PGA Championship Notes


PGA Championship
Whistling Straits GC, Kohler, Wisconsin
Par 72, 7,514 yards
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This is the 3rd time the PGA Championship has been held here. In 2010 Kaymer beat Bubba in a playoff. Vijay beat DiMarco and Leonard in a playoff in 2004. Going to be tough to use course history, but this is NOT a links course so we can NOT look at corollary courses like The Open (St. Andrews) and the US Open (Chambers Bay).

From RotoWorld: Whistling Straits is not a classic links set up regardless of the images seen on TV in previous events. Unlike St. Andrews and even Chambers Bay, the course was designed on land that was mostly clay, not sand, as traditional links courses are. The fairways are fescue but not pure fescue and shots won’t roll out as much as they do on sand-based tracks. There will be plenty of action in the air as players will have to flight their balls into receptive Bentgrass greens running at 12′. Also the weather on Lake Michigan this time of year is more akin to what we saw at Chambers Bay instead of St. Andrews.

From PGATour Interviews:
STEWART CINK: “I just think [Whistling Straits] is fantastic,” he said. “But it’s not a links. They say it’s a links because it doesn’t have any trees, but it doesn’t play like a links.”

Q. When you think Whistling Straits, I guess what’s your impression, what comes to your mind about the course? PHIL MICKELSON: I think it’s a fun — what’s interesting about Whistling Straits for me is that it’s a Scottish-looking course that plays like an American course. It doesn’t play like a course in Scotland, but yet it has all the aesthetics of it. And so that actually take as little bit of getting used to, the fact that you see the fescues and the sand, the dunes and the pot bunkers and so forth; and you think that you’re — and the openings in front and you think you want to run balls up. But you, it’s just, it just doesn’t work. It’s too soft and the ball stops so you have to fly balls on to the green. So that take as little getting used to, especially when we’re just coming from the British Open.

Q. Keys to this golf course? MARTIN KAYMER: Well, you have to use the par 5s, they are definitely birdie holes, and with that wind that we had the last couple of days, you have a lot of birdie chances when you have holes that you try to get the ball downwind. There are plenty of birdie chances out there. You just have to make the putts.

Q. How much is length an advantage here as far as 6 and some of the par-5s and the longer par-4s? J.B. HOLMES: Doesn’t do much difference on 6. The long par-5s it really can, or long par-4s it can definitely help you. Some of the short hitters are having trouble maybe even getting there. You can hit a good shot with a 4-iron or 3-iron in and it makes par a little easier on those holes there.

Q. (Inaudible.) ZACH JOHNSON: It’s not a links course. A links course you use the ground, you and a half a gate around, especially with your approach shots, this course entirely aerial. So I don’t, I mean it may have the aesthetics of a links course with the water and the sand and whatnot, but it’s not a true links golf course. I think it’s good for me because it puts a premium on fairways and it puts a premium on approach shots, as far as greens in regulation, and those are two of my better stats. And obviously in a major you got to putt well and once again typically that’s a strength of mine. So all three of those facets work for me and I can compete here.

Course is hard. Course doesn’t favor a particular style of play. In 2004, 12 players finished within 3 of the lead and 36 were under par. In 2010, 7 were within 2 and 28 were under par.

Fairways average 30 yards wide.

Greens are 7500 ft2 on average, stimpmeter of 12’.

There are a thousand bunkers according to Pete Dye. 976 according to @EuropeanTour. There is a creek, two ponds, and Lake Michigan in play

156 players including 20 club pros will tee off Thursday, top 70 and ties will play weekend.

With only 37 of 156 guys breaking par, it’s going to be hard to score fantasy points, and picking guys on top of the leader board is key to success this week @ DK.

Every PGA Champ winner was T22 or better @ WGC-Bridgestone. Last 3 winners have been in top 5. 14 of 16 winners have also won earlier in the season. Last week’s (WGC-BI) results:

01 Shane Lowry
02 Bubba Watson
03 Jim Furyk
03 Justin Rose
05 Robert Streb
06 Danny Lee
06 David Lingmerth
06 Brooks Koepka
06 Henrik Stenson
10 Rickie Fowler
10 Jordan Spieth
12 Jason Day
12 Steven Bowditch
12 Soren Kjeldsen
15 Patrick Reed
15 Kevin Na
17 Keegan Bradley
17 Danny Willett
17 Russell Henley
17 Graeme McDowell
17 Lee Westwood
17 Branden Grace
17 Paul Casey
17 Ian Poulter

2010: Kaymer -11 win, 2 cut, +10 worst
2004: Singh over DiMarco and Leonard -8, +2, +16
Avg -9.5, 2, +13

Rory practiced on site 8/8 (@PGAChampionship)

Everything I see on this course has me feeling like no one stat really jumps out at me. Driving distance seems more important than driving accuracy, but not by so much that we should discount the bunters. Bunters have done well here, but more ball smashers have done well. SG:T2G will be paramount again. Putting is important; the greens are big and not too fast. GIR is important, Prox is not. Sandies will be important considering there are a thousand fucking bunkers. Scrambling is important too cause the rough is Fescue mixed and 3-5”. Par 4 and Par 5 scoring is important.

Graham DeLaet is out, Sean O’Hair is in.

T-storms and wind Thursday. More T-stroms and less wind Friday. No clear advantage to any tee time.

Update 1636 DFS time: Looking like there might be a slight advantage to the Thursday morning guys due to worse wind Thursday afternoon and neutralish wind Friday.

Pricing is really soft. You can get who you want. Making the cut is obviously important, but it will be more important to land guys in the top 10. Fantasy point scoring is going to be like Chambers Bay. Pick the winner if you want a chance, 6/6 making the cut doesn’t guarantee a good finish here. Only half of the guys who make the cut will finish under par by Sunday.

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Spieth 12.5k – He’s going to be on a lot of my lineups. 6 top 10s in his last 7 including 5 top 5s and 2 wins. First player since Woods in 02 to win 1st 2 majors. Woods was last player to win 3 majors in 2000. Spieth has most 1st and 2nd place finishes by a tour player before 22 years old with 13… Tiger has 7, Sergio 6, Bobby Clampett 5, and Fowler 3.

Rory 11.7k – I think I might completely fade him. He looks great on paper but I am worried about his ankle. Is there any way he can be at 100%? I think not. He hasn’t been able to play for a month and his ankle can’t be back at 100%. He’s Rory though, so I like him for a contrarian option, however I think the public will be on him a bit making him higher owned than he should be. I think he will be extra owned now with news of him “running up a hill” during practice. Makes me want to fade him more. I may be all in on Spieth.

DJ 11.2k – I think I’ll be off him too. 53rd and a 49th since his “choke” at Chambers Bay including blowing up at The Open. I kinda feel the same way about him as I do Rory. My big problem with these guys is that I love Spieth, it’s easy to fit him in, and I like guys cheaper than them too.

Day 10.8k – 10th here in 2010. 12th, 1st, 4th, and 9th his last 4. Course looks good for him. Day does well on and likes Pete Dye courses.

Scott 10.2k – He’s not bad but he’s not nearly as good as Rose at 10k or Day at 10.8k. I like him more as a contrarian option than Rory and DJ because I think Scott’s ownership will actually be the lowest of all guys over 10k. I’ll have some.

Rose 10k – He looks really good. He’s 2 for 2 getting cut here though in 2010 and 2004. Hard to argue with his 3rd, 4th, and 6th last 3, but he had a 74th and 27th after a 2nd in there too. I won’t have him in cash but I like him.

Under 10k

Bubba 9.9k – I think he will go under-owned (less than Rose and Rickie anyways). 2nd here in 2010. 2nd last two tries. Cut at The Open but he was supposed to do bad there. 13th and a win before that. I’m all over Bubba. I may be wrong on ownership, he seems to be a popular topic.

Fowler 9.8k – I’m off him. He’s in fine form too but he doesn’t have the same season that the rest of these guys have. He always goes a bit overowned too.

Stenson 9.7k – I like Stenson. I think he’ll go underowned. He hasn’t missed a cut this season. 6th at WGC last week.

Lefty 9.6k – He’s like Fowler for me. Extra owned, not as good as his neighbors. 63rd, 20th, 31st, 64th, 3rd, and 65th doesn’t inspire confidence, but his 12th and 6th here in the past does… long time ago tho.

Sergio 9.3k – Fine form, but cut twice here. Stats look good. He will be under-owned. Nice price.

Oosthuizen 9.1k – Don’t fall for the trap, this isn’t a links course!

Woods 8.9k – Lol. I am officially an old man since I still use lol. Only 1.9% of laughs on Facebook are LOLs now, while 30+% are emoticons. I still am not really sure what an emoticon is.

Kaymer 8.8k – He won here in 2010, should kick up his ownership. I actually have him ranked below Tiger though. 45th last week, T12 at The Open is his best result since T6 at WGC-HSBC. Not exciting.

ZJ 8.4k – 3rd and 37th here. 33rd last week following a win at The Open and a 3rd and 6th before that. I like him.

Kuchar 8.3k – 10th here in 2010, 25th last week, fine form. Only MC this year was at TPC.

Walker 8.2k – Man he’s been disappointing lately. Probably going to be under-owned, and I’m probably going to be all over him again.

Furyk 8.1k – Padded his choke narrative this weekend, but still hard to argue with a 4th and a 3rd last two and lots of made cuts. He doesn’t make many birdies but he doesn’t make many bogeys either, I like him this week. Seems cheap.

Hideki 8k – I like him too. Nothing exciting for a while but he remains popular. Doesn’t miss cuts either. All 5 of these guys 8-8.4k are fine plays.

Snedeker 7.9k – He makes 6 in a row I like. Not as much as the others, but he’s cheaper.

Koepka 7.8k – He might be in every single one of my lineups. If he was 9k he would still be my 3rd best price considered play. He’s really good at golf. His stats are world class. His form is excellent. He went waaaaay under-owned at The Open.

Schwartzel 7.7k – No

Leishman 7.6k – No

Reed 7.6k – This is why those guys get nos. Reed is a fine play. Rounding into fine form with 3 straight top 20s. 20/22 making cuts this year. Can win.

Mahan 7.5k – No. 72nd at WGC-BI.

Lowry 7.5k – Nah. Reed is so much better.

Donald 7.5k – Nope.

Guys I like Under 7.5k

Keegan Bradley 7.4k – Not the best form but this course looks good for him and he will be underowned.

Billy Horschel 7.4k – Better form than Keegan but not as good at golf.

Kevin Kisner 7.3k – Was on fire for a while but has been unimpressive since finishing 2nd 5 weeks ago at Greenbrier.

Charley Hoffman 7.2k – Is gonna win something soon and chronically goes underowned. Scores lots of fantasy points.

Ian Poulter 7.2k – Another Brit, cut here in 2010 and 37th in 2004. Poor form but will be low owned.

James Morrison 7.2k – 17, 20, cut, 2, 11, 24, cut, 11, and 1st his last 9 events over 12 weeks. English. Doesn’t hit it far (283.4y) but he is accurate, a good putter, and good out of the sand. Excellent GPP pivot from Justin Thomas.

Justin Thomas 7.2 – The chalk. 4th and 5th last 2 tries. A really good rookie. Just a matter of time until he wins. Will be very popular.

Kevin Na 7.1k – Another pivot off JT. Consistent, but I think it will be hard for him to top 10 this so I’m probably off him for GPPs, I’d rather play Palmer or any of those 7.2k guys.

Ryan Palmer 7.1k – Leads the PGA in not giving a fuck. That makes his price and ownership low. Great GPP play, I’ve learned my lesson about having him in cash games.

Stefani 6.9k – May fly under the radar. Form has been shaky lately, 52, 35, 13, cut, 40, 19, 9.

Robert Streb 6.8k – Ownership level? 5, 18, 14, 2, 42, 18, 19, 4 last 8. Course looks good for him.

Chris Wood 6.5k – 5, 31, cut, cut, 1, 16, 4, and 49 last 8 over 12 weeks. English. Similar stats to James Morrison.

Steele 6.5k –

Pat Perez 6k – He’s cheap. Tees off early. Hasn’t missed a cut or made a top 10 in a long time. Probably will be popular.

George McNeil 6k – Cut here in 2010. Shaky form 30, cut, 22, cut, 29, 13, 5, 28.

Emiliano Grillo 6k – I like him. Nobody knows about him yet. 22, 10, 41, cut, 21, 30, 38, and 6th. Pretty good for 6k. 18th on ET in strokes, 15th in DA, hits it 290. 24th in GIR, 51st in Putting. Bad out of the sand but I guess that’s what makes him 6k.

Soren Kjeldsen 5.7k –

Matt Jones 5.6k –