Golf is officially in the offseason with the month of December upon us. The Euro Tour has begun their 2019/2020 season, but the events are some of the weakest of the entire year. On the PGA Tour we have the Presidents Cup approaching which is like the Ryder Cup except it’s the world (non-Europe) against the U.S. Normally this isn’t as competitive as the Ryder Cup, but it is still something for us to take note of during this offseason. However, the Presidents Cup isn’t the only thing going on as we do have one more PGA DFS tournament to take a look at, even if it is just 18 Golfers.
The Hero World Challenge takes place this week at Albany in the Bahamas and a ton of the world’s best come out for the appearance. This is an exhibition which means no FedEx Cup points and it really takes on a laid-back approach.
** Due to the Presidents Cup being in Australia, this event is taking place Wednesday through Saturday instead of the normal Thursday through Sunday. Make sure to get those lines in and pay attention to the awkward lock time**
Albany in the Bahamas is the course and players are dealing with a Par 72 measuring out at 7,300 yards. Naturally, this exhibition isn’t exactly looking to beat players up and PGA DFS players are going to see plenty of low scores over these four days.
Layout-wise, the players get five par 5’s and a few short par 4’s, all of which they usually take advantage of. The defending champ is Jon Rahm and it is pretty obvious that you can lean on the driver here if you want to be aggressive off the tee. The fairways are generous and that is going to allow players to get away with some aggressive tee shots even if they are off line. The wind is really the only defense (some water), but unless it is nasty weather, the players are going to take this course apart.
The greens are Bermuda and on the smaller side, which puts a little pressure on the iron shots to give yourself chances. Even though the field is just 18 players, you need to put up scores to have a chance and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the winner coming in north of -20 this week.
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This is Tiger Woods‘ event and it draws in a lot of the big names in the game for a week in the Bahamas. Also, considering it is just 18 players, you are going to see some guys in a price range that is foreign to them as sites need to have enough value plays despite the strength of the field.
Rahm kicks things off at $11,200 and he is followed by Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay to round out the $10,000-plus options. It is interesting that only three guys cracked the $10,000 threshold and that is going to make this a virtual pick-’em contest in a lot of ways. Tiger Woods and Xander Schauffele are the only $9,000 options on this slate and those are going to be the guys you are looking for to spend some salary. In terms of cheapies, there are plenty with nine players (half the field) coming in at the $6,000 price range. Chez Reavie is in the basement at flat $6,000 while Patrick Reed is at the top of the range at $6,900. Overall, there’s not much to breakdown with a field like this and I doubt seriously that salary is going to be an issue when making your PGA DFS teams.
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I will throw out one name that I am interested in, Bryson DeChambeau. He sits right in the middle of the pricing at $7,600 and is the type of player who seemingly always is primed to compete, regardless of the stakes. The game has been up and down for awhile now, but if his driver can cooperate, I think he makes for a mid-range play I will get behind. Still, as I will detail in the next section, to me the more important thing this week is controlling how we build rather than who are plug into our lineups.
Leave Salary on the Table
We are taking a Showdown mentality to this golf tournament as duplicate lineups are going to be a priority when building. Like in Showdown, when you have 100-plus people with the same lineup as you, it’s a problem and your EV is crippled before anyone tees off. Now, there is no way to fully prevent dupes with something like this, but that doesn’t mean we cannot try. The difference between chopping with a few people rather than a few hundred is enormous.
The easiest way to try and differentiate is leaving money on the table. People who don’t understand are going to try and build ~$50,000 and there just aren’t that many permutations that allow you to do that. They are almost all going to be duped a ton of times and that is not how we want to approach this. Unlike any normal week, you can leave thousands on the table and still feel good about your lineups this week. You are going to hear me say this on the PGA DFS show, but I would take any lineup that is unique regardless of which six golfers are in there. I don’t see much of a difference between who you roster and this is purely a game theory slate.
The second way to differentiate is obviously trying to take lower-owned players. In an 18-man field, there is no such thing, but it is all relative and we want to at least gauge who may be lesser-owned. Now, it may be difficult to project ownership for such a unique slate, but regardless of who is projected to be lowest-owned, I will plan to be overweight on them. It is not like focusing on being unique is going to make us win, but the reward IF we happen to connect the dots will justify building lineups in a way I would never recommend on a normal slate.
Overall, this is week to separate from the normal PGA DFS mindset and treat it as an individual event. It is 18 players, many who are about to fly to Royal Melbourne for the Presidents Cup, taking part in an exhibition event in the Bahamas. To say it is difficult to peg where their mind or game is would be an understatement and for that reason, lean on the game theory aspect.