Are we already at the final major of the year? The PGA Tour heads to steamy St. Louis, Missouri to Bellerive Country Club and an array of the best golfers in the world. It was in the PGA Championship last year that Justin Thomas announced himself among the greats that have won a major. Who will be that person this year?
In these final majors after a grueling PGA schedule, I tend to overweight recent form. Going into a packed field and a Major isn’t the time to be trying to find form; you already need to be striking the ball well and not messing with your putter. Additionally, the WGC-Firestone last week provides a really good guide I feel this week: both are tough, long, Par 70 courses that are an all-around test. Maybe last week’s rough was less penal and the greens less wide, but a surprising amount of the same things I liked last week I also like this week.
Last week, I overweighed driving distance and recent putting form into the equation, and I see no reason to change that this week. I continue to think a hot putter will make a huge difference, especially considering that most of the birdies and strokes gained will come from there. It will come somewhat from ball striking, but more so putting, I think.
Justin Thomas ($9,700 – DraftKings, $11,400 – FanDuel)
I generally don’t like to take defending champions or guys who won the prior week, but it’s hard to ignore what JT has done last week and how well he putted last week. Not only that – thanks to the fact that this contest was priced prior to last week’s win, Thomas is priced insanely low. I can’t find much of a reason to fade this chalk if DK is going to give me so much extra salary.
Jason Day ($9,000 – DraftKings, $11,700 – FanDuel)
He didn’t finish well on Sunday last week, but he’s $3,000 DK dollars less than Dustin Johnson and is the top SG:Putting golfer on tour (and did a fine job last week in that department). I will happily ride the wave once again.
Alex Noren ($8,600 – DraftKings, $9,900 – FanDuel)
Noren was a bit of a disappointment last week – but not that much of a disappointment. After a subpar Thursday and Friday he found some stretches of good golf and finished in the middle of the pack. Alex should be highly motivated this week to play well to cement his Ryder Cup place for Europe, has been close in the past to winning that elusive Major and/or PGA event, and his fundamentals line up well – right-to-left ball flight, decent distance off the tee, strong putter game. I even like the fact that he’s priced up a little on DraftKings – just enough so that people ignore him and don’t pay up for him. I love Noren as a low-ownership play that might win it this week.
Tony Finau ($8,100 – DraftKings, $10,600 – FanDuel)
Speaking of talented guys who are so close to winning a major, Finau should be on top of everyone’s list considering his recent form and his strong T10 last week at WGC-Firestone. Finau is chalk around the industry, but he feels like good chalk – chalk that will help you win cash games.
Webb Simpson ($7,700 – DraftKings, $10,700 – FanDuel)
It’s time to stop wondering why DraftKings seems to criminally underprice Webb every week and just stick him on your roster at this price. Sure, he doesn’t fit the mold specifically as a pure ball striker, but you can’t ignore his form and his short game to go low here.
Ian Poulter ($7,400 – DraftKings, $9,100 – FanDuel)
I can’t decide if Ian Poulter is the golfer I just can’t quit, or whether I truly love how he has been gutting out play week to week as he vies to make his way onto the European Ryder Cup team. His missed cut at the Open is certainly a red flag as to competing in tough Major fields, but his form has been tremendous in general these past weeks and last week he was up to his old tricks, leading Rounds 1 and 2 before succumbing on Sunday to Stanley and Thomas. Whether it’s due to my head or my heart, he’ll be on my lineups, and I’ll be pulling hard for him this week.