Some of the world’s best golfers will travel to Nassau Island in the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge. The invitation-only event is hosted by Tiger Woods, who won’t be in the field as he is still healing from his car accident earlier in 2021. The 20-golfer event will be held at Albany Golf Course, which is a par 72, measuring 7,309 yards. The greens will be TifEagle Bermuda this week.
Like many courses we’ve seen this fall, Albany Golf Course will be subject to windy conditions right on the coast. Even though the course is a par 72, it’ll play differently than most on TOUR with five par 5s, five par 3s and eight par 4s. The exposed course layout is similar to links golf with mounds up to 30 feet tall, with a ton of bunkering throughout the course and smaller than average greens (average green size is about 4,500 sq. feet).
Albany will measure anywhere between 7,300 to 7,400 yards this week, and golfers who can hit it far may have a slight advantage over the shorter hitters this week, being able to avoid those trouble areas off the tee and reach the par 5s in two. With winning scores in the high teens to low twenties over the last few years, birdie or better percentage should also be a factor when filling your rosters. When choosing between multiple golfers, consider using SG: Putting as the tiebreaker. With so many good players on a resort course, this could and probably will come down to a putting contest.
We should always take roster construction into account when building lineups, but this week especially. With only 20 players in the field, there will be a large number of duplicate lineups, so not using your entire $50,000 salary should be an excellent strategy to differentiate yourself. Last season, the total salary cap for the top six in DK scoring was $47,800, with three golfers priced below $7,000 (Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland). You don’t have to leave $2,000 on the table, but thinking outside the box when constructing your rosters is necessary for this slate.
Rory McIlroy (+700 to Win, $10,800 on DraftKings)
Images of Rory with a ripped shirt at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai may undermine his T6 performance that week, which followed a win at The CJ CUP. Rory’s playing great golf, and we’ve seen past winners here come in with strong recent form. This week will be his first Hero World Challenge, but we’ve seen past winners like Jon Rahm hoist Tiger’s trophy as a debutant. He may also have some added motivation playing with Collin Morikawa (+750, $10,600), the winner of the DP World Championship and the first American to win the Race to Dubai.
Abraham Ancer (+1600 to Win, $7,300 on DraftKings)
A seventh-place finish at Mayakoba in early November after not playing for a month is a positive sign for Ancer’s chances this week. Back in October, a top 15 at The CJ CUP came from really solid iron play and putting, which is what you need on a resort course like Albany. He’s gained strokes with his irons in three of his past four events and ranks second in SG: Putting over the previous 24 rounds. Ancer is more of a GPP play and a golfer who may go heavily under-rostered in a star-studded tournament, even though he won the WGC-St. Jude Invitational back in August, which was a no-cut event.
Justin Rose (+2200 to Win, $6,100 on DraftKings)
A top-12 at The RSM Classic could be an early indicator that he’s coming back into form after a challenging season. The smooth-swinging Englishman has made seven cuts in a row, hasn’t finished outside the top five in his previous three starts here, ranks eighth in putting and sixth in SG: Par 5 over the past 24 rounds. Like Henrik Stenson (+6500, $6,000), Rose could be the low-rostered golfer in this price range that differentiates your lineups this week.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
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