The above link might be the most important thing to look at when making picks this week: it is a workbook with spreadsheets containing the bracket, every golfer’s matchup records, and my cheat sheet.
- Austin Country Club
- Austin, Texas
- Par 71
- 7,108 yards
- Bermuda greens
- Pete Dye course
- Front and back 9 play slightly different
- Front is tighter with higher elevation
- A lot of driver – wedge holes (favors bombers)
- Some water and many bunkers off of the tee and into the greens
- 4th consecutive year at this course
- Match play history
- Course history
- Recent form
- SG: tee-to-green
- SG: putting
- Birdie or better
- Bogey Avoidance
The field will consist of the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Rankings but with Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott opting out that makes room for Satoshi Kodaira and Luke List who are 65th and 66th. The format will be a round robin tournament starting Wednesday (tomorrow) and ending Friday, where each golfer will play a round versus every other golfer in his pod. Saturday the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight matchups will be played and Sunday the Final Four and Championship matches will be played. My bracket that is attached to this preview might be the most important thing you look at while making picks.
The most important thing to do while picking is making sure that you take a golfer from every single region of the bracket, I have them labeled as the number 1 seed from March Madness (Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga, and UNC). Then you will have two picks left which I suggest you place on opposite ends of the brackets so that they would potentially only meet up in the championship round. This would ensure that you have the highest likelihood of picking all four golfers that end up in the Final Four. I also suggest you look at the scoring on DraftKings this week because it is obviously different than what you would see in a normal, non-match play tournament.
If you don’t feel comfortable with playing this style of tournament on DFS then you shouldn’t waste your money. But if you do the research and have a solid game plan going in, then this could be a great opportunity to take advantage of a unique format.
And again, ownership percentage is going to be very important when making picks this week — even more so than usual. This week it isn’t “you vs. the course” or “you vs. the field” in a 4 round event, it will be “you vs. golfer X” in a single round. If you can make the right pivot plays based off of ownership it will be huge with such a volatile format. Match play history is another thing to look at when deciding what guys are going to be comfortable executing high pressure shots while you are playing face-to-face with your only opponent.
My picks are going to be slightly different this week with the match play, so I am going to break them down by region of bracket instead of by price range. And then from each region I am going to give my favorite Final Four and Cinderella golfers (Final Four being the higher priced players and Cinderella’s being lower priced).
Duke (Top Left)
This region of the bracket scares me the most (maybe besides Gonzaga) with only two guys in the entire section with losing records in match play (Shane Lowry & J.B. Holmes).
- Final Four
- Dustin Johnson ($11,400 DK) – I believe enough people will pivot off of DJ to Hideki in this spot which will make him a decent play. If not, then you still have a previous winner here and the best golfer in the region — and probably the entire field.
- Patrick Reed ($8,600 DK) – I see either Reed or Sergio running away with this pod being matched up with Shane Lowry and Andrew Putnam. The reason I’m taking Reed is because Sergio is probably going to go higher owned at $100 cheaper and better recent form.
- Tyrrell Hatton ($7,600 DK) & Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,500 DK) – out of the Duke region this is the most wide open for anyone to advance to the Sweet Sixteen with the highest priced guy being the least experienced in match play (Xander). That’s why Hatton and Cabrera Bello, with good records on this course and in match play overall, have a decent shot to advance.
Virginia (Top Right)
This region probably has the biggest drop off in talent from the top 3 to the rest of the field so I’m probably going to ride some chalk in this one.
- Final Four
- Justin Rose ($10,000 DK) & Francesco Molinari ($9,300 DK) – give me Rose all day here, he might have the easiest route to the Elite Eight when looking at this region (hypothetically of course). And for Molinari, if he can hold his ground against Webb Simpson then he basically gets free points against the other two guys in his pod (Thorbjorn and Satoshi).
- Charles Howell III ($7,400 DK) – Howell has been the most consistent golfer in this pod for the price tag and has a decent amount of experience in match play. If he can hold off Paul Casey then he’s got a real shot at winning this and advancing to the weekend.
- Billy Horschel ($7,300 DK) – Horschel is coming from the most evenly matched pod in this region with Bubba, and Spieth above him and Kevin Na below him. You could really go with anyone here but my feeling is that Horschel is the most bang for your buck.
Gonzaga (Bottom Left)
This is another region that scares me because it appears to be the most talented of the four. The pod with Day, Mickelson, Stenson, and Furyk seems like the most evenly matched so a lot of people might stay away from here, which could be a spot to get some leverage and capitalize on low ownership — but I probably won’t.
- Final Four
- Rory McIlroy ($11,700 DK) & Tiger Woods ($9,200 DK) – these are probably my two favorite picks because they have the easiest pods to climb out of and if one of them doesn’t advance then the other will have an easy matchup in the Sweet Sixteen as well. Justin Thomas is the other one that has an easier draw in the round robin but he is guaranteed to have a tough match on Saturday (being next to the Day, Mickelson, Stenson, and Furyk pod) so that was the deciding factor.
- Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,700 DK) – Fitzpatrick has the second most match play experience in this pod besides Rory and Luke List is 0-3 here. I really see this one boiling down to Fitz and McIlroy so if Rory doesn’t show up to play then this is Matthew’s round for the taking.
- Jim Furyk ($7,200 DK) – Furyk has been playing great lately with an extremely high floor and the fact that he is the lowest priced guy in what I am assuming is going to be the most evenly matched, lowest owned pod — he could end up being a very good pick.
UNC (Bottom Right)
This seems like the region where it’s most likely that a Cinderella will emerge victorious, in my opinion anyways.
- Final Four
- Brooks Koepka ($10,300 DK) & Tommy Fleetwood ($9,600 DK) – I don’t trust DeChambeau’s 0-1 overall match play record as well as his temperament and the other high-priced guy here is Finau who is in the most evenly matched pod of the region. Brooks should be able to Waltz right into the Sweet Sixteen and Tommy’s only real competition might be Louie.
- Louis Oosthuizen ($7,500 DK) – like I stated above, Louie and Tommy should be fighting over a spot in the Sweet Sixteen with Ben An (bad match play record) and Kyle Stanley (bad recent form) being the other two in their round robin group.
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($6,700 DK) – Poulter was a guy I really liked in this region (with a great record and plenty of match play wins) but he might go the highest owned here and his pod is the most evenly matched 1 through 4 so that scares me as well. My sleeper pick is Kiradech because I don’t trust DeChambeau, Leishman, and Knox who all have losing records in match play while Kiradech has the most experience and best record of the four.
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