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above the cut

⛳ Above the Cut: PGA DFS Picks for the 2021 WGC Workday Championship (Premium)

Ben Rasa

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PGA DFS Picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Waste Management Phoenix Open lineups featuring Rory McIlroy expert projections

After an entertaining West Coast swing, the tour heads to Florida for the beginning of a fantastic stretch of golf. Normally we head to Mexico for the WGC, but this year we have a new venue that adds another week to one of my favorites stretches in golf. Get ready for tons of water, bunkers and Bermuda greens, as we are set for the WGC-Workday Championship from Bradenton, Fla. This is a 72-man field with no cut, so everyone will be playing four rounds. For DFS purposes, this changes the strategy and also brings in a loaded field with the best of the best teeing it up.

The Course

This is our first look at The Concession Golf Club, which is where this event will be hosted. Players will be dealing with a par-72, roughly 7,500-yard layout, and it is littered with bunkers and water that could lead to blowups. Other than the hazards, it’s a typical Florida track with Bermuda grass and nothing else that stands out. Since there are a ton of tournaments in this area, we have a lot of comp courses from The Players, Arnold Palmer and the Honda, to name a few.

Ball striking is always key with Florida having so much water on the courses. The penalty for erratic shots is massive, so controlling aggression is important. With this being a par 72, having golfers who take apart par 5’s is also key and can make the difference on the DFS scoring side of things. One other thing to keep in mind is there is new grass on the course.

The Field

This is a WGC, so a smaller, 72-man field brings most of, if not all of the world’s best, plus a handful of names we don’t see play on the PGA Tour. There are a few players from tours such as the Asian or Sunshine Tour, and these guys will be at the bottom of the pricing this week. This is always an interesting mix because you have some cheap players looking to make a splash that are always appealing if you are building a stars-and-scrubs lineup. Pricing gets started with Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, who are the only two players in the $11,000 range this week. From there comes plenty of other big names, many who played last week in California at the Genesis.

The Big Question: What Do We Do in a Non-Cut?

With PGS DFS, each week there seems to be two tournaments within one, as the Friday cut sweat is an event in itself. After 36 holes you usually have a good idea where you stand and also know there is a percentage of lineups that have no chance due to several players missing the cut. The concept of the cut line is always a hotly debated one, as there is a ton of variance of a guy missing on the number versus just getting inside the line. He then has two more rounds to vault up the leaderboard and add a bunch of points that other players didn’t have the opportunity to get.

All of that was a long-winded way of saying the cut line is a massive game changer, as it prevents part of the field from playing 36 extra holes. This tends to make people unwilling to really take volatile low-end players because the chances they find the weekend are pretty remote. This week, however, there are only 72 players, and all of them will play four rounds, so the added risk of a missed cut doesn’t exist.

The non-cut incentivizes us to be a little more aggressive for our builds, as the ability to make birdies is going to trump stability, which is more important for cut lines. Outside of the top-end finishers, the difference between dead last in the tournament and 11th place is just two birdies in finish points. That can be made up so quickly by streaks and bonuses, which is more important during a non-cut. Clearly we still care about where our players finish and want good results, but there is an added floor when we know our volatile scorers get 72 chances for birdies instead of just 36.

PGA DFS Picks: WGC-Workday Championship

Top-Priced: Rory McIlroy: $10,400 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel

Despite not racking up the wins, the one thing you could point to in McIlroy’s favor has been the consistency in his game. He hadn’t missed a cut since 2019 heading into Genesis and had a ton of top-end finishes despite only a few wins. I am not sure what exactly the problem was, but McIlroy joined Justin Thomas and a few other marquee players on the sidelines as he wasn’t even close to finding the weekend in a very shocking missed cut. Given the field was smaller, it makes it even more shocking, but at the same time, sometimes guys just don’t have it. McIlroy lost 4.3 strokes putting, which didn’t help the cause, but all of that was last week and it is time to turn the page.

McIlroy prefers Bermuda grass, lives in Florida and has won The Honda, The Players and The Arnold Palmer, which are the three prominent Florida Swing events. He clearly likes this type of golf with water and hazards and should be set up to compete here despite the poor showing last week. The par-72 layout will give him some easy scoring chances, and unless there is some type of overarching problem, this is an easy bounce-back spot for McIlroy.

Also considering – Tony Finau

Mid-Range: Collin Morikawa: $9,000 DraftKings, $10,100 FanDuel

This is one of the toughest guys for me to gauge. Morikawa, in limited time on tour, has flashed extreme upside, yet I still don’t know where I consider him in the overall rankings. We know he is a world-class ball striker, but lately he has fallen into the big bucket of players who dominate tee to green only to have the putter let them down. A change in grass type is welcome after Morikawa lost 7.5 strokes putting last week at Genesis.

We haven’t seen much of Morikawa in Florida so far in his career, so there isn’t a ton of data to work off of. He played The Arnold Palmer twice and putted terribly both times, but that still doesn’t mean he cannot flip a switch and at least hold steady with the putter. The ball striking is still top notch; Morikawa gained 7.5 on the approach last week, and that is going to translate to any type of layout. I think it is worth the gamble to buy on a guy who is striking it this well and who only needs an average putter to return positive value in this spot.

Also considering – Matthew Fitzpatrick, Joaquin Niemann

Lower-Priced: Bernd Wiesberger $6,700 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel

As we get towards the bottom of the pricing, naturally we start to see fewer familiar names of PGA Tour regulars. We have a few guys who aren’t playing great golf and then a string of international players from Europe, Asia or South Africa filling out the rest of the lower tier. It’s a fine line between taking a guy this low to open up salary and sacrificing too much with someone who realistically has a minimal shot to avoid the basement. Looking at the upper-$6,000 range, there are still plenty of reasonable players, and Wiesberger is one name that caught my eye. He has plenty of tour experience but isn’t a regular since he spends most of his time in Europe.

The last time we saw Wiesberger here was last year when he finished fourth at the RSM Classic. Since then he’s played the Middle East swing in Europe with mediocre results, highlighted by a sixth-place finish in Dubai. He is a pure ball striker with plenty of WGC experience as well as at events in Florida. Historically he is another guy who doesn’t like Bermuda greens, but I am willing to live with that considering he can be your last man in. His ability with irons and wedges should translate great to these par 5’s and avoiding potential blowup holes with all the water lurking. He’s not the most dominant scorer, but if the putter clicks, this easily could be the guy who emerges as the best play from the sub-$7,000 range this week.

Also Considering – Marc Leishman


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*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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