Welcome to the 2020 Sony Open Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
News and Notes
The 2020 Sony Open will be played again at Waialae Country Club which is a 7044 yard Par 70 course that is the 10th shortest on tour and plays as one of the easier courses relative to par. In addition to birdies, the course also yielded the 4th most eagles on tour last year making for ample DraftKings scoring despite featuring just two Par 5s. In a typical year, this would mean generating 6/6 lineups has a lot of important — there will be plenty of DraftKings scoring on the weekend and the A470 (All Four Rounds Under 70) bonus will be in play for lots of golfers. With a new cut rule reducing 6/6 teams, getting leverage that way could be a viable strategy.
Handicapping that this year, however, is a challenge as the weather conditions call for extremely strong winds as well as precipitation. As of this writing, there does not appear to be a clear AM/PM wind split that would call for projection adjustments, but it is possible it will overall make the scoring conditions more difficult which will increase the value of placement points. For folks playing Showdown contests, you will want to check in daily as the weather and “luck of the draw” could have a material impact on single round formats. Generally, as courses get tougher we see Tee-to-green play make up a higher percentage of the strokes gained, and during birdie fests we see more randomness (ok, putting) prevail.
New to the projections this year is the inclusion of course fit from DataGolf for every player in the field. This stuff has already been baked into the predictions to the best of DataGolf’s ability, but it is worth discussing all the same.
Coming off a course last week that favored players who were long and didn’t penalize inaccuracy, we have sort of the inverse profile this week as the Sony Open has often favored players who are more accurate. Alongside this, the course has not rewarded driving distance to the same degree as we have seen at other courses on tour.
Further compounding this, DataGolf has also found course history to be more predictive at Waialae than other courses on tour. Players that have received the largest bump from the combination of course fit and history already include Jerry Kelly (+5.2), Zac Blair (+5.1), Brian Gay (+4.8), Brian Stuard (+4.7) and Charles Howell III (+3.4). Players who have been penalized include Hideki Matsuyama (-4.5), Aaron Wise (-4.2) and Luke List (-3.6).
All that said with the wild conditions it is a bit hard to tease out whether those characteristics will hold to the same degree as they have previously.
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.