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DraftKings Fantasy Preview: The Wells Fargo Championship

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Both of my six-man rosters faltered big time last week, with several of my picks trunk-slamming Friday and the few potential Sunday showmen dropping down the board over the final 18 holes.

We all have bad weeks, though, and I am right back on the horse.

Next up is the Wells Fargo Championship at future PGA Championship site Quail Hollow. The DraftKings contest to look for here is the $100,000 pool, in which the top finisher receives $10,000 and 7,850 lucky folks will get paid.

As always with that payout, the entry fee is just $3, and if you beat my main lineup by registering your own team through the link below, you are refunded those $3.

Enter the Beat the Writer Contest HERE

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Considering my recent woes there, you might want to test that out. Onto my picks and my (hopeful) turnaround!

The Course

Quail Hollow is a long track that affords players leeway with errant tee balls. This is a profile that suits a bomb-and-gouge type, a long-hitting, inaccurate driver that the PGA Championship tends to favor.

quail-hollow-club-golf_t640

The course’s greens usually rank among the toughest on Tour to decipher due to their severe undulations and have been a consistent source of news the past couple of years.

First, came the bad in 2013. Good tidings arrived the next year, as a move from bent grass to bermuda grass surfaces meant player satisfaction. So overall, we have that bomb-and-gouge model for a successful player here and possibly a great putter due to the greens’ difficulty.

Testing these assumptions against my five-year, top-10 finishers model, the results were mixed. The long-ball hitter has indeed flourished at Quail Hollow, nearly to the same degree as those at Augusta. High-ball strikers also garnered a significant Augusta-like advantage over the last five years in Charlotte. Accuracy off the tee was only marginally important, but still not something to overlook.

Unsurprisingly, great drivers showed up by far the most in the sample. This is a tee shot-course first, but everything else had extensive value too. Approach play and short game came up virtually the same in a tie for second not far behind driving. Putting, as it turned out, proved least important, albeit by a small margin.

What kind of player are we looking for?

Definitely gravitate toward the long, high-ball hitter. Great drivers of the ball are a good choice, but with the sizable importance of approach play and short game as well players atop Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green are also a good bet.

Finally, with the course’s fairways hit numbers being the fourth-worst among Tour courses last year, make sure you hoard players who can handle approach shots from the rough.

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Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 306 points, 22300th of 38300)

  • Hideki Matsuyama, $10,600
  • Louis Oosthuizen, $9,300
  • Webb Simpson, $8,600
  • Martin Laird, $7,300
  • John Huh, $7,100
  • Morgan Hoffmann, $7,100

The Japanese sensation Matsuyama has been on fire in a most understated way this season, producing zero titles but piling up three top-3 finishes and seven top-10s in 14 PGA Tour events.

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His first go-round at Quail Hollow last year was a solid T38 effort, and his game really screams out for this course. Matsuyama is a brilliant long, high-ball hitter, immaculate with approaches on and off the fairway and has a highly underrated and lethal short game. This has all added up to a No. 3 ranking in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green this year. Everything points to him contending at Quail Hollow.

Oosthuizen lacks Matsuyama’s short game and is a touch less potent on approaches, but he possesses everything else for a pretty solid fit at this course. His recent high form suffered at Sawgrass in a T69 showing. The South African was tied for the first day lead late in his Thursday round, though, proving that the sparks of great play didn’t vanish.

Simpson’s game does mesh well with this course, but that’s not the main reason I’m taking him. The Wake Forest grad is a member at Quail Hollow and put his course knowledge to excellent use finishing fourth in 2012. Simpson’s due for something good with his recent spotty play in 2015 and his lack of contention record otherwise at a track he should dominate via familiarity.

Laird cooled off after a torrid three-tournament start to the 2015 calendar, but I have a hunch he gets back on track this week. The Scot is a sneaky long and excellent driver and excels from thick grass on approach shots. And he finished in the top 30 at Quail Hollow last year amid a much worse slump than present.

Huh is a pure flyer pick on a guy who has shown several instances of encouraging performance in recent months, even if it is intermittent.

Hoffmann missed the cut at The Players, but produced two top-10s in his previous four starts. He fits that long-hitting, high-baller mold and possesses a decent short game and great ability from the rough. I trust that opening 76 at The Players was an anomaly that won’t recur at a Quail Hollow track that suits him better.

One Big Name to Avoid

  • Phil Mickelson, $10,400

Lefty is the fourth-most costly option this week, and it’s easy to see why considering his sensational career at Quail Hollow (five top-5s and nine top-15s in 11 appearances).

PhilMickelson

I’m taking a huge leap of faith, though and steering clear of his path. Mickelson has been one of the greatest ever at approach play from the rough, but he’s misplaced that ability big time in 2015 with a 184 ranking in rough proximity. While Mickelson has performed well on-course of late, his highly erratic driving will ensure he misses the fairway often at Quail Hollow. And I don’t think he’ll rediscover that magic from the rough this week that he will need to harbor any hopes of contention.

Alternate Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 265 points, 31700th of 38300)

  • Jim Furyk, $10,800
  • J.B. Holmes, $9,800
  • Jhonattan Vegas, $8,100
  • Ryan Moore, $8,000
  • Pat Perez, $7,100
  • Brian Davis, $6,100

OK, I strayed from the majority-long hitters model a little bit here, but many of the remaining non-bomber options had too much in their arsenals to pass up.

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Furyk is the all-time earnings leader at Quail Hollow, fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and recently found a groove in winning at Hilton Head.

Moore is a big horse for the course (T18,T6, T5 his last three starts) and has been sensational from the rough this year. Perez’s recent play combined with his history at Quail Hollow was too enticing to ignore as well.

Davis is my wildcard for this group. He has missed four of his last six cuts, but he does have three top-25s at Quail Hollow and he strikes me as a bit of a poor man’s Furyk when he’s at his best, and that should work very well at this course.

As for the long hitters, Holmes is the defending champion. He has been electric when he’s on this year, and the good mojo at this venue should help bring that out.

Under the radar, Vegas has really started to piece his game together of late, which makes me confident despite his dismal record at Quail Hollow.

Don’t forget to enter the “Beat the Writer” Contest here.

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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

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Brian

    May 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I came in 1253 this week for $11. Had McIlroy, Simpson, Hahn, Finau, McNeil and De Jonge (who blew it). Good times.

  2. matt_bear

    May 14, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    146 points out of the gate.

    Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, John Hahn, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas, Kevin Kisner.

  3. matt_bear

    May 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I won $6 last week finishing around 6000th place. I even had Spieth too. The DK format is pretty neat because every high player you select has to be offset by a dark horse. I had Hahn, who was the cheapest player in the entire format so that helped. Definitely felt like i missed a change to place really high though.

    • Kevin Casey

      May 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Congrats on the great week!

      It’s always nice to make money, even if it’s not the $10,000 first prize.

      And totally agreed on the dark horse part. It’s fun to try to pick that out. Not that it’s easy in anyway to pick the top players correctly (I did the same thing as you with putting Spieth in one of my lineups last week), but there’s certainly more of a boost if you nab a low-cost rarely-picked player and he does quite well.

      But yeah I feel for you on the Spieth part. I don’t have the standings in front of me, but I would agree you might have been in for a much bigger pay day if you had taken someone who contended there. It’s kind of annoying, I had that same problem at the Masters. I won money off my main roster, but my main guy was Jason Day who placed like T30. Yeah, he made the cut, but if I had made the trendy pick in Spieth there, I probably would’ve been a lot closer to the top.

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Tour News

Arnold Palmer Invitational Tour Truck Report: Rickie’s iron experiments continue, MMT train rolls on, Rose tests a ton

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The fleet of tour trucks arrived southwest of Orlando this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

It’s an appropriate place to be digging into the nuances of pro golfers’ gear, given the club building, tinkering, and general gear junkie-hood of the tournament’s namesake, Arnold Palmer, whose 10,000 club-filled workshop is gear nut’s cave of wonders.

Let’s dig into the tweaks and wholesale switches we’re hearing about at the King’s place.

Titleist

Byeong Hun An plugged a Mitsubishi MMT Utility 125 TX shaft in his Titleist U500 2-iron.

Bernd Wiesberger is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD DI9 TX shaft (tipped 1.5 inches) in his TSi2 3-wood as he searches for more of a consistent cut ball flight. His current gamer features a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 8 TX shaft with the same tipping.

Denny McCarthy, Robert Streb, and Byeong Hun An are all testing new Project X EvenFlow RipTide shafts (which began tour seeding in late January).

And on a related note, while we haven’t heard specifics of anyone putting one in play, we spotted prototype Scotty Cameron 11.5 putters that feature an expanded range of sight lines (more photos here).

Vokey

The report from @vokeywedgerep: “Tons of fresh wedges this week anticipating firm and fast greens at Bay Hill as well as prep for The Players. Many players checked loft and lies, also.”

Bernd Wiesberger has a fresh set of wedges and Byeong Hun An added a 60T SM8.

Doug Ghim, who is usually in an SM8 60-08AD+, is going with a different grind/bounce profile this week: 60-06K.

Patton Kizzire switched to a 52M Proto. We imagine it’s Arnold, rather than Ryan, Palmer he’s honoring with the stamping.

JT Poston is switching to SM8 56-10S reducing some bounce on his wedge (from 56-14).

Jazz Janewattananond may have some of the most unique wedge stampings on tour. Gotta love the skateboard tricks (and the skateboarder stamped by AD) on the 60T!

 

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A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)

Callaway

Both Kevin Kisner and Matt Every have switched into Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts (125 TX) as the composite iron shaft surge continues (more on the MMT shafts here).

Francesco Molinari is testing a Callaway Epic Speed (Triple Diamond) driver.

Tyler McCumber has a fresh set of MMB irons.

Sam Burns is in an Epic Speed LS driver with a Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft (and going down three swingweight points, D6 to D3)

Marc Leishman moved into an Epic Speed 4-wood with a Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X shaft.

Matt Wallace is putting an Epic Speed driver (9 degrees) in the bag with a Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X shaft.

Maverick McNealy is gaming “Proto Top Gun irons” (that we are eager to get a look at!) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Ping

Tyrrell Hatton is testing a Fujikura Ventus Red 6 X (tipped 1.5 inch) shaft in his G425 driver. Compared to his gamer, Hatton saw an increase in ball speed, more consistent spin, and less curve to the right.

Cobra

Jason Dufner testing a prototype 3D-printed Cobra putter “Agera.” It seems to feature the same SIK Descending Loft Technology (DLT) as the King Supersport-35.

Rickie Fowler returned to his Rev33 irons—albeit with some fresh grinding to the soles of the sticks. Have we arrived at Rev34?

TaylorMade

Pretty quiet on the TM front—save for some superb limited AP headcovers.

 

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A post shared by Chris Trott (@trottiegolf)

Robert MacIntyre is taking the full SIM2 plunge: SIM2 Max driver, SIM2 Titanium 3-wood, SIM2 Rescue (19.5 degrees).

Tommy Fleetwood is gaming the 2021 TP5x ball.

PXG

Jim Herman is testing a PXG Gen4 driver with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6X (tipped 1 inch).

Zach Johnson was testing a Gen4 driver as well.

Scott Garrison/KBS

Jordan Spieth got a new SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0 grip on his Scotty Cameron 009 putter.

 

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A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

Bryson DeChambeau’s SIK Pro C got a loft and lie check.

Free agents

Justin Rose is looking at new blade-style prototype Axis1 Rose putter models—as well as both Mizuno MP-5 and MP-18 irons—in addition to Ping G425 5 and 7-woods (both LST and MAX) with Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Orange shafts.

A final note: If you’re wondering what 1990 champion Robert Gamez will be playing, here’s a look—Wilson D7 irons, Wilson Staff blades, multiple Cleveland RTX wedge varieties, and a T.P. Mills flatstick. Nice!

Check out all our photos from Bay Hill, here.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the Arnold Palmer Invitational (plus links to all photo galleries)

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This week, the PGA Tour is at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, and GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy some interesting things from the grounds and around the practice area as players were getting ready to battle for the $9.3 million purse at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Justin Rose’s new Axis1 (Blade) proto

Justin has been using an Axis1 putter for years, but this is the first time we’ve spotted him with a blade-style prototype version.

Rickie continues to tinker

Rickie Fowler’s bag is always interesting, and this week the Rev33’s are in play.

John Augenstein’s WITB

The 2019 U.S. Am runner-up turned professional in late 2020 has quite the club setup.

Camilo Villegas with new Srixon ZX7 irons

Camilo always has a very interesting club set up based on his unique dynamics into the ball—lots of forward shaft lean and low dynamic loft. Thanks to their more aggressive VT sole the new Srixon ZX7’s seem to be a perfect fit for the Colombian.

Justin Rose continues to test

It was exactly a year ago at the 2020 API, Justin Rose started to tinker with his club setup, and this week in 2021 it appears that he is still working to get dialed in and testings drivers.

Speaking of drivers, Rose was as caught talking to Jason Dufner about his new Cobra RAD Speed, and might have ordered one to test.

A story in 4 parts – the assumed conversation

Rose– “Oh, I like the look of this Duff!”
Duff– “It’s my new one. I like it”
Rose– “Interesting, what’s it all about?”
Duff– “It has all this weight to make it stable, & you adjust it here.”
Rose (on phone )- “Hey cobra can I test one of those Rad drivers?”

 

Kisner with a unique putting drill

Keith Mitchell continues to use HZRDUS T1100 in his driver

With all the talk about players including Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen moving to longer and much more flexible driver shafts, Keith Mitchell continues to buck the trend with one of the stiffest shafts available – the ProjectX HZRDUS T1100.

Here’s a look at Louis with his stock Ping ALTA CB stiff shaft.

Alex Noren loaded up with golf balls

We know there is a lot of water around the course this week at Bay Hill, and it looks like Alex Noren is prepared like an 18 handicap headed out to play from the back tees with four dozen balls ready to go.

Dufner putting with his wedge

Jason Dufner was seen working on his putting using the popular bellied wedge drill which forces you to work on producing a level stroke and precise center contact.

Hideki Matsuyama’s bag must be heavy

Hideki is the ultimate tester, which is why we love him at GolfWRX.

Bryson potentially testing grips

It looks like Bryson was getting ready to test some new Jumbo-Max grips, or just had a fresh set installed this week.

Paging Ping – Harris English needs a new putter headcover

That ratty old thing must hold some sentimental value to Harris based on its condition.

Charl Schwartzel back to Miura irons

Charl has gone through a number of iron sets in recent memory and at the API it looks like he’s back to a set of Miura 001 blades.

Spieth testing new utility

Jordan Spieth had a few extra Titleist utility irons next to his bag on the putting green, and it could be that he is working on his gapping because of the long par 3’s at Bay Hill.

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WGC-Workday Championship Tour Truck Report: New putter for Rory, more AutoFlex experiments

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First and foremost, prayers and love to Tiger Woods and his family.

TaylorMade

Rory McIlroy is going back to an older model putter this week at Concession swapping his Spider X for a TP Juno.

Robert McIntyre AKA “Bobby Mack” put a new TaylorMade Rescue ’21 Hybrid ([email protected]) in the bag with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black Hybrid 100 6.5 TX.

Matthew Wolff put a new TaylorMade (19) UDI in the bag with a Mitsubishi MMT 125TX.

Collin Morikawa was testing SIM2, SIM2 Max hybrids this week with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shafts.

Dustin Johnson alongside TaylorMade’s Keith Sbarboro was testing SIM2 drivers with Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X, Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 and an LAGP Proto.

Callaway

Jon Rahm made adjustments to his Mavrik Sub Zero 5-wood to optimize launch. The 5-wood has 16.4 degrees of loft and a Black Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X. The adjustments were to the lie of the club going from 59.8 to 58.9 and weight distribution from 12g Front/6g Back to 10G Front/6g Back. Dialed.

Min Woo Lee put a new Epic Speed ([email protected]) with a Fujikura Ventus Red 7X. Lee also debuted his new logo which is on fire.

Titleist 

Genesis Invitational champion Max Homa tested TSi2 5-woods to give him some options for some of the tee shots at Concession. It’s equipped with a Graphite Design Tour XC 8 TX.

Lanto Griffin swapped into a shorter driver going from 45 to 44.5 in his TSi3 (10). Griffin’s driver has a Project X HZURDUS Smoke Black 70 6.5TX

Justin Thomas put a TSI3 (9) in the bag this week. The new set up is powered by a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched back into a shorter length Ping G425 LST this week going from 45 to 44.25 inches. The shaft is a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX (@44.25 , Tip 1.5, D4 SW).

Louis Oosthuizen did something interesting. He had a Ping build him a G425 LST (10.5 @ 9.4, Small -) with the company’s lightweight Alta Slate CB 55 stiff shaft. The 2010 Open Champion was looking for a softer feel with the driver, which isn’t surprising, considering he was seen taking a hard look at Adam Scott’s TSi with an AutoFlex. The whippy lightweight plot thickens…

Ping released a bunch of new putters this week for seeding. Multiple staffers tested them and we will see on Thursday if any go in play.

Cobra

Cobra’s Ben Schomin (and king of the mullets) is doing something to Bryson’s driver—wanted to post this because of the respect for Ben’s hair. Hair aside, Bryson did put a new LAGP Axis Blue 6X in his driver and was also testing new Rad Speed 3 Woods.

Misc/Free Agents

Tommy Fleetwood swapped out his Callaway MD5 Jaws wedges for a set of Titleist Vokey’s (52M, 56M, and 60T) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts.

Adam Scott (Titleist staff) was testing long center shafted Odyssey Two Ball 10.

 

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