It is birdie season on the PGA Tour. The U.S. Open’s low scores provided a false sense of security as to how the next three weeks would lay. The pristine TPC River Highlands last week yielded a winner close to 20 under as a par 70. This week, the tour heads to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where the winner can expect to be near or even better than 20 under par. There are just a few weeks left until the next major, The Open Championship, where PGA DFS prize pools are expected to be huge once again. Let’s get into some DFS golf strategy and early PGA DFS picks this week for DraftKings and FanDuel.
With many of the world’s best taking a few weeks off in preparation for The Open Championship, this event will feel overly top-heavy, especially given defending champion Bryson DeChambeau is the highlight.
- Tournament and Format
- Course Commentary
- Course Facts and Figures
- PGA DFS Course Summary and Statistical Comparison
- PGA DFS Preview, including sweat sheet
- Player Preview
Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA DFS Preview & Picks
Donald Ross-designed Detroit Golf Club provides a nice setting and a change of pace from the frequent Peter Dye courses. One hundred fifty-six players will have the opportunity to win this week on the famed course. That is a full field as the FedEx Cup winds down, and there are not many starts left for golfers hovering around that 125 cut-off line to retain their jobs for next year.
Detroit Golf Club Course Preview
Good scoring will continue this week at the par 72, which measures just shy of 7400 yards. That is relatively short for a par 72, especially one that’s not designed by Dye. Ross, unlike Dye, puts everything in front and makes golfers earn their keep on the greens. Elevated tee shots and bunkers are a big feature of Ross courses, as are greens that normally run back to front. Being above the hole is not usually ideal because of this.
Par and Yardage
- Par 72: 7,330 yards
Course Difficulty 2020
- 38/41 -1.949
- Four par 3’s: 167, 207, 233, 160
- 10 par 4’s: 397, 453, 393, 461, 372, 425, 549, 393, 446, 455
- Four par 5’s: 635, 552, 555, 577
- Grass Type: Bent
- Average green size: 5,100 square feet
- Water Hazards: 1
- Number of Bunkers: 87
- Donald Ross — redesign by Robert Trent Jones
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Facts and Figures
- Off the Tee: It would not be too much of a stretch to say that this is a bomber paradise. Driving Distance ranked sixth on tour in 2019. It isn’t overly hard to hit the fairway either, with just about 65% of the fairways hit in 2020.
- Approach to the Green: With easier fairways to hit, longer drives and shorter holes, all of that will lead to high greens in regulation -this week. Each of the first two years the tournament was played the greens-in-regulation percentage was over 72%.
- Around the Green: If one does end up missing the green, they will have about a 60% of getting up and down, one of the 10 easiest.
- On the Green: Ross greens are typically the hardest part of his courses, and that should be the same here this week. It ranked as one of the 15 toughest last year.
PGA DFS Sweat Sheet for Rocket Mortgage Classic
Forty Eagles and just shy of 1,900 birdies is a lot of DFS Scoring. Bryson DeChambeau had 146 points last year, nine golfers scored over 100 and 22 scored over 90. That adds to the variability of an event, but those who love birdie fests will love this tournament. Only two holes on the entire course yielded fewer than 60 birdies for the week, which means that the scoring is balanced throughout and not one hole accounts for over 10% of the scoring.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Player Preview
While there may not be a ton of top-end names, outside of DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, the field is evenly spread with 36 of the world’s top 100 here to compete. There are plenty of other notables playing this year, however, including Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatoris, Joaquin Niemann and Matthew Wolff.
Awesemo's Top Golfer Tool is an AceSince golf performances are largely uncorrelated between one golfer and the next, aside from weather impacts, a good way to view a PGA DFS lineup is as a parlay, where you have to hit all 6 picks to hit. The Awesemo Top Golfer Tool gives you the probabilities that each golfer will finish top 6, as well as their 25%, 50%,and 75% results as a benchmark for how you can expect each golfer to perform at the tournament.
Garrick Higgo continues his run on the PGA Tour. After his win at the Palmetto a few weeks ago, he is a fully exempt member now, giving him playing ability at any PGA Tour event. Like with Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff during their first year after their initial win, they played a lot in an attempt to get a feel which courses would fit them.
Other big hitters like Cameron Champ, Cameron Davis, Will Gordon and Niemann will take the DeChambeau approach and try to overpower the course.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Notable Sponsor Invites
- Davis Thompson: Thompson is 1-for-2 in making a cut in his first two starts as a professional. He hasn’t been able to get out of his own way, playing his first nine holes in each of them at a combined 9 over. He has battled back each time, but last week it wasn’t enough to get him through to the weekend.
- Austin Eckroat: Now 3-for-3 in earning a paycheck in a professional event — making about $60,000 in those weeks — Eckroat should have a sense of comfort this week.
- Willie Mack III: An incredible story that was written by Ryan Lavner at the Golf Channel (click here to read it) tells the tales of this young man trying to make it in professional golf. Beyond almost dying in 2018, the story goes on to talk about his grind, “competing to live.” This year he was granted the Charles Sifford exemption, bringing him into the spotlight and getting his story told.
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