece of history at Portrush, as he fired a stunning 61 on the course as a 16-year-old in the 2005 North of Ireland Amateur Open, a course record that still stands.
In addition to his ties to the course, McIlroy heads home in fabulous form. He's had a terrific 2019, with wins at the Players & RBC Canadian Open and eight additional top-10 finishes. The only way I can nitpick Rory's season is to point out that he hasn't won a major championship this year, but that's probably a bit of unfair criticism, as we hardcore golf fans know just how extremely hard these things are to win in golf's current climate of endless talent.
There's a lot to love about 'Rors' in this spot...he's a statistical beast and ranks first in the Open field in SG: T2G, OTT, Ball Striking, & DK Points. He has the advantage of not only specific course knowledge of Portrush and the weather in Northern Ireland, but also tons of links golf experience under his belt with multiple strong performances in the Open. The only sliver of doubt I have about Rory is that I worry that this is almost TOO perfect of a spot with TOO much pressure for him.
Brooks Koepka – $11,400
T6 ('17), T10 ('15)
I don't guess there's much I can say about Brooks Koepka that you don't already know. The dude is a BEAST in majors and he's been on the type of run in golf's biggest events that we have very rarely seen. Koepka has won four of the last nine majors in which he's teed it up, including the 2019 PGA Championship. As if that weren't impressive enough, he's also finished runner-up in 2019's other two majors. Yeah, like I said, the dude is a beast.
Koepka has (fairly) earned the reputation of a 'Big Game Hunter' that only cares about winning major championships. It might sound like a cliche, but it's actually pretty accurate in his case. The 29-year-old did capture a swing season title back in the fall, but this calendar year he only has one finish (T2 Honda Classic) inside the top-20 in non-major events. I tell you all of this to say that you can take his recent form and game log with a grain of salt. Koepka will show up at Royal Portrush ready to play.
Unlike many young Americans, he has extensive experience on links-style layouts due to his time on the Euro & Challenge Tours. He also might have a bit of a home-course advantage this week, as his caddie, Ricky Elliott, is originally from Portrush. Koepka has recorded two top-10 finishes in just five Open Championship appearances. I look for him to once again be heavily in the mix in a major at Portrush.
Dustin Johnson – $10,900
M/C ('18), T9 ('16), T2 ('11)
D.J. was last seen missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. He also disappointed at the U.S. Open on a Pebble Beach course where he had historically played very well. Something seems amiss in D.J. land.
Johnson's biggest hindrance in his last three starts has been his putter (or maybe I should say putters plural, because he keeps changing them?) and he's lost strokes on the greens in his last three tournaments, including losing a massive 6.1 strokes putting at Pebble. His recent form is enough to give us pause, but his current putting troubles combined with his somewhat lackluster record in the Open really makes me pump the brakes on him.
The scary thing about a full-blown D.J. fade is his undeniable talent and ability to dominant any golf tournament. It is certainly possible that he'll arrive at Royal Portrush having found something with the putter and win by five shots. I don't think that will happen, but it's always a possibility with Johnson. If you're spending up, I certainly would consider Rory & Brooks 'safer' options, but if D.J.'s ownership is trending really low, he might be a nice pivot play that can give you leverage in the massive Milly Maker.
Jon Rahm – $10,500
M/C ('18), T44 ('17), T59 ('16)
Jon Rahm heads to Royal Portrush in the midst of a hot streak. 'Rahmbo' stormed the field with a final-round 62 to win the Irish Open and he entered that tournament off top-three finishes at the U.S. Open and Andalucia Masters. At the beginning of 2019 it looked as though Rahm might win everything, but after top-10's in his first three tournaments of the year he cooled off a bit in the middle of the summer.
It seems like the Spaniard would be a natural fit for the Open Championship, but he's met heavy resistance in all three of his career starts in golf's oldest championship, with his best Open finish being a T44 in 2017. Rahm's driver-heavy approach to golf hasn't yet worked in the Open...will a course that's considered one of the tougher links layouts in the world provide a different result?
In addition to his style of play, it's fair to wonder if Rahm is yet mentally prepared to handle the inherent bad bounces and breaks that are just a part of Open Championships. I was a bit surprised to see him this high on the salary scale, but his recent form certainly justifies his price and makes him a contender that's worth considering.
Tiger Woods - $10,200
Three-time Champion (2000, '05, '06)
After Tiger Woods' miraculous win at the Masters earlier this year, we perhaps placed some unrealistic expectations (or hopes) on his prospects in the remainder of 2019's majors. Things did seem to set up perfectly for him, with majors held at Bethpage and Pebble Beach, but Tiger hasn't been a factor in either.
He's only teed it up three times since his Masters victory. Rust was an obvious factor in his PGA Championship missed cut, so we do have to wonder what type of form Tiger will be in at Portrush. Another factor will be the weather in Northern Ireland, as Woods made multiple comments at the U.S. Open about how the cool California weather was negatively impacting his body. He continues to be an elite ball striker and a late flurry in the final round at Pebble proved that he still has some major juice left.
The common school of thought is that players can compete in Opens later into their careers than in any other major championship. That seemed to be true for Woods last year at Carnoustie, as he made a strong run that ended in a T6, but I do have some concerns about his lack of competitive rounds over the past month. It's not like he has tons of experience at Portrush like he would have at many other Open venues, so I don't know that he'll have much course knowledge in his favor either. His performance at Augusta solidified the fact that we should never doubt Tiger Woods, even when the odds don't appear to be in his favor...but paying $10.2k is a gamble with all the question marks he brings to Royal Portrush.
Justin Rose – $9,900
T2 ('18), T6 ('15), 4th ('98)
Well, I didn't give Justin Rose much more than a puncher's chance at the U.S. Open and he nearly won the damn thing, so I'm gonna step lightly here as I'm once again not super high on the Englishman. I don't want to take anything away from Rosey, but his run at Pebble could be fairly called smoke & mirrors. He rode an unbelievably hot putter and gained a MASSIVE 6.2 strokes putting at the U.S. Open. Those types of performances are hard to repeat.
When we think of Justin Rose in the Open Championship, we think of terms like 'solid', 'dependable', and 'consistent'. However, an examination of his Open results are honestly pretty underwhelming. He played great last year at Carnoustie, but that runner-up finish marked his first top-five finish in the Open since 1998! (In fairness to Rose, he did log a T6 in 2015, but still...wow!)
He's been rolling the ball beautifully, and while us DFS players like to discount putting, it is part of the game. Rose has gained strokes on the greens in five straight starts and stands a solid 28th in the field in SG: T2G, so he's by no means a one-trick pony. He has the ability to play well and win this tournament, but at this price, I think I'll be light on my Rose exposure again.
Tommy Fleetwood – $9,700
T12 ('18), T27 ('17)
Like a lot of DFS players, I've been riding the "play Tommy Fleetwood in majors" narrative for what seems like years now. It's worked out pretty well, but I wonder if it's time to hop off the train? Tommy's $9.7k price tag is his highest yet for a major this year, though Portrush is, admittedly, a much better fit for him than any of 2019's other major championship venues.
'Fairway Jesus' ranks 17th in the field in SG: T2G, and he should consistently hit fairways and greens, but we truly haven't seen that tournament-winning upside from him since the spring. Listen, Tommy can go SUPER LOW, which is always great for our DFS lineups, but I don't know if I want to pay $9.7k for what might be a T29 or something. Fleetwood has been a no brainer for me in multiple majors over the last few seasons, but I'm on the fence with him this week and not yet sure what I'm going to do with Fleetwood.
Xander Schauffele – $9,500
T2 ('18), T20 ('17)
Well...they went and did it. DK finally raised Xander's price in a major championship. Schauffele didn't really give them much choice, as his 2019 finishes in majors reads: T2/T16/T3. When we take into account Xander's career record in majors, he starts looking like a mini Brooks Koepka, except smaller and easier to like.
Schauffele's game seems to translate to any type of course and he's proved his mettle on links-style layouts by going T2-T20 in his only two Open starts. After going consistently overlooked, his ownership has steadily been climbing this year, so I think the 'Xander will be under the radar' narrative has faded. My one concern is that he hasn't played since the U.S. Open, which is kind of curious...but we've seen several of these big guns play a light schedule since Pebble Beach, so I'm probably just nitpicking a bit with that. I'm in...I'll be blasting DMX as I set sail for 'Xander Island' this week!
Francesco Molinari – $9,400
Win ('18), M/C ('17), T9 ('13)
I was fairly certain that Moli was a dead-man walking after Tiger put a Mortal Kombat-like fatality on him at Augusta, but he finally showed some signs of life at the U.S. Open en route to a T16. Despite the positive outing at Pebble and his impressive win in last year's Open, I don't think I'm there yet with Molinari.
Though he won at Carnoustie last year, his Open Championship record is otherwise spotty and he's been dealing with an ice-cold putter since the Masters. The Italian has lost an average of 2.4 strokes putting over his last five tournaments. However, he has been striking the ball decently, and has averaged 3.4 strokes gained T2G over his last five starts...so if Moli can get the putter to cooperate, a run at Portrush isn't totally out of the question.
Rickie Fowler – $9,300
T28 ('18), T2 ('14), T5 ('11)
Rickie Fowler is normally a very solid go-to option in any major, especially the Open, as he's only missed one cut in what's usually golf's most unpredictable championship in nine career Open appearances. Like some players that we've already mentioned, Rickie doesn't feel like an automatic slam dunk this year. He's been in pretty sluggish form recently and hasn't cracked the top-40 in his last two starts at the U.S. Open and Rocket Mortgage.
Fowler has gained strokes T2G in his last eight starts, so it's not like he's been playing terrible, but something does seem just a bit off over the last month. He's a solid option and I do love his history of steadiness in this event. I'll keep a close eye on him at the Scottish Open and look for signs of life.
*UPDATE: Fowler missed the cut at the Scottish and continues to look sluggish.
Bryson DeChambeau – $9,200
T51 ('18), M/C ('17)
I've said it multiple times in various PGA DFS articles, but I'll mention it again here...Bryson DeChambeau will never be the most consistent golfer in the world. His process is one of constant tinkering and adjustments, so you're going to see stretches of him in 'God mode' form and stretches when it seems like he couldn't play dead in a western.
We're actually catching Bryson in the midst of a heater. He's fresh off a runner-up finish at the 3M (what about that shot on the 72nd hole?!?) and a top-10 at the Travelers. Despite the trending form, I am concerned about him at Royal Portrush. We only have two Open starts to evaluate from DeChambeau, but I'm seriously worried that all the different variables of links golf just simply shorts out Bryson's computer. He's very ridgid (and SLOW) when it comes to yardages, wind, etc. and that is not conducive to success in Open Championships, where many things of that nature are simply out of a player's control. I would argue that links golf is more art than science, and while we might see Bryson's game evolve over time, he's still firmly planted on the science side of things right now.
Justin Thomas – $9,100
M/C ('18), M/C ('17)
Man...2019 has been a bummer for JT and his backers. Thomas appeared primed for a huge season when he stormed out of the gates at the beginning of the year, but things have been straight downhill since he suffered a wrist injury at the Honda Classic at the end of February. JT gutted out a T12 at the Masters, but was forced to W/D from the PGA Championship and missed the cut at the U.S. Open.
He maintains that the wrist is now 100% OK, and his ball-striking numbers have been increasingly great since the Canadian Open, but it's hard to buy that when looking at his recent finishes. His putting numbers have been downright ugly, so there is a chance he'll pop when/if he finds something on the greens, but now he heads to Northern Ireland where he'll be fighting a gnarly golf course and (probably) brutal weather conditions. I'd love to see JT 'save' his season with a win here, but he's struggled in his last two Open starts and does still carry lots of question marks. He's an intriguing 'boom or bust' option at this reduced price.
*UPDATE: JT played well at the Scottish Open en route to a top-10 finish.
Patrick Cantlay – $9,000
Remember Patrick Cantlay? Like a lot of the other superstars in this field, it feels like we haven't seen Cantlay play in six months. There's no doubt that the kid is a rising star and he's had a tremendous season in 2019 with a win at the Memorial, a top-10 at the Masters, a top-three at the PGA, and a solid top-25 at the U.S. Open.
Cantlay reminds me a lot of Xander Schauffele. It seems like his game translates to any type of course and he consistently shows up to play in major championships. He logged a T12 in his Open debut at Carnoustie last year, so he doesn't have a ton of Open experience, but it appears that links golf sits well with him. Cantlay ranks first in this elite field in SG: Total and second in DK Points. He's solid in all aspects of the game and is shaping up to be a core building block for me at this $9k price tag, though he will most likely be a chalky play.
Jordan Spieth – $8,900
Win ('17), T9 ('18), T4 ('15)
Attempting to predict what Jordan Spieth will do might be a fool's errand at this point. It has without a doubt been another erratic season for the Texan. With his game seemingly in shambles, Spieth put together a strong stretch in May when he notched a top-five at the PGA Championship followed by back-to-back top-10s at Colonial and the Memorial. It's probably fair to categorize those outings as 'smoke & mirrors' considering his strokes gained putting numbers of +10.6/+7.5/+4 in those three respective starts, numbers that are not sustainable.
With all that said, it's hard to count Spieth out. He's never missed an Open cut in six career starts and for all the talk of his struggles, he did win the Open just two years ago and held the 54-hole lead at Carnoustie last year. I might have the teensiest-tiniest bit of Spieth exposure 'just in case', but I will be treading lightly here.
Adam Scott – $8,800
T17 ('18), T5 ('14), T3 ('13), 2nd ('12)
Wow...what a career resurgence Adam Scott has experienced in 2019! Scott started a family a few years ago and pretty much put golf on the back burner. After trying to raise his children in his native Australia and keep his home base there, Scott eventually moved his family to Florida and refocused on his career. It has paid off in a big way this year.
Scott was in the mix at the Masters before fading over the weekend and he recorded top-10s in both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. He's had a fabulous career and has a green jacket, but we've always known that he's had the talent to win multiple majors and it appears that at 38-years-old he's finally ready to live up to all that promise. Scott's always played well in the Open and over the last decade has just one missed cut against three top-10s and two top-25s. It's hard not to love him in this spot...he has the experience and form to seriously contend at Portrush.
Matt Kuchar – $8,700
T9 ('18), 2nd ('17), T9 ('12)
Like the aforementioned Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar has totally revitalized his career this season after a disappointing 2018. Kuch came out firing with wins in Mexico (yeah, we all know the story by now) and Hawaii. While he hasn't won again, he's never really cooled off, as he's only missed one cut in 16 total starts this season. He's played well in the 2019 majors, going T12/T8/T16 in the year's biggest events.
After playing absolutely terrible in the first five or six Open starts of his career, it appears Kuchar has finally cracked the code of links-style golf over the past couple of years. He scored a T9 last year at Carnoustie and had the heartbreaking runner-up finish to Spieth in '17. He grades out fourth in this field in SG: Total and, like Adam Scott, Kuchar offers a tempting blend of experience and form. This will be another major that Kuch will be a key piece for me.
Jason Day – $8,600
T17 ('18), T4 ('15)
Jason Day remains something of an enigma to me. He's obviously uber-talented, but it always feels like he's underachieving. A lot of folks are making a big deal about his hiring of Stevie Williams as his caddie. While I don't know how much it will actually improve his on-course game, I get it, because it does seem to signify that Day is hungry to win.
He hasn't been able to get a win in the Open, but he's never missed a cut in eight previous Open starts, which is pretty incredible. I love his scrambling ability on this layout, but his ball striking has actually been better than his short game recently, which is definitely different for him. There are players priced both higher and lower that I prefer, but (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Day feels like a really safe option at Portrush.
Hideki Matsuyama – $8,500
M/C ('18), T14 ('17), M/C ('16), T6 ('13)
Hideki heads to Northern Ireland with his game on absolute cruise control. He's been remarkably consistent in 2019 and has made 18 of 18 cuts this season. 'Deki has maintained his elite ball striking (eighth in SG: T2G), but has found his long-lost putting stroke recently. He's unbelievably gained strokes putting in his last six straight starts. His results reflect his improvement on the greens, as he hasn't finished outside of the top-25 in any of those last six outings.
While Matsuyama's 2019 results have been rock-solid, his Open record is anything but...as he seems to alternate good outings with missed cuts. His best Open outing was a T6 back in 2013 and he's sandwiched a T14 between early exits over the last three years. Spotty track record aside, it's hard to imagine Hideki - with his new and improved putting prowess - playing anything other than well here.
Henrik Stenson – $8,400
Win ('16), T35 ('18), T11 ('17), 2nd ('13), 3rd ('08)
The Iceman cometh to Portrush in sizzling form. Stenson heads to Northern Ireland on the heels of back-to-back top-10s at the Canadian and U.S. Opens. After being restricted by nagging injuries for the latter part of 2018 and struggling to get going in early 2019, the Swede has kicked it up a gear over the past couple of months. His irons remain ridiculously good, as he ranks first in this field in SG: Approach. Stenson hasn't lost strokes with his irons in a tournament SINCE FEBRUARY!
He authored one of the greatest Open performances in history at Troon in 2016, and in addition to that win he has three top-three finishes and zero missed cuts in Opens since 2007. Like some of the other veterans in this $8k price range, Stenson's Open track record and current form makes him a formidable DFS option in this spot.
*UPDATE: Stenson stayed hot at the Scottish Open with a top-five finish.
Paul Casey – $8,300
T51 ('18), T11 ('17), T3 ('10)
I have to admit that every year when I start digging into my research for this event, I'm surprised that Paul Casey's Open Championship track record isn't better. In 16 career Open starts the Englishman has just one top-five and one top-10. That's it. Surprising right?
While Casey probably hasn't performed as well in past Opens has he would've liked, he has to feel confident as he heads to Royal Portrush this year. He has a win and four top-five finishes on the PGA Tour this season, while also ranking fourth in this field in SG: T2G, second in SG: Ball Striking, and 10th in SG: Approach. Love his form, but his track record in this championship coupled with a couple of weirdly-bad outings in America this year does give me some pause. I'll definitely have some exposure, but he's not a 'must play' for me.
Gary Woodland – $8,200
T67 ('18), T70 ('17), T12 ('16)
Gary Woodland authored a true masterpiece at Pebble Beach to win the U.S. Open a month ago. He finally achieved what his talent always indicated he could and it honestly couldn't happen to a better guy. While I do like Woodland as a person and a golfer, I am concerned about how he will handle the success of his first major win. After he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open last February, his game proceeded to fall off a cliff over the next several months. A ton of that can probably be attributed to serious off-course issues, but his only post-U.S. Open start at the Rocket Mortgage did not go well and ended in a missed cut.
Woodland's Open Championship record is pretty vanilla...seven career appearances with no top-10s and no missed cuts, with his best outing being a T12 at Troon in 2016. Talent is never the question with Woodland (he's 10th in the field in SG: T2G), but it's tough to predict what form he'll arrive to Portrush in. I would have much more interest if this was a major on U.S. soil.
Matt Wallace – $8,100
Matt Wallace has really come on over the past couple of years. He picked up three wins on the Euro Tour in 2018 and continues to churn out impressive finishes this season, including a T3 at the PGA Championship and a T12 at the U.S. Open.
Even though Wallace has played extremely well, I'm still a little surprised that he came in with a price over $8k. Although he comes from England, he has very little Open experience and missed the cut in his debut appearance last year. That said, Wallace knows what he's doing on links-style courses and his elevated price may very well make him a nice leverage option. He's been solid in every facet of the game, ranking 22nd in SG: T2G & 20th in SG: Putting.
Louis Oosthuizen – $8,000
Win ('10), T28 ('18), M/C ('17 & '16), T2 ('15)
Louis is a player that we always want to pay some mind to in majors, especially the Open Championship. He captured the Claret Jug in 2010 and logged a runner-up in 2015. There are some missed cuts mixed in with those high finishes, why pretty much typifies Oosthuizen's game.
He played well in both the Masters and U.S. Open this year, though his T7 at Pebble Beach was on the back of gaining eight strokes putting. Shrek's ball striking has been erratic and he grades out just 93rd in this field in SG: Approach. I get it if you want to roster him...he's a former Open winner that's posted some strong finishes this year...but I do feel like his game is unpredictable.
Graeme McDowell – $7,900
T63 ('16), T9 ('14), T5 ('12)
If you follow golf closely, you've probably been pulling for G-Mac this year. He's been on a quest to qualify for this tournament because Royal Portrush is literally his home course. McDowell grew up on and learned to play the game on this course, so his course knowledge will be vastly superior to anyone else in the field. His brother works at Portrush for crying out loud!
In addition to being a great story, G-Mac has actually played some really solid golf in 2019. He picked up a win at Corales and has made 16 of 17 cuts, with a couple of top-10s and a T16 in the U.S. Open. The hometown-boy narrative will push a lot of DFS players toward McDowell here, but he is a legitimate option.
*UPDATE: Missed the cut in both the Irish & Scottish Opens.
Shane Lowry – $7,900
M/C ('18,'17,'16,'15), T9 ('14)
I've been riding this Shane Lowry heater with great results over the last couple of months, including some heavy exposure at the Canadian & U.S. Opens. It seems like it would make sense to stick with him in what should be a perfect spot at Royal Portrush, but his Open track record is curiously horrible. The Irishman has missed the cut in four-straight Open starts after a T9 back in 2014. His putter has been hot, but he's also been solid in every facet recently and has gained an average of four strokes T2G over his last five tournaments. I'll probably be in on Lowry again to some degree, despite his recent struggles in this championship.
Sergio Garcia - $7,800
M/C ('18), T5 ('16), T6 ('15), T2 ('14), 2nd ('07)
It's hard to believe that Sergio will be making his 23rd start in an Open Championship this year. I'm officially old! Garcia still has tons of talent and ability, but I suppose it's fair to wonder if his Open window has closed. He's got 10 career top-10 finishes in this event, with a couple of reeaalllyyy close calls, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him play well at Portrush...but I just don't know that I can stomach rostering Sergio at the moment. I understand if you go here, but he's just not for me.
Tony Finau – $7,800
T9 ('18), T27 ('17), T18 ('16)
After being everybody's favorite DFS player in 2018, things haven't been as peachy for Tony Finau and his backers in 2019. He's had some moments this season...a T5 at the Masters and a runner-up at the Charles Schwab, but we've not seen the top-10 machine that Finau was in 2018. He does have a sterling Open Championship record with a T9 last year and no finish lower that 27th in his three starts. He did gain 5.3 strokes on approach in his last start at the 3M, which is encouraging. The finishes haven't been great this year, but he's got tons of upside at this price.
Marc Leishman– $7,700
T60 ('18), T6 ('17), T2 ('15), T5 ('14)
It's been a season of highs and lows for Leishman, as he started out on fire, but cooled considerably over the spring. Now the Aussie appears to be back on the upswing, as he's gained an average of 2.3 strokes T2G over his last five starts and logged a T5 at the Memorial. Leishman goes as far as his putter takes him and that's always hard to predict. He is a guy you want in your lineups if the weather takes a bad turn, as he's widely considered to be one of the best wind players in the world, which his Open track record reflects.
Ian Poulter – $7,700
M/C ('18), T14 ('17), T3 ('13), T9 ('12), 2nd ('08)
Like the aforementioned Leishman, Poulter started 2019 in white-hot form. The Englishman played well up until a couple of months ago and has missed the cut in two of his last three U.S. starts. It feels like Portrush should be right down the Englishman's alley. He has 17 previous Opens worth of experience to draw from and is always worth considering on a links layout.
Matthew Fitzpatrick– $7,600
M/C ('18), T44 ('17), M/C ('16)
It seems like young Matt Fitzpatrick should be a natural fit for the Open Championship. He's from England and already has five Euro Tour wins under his belt at just 24-years-old, but the results haven't yet came in the major he'd probably most like to win. Fitz heads to Portrush playing well, as he logged a T12 at the U.S. Open and a runner-up finish at the BMW International just last month. He doesn't blow you away statistically (ranks a brutal 96th in SG: Putting), but his play in 2019 has been encouraging.
Eddie Pepperell – $7,600
T6 ('18), T49 ('15)
Our boy Eddie P has been battling some back issues recently, but looked very sharp in his recent Irish Open appearance that resulted in a top-five finish. The Englishman notched two wins on the Euro Tour last year and also played well in the 2018 Open, recording a T6. He even popped up in America this season, scoring a top-three at The Players. Pepperell lacks length, but makes up for it with an elite short game. He's an intriguing option in this range.
Webb Simpson – $7,600
T12 ('18), T37 ('17), T39 ('16)
Webber! Simpson was last seen saving everyone's DFS lineups at the U.S. Open. He was widely considered to be hugely underpriced at $7.7k for the U.S. Open and overcame some hiccups to log a T16 at Pebble. We get him here at $7.6k, but it doesn't feel like he will be as popular. Had the best Open finish of his career with at T12 at Carnoustie last year and has been solid, but unspectacular in seven Open starts. We don't think of him as a 'links player', but he's been one of the most consistent players in the world this season. I'll be going back to the well with Webb, though not at "U.S. Open levels of exposure".
Phil Mickelson – $7,500
Win ('13), T24 ('18), M/C ('17), 2nd ('16)
After struggling in Opens during the early portion of his career, Phil has a win and two runner-up finishes in Opens over the past decade. After a win at Pebble Beach back in February, his recent form has been pretty hideous. 'Lefty' has missed four of six cuts since the Masters (many of them in spectacular ejection fashion) and has lost strokes T2G in all six of those starts. I hate to totally dismiss a legend, but Mickelson's game would need to make a 180-degree turn for him to contend at Portrush.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello – $7,500
74th ('18), T4 ('17), T39 ('16)
After slogging through a bit of a midseason slump, Rafa has flashed some sharp form in his two recent starts in Europe. The Spaniard recorded top-five finishes in both the BMW International and the Irish Open, which should give him some momentum as he heads to Portrush. Cabrera-Bello probably won't pop in many statistical models, but he's one of those guys that you never feel bad about rostering.
*UPDATE: Rafa recorded a top-10 at the Scottish Open.
Danny Willett – $7,500
T24 ('18), T6 ('15)
The former Masters champion has revitalized his career over the past year and he picked up his first win since capturing the green jacket last November in Dubai. He's been decent in seven Open Championship starts with a T6 and two top-25s. Willet had been in solid form with strong outings in the U.S. before missing the cut at the recent Irish Open. He lacks distance, but makes up for it with precision. He's a sneaky option.
Tyrrell Hatton – $7,400
T51 ('18), M/C ('17), T5 ('16)
I think I said it in one of this year's earlier 'DFS Bibles', but I just can't put my finger on Hatton. He's one of those guys I just never seem to get right, so I've basically been avoiding rostering him this year. The Englishman has been striking the ball well recently, but his irons have a tendency to come and go without warning. Logged a T5 at the '16 Open, but has missed the cut in five of his seven starts in this Championship. It's a pass for me.
Patrick Reed – $7,400
T28 ('18), M/C ('17), T12 ('16)
It was Matt Kuchar at the Masters and Webb Simpson at the U.S. Open. Patrick Reed wins the "way too cheap, what was DK thinking, will be mega chalk" award for the Open Championship. I'll be the first admit that Reed's not the most likable player, however he represents great value here. He's had a pretty horrible season, but his game is definitely trending in the right direction...as he's gained over six strokes with his irons in his each of his last two starts. There's consistency issues, but when Reed's game is 'on' he's one of the best players in the world, as we saw at Augusta last year. His recent form, solid Open track record, and great DFS price tag are a trifecta that I can't pass up.
Lee Westwood – $7,400
Five Open Top-10s
Lee Westwood has been an Open Championship fixture for 25 years, but the veteran Englishman has never captured the Claret Jug. A 46-year-old Westwood will give it another go at Portrush and heads to Northern Ireland in rock-solid form. He nabbed a victory in South Africa back in November and has turned in solid finishes in limited Euro Tour starts this year. Westwood is 46, but we've seen older players perform very well at the Open. His upside might be somewhat limited, but he's not a bad option at this price.
Brandt Snedeker – $7,400
M/C ('18), T22 ('16), T3 ('12)
Sneds disappointed a lot of DFS players at the U.S. Open when he managed just a T77 as mega chalk. He's been inconsistent this year, but has flashed upside with two top-fives in the month of June. The Vandy product always comes to mind when there's a possibility of bad and windy weather, as he's one of the best in the world when Mother Nature gets nasty. Sneds is another intriguing option in this mid-$7k price range.
Alex Noren – $7,300
T17 ('18), T6 ('17), T9 ('12)
It's been an abysmal season for Alex Noren. He (unbelievably) hasn't logged a top-25 finish in 2019. That's not a typo (I double checked). Noren ranks 107th in this field in SG: Approach and 78th in SG: Putting. He showed a tiny bit of improvement at last month's BMW International and he has a very solid Open Championship track record, but his game is just too out of sorts for me to touch him right now.
Hao-Tong Li – $7,300
T39 ('18), 3rd ('17)
I've been keeping one eye on Haotong in every major this year. I haven't pulled the trigger on him yet, but I think this might be the spot. He's young (still just 23) and ultra talented with a pretty sparkling Open track record in just two career appearances. Li's game hasn't yet translated to success in America, but he has repeatedly played well internationally and has two Euro Tour wins already under his belt. He recently played well at the Irish Open and has shown an affinity for links golf. I think he's a really interesting Milly Maker play.
Thorbjorn Olesen – $7,300
T12 ('18), T62 ('17), M/C ('16)
The Thunder Bear might be the Danish version of Patrick Reed. His game runs hot and cold. Oleson has been pretty frigid in 2019, but his recent outings indicate he might be heating up, as he's logged top-15 finishes in each of his last two starts. He's hit-or-miss, but like Reed, is an exceptional player when things are clicking. Olesen is a sneaky 'boom or bust' option.
Kevin Kisner – $7,300
T2 ('18), T54 ('17), 76th ('16)
Kisner recorded his best Open finish by a mile at Carnoustie last year when he grabbed a share of second place. It was his first top-50 finish in an Open. Kisner was one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour for a stretch this spring and captured the WGC-Dell Match Play title, but he's logged just one top-25 finish since April. His 'grind it out' style makes sense in an Open Championship setting, but the recent form is worrisome.
Branden Grace – $7,200
M/C ('18), T6 ('17)
Grace shot a 62 in the third round of the Open at Birkdale in 2017 and still didn't win. I glossed over him in the U.S. Open edition of the Bible and I'm doing the same here.
Bubba Watson – $7,200
M/C ('18), T27 ('17), T39 ('16)
Bubba kicked off 2019 playing great golf, but that seems like a very long time ago. He's always a course-specific player, so I don't usually pay much attention to missed cuts, but his recent struggles on 'Bubba tracks' like Bethpage and TPC River Highlands is a huge red flag for me. You'll go nuts trying to predict Bubba Watson, so I'm just gonna pass here and not worry with it.
Abraham Ancer – $7,200
Ancer missed the cut in his Open debut last year, but is back thanks to his win at the Australian Open during the swing season. The young man from Mexico has played some solid golf in 2019, with top-20's at both the Players & PGA Championship to his credit. Heads to Portrush looking sharp on the heels of a top-10 at the Travelers (where he gained 7.6 strokes T2G) and a T19 at the Irish Open. Ancer doesn't have a ton of links experience under his belt, but he's a talented player.
Padraig Harrington – $7,200
Win ('07 & '08), M/C ('18), M/C ('17)
The back-to-back Open champion has tried to play his way into shape for this year's event at Portrush with mild results. Harrington opened some eyes with a first-round 63 at the Irish Open recently, but failed to break 70 in his three subsequent rounds. Experience does play a big role in the Open, but it would be shocking to find Paddy in contention.
Zach Johnson – $7,200
Win ('15), T17 ('18), T14 ('17), T12 ('16)
The 2015 Open champion, ZJ's sterling record in this event over the past decade stacks up well against anybody, but I just don't think the form is there right now. Johnson has just ONE top-25 finish this calendar year and has averaged losing strokes on approach, around the green, and putting over his last five tournaments. Perhaps it's possible that a change of scenery might help him discover something with his game? His Open history makes him very tempting at this price, but the best way to describe his recent play is flat-out bad.
Jason Kokrak – $7,200
Let me start by saying, "Thank you, Jason Kokrak!". This guy basically lived in my DK lineups for about six months. Kokrak has had a tremendous season, though he has faded a bit over the past month. He still stands 14th in this field in SG: T2G and fourth in SG: Approach. Kokrak's shortcomings come on and around the greens, as he stands just 118th in SG: Short Game.
Chez Reavie – $7,100
M/C ('18), M/C ('12)
Reavie has had some stretches of excellent golf this season, including his first win in over a decade at the Travelers Championship. That victory came on the heels of a T3 at the U.S. Open. He's an elite ball striker (21st in the field SG: Ball Striking) and is normally-balky putter has been cooperating lately. While Reavie would be in serious consideration for me if this was a major in the U.S., he doesn't have much Open experience, which makes him tough to rely on this week.
Russell Knox - $7,100
M/C ('18), M/C ('17)
The man from Scotland has played well this summer and his early exit from last week's Scottish Open was his first missed cut since the PGA Championship two months ago. Knox should make tons of sense here, but his Open record is puzzling...three missed cuts in four career starts.
Bernd Wiesberger – $7,100
T74 ('17), M/C ('16)
Remember Bernd? Wiesberger has been a trendy sleeper pick in majors in years past, but hasn't really been heard from much recently. The Austrian has resurfaced recently and heads to Portrush on absolute fire, having just won the Scottish Open on the heels of a runner-up finish in the Irish Open. Like the aforementioned Russell Knox, it feels as though Wiesberger should be a great fit for Open Championships, but his best Open finish was a T64 back in 2013. His hot form makes him worthy of consideration this week.
Jim Furyk – $7,100
Five Open Top Fives
This will be Furyk's first Open Championship appearance since 2016. The veteran has experienced a career resurgence this season with his Ryder Cup duties in the rearview mirror, with a runner-up finish at the Players being the high-water mark in 2019. Furyk lacks distance, but his solid ability to make pars and years of Open experience make him feel like a safe option at just $7.1k.
Erik Van Rooyen – $7,100
'EVR' opened the eyes of some American DFS players with a top-10 outing at the PGA Championship a couple of months ago. The South African is a ball-striker extraordinaire and ranks ninth in SG: OTT and 28th in SG: Approach. He's fresh off logging three sub-70 rounds in the Scottish Open en route to a T14 and recorded a T17 in his Open Championship debut last year. Feels like we're getting a lot of bang for our buck at this price and I will be utilizing EVR as a salary saver in the Milly.
Emiliano Grillo – $7,100
M/C ('18), M/C ('17), T12 ('16)
We all know the talent is there with Emiliano Grillo, we're just waiting on that one true breakout performance from the young Argentinian. He grades out wonderfully from T2G (15th SG: T2G & sixth SG: Approach), but he struggles around the greens and has had some truly horrible putting outings this season. I understand why many DFS players will be tempted to go to Grillo at this price, but his short game issues (and the inconsistency that they cause) are hard for me to ignore.
Keegan Bradley – $7,000
79th ('18), T18 ('16)
Keegs lost strokes putting in 11-straight starts this year before having a ridiculously hot putter at TPC River Highlands, where he notched a runner-up finish. That performance is the definition of an outlier and we should expect Bradley's putter to cool back down. He's a great ball striker, but I just can't trust him to produce four solid rounds this week.
Mike Lorenzo-Vera – $7,000
Lorenzo-Vera has had a tremendous season on the European Tour and even popped up for a T16 at the PGA Championship at Bethpage. He ranks in the top 25 on the Euro Tour in Driving Accuracy, GIRs, and Putting. Logged a T9 at the Irish and T28 at the Scottish. If you are gonna take some shots at this price range, the Frenchman is an interesting sleeper.
Byeong Hun An – $7,000
T51 ('18), M/C ('17)
Benny has fought through some injuries to post top-20 finishes in three of his last four starts, including a T16 at the U.S. Open. An is great with his irons and around the greens, but he often fights a balky putter and stands just 118th in the field in SG: Putting. The Korean has loads of talent, but has yet to play well in the Open.
Best Of The Rest
Andy Sullivan – $7,000:
The Englishman is always in consideration on a links layout. Has played very well over the last month on the Euro Tour, including a runner-up finish at the Irish Open. Sullivan ranks 10th in the field in SG: Putting and could find himself in the mix if his ball striking cooperates.
Thomas Pieters – $7,000:
Talented but temperamental, Pieters has had something of a down year with just one top-10 finish in 14 starts. He's made the cut in all three of his career Open Championship appearances, but does have explosive upside.
Kevin Streelman – $7,000:
Earned late entry to Portrush and promptly withdrew from the John Deere. Streelman has been on a roll recently and hasn't missed a cut since March. Irons have been hot and he ranks third in SG: Approach. Questionable fit on links layout, his best Open finish in four starts is a T54.
Sungjae Im – $7,000:
Very talented youngster who has had an extremely successful rookie campaign on the PGA Tour after dominating the Web.com last year. This is his Open Championship debut, so we aren't sure how he'll respond to Portrush and all that comes with it. Lots of talent here, but I might take a wait and see approach with Im.
Joaquin Niemann - $6,900:
Making his Open Championship debut after not taking advantage of his exemption last year (he turned pro before the Open), Niemann is a major talent. The 20-year-old had spent much of 2019 stuck in the mud with his putter, but Niemann has things straightened out on the greens at the moment. He's logged two top-fives and a top-10 in his last four starts. Huge upside here, but zero experience in an Open setting.
Lucas Glover – $6,500:
If you play PGA DFS on a weekly basis, you are probably surprised to see Lucas Glover priced down here. He heads to Portrush off back-to-back top-10 finishes. While Glover's form is sharp and his price is cheap, be careful here. This will be his first Open start since shooting 80-76 to miss the cut at Muirfield in 2013.