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DraftKings Fantasy Preview: The Players Championship

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It’s Players Championship time!

This is a big event with a fantastic field, and DraftKings has taken notice.

In addition to the usual $100,000 prize pool contest (first place receiving $10,000) at a $3 entry fee, DraftKings has on tap a $20 entry fee game with a $150,000 prize pool and a $20,000 first prize along with a $300,000 prize pool and $50,000 first price if you submit $100.

Enter here to win $100,000.

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Big potential for sure, but if you’re still only comfortable splurging that $3 buy-in, that still leaves you open to a potentially large payout with the top 7,850 positions all earning cash. And remember, if you enter the $3 contest through the link below and beat my top lineup’s score, you get your money back!

Anyway, onto my analysis…

The Course

This Pete Dye track makes a player think, with numerous tee shots that portend trouble if the ball wobbles too far offline. There’s no reprieve on the approach game either, as misses in the wrong spots can drastically increase the chances of bogey.

Photo Credit: PGA Tour Experiences

TPC Sawgrass’ reputation speaks to that of a worthy champion. Most people, including Rory, have claimed that the layout doesn’t suit anyone’s game in particular, an argument for an all-around player. But a few have given Sawgrass the “ball-striker’s paradise” moniker as well.

As the tee shot danger would imply, driving accuracy has also garnered much value when analysts, like Brandel Chamblee, break down TPC Sawgrass.

Did my recent five-year sample of the top-10 finishers at the Players concur with all this?

For maybe the second time since I started doing this feature, yes, the assumptions were mainly correct.

Harking back to the more popular, Rory-backed theory, that vision of Sawgrass has plenty of traction. In my five-year sample, there was a very small disparity between driving, approach play, short game and putting. All proved important to competing well at TPC Sawgrass at very similar levels.

Still, there was a tiny separation. Driving was paramount, with approach play a close second, short game a close third and putting a close last. Therefore, the player that profiles best in this aspect is most important of the all-around sort, and to a lesser extent one that tends to be strongest in ball-striking.

Length nor ball flight came out too significant from this group, although longer, high-ball hitters are slightly more advantaged than the norm. Driving accuracy held significant sway in facilitating a top-10, but I do think it is overrated at TPC Sawgrass.

In the five-year set, I found 12 contenders that would be classified as wild drivers. I would definitely still lean toward a precise golfer off the tee, but don’t go all in on that front.

Six-Man Roster (Last time: 343.5 points, 28422nd of 36800)DraftKingsSmall

  • Justin Rose, $10,500
  • Bubba Watson, $9,200
  • Lee Westwood, $8,400
  • Charley Hoffman, $7,400
  • Chris Kirk, $6,700
  • Kevin Chappell, $6,400

Rose has just played too well of late and has too sound a game for this course (excellent all-around player especially in ball-striking categories) for me to avoid him. He finished T4 last year at Sawgrass as well.

BubbaWatsonPlayers

I think Watson is a huge steal this week, and it’s sort of confusing why exactly he’s this low. He’s played just one bad tournament (the Masters) the whole year and while his record at Sawgrass isn’t great, it’s not a nightmare by any means. It also seems like Bubba gets a reputation for being wild, which doesn’t bode well at a position golf course like Sawgrass. Yet, Augusta is a position layout too and Watson has thrived there. And Bubba, far from wild, actually has pretty good accuracy for the distance he hits it and is a great iron player. His putting has come around as well, which really puts him closer to that all-around mold. I think this is the week Watson finally sees some prosperity in Jacksonville.

As for the rest, Westwood has been in sneaky good form this year and seems on the verge of a big performance (a win in Indonesia doesn’t count). His last two trips to the Players have netted top-10s, and his game has been far better on and around the greens in recent years.

CharleyHoffman

Hoffman’s play was scorching about a month ago, and he really is the best fit among this group. His strength is in ball-striking, but he’s tended to be above average in all facets.

Kirk remains way underrated, his Deutsche Bank win was not as surprising as the media made it out to be (or at all, really). He has yet to put a season together where all parts of his game are clicking, but his ability in driving, approach play, short game and putting have all been apparent at times.

Chappell burned me in New Orleans, but I’m not backing off because he can jump out at any moment and this is a good course for him.

Ultimate Sleeper RosterDraftKingsSmall

  • Brendon de Jonge, $6,500
  • Kevin Chappell, $6,400
  • Shawn Stefani, $6,400
  • Sang-Moon Bae, $6,400
  • Graeme McDowell, $6,300
  • Carl Pettersson, $5,700

Really watch out for de Jonge. He has been on a severe hot streak lately, which three consecutive top-25s actually understates. He’s known as a ball-striker and is accurate off the tee, but he’s an adequate-to-solid putter and short game player as well.

As for Stefani, his game was subtly in a really good groove with four straight top-26s through Houston.

Bae hit a rough patch for a bit, but I think is finding his way back and he’s developed a solid all-around game.

GraemeMcDowell

A rough season so far for McDowell, but he is healthy again after a lower left leg issue in March, he possesses the all-around game for this course and was closer at Hilton Head than T26 implies.

Petterson’s probably less accurate off the tee than you think, but he’s also in this all-around realm and has flashed some good play of late.

Alternate Six-Man Roster (Last time: 456.5 points, 9219th of 36800)DraftKingsSmall

  • Jordan Spieth, $12,800
  • Henrik Stenson, $10,400
  • Ian Poulter, $7,200
  • Harris English, $7,000
  • Brendon de Jonge, $6,500
  • Carl Pettersson, $5,700

Let’s see: a position golf course that rewards an all-around game? Yeah, that’s Spieth’s dream to a T. I would be shocked if he finishes worse than top 5.

JordanSPieth

Stenson’s history at Sawgrass isn’t as robust as you might think (one top-10 since win in 2009), but he appears healthy again and when he’s been 100 percent this year, his results have been dominant.

Poulter has played well of late and he’s a better ball-striker than he gets credit for. No discernible record here since his runner-up in 2009… just remember the form he’s in.

And finally we have English, who is my biggest wildcard. He’s a pretty well rounded player who could acquire a huge win any week now. And hey, what do you know, he was in the final group at the Players on Saturday just three years ago.

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Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. TJS

    May 6, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Yep Nick, only US & Canada for most all the Fantasy sites.

    Kevin, Augusta National and The Stadium Course are two vastly different courses. Bubba doesn’t exactly like this course by his own admission…he’s priced that way because of his odds to win (set by very smart people). Lastly, why the ultimate sleeper line-up? It’s a donation…sleepers are meant to be mixed in with the chalk, not paired together in a ridiculous entry.

    • Kevin Casey

      May 6, 2015 at 2:21 am

      Hey TJS, appreciate the comment!

      You bring up some good points, here are my clarifications:

      1. If it came across that I was trying to imply that Augusta and Sawgrass are basically the same, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that their similar in the positioning aspect, a characteristic that I think some people would point to as kryptonite for Watson, which his success at Augusta proves wrong. They are definitely significantly different courses, but they have a similarity in making you really strategize and hit to certain positions in order to avoid danger.

      2. My bad on that, I should’ve mentioned Watson’s public words last year about Sawgrass not fitting his eye. That being said, his thoughts there didn’t really take me aback much when I was making the pick. If Watson had said that amidst three straight missed cuts at the Players, then yeah we could see that the course was having a massive negative effect on his game that wasn’t showing signs of dissipating. But his last three finishes, while underwhelming, have all been made cuts and top-50s and he was in a decent position for a top-10 (or at least a top-20) last year before a semi-implosion in the final round. So while the course is having a negative effect on him from a visual perspective, it’s not very drastic. And I think he’s helped by a few aspects of his game boding well for the course. It also seems we are seeing more and more progress with him at TPC Sawgrass from results rather than comments. Overall, I think this course is a better fit for him than his comments suggest and he appears to be not far off from finding a groove here considering his recent results at the event.

      3. My rationale behind the ultimate sleeper line-up is just to give a full list of options for players that could be useful when gamers are down to their final picks with limited money. It’s not supposed to function as an actual roster. I have been toying with changing that section, though, so we’ll see how much longer it remains…

  2. Nick Tweed

    May 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Can this only be entered if you live in the US? I’m from England…only gives the options of US or Canadian address.

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Photos from the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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GolfWRX is live on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for the PGA Tour’s one-and-only two-man team event.

As usual, general galleries, WITBs, and pullout albums — including some pretty spicy custom putters and headcovers — await your viewing.

Be sure to check back for more photos from the Big Easy, as we’ll continue to update this page with additional galleries throughout the week.

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Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

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Photos from the 2024 Valero Texas Open

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GolfWRX is on site this week at the Valero Texas Open.

The event has been around since 1922, making it one of the oldest on the PGA Tour calendar. Over the years, it’s been held at a variety of courses across the Lone Star State, but it’s found its home at TPC San Antonio in recent years. Some of the biggest names in golf have taken home the title here, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, and Ben Crenshaw.

GolfWRX has its usual assortment of general galleries, WITBs and special pull-out albums. As always, we’ll continue to update the links below as more photos come in from TPC San Antonio.

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