Welcome to the 2020 American Express Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
News and Notes
The 2020 American Express serves as the re-branded version of the Desert Classic from last tour season, as the tour moves back to the mainland after the Hawaii events. While there is a sponsor this year with AMEX, the format of the event ultimately remains the same and provides some interesting wrinkles for strategy across main slate and Showdown contests.
The event is a 72-hole event where all golfers are guaranteed three rounds, followed by a cut to T65 and ties. Each golfer will play one round on the three-course rotation which features the Stadium Course (Par 72, 7110 yards), the Nicklaus Course (Par 72, 7150) and La Quinta (Par 72, 7060 yards) as part of a ProAm while the 4th and final round will be played on the Stadium Course. The nearby weather tower shows pristine conditions which should again lead to a winning score of 20-under par or better.
Last year DK points per hole averages were 0.99 (Stadium), 1.10 (Nicklaus), and 1.13 (La Quinta). For Showdown formats this could provide an edge — while many users will be aware of the splits, DailyRoto users will get to enjoy projections that bake in the starting course and player skill, and it will be interesting to see if the field goes heavily on one of La Quinta or Nicklaus. For the full event, I don’t think the starting rotation matters much. One could argue there is a small mental edge to starting on the easier two courses and climbing the leaderboard early versus feeling like you have to battle back to make the cut, but this seems like a tiebreaker, not a decision-maker.
Stadium Course Fit
New to the projections this year is the inclusion of course fit from DataGolf for every player in the field. The view for the Stadium Course is shown below and is a relatively neutral event. Between this, the course rotation, and that course history has shown less predictive power, it could be a week to avoid too many narratives.
PGA DFS is as much a balance of projection and ownership as it is finding the right plays. These concepts were covered in our PGA DFS Strategy Guide which should be referenced throughout the season as you look to hone in your strategy. On a week where the weather may cause some randomness, capturing leverage is always beneficial.