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first cut

PGA DFS: The First Cut Picks & Preview for the American Express

Jason Rouslin

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Ben Rasa's weekly PGA DFS article covering The Players Championship picks for your DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy golf lineups

PGA DFS: Our stop in Hawaii is done and we head east for one of the oddest tournament setups of the year. In fact, we only see this format one other time the whole year. Let’s dig in.

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Here’s what you can expect to see in the article:

  • Tournament intro
  • Course commentary
  • Sweatsheet and scorecard
  • DFS preview
  • Player and statistical preview
  • Summary

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PGA DFS Tournament Intro: The American Express

This Week’s Course(s): PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus Course, La Quinta CC 

Tournament Format: 156 players, 54-hole cut, Top 60 and ties make Sunday.

Courses and Tournament Commentary

Prime time golf and beautiful scenery are done as the tour heads back east to the mainland, into Coachella valley. The now-named American Express may be remembered as the Bob Hope Classic. It’s been around since 1960 and played in Palm Springs, where it was first known as the Palm Springs Desert Classic. One of the biggest draws of the event is the pro-am, which has included past presidents and other A-list celebrities.

History was made at the tournament in 1995 when sitting president Bill Clinton teed it up with George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope and defending champion Scott Hoch for the tournament’s opening round. The first edition in 1960 was won by Arnold Palmer at 338 (–22), a record that stood for 20 years.

One last note, this is one of the funkiest tournaments regarding course set up. It uses three different courses over four rounds, similar to what we usually see at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The PGA West Stadium Course is used twice (once during the first three rounds and on Sunday), with La Quinta Golf Club and The Nicklaus course at PGA West used for the other two. All three courses ranked inside the top 10 easiest on tour last year with the latter two being the two easiest. Expect a birdie fest this week.

PGA West Stadium Course Statistics (Except for Course Difficulty) 

Par: 72

Yards: 7,200

Course Difficulty 2019: 

  • PGA West Stadium Course: 40/49
  • La Quinta Country Club: 49/49
  • Nicklaus Tournament Course: 48/49

Hole Dispersion:

  • Par 3’s – 170, 223, 195, 165
  • The Par 4’s- 445, 381, 448, 445, 405, 363, 399, 468, 435
  • Par 5’s- 535, 559, 560, 591

Grass Types: 

  • Bermuda throughout

Designer: 

Pete Dye

PGA DFS Sweatsheet

PGA DFS Preview

$25,000 added to the $44 and $5 prize pools. First place stays the same.

Fantasy Golf Player & Statistical Preview

PGA DFS Commentary

25 of the top 100 in the world — 26 if you include Matthew Wolff, who will be there before you know it — are here to compete in the tournament. However, there’s no real highlight player, other than Rickie Fowler, which will make the field feel weaker than it really is. Francesco Molinari is also here, but gamers can’t stand to roster him, as he never got above 20% all last year and likely comes with a high price tag. Tony Finau makes the long trip back across the Pacific from playing in the Hong Kong Open and Paul Casey will try to add a touch of class at the top.

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PGA DFS Statistical Preview: American Express 

I mentioned a bit earlier how easy these fairways are to hit, and not just for the straight, accurate hitters. Thus, it makes driving accuracy basically obsolete and puts heavy emphasis on driving distance. Look at the past winners here; it would certainly fit that narrative. Let’s take a look at our quick fix stat report:

  • Driving Accuracy vs. Driving Distance: Adam Long, not known for either accuracy or distance, doesn’t give us any inclination as to the type of golfer we need. But before him, the two previous winners, Jon Rahm and Hudson Swafford, both were in the top five in shots gained off the tee. So distance can certainly help here.
  • Strokes Gained Tee to Green Analysis: Swafford and Rahm heavily relied on their ball striking during the wins, whereas Long relied on his putting. Other winners have been more balanced in their strokes gained data, but Rahm and Swafford would lead me to believe that around the green doesn’t matter as much here due to the ease of the course.
  • Putting…How good do you need to be here? Well, Long would make us think you have to be very good, but both Rahm and Swafford didn’t gain more than two strokes in their two measured rounds. So if the ball striking is on, putting may not have to be that on to win.

Join Ben Rasa and me Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. EST on the Awesemo YouTube channel for some more great info on this week’s tournament!

Cheers!

As always, message me on Twitter or in our Premium PGA Slack Chat!

Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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