The PGA TOUR’s season has ended, but the European Tour (who is now a partner with the PGA) still has some big events left. The BMW PGA Championship has always been the Euro Tour’s flagship event and will feature a 144-player field filled with many of Europe’s biggest stars, many of whom will be familiar to PGA DFS regulars since they also play regularly in America.
Headlining this event will be Norwegian superstar Viktor Hovland, who now ranks 14th in the world. Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton is also in the field and is the second-highest ranked player at 15th in the OWGR. Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Billy Horschel (one of the only Americans in the field) also made the trip to England for this week.
The cut for this event remains the same, as the top 65 and ties will play the weekend (the Euro Tour has the same cut rule as the PGA). One final note: this week marks the last event before the Ryder Cup captain's picks take place and a lot of the top players will be doing their best to impress captain Padraig Harrington. Something to keep note of when doing research.
Wentworth Club—Surry, England
Par 72, 7,284 yards
The longtime host of the European Tour’s flagship event, Wentworth was designed in 1926 by Harry Colt but has seen redesigns in recent years by Ernie Els. The venue sets up in a traditional English parkland/manor setting, and the fairways are beset by heavily treed areas on all sides. While many European-style courses will feature links-style setting, Wentworth is very much a callback to some of the older courses we see on the PGA from time to time (Hilton Head and Colonial), so keep that in mind when targeting players.
Like those older courses, Wentworth is very much a shot-makers’ courses, as the Par 72 plays at under 7,300 yards making length somewhat of a non-factor here among the pros. The list of winners here confirm that too since the last four winners (Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett, Francesco Molinari and Alex Noren) all can be classified as straight but short hitters from the tee box. The claustrophobic-style setting has often frustrated many of the big hitters in the field, but if conditions stay soft and the wind stays down, Wentworth can deliver a lot of birdies — as evidenced by the wining scores here the past few years (17-under or better).
Like many of the more classic designs, Wentworth features shorter par 3s and par 5s (two of the four are well under 550 yards in length) but more challenging par 4s. There’s no true “drivable” par 4 (although, a couple are well under 400 yards in length), but five of the par 4s measure between 450-500 yards in length.
Wentworth can be tamed, but if the rough is up and the weather is bad, this course has also produced wining scores in the single digits before too. With a wet and semi-dreary forecast in store, this year may see scores dip from what we’ve seen in the past three iterations of this event.
2021 Outlook: As mentioned above, we may be getting some true English weather this week as fall closes in. Highs are expected to be around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit for all four days, with the chance of precipitation hitting 70% for the first two days. Rain will likely soften up the course, but it will also cool things off and make the rough tougher to play from. Wind is also expected to hit around 10-12 mph for Thursday afternoon before dying off a bit on Friday. That could be something to watch as Thursday morning starters may benefit a bit if Friday’s forecast improves even a little. Watch the first-day forecast going into lock with the potential for a wave split due to some expected inclement weather.
Last 5 winners
2020—Tyrrell Hatton -19 (over Victor Perez -15)
2019—Danny Willett -20 (over Jon Rahm -17)
2018—Francesco Molinari -17 (over Rory McIlroy -15)
2017—Alex Noren -11 (over Francesco Molinari -9)
2016—Chris Wood -9 (over Rikard Karlberg -8)
- The last five winners of the BMW PGA Championship all had recorded a top-10 finish or better at this event in one of the prior five seasons before their win.
- Each of the past five winners were ranked inside the top 60 in the OWGR before their win here.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
- Lee Westwood +3500 and $9,300
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout +3500 and $9,200
- Henrik Stenson +4000 and $9,100
- Garrick Higgo +6500 and $8,300
- Rasmus Hojgaard +4500 and $8,400
- Francesco Molinari +5500 and $8,200
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Francesco Molinari ($8,200; best finishes: win-2018, second-2017) — Molinari sets up perfectly for this week’s test, which emphasizes straight driving and superb iron play. He’s played this event nearly every season over the last decade, posting six top-10 finishes at Wentworth along with his win over that span.
2. Alex Noren ($9,600; best finishes: win-2017, T3-2018) — Noren won here in 2017 with one of the best final rounds in a professional golf event ever when he shot 62. He’s also finished top 10 here three times in the past six years.
3. Henrik Stenson ($9,100; best finishes: T3-2017, T7-2014) — Stenson hasn’t played Wentworth as much as other Euro Tour regulars, but he’s thrived here when he’s made the trip. He has finished top 20 here in five of his last eight visits with just one missed cut throughout that same time frame.
4. Danny Willett ($7,600; best finishes: win-2019, T3-2016) — Willett claimed a dominant win here in 2019 and has been very consistent at this event, missing just one cut in his last eight visits. He enters having missed three of his last four cuts this year, but don’t shocked if he turns it around this week.
5. Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($9,200; best finishes: T3-2019) — Bezuidenhout has a short history at Wentworth but has made the cut here in both visits and finished T3 in his first visit in 2019. He clearly likes what he sees in Wentworth.
1. Shane Lowry ($10,800; T26-T11) — Lowry heads into this event off a great end to his PGA season. The Irishman hasn’t finished worse than T26 in his last six starts and ranks 17th on TOUR in SG: TTG stats over the last 50 rounds.
2. Viktor Hovland ($11,300; T5-T17) — Hovland had a nice end to the year, grabbing a share of fifth at the TOUR Championship. He hasn’t missed a cut since the U.S. Open (eye) and is the clear class of the field this week given his pedigree.
3. Henrik Stenson ($9,100; T3-T15) — Stenson has seen a turnaround in his game of late that should make DFS players bullish on him this week. He’s been in contention in the last two Euro Tour events and has a great course history at Wentworth.
4. Alex Noren ($9,600; T4-T9) — Noren had a fabulous end to his PGA season as he finished T4 and T9 at the final two playoff events and just missed out on a trip to East Lake. He’ll go looking for more OWGR points this week at one of his favorite venues.
5. Rasmus Hojgaard ($8,400; T18-win) — Hojgaard grabbed a win a couple of weeks ago in the mountains and finished T18 last week in Italy. The young talent is in great form and his abilities makes him a clear target in the $8K range this week.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Trust the Swedes
Both Henrik Stenson ($9,100) and Alex Noren ($9,600) come in with good form and great course history. They make for a nice balanced pairing to start core lineups with. Rasmus Hojgaard ($8,400) also looks very underpriced here given his recent run. Francesco Molinari ($8,200) and Aaron Rai ($7,500) make for good value targets, as well.
Tournaments: Scott and Schwab good tournament targets
Adam Scott ($9,400) bombed out of the PGA TOUR playoffs early with a MC, but he nearly won his prior start at the Wyndham. He’s a veteran player who has had success on tricky courses like Wentworth before. Matthias Schwab ($8,100) comes in off an earned PGA card for 2022 and has the ball-striking to dominate if the course plays soft. Other potential GPP targets here include Martin Kaymer ($7,600), John Catlin ($7,300), Alex Bjork ($7,000) and Max Kieffer ($6,500).
MY PICK: Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($9,200)
Bezuidenhout has had a very solid year of golf. He comes into this event having made the cut in each of his last 23 stroke-play events (where a Friday cut has been in play). That record includes over 10 starts on the PGA, where he was able to retain his 2022 card recently in the Korn Ferry playoffs. Bezuidenhout followed up a strong T16 finish at the Olympics recently with a T3 in the Korn Ferry finale, where he shot a final round 64 to rocket up the leaderboard.
From a style standpoint, Bezuidenhout has the magic on and around the greens to tackle tricky courses like Wentworth, where scrambling and avoiding three putts are often key to success — he’s ranked first in SG: Putting and 14th in SG: ATG stats over the last 50 rounds. An uptick in his approach game in the summer (he gained over +3.0 strokes on APP in his last two US-PGA starts) is also encouraging. Bezuidenhout is a talented player who won twice on the Euro Tour last year and has momentum in his return to a course he’s already had success at. At $9.2K, he makes for a great upper-tier target in this eclectic field.
MY SLEEPER: Alex Bjork ($7,000)
Bjork comes into this event as the Swedish player with the lowest profile, but he makes for a good sleeper play here. Since he’s generally known as a good iron player and strong putter, Wentworth certainly seems like it would play to Bjork’s strengths. He finished T14 here in his debut in 2017 (a definite plus) and has made the cut in this stronger field in three of his four career visits.
Bjork has been solid in 2021, as well, racking up four top-15 finishes over his last 10 starts. He’s coming off a missed cut in Italy but only missed the cut by a stroke there, so it’s not a performance I’d be overly worried about. With conditions looking a little messy, targeting a player who can carry you with his irons and putter here isn’t a bad idea, and his percentage of made cuts this season (80%) makes him a nice target at $7K alone. He’s a solid value play this week for all formats.
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