The PGA Championship makes its debut at TPC Harding Park, with almost all of the top 50 players in the golf world ready to finish in San Francisco. TPC Harding Park hosted the 2015 WGC Match Play and 40 players from that field will participate this weekend. With all the big names in action, including Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, just to name a few, there will be no shortage of valuable choices for your PGA DFS lineups.
As is always the case when putting together a daily fantasy wave lineup (or a betting card), you need to know about the course and what types of players to target. TPC Harding Park played as Par 71 when it hosted the Match Play in 2015, but will become a Par 70 this weekend. The distance can be as long as 7,400 meters depending on tee placements but is listed at 7,234 meters. There are only two Par 5s on the course, meaning there is a goal to score on the Par 4s. There are three short Par 4’s and seven Par 4’s that reach over 400 meters. Therefore, I will put Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 back in my main stats this weekend.
When I really looked through the information about this course and how the PGA Tour will set it up for these players, I got the feeling that it will be a combination of a US Open with an Open Championship. The course will have narrow tree-lined fairways, thick punishing rough and fast greens like most US Opens. The course also has little to no water, tough bunkers and strong wind, which reminds you of an open championship. Length from the tee is limited, but with these thin fairways I’m going to focus on total riding, taking distance and accuracy into account.
MORE: Complete betting guide for the PGA Championship 2020
This deep rough will fit even the best scramblers in the world, but I’m going to add that to my key stats. This weekend’s winner is the player who can avoid the big numbers (like Bryson DeChambeau’s 10 and Dustin Johnson’s 9 from the past few weeks), so I’m putting bogey avoidance back into the mix. Finally, as I say every week, you can’t overtake terrain on the field without making birdies – and you can’t make birdies without putting yourself in a good position when approaching.
So, what kind of players should you focus on this week? That’s a million dollar question because you want a player with the distance from the tee, but not someone who sprays it all over the yard. You want an accurate player who keeps the ball in the short gear, but they should be able to take advantage of the short Par 4’s. I’m going to do my best this weekend to spread the wealth. There are 156 players in the field this weekend, so I decided to give you more plays than usual.
Finally, the weather looks great this weekend with partly cloudy skies and mid-1960s temperatures throughout the tournament. The only thing these players will have to deal with is the winds. Thursday seems to be the worst, with winds approaching 20 mph, but the rest of the weekend will be in the low teens. There are players who are better at swirling winds, such as Marc Leishman or some of the European tour players who are used to these conditions.
MAIN STATISTICS: Strokes achieved: approach, total ride, scramble, avoid bogey and Par 4 efficiency 450-500 yards.
ONE AND DONE PICK: Jon Rahm
PGA Championship Expert Choices
Justin Thomas: Do I really have to give you reasons to like Thomas this weekend? He has made four top-10 finishes since the restart, including a win last week and a runner-up on the Workday. He is also the first in Strokes Gained: Approach, fourth in Bogey Avoidance and fifth in Scrambling.
Jon Rahm: I didn’t put it in my Playbook last week, but now I get a discount with a chip on his shoulder. He ended his week at the WGC with a Sunday of 66. Remember, he just won the Memorial two weeks ago and is still the number 1 player in the world. He is second in Total Driving, eighth in Bogey Avoidance and twentieth in Par 4 Efficiency (450-500).
Xander Schauffele: Just great across the board this weekend. First in Ball Striking, sixth in Bogey Avoidance, seventh in Scrambling, 10th in Total Driving and Top 35 in both Par 4 and Approach. He’s gotten better in each of his last four starts: T20, T14, T13 & T6 (last week at the WGC). I will probably be too heavy for him.
Hideki Matsuyama: This weekend he is a sleeping giant at a great price. One of the premiere ball strikers on tour is still in the Top 15. He has three top 25 finishes in his last four starts on Tour. He is also third in Strokes Gained: Approach, 30th in Bogey Avoidance and 36th in Total Driving. Plus, he’s seven-for-seven for PGA championship cuts with two top-five finishes.
Kevin Na: Did you know that Na has made two top-10 finishes in his last four starts? I don’t think anyone knows, because that’s the type of man he is – a very under-the-radar talent. He’s great around the greens and on them, fifth in Scrambling and third in Strokes Gained: Putting. He’s also consistent and doesn’t have many bloated holes, he’s in 24th place in Bogey Avoidance. I have a feeling he’ll hit a great price this weekend for just $ 7K.
Brendan Steele: At one point, Steele was the best overall driver in the PGA Tour. He is currently 24th but has always been one of the best drivers. He is also 27th in Par 4 Efficiency (450-500) and 32nd in Strokes Gained: Approach. His last four finish positions on Tour are sixth, 52nd, 13th and 53rd. If the pattern is right, we should be in for a real treat this weekend.
Dustin Johnson: I just can’t stop DJ, especially at its current price. The talent is just too great not to throw him in a lot of lineups. While he doesn’t have a Wanamaker Trophy in his collection, he does have five top 10 finishes in his 10 career starts, including a second place finish last year. He is also fourth on Tour in Total Driving.
Chez Reavie: He has three straight finishes of T22 or better, including sixth place finish at the WGC last weekend. He hasn’t missed the cut at the PGA Championship in five trips and finished 14th last year. He’s another premiere striker when his game is good, and it looks good. He is 36th in Bogey Avoidance, climbed from 56th to 38th in Strokes Gained: Approach and went from 72nd to 42nd in Scrambling. He’s actually a lock button for almost everyone this weekend.