Aug. 09, 2017
Daily Fantasy PGA Early Thoughts for the PGA Championship
The final leg of the 2017 major championship schedule is upon us and there is no shortage of storylines going into the week. Jordan Spieth, coming off his OPEN Championship win at Royal Birkdale is now just one major away from the career Grand Slam. He is already a part of a pretty elite group of 17 golfers to have completed three legs of the Slam and will look to join the only five players (Nicklaus, Sarazen, Woods, Hogan, Player) to have ever completed the Grand Slam. Rory McIlroy is one of the 12 players to have completed three legs of the Grand Slam(without the 4th) but has been close many times at Augusta National where the Masters is his remaining tournament.
This year's PGA Championship will be held at the Quail Hollow Club for the first time in its history. That is music to Rory's ears. Not only has he won the PGA Championship twice, Quail Hollow has been the home of the Wells Fargo Championship where McIlroy has had tremendous success over the years. He won the event in 2015 and has finished Top 10 in five straight.
Both McIlroy and Spieth enter the final major of the season in good form as well. Spieth finished T13 at the WGC Bridgestone and had back to back wins at the Travels and OPEN Championships before that. McIlroy finished T5 at the WGC and finished T4 at the OPEN Championship two weeks ago.
I have added both PGA championship five-year history and Quail Hollow(Wells Fargo) course history to my sheet this week but will using that data at a lower weight than usual. After the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship, the team at Quail Hollow overhauled the course with the PGA Championship in mind. For a complete hole by hole breakdown check out the . Short on time? Here is a brief description of the changes:
1. Holes #1 was combined with Hole #2 which lengthened it making it a cool 524 yards.
2. Hole #2 is now a 452 yard Par 4(previously a Par 3).
3. Was converted from a Par 5 to a long Par 4 that is very tough with bunkers protecting both sides of the fairway in the landing zone and around the green.
4. Hole #11 was lengthened about 40 yards and a large Oak tree was removed at the corner and replaced with bunkers which will challenge those trying to cut the corners.
5. Brand new greens which were converted from Bentgrass to a....wait for it.......Champion UltraDwarf BermudaGrass. Ok that just sounds cool to say, I really don't know much more about it besides it was trucked in from Texas in refrigerated trucks and is grown with worm turds. So cool!
6. Thousands of trees were removed to help re shape the look and also to help get more sun to the greens.
One thing that hasn't changed(besides playing longer than in the video below) is one of the most challenging finishing stretches on the PGA Tour. The Green Mile!
The winning score at the Wells Fargo Championship has varied over the years. Most recent winner Jame Hahn took home the hardware with a -9 final score while Rory McIlroy's two wins (-21 in 2015 & -15 in 2010) were the two lowest in the tournament history. With the changes and new challenges presented for this years PGA Championship I am predicting a winning score of -8 to -10 but it will really depend on the weather. So far the fore cast is showing temperatures in the 80's throughout the four days with winds of 5-10 mph and an average of 50% chance of showers. I will continue to monitor the winds and the forecast throughout the week leading up to lineup lock and will provide those updates on the weather tab on the and through my Twitter().
Rory McIlroy (DK-$11,800 / FD-$10,300) - Hard not to go with Rory here as my top pick early on. He has not only won the PGA championship twice, he has also won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow twice. Using the , I looked at the last 24 rounds overall and Rory ranks 2nd in overall Strokes Gained Tee to Green thanks to a 1st ranking Off the Tee which will be huge once again this week. He was excellent this week ranking 2nd in SG:OTT(6.466), 5th in SG:ATG(3.171) but couldn't pull off the win ranking 59th in SG:APP and 34th in SG: Putting. If he can continue giving himself opportunities from his dominating off the tee game and maybe make a few more putts, he will not only lurk this week but should battle for the trifecta. A third PGA and third win at Quail Hollow.
Brendan Steele (DK-$7,300 / FD-$5,500) - His opening round 73 held him back at the Bridgestone this past week but he closed strong with three straight rounds in the 60's and overall ranked 7th in Strokes Gained Off the Tee and 8th in Strokes Gained Approach. The form wasn't great entering the Bridgestone as Steele missed back to back cuts at the OPEN Championship and Quicken Loans National but did have Top 15 finishes in three of the four before that(Travelers, US Open, PLAYERS). On top of that, he has nice recent form at the Wells Fargo(Quail Hollow) with a T14 in 2016, T9 in 2015, and T30 in 2014. From a betting standpoint, I wouldn't bet him outright to win but from a DFS perspective I will gladly take a Top 25 from a mid-range player. Better yet, he is only $5,500 on FanDuel.
Kevin Chappell (DK-$7,000 / FD-$6,000) - Another one of my favorite value plays is Chappell this week as he fits the profile I am looking for. He comes in with some nice recent form with a T13 at the Bridgestone and T8 at the RBC Canadian Open the week before. Statistically, he has gained strokes off the tee in six of his last eight tournaments while gaining strokes on the approach in seven of those eight. Although he finished T41 in last years Wells Fargo, he has had success here with a T16 in 2015 and T11 in 2014. At just $7K on DeaftKings and $6K on FanDuel, he will be one of my core players this week.
Be sure to head over to by Tuesday afternoon to check out my weekly DFS PGA article with top picks when looking at Course History, Current Form, and Stats. I also break down the top tagged players on and provide some GPP pivot plays based on ownership projections. Stay tuned for a big week ahead.