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PGA DFS Tournament Preview: THE PLAYERS Championship

Hi RotoBallers! In our ongoing attempt to expand and improve our PGA coverage, we will be dropping a 'Tournament Preview' for some of the big events on the PGA Tour schedule. We're getting this new series kicked off this week with the 'Fifth Major', THE PLAYERS Championship!

We hope this preview will give you a head start on your PLAYERS research. If you aren't already utilizing RotoBaller's amazing weekly PGA content, fix that right now by joining us this week and throughout the rest of the PGA Tour season.

Access to tons of RotoBaller's PGA content is COMPLETELY FREE and we also now offer a PGA Premium subscription for those of you that want to take your game to the next level! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE at checkout to receive a discount.

Featured Promo: Get any DFS Premium Bundle for for 30% off using code SUMMER! Win more with expert advice from proven winners and exclusive DFS tools. Get instant access to RotoBaller's Lineup Optimizers, Research Stations, daily picks and VIP chat rooms across 10 sports! Go Premium, Win More!

 

RotoBaller Weekly PGA Article Schedule

Monday: You can find out all you need to know about TPC Sawgrass with Josh Bennett's Course Breakdown (Premium) and find out which golfers have thrived at THE PLAYERS in the past with Joe Nicely's Horse For The Course.

Tuesday: We kick your DFS research into high gear with articles from Spencer Aguiar and Tommy Bell! Spencer will highlight his favorite DraftKings Plays of the week and offer great tips with his Head-To-Head Betting Preview, while Tommy drops some salary savers in his DraftKings Value Plays (Premium) article.

Wednesday: Things start getting intense on Wednesday and we've got you covered! You can check out RotoBaller Staff One And Done selections and get inside the mind of our team with our PGA DFS Expert Roundtable. We also have two of the most popular articles in the PGA DFS industry with Spencer Aguiar's Vegas Report (Premium) and Joe Nicely's DraftKings Core Four (Premium). You can also check out Josh Bennett's DFS Cheat Sheet (Premium) for a quick cram session!

 

Tournament Overview

THE PLAYERS Championship

As I mentioned in the intro, this event is widely considered golf's 'Fifth Major'. THE PLAYERS routinely draws a major championship-caliber field and this year is no different, as we have golf's elite making their way to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. This is the second PLAYERS to be held since the PGA Tour decided to revamp its schedule, with this tournament moving up to March from the May slot it had held on the schedule since 2007. We can expect the change to alter course conditions a bit...with TPC Sawgrass less baked out from the hot Florida summer and March weather possibly becoming a factor, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the course to continue to play slightly more difficult this year. In addition to a stacked field, THE PLAYERS also has one of the highest prize purses of the year at $15 million. Players are eager to grab both the prestige and riches that come with winning this tournament.

THE PLAYERS is held on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and this Pete Dye design has produced an eclectic group of winners over the years. We've seen several different styles of play have success here, but the one constant among winners is managing to avoid the big numbers that can happen quickly on this course that seemingly has trouble lurking everywhere. The Stadium Course's most iconic hole is the Par 3 17th with its 'Island Green' that is surrounded by water. The title can be won or lost on this short hole that should be simple to the best golfers in the world, but the combination of pressure and the psychological effect it has on players always seems to make the 17th extremely difficult when Sunday afternoon rolls around.

Rory McIlory outlasted a surprising group of contenders last year that included Jim Furyk, Jon Rahm, and Brandt Snedeker, to win his first PLAYERS Championship. He heads into his title defense in sharp form and having regained the top ranking in the OWGR, but history tells us McIlroy will have a tough time trying to repeat, as there's never been a back-to-back winner at the PLAYERS.

Recent Winners
2019 - Rory McIlroy (-16)
2018 - Webb Simpson (-18)
2017 - Si Woo Kim (-10)
2016 - Jason Day (-15)
2015 - Rickie Fowler (-12)

Event Details
Purse: $15 million ($2.7 million to the winner)
FedEx Cup Points: 600 (Winner)
Field: 144 Players
Cut: Top 65 and ties move on after the first two rounds
Watch: Thurs & Fri - Golf Channel 1-7 p.m. ET, Sat - NBC 2-7 p.m. ET, Sun - NBC 1-6 p.m ET

 

Course Breakdown

THE PLAYERS Championship - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course) - Par 72 - 7,189 Yards - Greens: Bermuda
Designers: Pete & Alice Dye - Opened: 1982

Designed by legendary course architect Pete Dye, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was truly the first of its kind. Its 'stadium' design changed the way golf was viewed by on-course spectators. I wanted to give Alice Dye her proper design credit, as the course's most iconic hole, the Par-3 17th 'Island Green', was her idea. This will be the first PLAYERS Championship played since Mr. Dye passed away earlier this year.

At just under 7,200 yards, the Stadium Course is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour schedule, but it is no pushover and annually ranks as one of the tougher tracks the pros face. In true Dye fashion, it's a second-shot golf course that has danger lurking around every corner. Tree-lined fairways, water hazards, and bunkers are the norm at TPC Sawgrass. As you can imagine, players can often find themselves in big trouble with huge numbers a very real possibility.

THE PLAYERS is a very difficult tournament to peg from a DFS perspective and that's by design. Dye created the Stadium Course layout with a directive from former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to design a course that would favor no particular player or style of play. Dye's efforts succeeded and resulted in an almost maddeningly balanced golf course that has holes of every length in every category, both left and right doglegs, and a layout where no two consecutive holes ever go in the same direction. Due to these challenges, it's hard to favor either distance or accuracy off the tee when constructing lineups, and the fact that there has never been a repeat winner at THE PLAYERS speaks to how difficult this tournament is to project each year.

 

Fantasy Outlook

THE PLAYERS is a huge event and the DFS sites are rolling out the red carpet for us. There are tons of great tournaments to choose from this week. In addition to the many offerings, the sites have once again posted 'major championship-like' pricing for THE PLAYERS. It will be hard to construct a DFS lineup that looks bad this week. While it's tempting to attempt to 'play everybody', do your best to keep your core of players as tight as possible. As you can probably gather from the course breakdown, there is no 'magic bullet' this week, but there are some qualities that do translate strongly.

TPC Sawgrass will present several challenges to the golfers in this field and can expose any weaknesses in a players game. I will look to target players that are solid from tee to green, with an emphasis on ball striking and strokes gained on approach.

There is no "magic bullet" at TPC Sawgrass, as we've seen several different styles of play be successful over the years...but the necessary constant is sharp ball striking, accuracy off the tee, and strong approach play. A decent short game and the ability to avoid bogeys or worse will also be important this week. I'm giving almost no weight to distance here, but I will look for players that have fared well on other Pete Dye-designed courses on the Tour schedule.

 

Key Statistics To Target

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
  • Bogeys Avoided
  • Strokes Gained: Short Game (Around the Green + Putting)
  • Performance on Pete Dye courses

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks


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