PGA DFS Picks: TOUR Championship
The 2016 PGA TOUR season wraps up at East Lake Golf Club in suburban Atlanta with a purse of $8.5 million on the line, as well as the $10 million prize for finishing first in the FedEx Cup standings. This event is a little different than most, as there is no cut and there are just 30 players to choose from. That can make it a bit easier to select the winner this weekend, but know you’ll likely be sharing him with plenty of other DFS owners.
Jordan Spieth ($10,600) won at East Lake last season and rolls in with a lot of confidence after mastering the course a year ago. He has a pair of Top 10 finishes in three past visits to East Lake, and his Scoring Average of 69.42 is rather impressive. Phil Mickelson ($8,100) is still mathematically alive to win the $10M sack of cash, and he has been strong over the years at East Lake. He has played at the course on 11 different occasions, finishing in the Top 10 on five different occasions while winning twice and posting an outstanding 69.27 Scoring Average. Paul Casey ($9,500) is right in the mix, too. He has never won in four previous stops at East Lake, but he has the best Scoring Average in the field at 68.88, finishing as high as fourth before while placing inside the Top 10 twice.
Jason Day ($10,300) is a risky DFS play after pulling out of the final round at the BMW Championship two weeks ago due to a back issue. He is in the field, and is among the favorites according to Vegas, but back injuries in golf are hard to come by and it is a guarantee you won’t see Day playing much, if any, until January after this.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses – all times ET).
Jordan Spieth ($10,600): As mentioned, Spieth is the defending champion of this event. While he didn’t have as magical of a run this season as he did in 2015, he has rounded into championship form at the right time. He finished up strong at the BMW Championship last weekend with a 68 and 69 over the weekend to get into the Top 10, and he’ll be gunning for that $10M prize. He needs to win this event and have Dustin Johnson finished in a three-way tie for second or worse and Patrick Reed finish second or worse. It certainly sounds possible. Spieth burned up the course last year with a 271, pulling away by four strokes over Danny Lee, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
Paul Casey ($9,500): Casey has been a cool customer in his previous two visits, finishing inside the Top 10 on both occasions while posting a Scoring Average of 68.88. He has never won, but he has been as high as fourth, and a Top 10 finish this weekend would more than live up to DFS salary expectations. Many might overlook the Englishman for the bigger names on the board, but he has had an outstanding season. What’s impressive is he has decent length off of the tee box and he is accurate, ranking 31st on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy Percentage. And he ranks second in Greens In Regulation (GIR), which will serve him well this weekend. Casey is also an above-average scrambler, and the only hole in his game might be on the greens. He ranked 108th in Total Putting this season. As long as his putter is at least serviceable at East Lake, he has a chance to win.
PLENTY OF UPSIDE
William McGirt ($6,300): Southerner William McGirt might be considered an unlikely participant for this weekend’s event, but he has thrust himself into the limelight with a strong finish to his 2016 season to be among the game’s best. A disastrous showing in Boston nearly derailed his hopes of competing in this event, but he rebounded with a steady 20th-place finish at the BMW, posting an eagle and 14 birdies. He hit the most Greens in Regulation last weekend, and that has been his M.O. lately. Overall he ranks 41st in GIR, 31st in Scoring Average and 29th in Putting. The only hole in his game is his play out of the sand, but that shouldn’t be too big of a factor at East Lake. McGirt is an outstanding No. 6 golfer, as his inclusion will allow you to squeeze in two high-priced players without losing much on the back end.
Phil Mickelson ($8,100): Ol’ Lefty, a.k.a. FIGJAM (seriously, Google that nickname if you don’t know, it’s hilarious), is the veteran of East Lake, having performed at the course 11 times. Nearly half of his appearances (five) have resulted in Top 10 finishes, and he has two wins under his belt with an impressive Scoring Average of 69.27. Sure, he has tailed off a bit this season, and his last Top 10 came back in mid-July. Still, are you betting against him? He has flashed a seriously lethal putter this season, ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Putting, and his veteran experience and cool under pressure will do him a solid on the greens at East Lake. He might not win, but he’ll be right there come Sunday.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,400): The veteran Snedeker is so even-keel and he is the consummate professional. No matter the circumstances Snedeker doesn’t ever seem bothered by the pressure. He won at this course in 2012 en route to a $10 million payday in one of his five starts at East Lake. You don’t have to be a masher to slay the course, and Snedeker certainly is not a power player. He doesn’t have giant club head speed like the younger, more powerful players, but he slowly but surely makes it his way up the leaderboard with strong iron play and a trusty putter. If he lands in the sand, he is above-average there. He is a top-notch scrambler and he ranked 13th in Total Putting. As your No. 4 or 5 DFS option, you’ll be very pleased with Snedeker at this price level.
Gary Woodland ($7,800): The native of Kansas seems to have all of the tools to be a superstar on this tour, but something is holding him back. It certainly isn’t his big driver, as he ranked ninth in Driving Distance this season. He also ranked 22nd in GIR, while checking in with a Scoring Average of 23rd. The reason he has not been able to take that next step is a poor putter, as he ranks 104th in Putting Average. His Driving Accuracy could use a bit of help, too, but you tend to get some erratic drives with a ton of power. If he could harness that power and send more down the middle, he would be unstoppable. For now, he is a solid No. 4 or 5 DFS option with tremendous strength. If his putter is better than usual, he could surprise.