Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: THE PLAYERS Championship
Ah, TPC Sawgrass. One of the most iconic golf courses in the world and annual host of THE PLAYERS Championship. With the schedule change last year, this event was moved back to March for the first time since 2006, and we can expect one of the strongest fields of the year once again. A $15,000,000 purse will do that.
One man not in the field is two-time winner Tiger Woods, who unfortunately had to withdraw with a back injury. We'll have to make do with the rest of the best players in the world, including some of the Tour's rising stars. Last year, Rory McIlroy held on against a leaderboard we've come to expect at THE PLAYERS -- a mix of top talent and deep cut long shots. Of the top 20 finishers, 10 are currently ranked inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
TPC Sawgrass is a 7,189-yard par 72 in suburban Jacksonville that bumps right up against the Atlantic Ocean without quite being on the coast. As we've seen the last couple weeks, the Florida winds will have a say in who stands atop the leaderboard come Sunday. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was designed by the legendary Pete Dye to be a unique challenge for all golfers, with no two holes alike and no consecutive holes playing in the same direction.
The early forecast does not have nearly as much wind as we saw last week at Bay Hill, but conditions should certainly be monitored as the week goes on.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC Sawgrass
Distance: 7,189 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass and fescue
Greens: Bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
TPC Sawgrass generally runs about average difficulty in terms of total average score, but that cursory glance belies the challenges this course poses. Big numbers lurk everywhere, and Sawgrass routinely ranks among the season leaders in double bogeys made by the field -- for example, the fourth most last year, eighth-most in 2018, and the most in 2017.
McIlroy reached 16-under par and won by a single stroke. In the three prior installments, the winning margin was at least three strokes, and Webb Simpson's four-shot victory in 2018 wasn't even that close. Simpson tied the 54-hole scoring record and cruised to a conservative 73 on Sunday to easily close it out.
The start to the Florida swing has been grueling, to say the least, with both PGA National and Bay Hill presenting gusty conditions and lightning-quick bermuda greens. Golfers should get some reprieve this week, as the Jacksonville climate requires overseeding in the fall and blunts the bermuda edge. Bay Hill is certainly still a comp, with McIlroy and Jason Day each winning both events over the past few years (Tiger too of course, but he's won everywhere). We can look for cross to other overseeded bermuda at Innisbrook Resort (Valspar Championship), TPC Scottsdale (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks (Valero Texas Open), and Quail Hollow Golf Club (Wells Fargo Championship).
These stats will be the keys to success in THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
|Key Stats for the PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained: 200+ yards|
Ballstriking and especially approach game is once again front and center this week, but we cannot ignore the short game. Golfers who can recover from mistakes or poor shots are going to succeed this week. And there will be plenty of birdie opportunities for the taking for golfers who keep their heads.
Strokes gained: approach rates out as more valuable than both strokes gained: off the tee and around the green combined. According to stats on Fantasy National Golf Club, the top 10 finishers gain about 1.03 strokes via approach compared to about 0.43 off the tee and another 0.43 around the green. A plurality of those approaches are going to come from over 200 yards, as the course packs a full allotment of par 5s and another four par 4s that measure over 450 yards.
Even with the double bogeys in play, scoring is balanced out by all the birdies and eagles on the table at TPC Sawgrass. The course has yielded 63 and 65 eagles in 2018 and 2019, respectively, one of the highest marks on Tour. Those opportunities largely present themselves on par 5s, and finding aggressive golfers who shine on those holes is a key to finding value this week.
And finally, golfers will need to be able to escape and limit the big numbers. Scramblers take a backseat to ballstrikers, but finding golfers who can do both will be paramount.
Course History Studs
Adam Scott won here way back in 2004, notably when the event was still held in March. Overall he has made 15 cuts in 18 tries, with 10 finishes inside the top 25. He has finished T12 or better each of the past four years.
McIlroy was the winner last year and has three other top 10s to his name, but also four missed cuts in 10 cracks at TPC Sawgrass.
Jason Day recovered from Space Mountain to finish T8 last year, and after withdrawing once again from the Arnold Palmer Invitational he does not need to be downgraded for THE PLAYERS. He was the 2016 champion and also finished T5 in 2018.
Matt Kuchar is the 2012 champ and has made four straight cuts, although he did not finish the 2017 edition under the old Made Cut, Did Not Finish rule. He has been T26, T17, and T3 in the other three most recent attempts.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.