Welcome to the 2018 Open Championship DraftKings Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
News and Notes
Carnoustie plays host to this year’s Open Championship and will play as a Par 71 at 7,241 yards. Carnoustie last hosted The Open Championship in 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff. The winning score that year was -7 and roughly 20 golfers shot under par. The course is a pure links test, with no trees, plenty of fescue and bunkers, and challenging slopes to contend with around the greens. Conditions look typical of Scotland this week with moderate winds but not insane and a similar scoring environment could be expected this year.
The closest weather tower on windfinder is in close proximity to the golf course and should be monitored up until lock. The 2016 Open Championship featured a historic duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson on Sunday, but it was the wind draw that was one of the bigger stories for fantasy golf. The wind differential that year separated tee-time waves by strokes and lead to one of the more lopsided draws in recent memory with the majority of the bad wave getting cut. If severe wind conditions cause splits, then stacking tee time waves could be profitable. Even if the forecast shows an even environment, it is possible the conditions will change mid-event, and there still could be some benefits to a natural stacking of tee times as long as you aren’t sacrificing too much in terms of projections.
The weather forecast, including sustained wind and average gust conditions for each player, can be tracked in our google doc up until Wednesday evening.
There is plenty of injury news to monitor this week. Louis Oosthuizen (back), Henrik Stenson (elbow) and Tommy Fleetwood (rest) withdrew from the Scottish Open last week. Fleetwood’s seems the most innocent, so we are a bit more concerned about Stenson, who at face value is a tremendous value and if healthy would have been a cash game lock. Now, we will be forced to balance news, ownership, and risk tolerance. Bryson Dechambeau withdrew from the John Deere Classic with a shoulder injury. Daniel Berger has been rumored to have been battling a hand injury which could explain a relatively light schedule (2 fewer starts on the season heading into The Open). Of all the news, Bryson and Henrik seem the most concerning, with Henrik saying he’s 75 percent healthy.
We also offer Showdown Projections and there will be wind and weather on the weekend so be sure to monitor for those contests.
Course Fit and Course History
Course fit and history is a tough conversation this week, with many in the field not having played a tournament round at Carnoustie, much less an open championship. One thing we do know is that the course will play tough. DataGolf previously studied some of the best and worst players relative to that player’s baseline and highlighted a few names to pay attention to. Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Charley Hoffman, Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia were among the notable players who played at least +0.2 strokes better per round than their baselines on tough courses. On the flip side, Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Russell Henley, Rory McIlroy and Brendan Steele all play -0.2 or more strokes worse. All of this would still yield less than a stroke adjustment but is roughly the difference in talent between someone like Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson in the probabilities.
As always, there are a few discrepancies between DataGolf’s fantasy projections and the finish probability model. These are partially attributable to the differences in the model, DK scoring elements, and the inclusion of course history in the fantasy model.
- Andy Sullivan, Bubba Watson, Chez Reavie, Ian Poulter and Webb Simpson are seen as slightly more favorable by the probabilities model
- Sergio Garcia, Brian Harman, and Jason Dufner are seen as slightly more favorable by the fantasy model