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