The Fantasy Golf Sommelier is all about comparing PGA Tour golfer’s to wines from a bottle of Caymus to a bottle of Boone’s Farm.
Welcome back to week 2 of our season long PGA Tour golf betting project! I’m going to repost the project outline every week because I expect to add lots of new readers as the season goes along. If you read last week, go ahead and scroll down to this week’s bets. Under each section we’ve also added the graphs that will track the results throughout the season, leh go!
Wrong, correct, or maybe somewhere in-between…the eternal debate in DFS and DraftKings golf rages on between which of the three pillars is in fact the most predictive/has the most value: Recent Form, Course History, or Course Fit. Well why don't we try and settle this debate once and for all with a season long golf betting system and contest?
We take 3 head to head bets on MyBookie every week with predetermined settings for recent form, course history, and course fit. Recent Form and course history will obviously stay the same for the duration, and we'll adjust the course fit criteria to the top 5 back-tested metrics every week. Is it perfect? No, but I think at the bare minimum we can at least see which of the 3 has the most betting value over the course of the season, and we'll track the results all the way thru the FedEx Cup. To add another fun component to it, David, Pat, and myself will all take 1 discretionary head to head bet each week to not only see who's the champ at the end of the year (we’ll announce the stakes on next weeks pod), but also to see if we can beat all 3 of the other systems.
The inputs behind these three setups are below, keep in mind that I want it to be as systematic as possible in order to keep as much human discretion as possible out of the results. I would love to use strokes gained data for this experiment, but unfortunately there’s still just to many gaps in the data to be consistent enough over the course of the season. (we can only get strokes gained data from 1 of 4 majors every year, no OHL, CJ Cup, CIMB, WGC HSBC, all the alternate field events, Web.com events, Champions tour, etc). Other rules:
if a player has multiple head to head match ups, we’ll always take the better odds match up. So for example if in one of the players match ups they are -150 and in the other they are -125, we’ll take the -125 bet. Or if they are +110 in one and +125 in another, we will take the +125 line.
if the same player fits multiple bets for that week, so be it
if there is any late change/WD/or no line, we’ll take the second highest ranked player for that system
we assume a flat $100 wager on every bet
Recent Form: 66% Scoring Average the last 6 calendar weeks 34% GIR
Chez Reavie is the recent form champ for the field this week
Golf Betting Win/Loss Record: 0-1
Course History: 66% course scoring average 34% # of rounds played, only going back the last 5 years
Mr. 59, Adam Hadwin is the course horse of the week according to the data
Golf Betting Win/Loss Record:0-1
Course fit: 20% of each of the top 5 back-tested metrics. For the Desert Open: 1. Par 5 scoring 2. Eagles made last calendar year 3. Driving Distance 4. Birdie or Better 5. Course GIR hit %
Justin Rose is our #1 course fit guy this week, just barley edges out Rahm
Golf Betting Win/Loss Record: 1-0
The Discretionary Picks: Pat takes the week one lead, luckily, it’s a long season!
David: Swaffod over Glover
Golf Betting Win/Lose Record: 1-0
Pat: Dufner over Perez
Golf Betting Win/Lose Record: 1-0
Ben: Sungjae Im over Kisner
Golf Betting Win/Lose Record: 0-1
First European Tour Event of 2019
It’s about time the European Tour got the new year up and running, don’t get me wrong I have really enjoyed the time off and a chance to dedicate that found spare time on the range and course. But truth be told , even though I have enjoyed a nice little run of greenscreens and cash pay-outs from PGA events, I have really missed sweating out European Tour line ups on DraftKings and watching golf on the courses I’m most familiar with and the players I know best.
Talking about being familiar with these venues I have just found out, later this year I will be making myself much more familiar with this weeks venue as I will be heading out to Abu Dhabi myself to play in a pro-am and two of my four rounds will take place at Abu Dhabi golf club. So watching the golf this year from home is gonna have a new and interesting twist for me as I try to understand how to make my game work at this venue.
Anyway back to world of elite golf and proper prize money. This years event at Abu Dhabi GC will be the 14th edition of the Championship. Now part of the Rolex Series and the beginning of our desert swing this is set to be a superb showpiece and perfect way to get the season back in motion… maybe worth waiting for, now that I think about it.
The Course and Venue
Length: 7,583 yards
Par: 72 (4 x par 5’s, 4 x par 3’s)
Greens: Bermuda Tifdwarf, expected speeds of 12ft 6”
Fairways: Relatively flat and narrower than most on tour.
Rough: Ryegrass throughout, over seeded in October, deeper cuts are consistent and described as penal.
Water comes into play on ten of the holes and predominately runs down the right hand side of holes, meaning that the often safer bail out right is negated and if anything players will want to miss on the less favoured left side.
As always this venue has been prepared to the very highest of standards and a big reason why certain players like Stenson and Kaymer have enjoyed returning here so frequently.
Wednesday (Day 1) - This is calmer of the two opening days. Winds are consistent all day and not expected to get much higher than 7 kph or 4 mph. Cooler first thing in the morning with temperatures expected to be around 21 C or 72 F, rising as the day goes on reaching approx 30 C or 86 F. - Looking at Wednesdays days play I would much rather be out in the heat of the afternoon, when the ball will be performing better and flying further.
Thursday (Day 2) - The breeze will be up a little on day 2, calmer conditions first thing and as play draws to an end. Wind speeds in the afternoon are expected to reach 21 kph or 13 mph. temperatures will be very similar to that of Wednesday, again cooler in the morning and heating up as the day goes on. - looking solely at this days play i think I would prefer to take my chances with the slightly cooler temperatures in the morning but the less breezy conditions.
WAVE ADVANTAGE - There is a slight advantage for those on the pm/am wave. How significant that advantage is may only equate to a shot over the two days and wit that in mind I wont be factoring this element in completely when making my selections. However, I may well use this information to my advantage when narrowing down my picks or selecting between two players I find difficult to separate.
Key Stats and Strategy
By the time the boys tee it up on Wednesday, it will have been exactly one month since we last saw a European Tour event take place. What each individual has been up to over the holiday period, how much they have worked or how much they have rested has been clear to see in some of the filed thanks to their activity on social media etc, but realistically for the majority of the filed it really is anyone’s guess.
A good number of players in the filed will also be using new equipment this week. Of course they would of been doing testing and fine tuning what ends up in the bag ready for the tournament play but for most this will be there first competitive round with the new equipment and most likely would not of been doing this testing in the same climate or conditions that they will experience this week.
In short because of the above variable and others that are maybe a little less obvious. I will pay a little less attention towards statistical data available like recent form and focus more on areas like past course history and general player suitability for the layout their due to play.
Good all round game off the tee is absolutely essential around here, hitting it big is going to be a huge advantage on the monstrous par 5’s and hitting it on the short stuff frequently will help massively with keeping those bogey’s or worse off the card.
Short game needs to be tidy, weather that be to create a scoring opportunity with wedge or less in hand or keeping those big numbers off the card with errors off the tee or into the green.
Greens here are supposed to be amazing to putt on and somewhat on the slick side. Great pace control is gonna make those pars far less stressful and if anything I kinda prefer a good lag putter than someone super aggressive.
As always this event is extremely well supported by the regulars on tour and with huge thanks to the larger prize fund that comes with a Rolex Series event and the continual support from its sponsors HSBC. They have once again been able to attract a handful of superstars in the game including DJ, Brooks, Stenson and fan favourite Tommy Fleetwood. Who this year will not only be defending his title but going for a hattrick of wins in consecutive years. There will also be a little interest to see if Martin Kaymer can join a very illustrious list of players to win the same European Tour event four or more times, this might be highly unlikely but if history is made then surely a win here is way more than enough to shut those up that believe course history isn't a thing.
Outside of that and as pathetic as it is I actually cant wait to see who over here if anyone actually leaves the pin in.. Personally I think I could really warm to leaving the pin in for almost everything like Bryson, but then again I consider myself not to be the most confident of putters and any help I can get I’m taking.
Henrik Stenson - $10,500 -
Louis Oosthuizen - $10,200 -
$9,000 - $10,000
Matt Wallace - $9,400 -
Thomas Pieters - $9,300 -
$8,000 - $9,000
Ross Fisher - $8,400 -
Tom Lewis - $8,300 -
$7,000 - $8,000
Lucas Bjerregaard - $8,000 -
Brandon Stone - $7,700 -
Erik Van Rooyen - $7,100 -
$7,000 or less
Nicolas Colsaerts - $6,900 -
Matthew Southgate- $6,800 -
Joachim Hansen - $6,500 -
Outright Winner E/W
Louis Oostuizen - 18/1 - 2 points e/w
Tom Lewis 45/1 - 1 point e/w
Brandon Stone - 90/1 - 1 point e/w
Erik Van Rooyen - 110/1 - 1 point e/w
First Round Leader
Tom Lewis 66/1 - 1 point e/w
Brandon Stone - 80/1 - 1 point e/w
Dean Burmester - 70/1 - 1 point e/w
Joachim Hansen 175/1 - 1 point e/w
Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm - 140/1 - 1 point e/w
Tom Lewis and Jon Rahm - 345/1 - 1 point e/w
One and Done Pick
Long shots DB loves for First Round Leader bets this week on the PGA Tour & the strategy behind the selections.
Recent Form, Course History, or Course Fit matters most…? Why don't we try and settle this debate once and for all with a season long betting system and contest?
The Fantasy Golf Sommelier is all about comparing PGA Tour golfer’s to wines from a bottle of Caymus to a bottle of Boone’s Farm.
Here are our 31 favorite tweets of 2018 by…well, us! You get it! Very little reading required here people. Just relive 2018 TJ Twitter with us a little.
Before I get into this weeks event and the last one for the year. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading and being a part of the write up. I am now into my third season writing for Tour Junkies and with each New Year that comes and goes, golf and life just get better and lot of that is down to you the reader and of course DB and Pat from TJ for giving me that added purpose to be deeper involved in the beautiful game we all love and hate sooo much.
Anyway with that said, I wish you all the very happiest of holidays and when that new year roles in I truly hope it brings you peace and happiness. But before that lets all hope for some early fireworks and a big gift in the form of $ bills from this weeks line ups and bets.
Course Set Up.
7,287 yards. Par 72 (4 x par 5’s, 4 x par 3’s.) (3 of the par 5’s feature in the back 9.)
Gary Player designed course that opened in 1996. Frequently voted as one of the best courses in South Africa and no surprise with its incredible setting that borders the Kruger National Park. Consequently this player favourite venue has became host and home to the Alfred Dunhill Championships in 2005. Last year, the event was put on hold whilst the Leopard Creek course updated its layout to better suit the modern game and offer longevity to the event.
The alterations to the course have mainly consisted of relocation and redesign of bunkering, new tee locations on 6 holes and the removal of a tee. Even with the changes the course it will still offer good scoring and no doubt a total score around -16 will be good enough to take the spoils at this majestic location.
The course itself is set among natural undulating bushland with plenty of water features adding to its splendour throughout the course, prepared to extremely high standards that somehow blend in extremely well with its natural environment.
Key Stats and Strategy.
The style of play needed here is very obvious, so focusing a little more on those ball striking attributes and in particular greens in regulation.
Of course for the purpose of Draftkings, scoring is always essential so Par 5 scoring and overall birdie or better performance has to be weighted in.
This week I am also weighting in par 3 scoring, although there not the toughest par 3’s in the world they have to be played well and it could be very easy to make a huge mistake here that costs big time.
This has always been very much a South African winners paradise. So once again im getting heavily behind the Home players this week and hoping I unlock the right combination
Course Form/Course History, this is one of those very obvious scenarios where certain players just love the venue, play it a lot and turn up playing well year in year out.. Schwartzels record here is incredible and just cant be ignored but can he pick up his 4th win here… My guess is Yes and why even though ownership will be high and the odds short I will be backing him for the win. .
Charl Schwartzel - $11,000
$9,000 - $10,000
Brandon Stone - $9,500
Thomas Aiken - $9,200
$8,000 - $9,000
Ernie Els - $8,800
Richard Sterne - $8,500
$7,000 - $8,000
Jeff Winther $7,800
Oliver Bekker - $7,300
Jack Singh Brar - $7,200
$6,000 - $7,000
JC Ritchie - $7,000
Tom Murray - $6,800
Bonus Pick (JB Hansen $7,600)
Alfred Dunhill Championship
Charl Schwartzel +750 2 points
Oliver Bekker +7000 1 point e/w
JC Ritchie +12500 1 point e/w
Jack Singh Brar +20000 1 point e/w
Henrik Stenson +350 2 points
Miguel Tabuena +3300 1 point e/w
JBE Kruger +6000 1 point e/w
Draftkings Preview and Picks for the South African Open.
This year we have what is being called a new look to the SA open, however in reality a change to the schedule and inclusion of new venues have forced the Joburg Open and SA Open to merge into one event. Consequently the SA Open has returned to Johannesburg and to Randpark GC.
Just like the Joburg Open the event will be played over both tournament courses at Randpark. These are Bushwillow and Firethorn. Players will play both course over the first two days. After that point a cut of 70 and ties will be made from this monstrous field of 243 and the weekends golf will contested on the longer of the two courses and better set up for tournament play, Firethorn.
Bushwillow - Par 71 - 7114 yards - 3 x par 5’s, 4 x par 3’s. Tree-lined, tactical course. Requires great ball striking.
Firethorn - Par 71 - 7506 yards - 3 x par 5’s, 4 x par 3’s. Tree-lined (little more spacious.) tournament course. Requires great driving.
Just as last weeks Australian Open the home contingent is plentiful and extremely strong. This nation seem to breed exceptional golfers and among the field this week we have talent in abundance.
On offer from the home nation we have Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Swartzel and Ernie Els as the main attractions. Joining them Matt Wallace and last years surprise winner Chris Paisley will also help boost the top end of this events offering.
There will of course be plenty of players on offer that most of you will be somewhat familiar with and there will be plenty of talent to keep an eye on for future reference in other upcoming events.
The field as mentioned earlier is massive. 243 players listed to tee it up on Thursday. There are plenty of ownership opportunities for the bold. But do be wary of taking to big a gamble in your line ups and missing out on the key 6 of 6 element. Only the top 29% in the field will get to see weekend golf. Finding that low priced, low owned power pick, will be like hunting for a needle in haystack this week. My advice is go for balance but try to avoid a lineup full of very obvious, high owned plays. Sounds Easy!!!
Key Stats and Strategy
Just like last week I am once again as you may have already gathered a big fan of the home contingent players. These guys eat two buffalo and lion for breakfast, kill the golf ball off the tee and smash through the Kikuya like its nothing more than scorched Rye. Seriously though its more about their familiarity with playing the grasses growing up in the game and styling of courses they play on a consistent basis.
Balance in my line ups will be key, 6 of 6 is essential and will give you a great chance going in to the weekend, especially if there are a couple of household names that don’t live up to there expected performance.
Total driving, the ball has to be hit well and with a good level of accuracy around the Randpark courses. Even on Firethorn where the course is considerably longer and the fairways a little wider, accuracy is still demanded of the player to find correct positioning for better chances of scoring. It also helps considerably with bogey avoidance as missing these fairways and finding the longer cuts will throw in a huge amount of unpredictability when it comes to controlling the ball with their second shots.
Good mid to long iron play. As much as hitting fairways is important to scoring here, finding the greens is just a equally important.. There are no easy up and downs when playing from this grass. It takes a lot of skill, attention to detail and sometimes a good chunk of luck.
My Top Picks
Louis Oosthuizen - $11,700 - To Win Outright 13/2, +650. 2.5 Points. Sorry huge name and going to be high owned but I believe he wins this week.
$9,000 - $10,000
Dean Burmester - $9,800 - E/W 25/1, +2500. 1 Point.
$8,000 - $9,000
Justin Harding - $8,700
$7,000 - $8,000
Joachim B. Hansen - $7,800
Christian Bezhuidenhout - $7,400
Jacques Blaauw - $7,100
$6,000 - $7,000
Jaco Van Zyl - $6,900
Trevor Fisher Jnr - $6,700 - E/W 140/1, +14000. 0.5 Points.
Merrick Bremner - $6,700.
Champ and Kiz - Outright to win 5/1, +500. 2 Points
Tony and Lexi - E/W 14/1, +1400. 1 Point.
Well ladies and gents as promised there were going to be a few changes to the write up.. But if I’m honest I have to admit I am questioning the week I have chosen to do so especially with 3 events to cover and a bucket load of less familiar names to investigate. Thankfully the Hero is a baby sized field of the world elite and only being included as it’s a fantastic betting opportunity. However the two events on the European Tour Schedule have been an absolutely minefield to explore and research. Hopefully its all been worthwhile, you enjoy the changes but more importantly we find success and top up those bank balances at the end of the week.
Anyway lets get started with a little of the usual and a European Tour, DraftKings Preview for the Australian PGA Championship.
The 2018 Australian PGA Championship will once again be held at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast. RACV Royal Pines Resort has three 18 hole combination golf courses, including the Graham Marsh re-designed Championship course which hosts the Australian PGA Championship and the RACV ALPG Players Championship. Ideally located between the white sand beaches of Surfers Paradise and the lush Gold Coast hinterland, RACV Royal Pines Resort has been the home to the Australian PGA Championship since 2013
Set against a lush tropical background, just minutes from the beach to the east, this course will test the most astute golfer. From the championship tees it measures 7,364 yards, with six par 4s that measure more than 440 yards, four par 5s that are over 550 yards long and a 229 yard par 3. It all adds up to a tough series of holes when you factor in the parade of bunkers that come into play on most holes.
Key Stats and Strategy
Looking back at previous performances on this course, it certainly suggests that only a handful will get 4 days worth of good of scoring under their belt and the field will be quite stretched. Last year 54 players from a field of 156 posted tournament totals below par, Cam Smith was the only player to post 4 rounds in the 60’s. 2 years ago only 40 players submitted 4 cards accumulating to a score under par and only 5 of those managed to reach double digits and only Harold Varner reaching the dizzy heights of -19. The year before thanks to extremely tough conditions only our 3 play off players (again one of those being HV3) managed to submit scores that were level to par, the rest of the field over par and many of those with scores you would normally hang your head in shame with..
So with all of that in consideration, the elements will no doubt determine the end result of this event and with such a varied and somewhat unknown field it could be a bit of a lottery event.
CURRENT WEATHER - It has been hot and sunny leading up to the eventt and as we move into tournament play were expecting more of the same but with the potential of an interrupting passing thunderstorm or two.
The course will be playing firmer than last year and better suited to its design and yardage, they will be less inclined to push tees forward and we should get to see this course in its full glory.
Certainly don't mind players who get the ball launching big distances off the tee. Although they may make the odd mistake they will gain on the par 5's and maybe be offered up with the easier scoring chances on the par 4's when the fairway has been hit. It is also worth noting that the rough is far from punishing, so as long as those odd mistakes don't result in penalty strokes as a result of dropping from a hazard then maybe only birdie may be taken out of the equation on that hole.
This is most certainly an Ausi Dominated event.. this will be the 99th time this event has been held and so far it has been won by a home player on 80 occasions. Of course a huge percentage of the field represent Australia and that alone naturally increases the odds of a home player win. But you also have to factor in these guys are truly at home and feeling comfortable. Those that have made the journey from Europe have had to travel to the complete opposite side of the world, they will need to adjust to a 11 hour time difference and a flip in the climate.. I don't care how used to travelling you are or how well you travel. The mind and body are going to be out of sync somewhat and it cant help but have an affect on performance.
Form from recent events in Europe, Australia, Asia and Japan.
Course fit and course history... certain players seem to love playing here and due to conditions I think the key to competing this week will be a good combination of accuracy and distance from the tee.
Bogey avoidance, could be massive in trying to get 6/6 through to the weekend. A score within a couple of par could be all that's needed.
Solid short game, I expect a few greens to be missed so someone with that get out of jail card in their pocket could bode very well here.
As with any week that hot short stick. With added focus to putting on Bermuda and slower speed greens. Green speed is expected to be 10ft on the stimp reading.
Marc Leishman - $11,500 - The class act in the field and in fine form right now. Having picked up a victory already at the CIMB, 18th at the CJ Cup with a strong finish and last week another very solid performance to earn the Ausi team a 2nd place finish at the World Cup. I have gone with Marc, over the obvious course form options in Smith and HV3, hoping they will between them swallow up a nice chunk of that ownership and Marc being at least $500 more expensive may cause many to avoid him, to be able to find more balance in their teams.
Lucas Herbert - $9,700 - It is very easy to look at Lucas’s form and think that their has been a bit of a dip in performance over recent weeks. However you have to consider the strength of the fields he was playing in during the Rolex Series season closer’s and looking throughout his 2017/18 season lets not forget how impressive he has been, especially within what are considered to be less top heavy fields. Last year he managed 7 top 10’s with one of those coming exactly a year a go at this event.
$8,000 - $9,000
Jake McLeod - $8,800 - Sticking very much with the Ausi theme, I have chosen to back the OOM leader for another big performance to go with his last two outing on the PGA Tour of Australia. Those being a win at the NSW Open and a 3rd place finish the following week in the Australian Open. Jake also has great form on this course and in this event with an 11th place finish in 2017 and a 25th place finish in 2016.
$7,000 - $8,000
Gaganjeet Bhullar - $7,300 - The last time I got behind Gaganjeet he did me very proud and picked up a win in Fiji. Ok I am not quiet expecting the same great result from him here but at this price and a great chance of a top 10 I will be rolling the dice on him again. Ticks those boxes for whats needed on this course and from what ive seen and heard seems very ready to put together 4 good rounds.
$6,000 - $7,000
Daniel Nisbet - $6,800 - Currently sat in 2nd place on the OOM and looking for a big performance to take the spoils. Admittedly didn’t play to well in his last outing, however considering the start he had its always tough to recover and narrowly missed out making the weekend. Prior to that he did show good form in the NSW Open placing 14th and has always competed well in this event in particular… 2014-MC, 2015-18th, 2016-62nd, 2017-20th. Another top 20 at this price will work perfectly for me however this year I believe we could see even better.
Bonus Pick - Cameron Smith - $11,500 - It was almost impossible to split Cam and Marc and although I have gone with Marc as my main play I will still have a share of Cam as well and even use him in a couple of Combo bets (Smith and Smith to win outright… (Stranger coincidences have already happened this year)
Australian PGA Championship (E/W 1/4 1-2-3-4-5)
Marc Leishman. (5/1, +500) (2 points)
Cam Smith. (6/1, +600) (2 points)
Jake McLeod. (40/1, +4000) (0.5 point)
Daniel Nisbet. (200/1, +20000) (0.5 points)
Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open (E/W 1/4 1-2-3-4-5)
Jordan Smith. (14/1, +1400) (2 points)
Trevor Fisher Jnr. (45/1, +4500) (1 point)
Joachim B Hansen. (80/1, +8000) (0.5 points)
Hero World Challenge (E/W 1/5 1-2-3-4)
Tony Finau (16/1, +1600) (2 points)
Henrik Stenson. (25/1, +2500) (1 points)
Gary Woodland. (28/1, +2800) (1 points)
E/W Treble (Bome Bet)
Marc Leishman, Jordan Smith, Gary Woodland. (3044/1, +304400) (1 point)
Please excuse the quick picks version of the write up this week. After a hectic and successful 2nd season writing for Tour Junkies, I have waved the white flag on a full write up and decided to take advantage of an opportunity to travel to Portugal with former England representative Darren Timms on a pre-season golfing warm up session.
As to be expected we have been playing some exceptional courses, racking up the hours on the exquisite practice facilities and for the first time in way too many years for me, I have even been clocking up the hours in the gym…. If I keep this up who knows you may just see me having a go at qualifying for this years Open and with a massive amount of luck I could end up with a DraftKings price attached to my name… LOL
All jokes aside its been one amazing week and I have as always absorbed every snippet of information I can whether that's been to enhance my own game or get a better understanding of some of the players that Darren knows well who play on both the European and Challenge tours.
I will try to share some of the stories I have heard as the season progresses and as they become relevant, some ill have to keep to myself as they just shouldn't be shared and hopefully this year we will be able to get a couple of the guys from this side of the pond to appear on the Tour Junkies Podcast…. Watch this Space.
Anyway after getting all of that off my chest time to get back on with the real reason you read this article and straight back in with the season opener at Hong Kong Golf Club.
Key Stats and Strategy
The key areas I have considered whilst making my picks are:
Possibility of a slight edge for those on the early tee wave for Thursday…. Throughout the first days play conditions stay very similar, some rain forecast for late afternoon. However on the Friday the temperatures rise considerably and the wind speeds drop a little for those teeing off in the afternoon.
Driving Accuracy - Hong Kong G.C is a tight, fiddly course that requires attention to detail off the tee.
Proximity to the hole with short to mid irons - Ball strikers course where getting the ball on the greens and close to the hole will present needed birdie opportunities.
Hot with the short stick - Confidence with putter in hand is always massive in any event.. No point playing someone when the balls not dropping for them.
Course History and Course Fit - With this being the 18th edition of this event there are plenty of stats and trends available and certainly players or style of players that favour better on this layout.
Current form - Although I'm keen on those that are in hot form right now I have been carful to consider the nature of the previous events and time between competitive rounds for those no lucky enough to have participated in the Rolex series events.
Patrick Reed $11,300
Rafa Cabrera Bello $10,500
$10,000 - $9,000
Shubhankar Sharma $9,300
Sean Croker $9,000
$9,000 - $8,000
Matthew Southgate $8,500
Miguel Angel Jimenez $8,100
$8,000 - $7,000
Paul Peterson $7,700
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano $7,400
Joachim B Hansen $7,200
Less Than $7,000
Nino Bertasio $6,900
Sam Brazel $6,700
Matt Fitzpatrick $10,200
As always best of luck with your line ups. If you have questions please feel free to get them to me before the lock and once again my apologies for the short version of the write up, however I hope you enjoy it none the less.
The Venue and Course
Inspired by the natural elements of Fire, Earth, Water and Wind, and interwoven with tastefully designed homes, the four championship golf courses of Jumeirah Golf Estates are manicured to absolute perfection and this golfing oasis offers up the perfect climax to close out the season.
The Earth Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates has been host to the DP World Championships since 2009. Designed by Greg Norman it measures 7,706 yards and has a par of 72 and traditional set up of 4 par 5's and 4 par 3's with equal amounts on each side.
The Bermuda greens are large and undulating, expected to be running at 12'6" on the stimp reading and as pure as pure gets, the tour have the option should they choose to, to stick the pins in locations that can seem quite cruel to really test the field or event place them in where the ball should gather to get the scoring going but no doubt we will see a lot of familiar pin placements on Sunday especially for the dramatic 18th where many a title has been won or lost.
Water features on 5 holes but most prominently and famously with its island green 17th and meandering creek that runs the length of the 18th hole, to accompany these hazards the course boasts 99 white marble bunkers that play a big part in its visual concept. Some of the extremely large and awkwardly placed.
Fairways are wide and inviting and even the odd stray shot isn't penalised to heavily, a really tempting invitation for the bombers in the field
It is time for the best of the best from the European Tour to show us how good they are.
Previous Winners of the DP World Tour Championship
2009 - Lee Westwood (-23)
2010 - Robert Karlsson (-14)
2011 - Alvaro Quiros (-19)
2012 - Rory McIlroy (-23)
2013 - Henrik Stenson (-25)
2014 - Henrik Stenson (-16)
2015 - Rory McIlroy (- 21)
2016 - Matthew Fitzpatrick (-17)
2017 Jon Rahm (-19)
Key Stats and Strategy
Driving the ball well has always been of huge benefit here, getting the ball deep into the fairway will make the task of hitting greens and creating chances much easier. The fairways as wide as they are will suit the bigger hitters and somewhat negate the short knockers accuracy advantage.
Hitting targets but in the right places. Get the ball close and birdies will mount up, miss your target or leave the ball in the wrong spot and these large undulating surfaces can easily make a fool of the best in the game on and around the greens.
With perfect surfaces to putt on I want players in form with the short stick, all about making birdies and hoping your player has few mistakes in this format of play and no better way to make that happen than rolling in putts regardless if there for par or birdie.
I have looked heavily in to course fit, course history, recent form and weighted each of these factors in accordingly when looking in to my picks. I value experience in an event like this and certainly think that it has a style of play that works well
Rory McIlroy - $11,700
$10,000 - $11,000
Tommy Fleetwood - $10,200
$9,000 - $10,000
Patrick Reed - $9,400
Henrik Stenson - $9,200
$8,000 - $9,000
Hao Tong-Li - $9,000
Lucas Bjerrgaard - $8,600
$8,000 - $7,500
Matt Wallace - $8,000
Thomas Detry - $7,900
$7,500 - $7,000
Thomas Pieters - $7,500
Andrea Pavan - $7,300
$7,000 or less
Tom Lewis - $6,900
Dean Burmester - $6,900
Well that's the end of the 2017/18 season and another year writing for Tour Junkies done for me.
Time for me to treat myself, so early tomorrow morning I’ll be flying off to Portugal for a weeks golfing at a handful of the best courses in Europe.
Until next week and the start of the 2018/19 season have a great week and lets hope it ends with glorious green screens.
For the penultimate event of the season the European Tour head back to South Africa for the 5th time this year, but this time to compete for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player and played on the Gary Player Country Club Course. This is once again an event that Rolex have been more than happy to sponsor and with that, as with all the events prior it brings the best about out to play but this time to compete for a slightly increased prize fund of $7,500,000
Frequently voted as the best course in South Africa this is one destination I would love to visit if ever the chance came about. The 7,831 yard par 72 layout designed by Gary Player at Sun City is set within a volcanic crater and surrounded by the natural beauty of Pilanesberg National Park. Not only can you expect to see incredible golf here but were often graced by the presence of the local wildlife and I have no doubt there will be plenty of David Attenborough still moments to savour as well whilst watching the coverage.
Although this is the second longest course on tour this year and has extremely receptive fairways, it does sit over a 1,000 meters above sea level. That added altitude and warmer air were forecast for will help the ball travel much further and bring all of the lengthy holes into score-able opportunities for the entire field. It will also mean that the bigger hitters will on occasion be forced to take less of the tee to find position.
Key to playing this course is quite simple, keep the ball in play at all costs, venture to far off line and it could be more than a ball you lose in the jungle. Play the correct club off the tee to avoid the bunkers, no need to bomb it everywhere if you have a solid mid iron game. Hit as many greens in regulation as you can and stay patient... The birdies will come and in there abundance if your rolling the ball well on these greens.
As to be expected we have an extremely good field lined up for this event. With Rory and Garcia as this years big name attractions.
70 man field, with no cut.
Key stats and Strategy
Par 5 Scoring - With this again being a reduced field and no cut event it is crucial that your players score well with birdie or better points. Nearly 50% of the birdies made on this course in previous years have come from its 4 par 5's.
Ball striking - Although bigger hitter have an advantage on this layout especially with those par 5's, it has proven to be more important to avoid bogeys and find greens in regulation to stay competitive. Playing at altitude takes care of the distance issues and a player who creates plenty of chances should find themselves sniffing around for a big pay day.
Playing at Altitude - There are players out there that really adapt well to playing at altitude and that couldn't be more clearly displayed when looking at the form of these players at locations like Mexico, Switzerland and the 3 other high altitude locations in South Africa.
Course Fit and Form - Rather than look to much into history which can be massively misleading if looking further back when the field was considerably smaller than what it currently is. It may serve better to look at a players course fit and there form.. We have seen many debut visiting wins at this venue and a high percentage of the field will be playing this event for the first time.
Hot Putter - Look for those that seem to be rolling the ball in for fun, the surfaces at this course are pure and we should see a good number of putts made from longer distances. especially on the Par 4's and 3's where getting the ball close to the hole can prove to be difficult.
Sergio Garcia $11,500
$9,000 - $10,000
Matthew Fitzpatrick $9,400
Tom Lewis $9,100
$8,000 - $9,000
Danny Willett $9,000
Lucas Bjerregaard $8,900
Dylan Fritteli $8,100
$7,000 - $8,000
Matt Wallace $7,800
Erik Van Rooyen $7,600
Thomas Detry $7,100
$7,000 or less
Nicolas Colsaerts $7,000
Thomas Aiken $6,700
Oli Fisher $6,300
The greatest week in golf is upon us, so I though we'd get a little ahead of ourselves & do a quick dive into what we're looking at.
I'd like to start with a side rant though, is it just me or is the Butler cabin green jacket exchange/handshakes the most painfully awkward thing in sports? The handshakes are always awkward & forced, the winning golfer is jacked with adrenaline & just wants to high five the world, but then has to go sit in grandma's (dead silent) basement while we interview the low amateur that no one cares about....and the interaction of last years winner putting on the jacket to this years winner with no fans around is just so so painful to watch. My god just watch this & if you can look me in the eyes & tell me you didn't cringe then your a cyborg: Bubba leaves Billy Paine hanging or this Spieth just being sad as shit after he handed Willet a Masters Victory. The tradition of someone putting the green jacket on the winner is cool, but if were being honest it's really just straight up mean to make last years winner do it. Every other thing about the Masters is perfect, is this really the best we can do guys??? Never forget......(look at Nantz's face....looks like he is watching a champion horse with a broken leg being put down)
Masters DFS/Betting Insights....We Dug Deep on Some of These Boys!
I probably enjoy being able to bet on really good golfers at long odds in majors more than DFS itself. Two years ago Danny Willet was playing some really good golf across the pond leading up to the Masters, & he was generally about 100/1 before the tournament began. Same could be said for Zach Johnson in a weird weather year. Trevor Immelman, Angel Cabrera, & ole Charl could have been had at 65/1 in 2011.....so long shots have had a nice history at the Masters.
A couple things that backtest well for Masters success:
Driving Distance-the course yardage isnt 'that' long, in fact the Masters is generally around the 20th longest course on the season, but it plays much longer with many elevated greens, & a need to bring your approach shots in high & soft in order to land them on the right quadrant of the greens. As many players & caddies have told us, there are plenty of hole locations where a missed GIR is much better than a GIR hit in the wrong place. For example on #4, a long par 3 with a huge false front on the left & bunker protecting the front right, if the pin is in the back right...most players would rather miss short in the bunker than hit the false front & watch your ball roll back to the base of the green making for a difficult 3! putt.
GIR/Approach- So this is funny because we just talked about how it doesn't matter on a lot of holes, but we have a good idea as to why this backtests so well. It would make sense that if your good at hitting lots of greens, then your probably MORE able to place the ball in the right quadrants of the greens at Augusta.
Recent Form- just for fun I went back & looked at the last 10 Masters champs form from the beginning of the calendar year they won in, to the Masters. Below is the results:
2007 Zach Johnson-45, W/D, 33, 33, 14, 42, 9, Win Masters
2008 Trevor Immelman- Cut, Cut, T17, Cut, T65, T48, T40, T2*, Cut, Win Masters
2009 Angel Cabrera- Cut, T13, T33, T32, Cut, Cut, Win Masters
2010 Phil Mickelson- 19, T45, T8, T24, T14, T30, T35, Win Masters
2011 Charl- 4*, Win*, 8* (those 3 were SA tour), 14, 24, 47, 30, Win Masters
2012 Bubba- 18, 13, 5, 13, 2, 4, Win Masters
2013 Adam Scott- T10, T33, T3, T30, T6*, Win Masters
2014 Bubba- T23, T2, 1, T9, T2, W/D, Win Masters
2015 Spieth- T7, Cut, T7, T4, T17, 1, 2, 2, Win Masters
2016 Willet- 54, 1, 45, 3, 22, 22, Win Masters
2017 Sergio- 11, 1, 49, 14, 12, Win Masters
*indicates non PGA Tour event
So its really hard to say that you HAVE to be in good form to win the Masters, because clearly you don't. But it does look like you need to at least be in OK form, with Immelman & Cabrera being exceptions as they were in straight up shit form. On the other hand though, dating back to Phil in 2010, there is only one missed cut in the weeks leading up to the Masters victories for the last 8 winners.
Par 3 & 4 scoring- At first glance this also seems counterintuitive because everyone always talks about the par 5's, and while you certainly have to score on the par 5's to even make the cut, EVERYONE scores on the par 5's because they are all gettable & as long as you have slightly above average distance you can go for all of them in two. To drive the point home, the 4 par 5's were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th easiest holes relative to par last year AND are the only 4 holes on the course that played UNDER par. So now it makes sense why these (3's & 4's) would pop more, especially the par 3's!
Putting-everyone also talks about the greens, and they are def tricky...you genuinely can not appreciate just how much slope is in some of the greens unless you are standing next to them. This is really where the experience can come into play, and why first timers generally do struggle here. We've had several of our caddie's playing this week tell us that you literally don't read a lot of the putts, you have to play them from memory. Which might explain why you DON'T have to be an elite putter to win. In fact since 2003, only three Masters champions were what I would classify as 'elite' putters at the time of their win (gaining at least .5 strokes per round putting), AND several others are what I would consider downright bad putters. Immelman was losing about .5 strokes per round putting when he won the Masters which would make him one of the worst putters on tour at the time. Now in saying this, there is data that suggests that if your in 'good putting form' leading up to the Masters that 'should' boost your performance. On the flip side, since the dawn of DFS golf (2014), there have really only been 3 (that I could find) guys that were averaging 30 putts per round or more & had a good showing (Rose 15', Westwood 16', Chappell 17').
Above is a great example of how Augusta National can demand such precision with your iron play even with a very large green. This is #14, the only hole on the course without a bunker. It's a UUGE green & fairly easy to hit, but with this hole location you can see your landing area is basically where I've circled in red. Anything short roles all the way back in the fairway, left is a snaking double breaker down hill, carry it 5 paces over the flag & it rolls off the back, as does a miss to the right. So basically your working with a 20 X 20 green in this example, if that....easy right? Again this is why I think GIR/Approach stats are so important here & why you don't need to be an elite putter to do well...put it on the right part of the green, & Augusta will reward you.
Random Masters Facts that may or may not apply to DFS/betting
1. Every Masters champion since 2009 has scored a cumulative total of 1 over or better on the par 3's, with 6 of those 9 past champions being under par on the par 3's for the week.
2. Danny Willet is the only Masters champion that I could find in recent history (I stopped looking past 1998) that did not play the par 5's in at least 3 under par (he was even on the par 5's!)
3. There have only been 4 Masters champions in said period that played the par 4's over par....so basically 85% plus of the last 20 champions have been under par on the par 4's.
4. Fun trivia fact, who holds the Masters record for most birdies in one round??? Answer: Anthony Kim w/ 11 in 2009....lets all pour one out for our homie Kim...he's the next great comeback story now that we got Tiger back!
5. If you can just PAR holes 1, 11, 18 (all par 4's) then you've historically gained a FULL shot on the field.
6. The par 4 scoring average YTD leaders is basically the world golf rankings...but there are a couple guys that stick out: Harman, Chappell, Steele, ZJ, Webb, Perez, Cam Smith all rank in the top 20 on tour.
7. Average number of attempts before someone breaks thru for their first Masters Victory? Six
8. It's well known that there has only been one real first timer to win the Masters, but recently their has been 3, 2nd timers to win (Charl, Spieth, Willet)
9. There is a 'secret service' certified house on the grounds of Augusta. Speaking of which, something that doesn't really get talked about but is absolutely nuts.....when Reagan was playing out at Augusta one day, a guy crashed through the gates & took hostages in the pro shop!
10. Bobby Jones, god bless him, had originally planned a 19th hole (short par 3), the area between the 18th green & the clubhouse that was to act as the 'bet settling' hole....a man after my own heart!
Some Longshot Values
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Kevin Chappell 125/1- Man I hate this guys face and his stupid flatbill hats.....but his tee to green game right now is elite, if he can just get a couple putts to drop I LOVE this price on him, not to mention he was 8th last year!
Jimmy Walker-175/1-He's shown signs of life, and has never missed a cut here...great price for a major champ that has the distance & putting to get around Augusta
Patrick Cantlay-80/1-He's already a world class golfer, just doesn't have the trophy case yet
Oost-60/1-Has really played well to start the year, has the history, has the game, great price
Fleetwood-45/1- Top 10 golfer in the world at a great price
Elite guys with a little meat on the bone- Rahm, Casey, Rickie are all about 20-25/1, & I like their price much better than the other guys up top.
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If your gonna be in Augusta, holla
Pat, David, & myself will all be there for the duration, we'd love to met up with anyone & have a cold beverage either on the grounds or around Washington Rd. @ us....@Tourjunkies or @TRUmav
David decided to call & find out how serious the folks at The Greenbrier were about their Falconry activities. The answers may just surprise you...
Realizing full-well that there is a certain stigma attached to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS for short), we are here to dispel those notions and persuade you to give Daily Fantasy Golf a try. DFS is certainly not for everyone (read on to see if you fall into that group). The following is an intro to PGA DFS and why you should play, followed soon in another post via "One Groove Low" to look at some tips on how to play and who to look out for this season (also applicable to regular fantasy golf).
We're firm believers in the great hipster millennial-mind of Simon Sinek, who says “start with why.” So, why would anyone choose to invest time & money in playing DFS? Naturally this answer varies to some degree depending upon the person, as does the veracity with which people play DFS. It's a wide spectrum, which is great. You do you, man. Here’s why we play:
As I'm sure holds true with anyone visiting this site, we LOVE golf. Playing golf, reading golf, going to golf tournaments, indoctrinating our kids in golf, etc. Simple enough.
When it comes to watching golf on TV, we used to only watch the majors, Ryder Cup, and then a few random events with passing interest. We tried to go deeper, but just couldn’t get excited about the actual golfers. It wasn’t the act of watching golf that was less than stimulating. It was the act of watching #LPCP poster boy, Matt Kuchar, headline an event with Shawn Stefani and Cameron Tringale right on the heels of his Sketchers on moving day. We just couldn’t do it. But now that we've got some skin in the game and know the players it's a whole different ballgame. Watching the Sanderson Farms Championship is now akin to watching a Thursday night Jaguars/Rams game with the sole intent of seeing if Bortles feeds in garbage time for my fantasy squad or if the Rams can protect the under.
We're competitive. Aside from church league basketball (We're from Georgia, it's a big thing here) and actually playing golf, this is where we can let our competitive juices run wild. We play in a couple of DFS leagues with only friends. Who doesn’t love taking his friends' $5 week in and week out? Winning is fun. Doesn't matter what. Hell, one of us won a Potty Putter at the office party this past Christmas. The feeling I get when I win in DFS is especially rewarding, regardless of if the payout is $3 or $30K - just want to see the screen turn green (which happens when you're winning)!
We like the numbers, stats, and research. The process of digging in to the course, the key stats for success, and the players that either line up or don’t each week is the best part. It's the same reason people enjoy tracking the stock market. We dig deep every week before we record our podcast, and you can do the same or just rely on experts that you are keen to trust.
One of the things we didn't mention above: “I like winning millions of dollars while seeing my handsome mug on the side of a DraftKings bus in downtown BeanTown." Of course we enjoy winning. But, we're not doing this to quit our day jobs and neither should you. We only spend what we can afford to lose - think of it as an entertainment expense. Hell, you're more likely to lose $29 and 2 hours of your life going to see some dumpster fire movie with your wife. Is DFS gambling? Yes, unequivocally. As is playing fantasy football for free on Yahoo! while having a side pot with your homies. However, there's nothing wrong with responsible gambling. As humans, we gamble on various and sundry things all the time. Golfers gamble. Gambling is as much a part of golf as Johnny Miller’s ego.
In the intro we mentioned we'd tell you if you should stop reading this. Here you go...If you have a problem with gambling, spending too much money, or an addictive personality, then don't play. If you literally don’t have 15 minutes a week, a positive balance in your checking account, or any friends, then don't play.
Okay, you're still reading? Currently, if you want to play PGA DFS, you will only be able to play through the DraftKings website or app. However, FanDuel will likely be adding PGA to its offerings in the very near future, as both companies have now merged and DraftKings continues to see tremendous growth in the number of people playing PGA DFS. Every Monday afternoon before a PGATour event, DraftKings will release the player prices for that event based on odds. Each player is given a dollar amount typically ranging from $5K to $13K.
Ostensibly your job is simple: fill six roster spots without spending more than $50K in salary cap. Points are earned or lost on a hole-by-hole basis, with players earn points for pars, birdies, eagles, an albatross, an ace, and conversely lose points for bogeys, etc. Players also earn points for where they stand on the leaderboard at the end of the week. If one (or more) of your players don't make the cut then they don’t earn your team any points over the weekend. This point structure greatly rewards players who tend to make birdies and play aggressively (think modified Stableford scoring). But keep in mind that they need to hang around and play the weekend. Roll into the weekend with your full compliment of six players having made the cut and you enjoy a tremendous advantage. Amazingly, picking six golfers out of a field of 140+ is much harder in practice than it is in theory.
If PGA DFS sounds like something that you'd enjoy then get started by signing up for DraftKings and wait with bated breath for our follow-up article where we'll outline viable strategies and highlight some guys you NEED to know to get that "Green Screen Disease" in 2017...
"One Groove Low" is the new home for Tour Junkies musings on all things golf. David & Pat will write ONLY when inspired. Inspired writing is the only writing worth reading. We aren't going to force ourselves to put out garbage each week or month. But, when there's a golf take burning in our heart, OGL is where it will reside.
The phrase, "One Groove Low", is a favorite of ours used to indicate literally that a golf shot was hit just a little low on the club face resulting in a less than stellar outcome. However, we also recognize that for hack golfers like us to use this term, is in and of itself ridiculous. We aren't that good. We plan to use it here on the site to describe our more irreverent approach to golf that may not be all that popular with the masses.
While perusing the pages of OGL you can expect to find refreshing takes on the PGATour, EuropeanTour, DFS, DraftKings, FanDuel, other forms of golf betting, and just golf culture in general. We're here to inform & entertain. We're here to talk about the game we love the most.
This is also the weekly write up home of EuropeanTour DFS Degenerate, Ashley Morrisson. Ash grew up and currently resides in the U.K. He plays on mini tours and coaches golf professionally while keeping his ear close to the ground for any EuropeanTour news. He's quite familiar with the courses, conditions, and players. This brings an edge to his Euro DFS content that few provide. May your screens be green!