The PGA Tour season kicks off today with the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions. This means fantasy golf is back as well, and there are massive contests to take a stab at on DraftKings and FanDuel. The tournament of champions typically has a smaller field of golfers compared to other PGA Tour events, but we’re here to break it all down regardless.
It’s Thursday morning at the time of writing this article, so you might already have your lineups locked in. Nonetheless, this article will help you fine-tune your strategy for a tournament that’s projected to be fairly chalky.
Avoiding The Chalk
The Tournament of Champions is unique in the sense that the total pool of golfers is quite small. This means ownership will be concentrated on the theoretical best plays, especially those that are being touted by the DFS industry. Trying to avoid all the chalk plays is not very smart considering the size of the field, but you’ll need to take your chances on at least a couple overlooked golfers to give yourself a chance in large-field GPPs.
Based on our research, below are some of the golfers that are pulling high ownership this week. Note that ownership is subjective and won’t be known for sure until the contest locks.
$9k and up:
- Jon Rahm
- Justin Thomas
- Tony Finau
- Patrick Cantlay
- Sungjae Im
- Cameron Young
- Viktor Hovland
- Tom Kim
- Seamus Power
- Aaron Wise
- Sahith Theegala
- Tom Hoge
- Adam Svensson
We have to reiterate that fading all the highest-owned plays isn’t the smartest idea this week. With a pool of golfers this small, it’s best to adopt a strategy where you’re taking a stand on a couple of the “best plays” and getting different elsewhere. From the above list, we expect Jon Rahm, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Seamus Power, and Aaron Wise to be the highest owned golfers this week.
There are plenty of companies or individuals out there that pride themselves in making accurate ownership projections based on a number of factors. Even if you don’t have access to this information, you can get an idea by reading or watching content from people in the industry. Positive course history, good form, and relevant data typically go a long way when it comes to projected ownership. You can, however, use whatever information you see fit to gain an edge.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, you must know that it usually plays as a birdie fest. The course is a par 73 which makes the scoring come easy for several of these tour pros. Considering how easy this course can play, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if a few low-owned golfers ended up in the optimal lineup. Quite frankly, this course is all about upside. For PGA DFS purposes, we’re talking about birdies, eagles, and avoiding anything over a par.
Below are some lower-owned golfers with upside that you can take a chance on this week. Doing so could be especially rewarding in the biggest contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.
$9k and up:
- Matt Fitzpatrick
- Xander Schauffele (if he plays)
- Scottie Scheffler
- Colin Morikawa
- Will Zalatoris
- Max Homa
- Jordan Spieth
- Sam Burns
- Hideki Matsuyama
- Billy Horschel
- Sepp Straka
- Scott Stallings
- J.J Spaun
- Luke List
The current Vegas odds paired with the industry’s thoughts allow us to determine where ownership will be concentrated. For an event like this, it makes sense that the golfers with the highest win equity will pull most of the ownership. Truthfully, any of these golfers are capable of going low on such an easy course, so opting for a couple of overlooked golfers is a great strategy.
The 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions is the first PGA Tour event of the new year. Overall, the PGA DFS contests are not great this week in terms of payout structures, but there’s still a lot of money to be won. Below you’ll find some last-minute tournament notes to help you strategize.
- This is a no-cut event, so you won’t have to worry about all six of your golfers making it to the weekend.
- Win-equity is a huge factor when building lineups this week. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll win a large GPP without having the tournament winner.
- The plantation course at Kapalua is relatively easy compared to other courses on tour. Expect low scores – this is a birdie fest.
- This is the only Par 73 course on the PGA Tour, featuring four par 5s. Par 5 scoring is essential to success this week.
- There will likely be plenty of duplicate lineups in large-field tournaments this week. This is simply because we don’t have a full field of golfers.
- You should not be afraid to take stands on low-owned golfers this week.
- If you’re using an optimizer, remove players from your pool that you’re least confident in. This will help you fine-tune your exposures and potentially get leverage.
- Consider entering PGA DFS showdown contests for rounds 2-4 if you missed the boat for the main slate.
- Course history is always a big deal in PGA DFS, but there’s several golfers in this tournament that haven’t played the plantation course before. It might be worth taking a stand on some of these players as contrarian pieces.
Last year’s PGA season was thrilling, mainly because of all the young talent coming up on the scene. Although the format this week is slightly different, it’s worth keeping an eye on some of the young studs trying to make a name for themselves. Even more exciting is the fact that plenty of established players are rounding into the best form we’ve seen in years. All of this will likely make fantasy golf bigger than it’s ever been before.
We want to thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’re new to the world of fantasy golf, try to use this tournament to understand the scoring rules and the competition. There’s truly no other fantasy sport like golf because four rounds of play impact your final performance.