2017 The Northern Trust – Thursday, August 24th through Sunday, August 27th
Full disclosure, I did not watch a minute of last week’s event. Golf is an insanely long season that only really stops for the month of December, and after 31 of 32 weeks sweating (Zurich was a week off for fantasy this year) I was ready for a break. Played some lineups obviously, and the Webb/Na/Varner/Spaun hits were undone by the An/G-Mac misses, as well as fades on Ollie and Rory Sabbatini chalk paid off WTF. Anyway, happy to be feeling recharged, because we are going into the PLAYOFFS this week.
We are also going into a course with no data, which can be a little tricky. We are going to have to rely on scout takes and eyeballing of maps in order to identify what we think will work. So let’s break down what we do/don’t know.
Par 70, 7,300+ yards
Dude who does the upkeep worked at Augusta and Bethpage
Scott Brown said “it’s not crazy tight”
Only 120 players
Course is LONG. The first four holes look like they will have 200+ yard approaches to them. The Augusta/Bethpage angle is interesting. You’d guess that greens will be super-fast, undulating, and pretty difficult if one isn’t in the right spot. Scott Brown says the fairways are wide, which I’m happy to hear. The water may be a reason to curtail that excitement. With only the top 125 golfers invited (and five declining thus far), if 75 get through that’s 62.5% of players living on the weekend. At a full field event of 156, only 48.1% would get through. This makes me a little more comfortable going after some wild players, especially at lower prices where I’m purely looking for them to outscore their finishing position.
What kinda shape the rough is in
Whether or not one quote from Scott Brown last year means the fairways are definitely wide
How tough the greens will be to stick, therefore how much we care about around the green work
How hard it will play
Okay okay, Scott Brown said it’s not that tight. I believe him. BUT, what if the rough is really nasty, like at Bethpage? I will be for sure trying to get some notes from the practice rounds, as there is usually pretty good info about what the players and their coaches will be valuing in terms of “distance rules” vs. “we’re screwed if we aren’t on the fairway.” Ultimately we are going to be dealing with subjective data but I think we can get a decent idea by going over course walkthroughs very closely.
As of right now, I’m playing this as bombs away/worry about the fairways later/be excellent at long approaches. SG:OTT (strokes gained off the tee) but I’d like them to be able to hit at least 290 and SG:APP (strokes gained approach) from long distance. I’m assuming it will play pretty hard due to its length and the pedigree of the super. It is also a playoff event, and most designers/supers would rather be caught dead than have the average score of a stacked field event be much under par. Should this change I will update via Twitter and our late show.
Pricey (10.0+ DK):
Absolutely nothing wrong with Rickie or ‘Deki, but without a discount from the top tier and games built more on precision, when paying up I prefer Dustin Johnson-10.8/17.8: C’mon, you thought I wasn’t going all in at this price? He hasn’t been destroying fields like earlier in the year but has been playing well, hit a few more putts and he’s right there. Much more distance than anyone above him but Rory, who I’m taking a break from for now.
Mid-range (8.0-9.9 DK):
Jason Day-9.7/16.7: If the wildness won’t hurt him and the greens are going to be tricky to hold, this is your man. Has been better with approaches lately and his short game is still exemplary. Add to that he has traditionally done his best green work on poa/bent.
Brooks Koepka-9.1/16.6: Does it not sort of feel like people have forgotten about the U.S. Open champ? He is still playing well despite not being in real contention for the last two events, he mashes off tee and with long irons, and has always done better at trickier courses.
Justin Rose-8.3/14.9: Mostly a price play but it’s a hell of a price. He’s $200 more than Ollie Schniederjahns. I probably spelled Ollie’s name wrong and I’m not even looking it up to be sure because I am fine disrespecting him, especially if DK is going to disrespect Justin Rose like this. I’ll give you that the form is not pretty but this is a world class player.
Play Paul Casey-9.0/15.9 in cash.
Cheapies (below 8.0 DK):
Phil Mickelson-7.9/13.9: We know the story with Phil. But there are a lot of contextual factors in his favor. Sounds like the fairways are wide. The cut is easier. He’s still one of the best approach players in the world. The tournaments where he has struggled lately have been death to sprayers. And dude gets birds. If he pulls off 20th place with a streak, an eagle, and a round of 65 at some point then he will be on the GPP winning teams. Especially noteworthy price on FantasyDraft.
J.B. Holmes-7.2/13.7, Tony Finau-7.3/14.3, and Gary Woodland-7.0/14.2: This could be a trap, but if this course plays the way we think it will, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that these three would be priced below the opposite skill set/similar tier of golfer trio of Webb/Dufner/Moli. We know it’s long and we don’t think the fairways are hard to hit. Finau specifically should be 8.5k and is probably the best play on the board. J.B. and Woodland sprayers with upside and some decent form coming in. Also guys I love anyway. I’m buying.
Oh, and speaking of disrespect, why is Charl Schwartzel 6.9k? Definitely someone you want to go overweight on.
Don’t mind deep tournament shots on Brian Harman-7.0/13.6, Harold Varner-6.8/11.9, and Hillbilly-6.8/12.4, especially the latter two on FDraft where you always need savings.
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Go and get it everybody.
Find me on Twitter @andrewmbarron or in the FanVice Premium Slack @hotmajik if you wanna talk strat/make jokes/argue