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FanDuel Strategy

FanDuel Fit: THE PLAYERS Championship

by Josh Culp
Updated On: March 9, 2021, 7:29 pm ET

TPC Sawgrass is a grueling test and it's known for providing volatile scores. Nobody in the field is immune to a blowup round, because big numbers are lurking everywhere and the water hazards don't care about your world ranking. 

We can look at course history to find golfers that like the layout in Ponte Vedra Beach, but even that is a bit misleading since they moved the event from May to March beginning in 2019 and the course responds very differently based on the time of year. Most notable the turf conditions. 

Instead of looking at course history, let's go searching for some FanDuel targets by finding golfers that play well on courses with a lot of water hazards in play. From there, we can also layer in performance on fast greens since the surfaces at TPC Sawgrass are usually ramped up to 12+ feet on the stimpmeter. 

Performance on Water-Heavy Courses

Splish splash, there is water in play on 17 holes when navigating TPC Sawgrass. Golfers who grew up in Florida or currently reside in Florida are probably more comfortable playing courses with water around every corner. Let's dive into the numbers though and see if that holds true. 

Let's see who has performed best on courses with water in play on at least nine holes, over the last two years: 

Lee Westwood
Xander Schauffele
Collin Morikawa
Patrick Cantlay
Jon Rahm
Rory McIlroy
Justin Thomas
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Adam Scott
Jason Day
Tommy Fleetwood
Jhonattan Vegas
Webb Simpson
Marc Leishman

The list doesn't really support the idea that you need to target golfers that grew up in Florida or play most of their golf in Florida. 

Is it too small of a sample window? Here are the top performers on those water-heavy courses over the last five years: 

Rory McIlroy
Justin Thomas
Dustin Johnson
Jason Day
Xander Schauffele
Patrick Cantlay
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Collin Morikawa
Adam Scott
Tommy Fleetwood
Rickie Fowler
Bryson DeChambeau
Hideki Matsuyama
Justin Rose
Webb Simpson

Again, the list indicates that we don't need to lean heavily on local connections. Instead, the main theme of the list appears to be lights-out iron play. 

Golfers that appear on the short-term and long-term list include Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, and Webb Simpson

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Fast Greens

TPC Sawgrass had the infamous round back in 2016 where the greens were just dead and lightning-fast. It was hard to even set your putter down without the ball rolling away. 

That was an extreme example of the greens speeds at TPC Sawgrass. We shouldn't expect to see that again. However, it's a good indicator of what they are trying to do here at THE PLAYERS. They try to test all facets of the game and one aspect of that is fast greens. 

Here are the top performers on courses with fast greens (12.5+ feet on the stimp), over the last two years: 

Jon Rahm
Rory McIlroy
Patrick Cantlay
Tony Finau
Xander Schauffele
Webb Simpson
Adam Scott
Dustin Johnson
Justin Thomas
Hideki Matsuyama
Patrick Reed
Will Zalatoris
Viktor Hovland
Jason Kokrak
Bryson DeChambeau

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Lee Westwood
Jason Kokrak
Chris Kirk
Jordan Spieth
Tony Finau
Maverick McNealy
C.T. Pan
Max Homa
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Cameron Tringale
Russell Henley
Luke List
Charley Hoffman
Brandt Snedeker

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Tony Finau and Jason Kokrak

It's a small overlap list here which suggests there may be some value nuggets on the over-performance list. Bezuidenhout and Spieth showed up on the list last week and definitely paid off their price tag. Should you stay on the train as they head to another course with fast greens? 

FanDuel Focus 

Tony Finau ($10,800): He's classified as a big-game hunter so it's no surprise to see him show up on the fast greens overlap list. The majors and other big events often test the field with speedy greens and Finau usually answers the call. He's historically struggled on bermudagrass but landed a T22 at the 2019 PLAYERS, the first year going back to the overseed instead of bermuda. Coincidence? I think not. 

Chris Kirk ($8,800): As you see on the list above, Kirk outperforms his baseline when playing on courses with fast greens. That's definitely been true at TPC Sawgrass, owning a 7-for-9 record with top 15s in three of his last six visits. He arrives with a bit of form on his side, as well, posting top 20s in four of his last five starts. Not bad for a golfer priced below $9,000 on FanDuel this week. 

 

Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.