The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
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The field for the second major championship of the season is set at 156 players. Like all PGA Championships, the event gives out 20 spots to PGA TOUR teaching professionals who qualify through the 2021 PGA Professional Championship. The rest of the competitors come from the top pros in the world, with the top 70 on the PGA TOUR money list (from last year’s PGA Championship until two weeks prior) getting spots. Open Championship, U.S. Open and Masters winners from the past five years also get invites.
The big news in 2022 is that Phil Mickelson (personal) will not be defending his title. The 51- year-old won the event last year becoming the oldest player ever to win a major championship. Joining Mickelson on the sidelines will be OWGR top-50 players Paul Casey (back) and Sungjae Im (undisclosed).
This year sees Scottie Scheffler enter the event as the No. 1 player in the world and already with four wins under his belt in 2022. We have plenty of big names who are coming in hot though as Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele have all picked up wins since Augusta. For daily fantasy golf purposes it’s also worth noting that the PGA Championship has its own cut rule. For this week only, the top 70 players and ties will be allowed to play the weekend, with no secondary cut rule intact. This is different from regular PGA TOUR events where only the top 65 and ties play the weekend.
Southern Hills Country Club — Tulsa, Oklahoma
Par: 70, 7,556 yards; Greens: Bentgrass
Southern Hills will be hosting a major championship for the seventh time in its existence. The venue last hosted a major championship back in 2007 (PGA Championship) but also hosted the 2001 U.S. Open. The venue went through an extensive renovation courtesy of Gil Hanse, who also helped redesign Winged Foot prior to the 2020 U.S. Open and designed the 2016 Olympic venue in Rio.
Southern Hills is set to play as a long Par 70 at well over 7,500 yards. That alone should make distance somewhat of a factor this week but long iron play might be the most important stat to key in on. Ten of the holes on Southern Hills have some kind of dogleg attached to them and the par 5s both stretch over 620 yards, so no one is reaching the green in two. Seven of the par 4s also land between 450-500 yards.
Being long and accurate off the tee will help, but everyone will have mid- to long-iron approaches at some point and that could even work in the favor of those with less distance off the tee. One of the biggest changes to Southern Hills involved the green complexes, which made the greens smaller and added more runoff areas where slightly off-line approaches would fall off and make for awkward chips back near the hole. The greens at Southern Hills will also be smaller than average and make for small targets from the wider fairways — likely making it one of the more approach-driven courses the players see all year.
In terms of stats, majors always require consistent ball-striking, and if a player isn't firing or gaining multiple strokes on Approach coming in then it’s likely a bad sign for their chances. Around the green performance will be massive with the smaller greens though, too. Scrambling is important, but wedge and chipping from 30-50 yards could easily be a factor just given Southern Hills' overall toughness. Checking to see which players are trending in long- and short-term form in those areas could help you make some decisions among the deep talent pool at the top this week.
2022 Outlook: The weather this week is interesting. Highs for the first two days will be in the high 80s to low 90s, but will also have winds gusting up or over to 30 mph in spots. There is a potential wave split developing as wind is forecast to rise in the afternoon on Thursday and then continue to gust (potentially even heavier) on Friday morning, giving Thursday afternoon starters the worst of it. These wind forecasts can change in a heartbeat but it’s worth watching until Wednesday night. The weekend forecast calls for less wind but cooler temperatures. Look for the course to play fast and firm with little to no rain expected, and winning score close to even par, and befitting of a major championship.
Last 5 Winners
2021—Phil Mickelson -6 (over Brooks Koepka/Louis Oosthuizen -4)
2020—Collin Morikawa -13 (over Paul Casey -11)
2019—Brooks Koepka -8 (over Dustin Johnson -6)
2018—Brooks Koepka -16 (over Tiger Woods -14)
2017—Justin Thomas -8 (over Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen -6)
- Six of the past nine winners of the PGA Championship finished T15 or better in their last start before winning this event (Justin Thomas finished T28 in his last start in 2017 and Collin Morikawa finished T20 in his last start in 2020).
- Five of the past six winners of the PGA Championship played in the PGA TOUR event the week prior to their win with the exception of Mickelson in 2021.
- Four of the past five winners had already picked up a win on the season (dating back to the Fall swing), prior to their PGA Championship victory with the exception of Mickelson in 2021.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Hole Breakdown (Southern Hills - 2022):
Par 3s: three par 3s 200-250 yards; one par 4 150-175 yards
Par 4s: seven par 4s 450-plus yards; two par 4’s 400-450 yards; three par 4’s 350-400 yards
Par 5s: two par 5s 600-plus yards
Par 4 efficiency stats (last 50 rounds)
- Jon Rahm
- Justin Thomas
- Rory McIlroy
- Cameron Young
- Cameron Smith
Bentgrass putting stats (top gainers on Bentgrass last 50-rounds)
- Cameron Smith +44
- Kevin Kisner +36
- Matthew Fitzpatrick +33
- Billy Horschel +33
- Sam Burns +32
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 compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Patrick Cantlay +1600 and $9,100
- Hideki Matsuyama +2800 and $9,200
- Dustin Johnson +2500 and $9,500
- Xander Schauffele +2800 and $9,300
Corey Conners +4500 and $8,000
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Jordan Spieth ($9,600; 2nd-win): Spieth has reeled off two great finishes in a row and looks ready to contend this week. He finished third or better directly prior to all three of his previous major championship wins.
2. Scottie Scheffler ($11,400; T15-win): Scheffler didn’t play a ton of events after his Masters win in April, but a strong showing at the team event was coupled with a T15 last week, where he gained over +5.0 strokes on Approach. It would be foolish to discount him at this point.
3. Cameron Young ($7,600; T2-T3): Young has been playing some very inspired golf. The American is gaining strokes at an elite rate with his ball-striking and has two top-five finishes coming into this week.
4. Max Homa ($8,100; win-T48): Homa grabbed his third career win at the Wells Fargo two starts ago. The American is confident and hasn’t missed a cut since the Farmers in January. He’s a potential dark horse to contend this week.
5. Jon Rahm ($11,200; win-T27): Rahm hasn’t put up a ton of great results this year but grabbed a win in Mexico in his last start — one which could add rocket fuel to the rest of his year. If he can figure out these greens early he could put the hurt on this field.
6. Xander Schauffele ($9,300; T5-win): Schauffele has been simmering with good form all season. He won the team event with Patrick Cantlay and shot 61 to end his week at the Byron. Perhaps his form ever coming into a major.
7. Patrick Cantlay ($9,100; win-2nd): Speaking of Cantlay, the American has finished first (Zurich team event) and second (playoff loss - Hilton Head) in his last two starts. His all-around game is always impressive but the fact he gained over +8.0 strokes on Approach at the RBC Heritage should worry the field.
8. Corey Conners ($8,000; T21-T12): Conners has displayed great consistency since March, He landed a T6 at the Masters and has now made six cuts in a row on the back of very consistent ball-striking.
9. Rory McIlroy ($10,000; 5th-2nd): Rory has only made one start since his runner-up finish at Augusta but it was a strong T5 in tough conditions at the Wells Fargo. It’s been too long without a major for Rory who looks close to grabbing another big trophy.
10. Keegan Bradley ($7,500; T2-T8): The 2012 PGA Championship winner has now finished T11 or better in four of his last five starts and nearly grabbed a win his last time out at the Wells Fargo (T2). He’s been uber steady and will be a popular value play this week in daily fantasy contests.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Spieth and Matsuyama a good combo
If we’re looking for anchor plays with affordable salaries and great recent form, the sub-$10K salaries on Jordan Spieth ($9,600) and Hideki Matsuyama ($9,200) look well worth taking on. Spieth has been on a big-time heater since missing the cut at the PGA Championship as swing changes he was working on early in the year have finally taken hold. He’s now gained over 4.0 strokes on approach in three of his past four starts and is as consistent as he’s ever been off the tee as well. Matsuyama finally looks to be over an early-season injury and has also been striking it beautifully, gaining an absurd 9.4 strokes on Approach in Dallas alone last week. Both men look major-championship ready and should be hungry to add this title to their resumes. Some other cash possibilities this week with lower salaries include Corey Conners ($8,000), Keegan Bradley ($7,500) and Tony Finau ($7,900).
Tournaments: Garcia, Noren and Kuchar all veterans worth a look
Rather than talk more about the top of the board this week, which will have spread ownership across a lot of players, let’s focus lower down in the $7K range and below. Sergio Garcia ($7,200) has been under-the-radar consistent in 2022 and is coming off his first made cut at Augusta in over three years. Garcia is still a strong par-4 scorer and likely would have been in contention at the Wells Fargo if not for a rules mishap, which blew him off-kilter. Matt Kuchar ($6,800) has also been rolling of late and now comes into the PGA Championship having made the cut in five straight starts, which includes four finishes of T16 or better. A lot of that has been putter-based for Kuchar but he’s also gained over +1.5 strokes on Approach in each of his last two starts. There’s also Alex Noren ($7,000), who I wrote up below. He’s made nine straight cuts on the PGA TOUR and is coming off a T12 from last week.
MY PICK: Xander Schauffele ($9,300)
There are plenty of top players coming in with good mojo this week, but after a 61 in the final round of the Byron Nelson, you have to like this setup for Schauffele to potentially grab his first major. From a daily fantasy standpoint, Schauffele has been almost automatic in the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, recording five top-10s at the U.S. Open and T16 and T10 finishes at the PGA Championship in 2019 and 2020 — before missing the cut at the admittedly tricky Kiawah Island last year (a venue where many top players struggled).
Schauffele’s team event win with Patrick Cantlay ($9,100) should not go unnoticed either and he has now gained 3.0 strokes or more on Approach in four of his past six starts. His short-term play of late has been up there with some of the best. He ranks fourth in bogey avoidance over the past 24 rounds, is seventh in Par 4 efficiency over that same span and fifth in three-putt avoidance. In short, he’s playing extremely efficient golf right now, the kind that often gets rewarded at major setups when the toughness gets dialed up. With a big bag of major experience now under his belt and a very bet-able number on DraftKings Sportsbook (+2800), this is a great time to get on Schauffele to potentially break through for his first major win.
MY SLEEPER: Alex Noren ($7,000)
Noren may be at a bit of a distance disadvantage this week as he currently ranks outside the top-100 in driving distance on the PGA TOUR. The Swede has been driving the ball better of late though, gaining strokes off the tee in four of his past five PGA TOUR starts and gained 2.8 strokes OTT last week in Texas. That’s significant for Noren as his iron play has been on the uptick all season, gaining him strokes on Approach in eight of his past nine PGA TOUR starts.
Noren also handles longer golf courses particularly well, landing top-20 finishes back in 2020 at both TPC Harding Park and Winged Foot, the site of the 2020 PGA Championship and U.S. Open. He ranks seventh in par 4 efficiency from 450-500 yards and is one of the best spike putters on TOUR, ranking fourth in strokes gained putting over the past 50 rounds on bentgrass greens. Given the way he’s striking it, if that flatstick gets hot, Noren could actually contend this week and looks like terrific value in large GPPs for DFS purposes and a nice longshot bet to consider at +13000 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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