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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.

JimFurykPlayers

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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New troops: PXG announces additions to tour staff for 2021

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Earlier this week, it was the Brooklyn Nets making big news in the NBA with player acquisitions. Now in the golf world, it’s PXG, who is also adding to its roster with a number of new players on both the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour.

The newest members of the PXG roster, which they like to call “troops” are

  • Jim Herman
  • Sung Kang
  • Danny Lee
  • Luke List
  • Henrik Norlander
  • Adam Schenk
  • Kyle Stanley
  • Hudson Swafford

Speaking to the switch, Sung Kang said

“PXG makes some of the best performing equipment in golf. I know, with the support of Bob Parsons, his team, and PXG clubs, that I am going to be able to take my game to the next level!”

The professionals from the Korn Ferry Tour joining current PXG staffers Scott Langley and Grant Hirschman include

  • Kevin Dougherty
  • Nicolas Echavarria
  • KK Limbhaust
  • Justin Lower
  • Seth Reeves
  • Charlie Saxon

“Between grit and their love of the game, every one of these new players brings something special to the course. We are proud to welcome them all to the PXG Troops and honored that they have chosen to put PXG in play.” -PXG founder and CEO Bob Parsons.

These players join a long list of PXG staff players, which also includes LPGA Tour players Lydia Ko, Katherine Kirk, Austin Ernst, Christia Kim, Brittany Lang, Haley Moore, Celine Boutie, Ryann O’Toole, Gerina Piller, Jennifer Song, Linnea Ström, and Mina Harigae.

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Sony Open Tour Truck Report: CH3 newest Ventus Black convert, free agent testing, and Srixon has two new staffers

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With no tour trucks on site until the West Coast Swing begins next week, we had to scrape and claw for every morsel of information for this week’s report. And with the time difference in Hawaii, we may get more info this evening and will update accordingly.

That said, let’s dig into this week’s Tour Truck Report.

Titleist

Charles Howell III put a new Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X in his Titleist TSi3. He was also testing new 4-irons to find a recipe that gapped a bit better with his Ping G410 7-wood and Titleist T100 5-iron.

TaylorMade

Lots of players staff and non-staff players going into SIM2.

Staff

  • Nick Taylor: SIM2 w/ Fujikura Atmos Blue 6 X

Non Staff:

  • DJ Trahan: SIM2
  • Danny Lee: SIM2
  • XJ Zhang: SIM2

Non Staff Testing

  • SIM2/SIM2 Max: Jim Herman, Luke List, Henrik Norlander, James Hahn, Sung Kang, Kyle Stanley, Hudson Swafford

Collin Morikawa has the new TP5 Prototype ball in play and Sergio Garcia is in the new TP5X Proto.

Callaway

Jim Furyk went to a long stick with a 47-inch (tipped 3/4) Callaway Epic Proto Driver (9 degrees) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X.

Will Gordon is also in the new Callaway Epic Proto (9 degrees) with a Ventus Black 6 X and was seeing ball speeds reach 190 mph.

Callaway announced the signing of Tyler McCumber who will be in a full bag of Callaway gear in 2021. We will update on what landed in the bag ASAP.

Si Woo Kim switching to a prototype Odyssey OG Putter

Srixon

Keegan Bradley added the new Srixon ZX7 irons (4-PW) replacing his trust Z745’s. The new irons come equipped with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Srixon also added two new staff members for 2021 PGA Tour veteran KJ Choi and 27 year old Matt Neismith.

Matt Neismith WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

ZX Utility 18: Fujikura Atmos Blue Hybrid 85 X

Z-FORGED (4-PW): Nippon Modus 125 X

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58): KBS 610 Wedge 115g

K.J Choi WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5

ZX7 (5-PW)

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58) w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Free Agents

Not in the field at Sony, but two notable free agents Ryan Moore and Jason Day are in the midst of building new bags. Nothing is secure by any stretch but see below for what we heard they have been testing thus far.

Jason Day

Ping G425 LST Driver, Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons

Ryan Moore

TaylorMade SIM2, Titleist TSi2 and 3 fairways, Mizuno irons (multiple), Vokey Wedges

Also…

Vijay Singh put in a brand new Callaway Epic Proto driver at 46.5 inches with a Fujikura Atmos Black 5 TX shaft.

In regards to players who have signed with new companies, here is the list

PXG

  • Sung Kang
  • Jim Herman

Srixon

  • Matt Neismith
  • KJ Choi

Titleist 

  • Joseph Bramlett
  • Fabian Gomez
  • Nelson Ledesma
  • Troy Merritt
  • Sam Saunders

Callaway 

  • Jon Rahm
  • Tyler McCumber

TaylorMade 

  • Tommy Fleetwood

Ping

  • None
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Sentry TOC Tour Truck Report: New sticks, new companies, and Patrick Reed buys his own threads

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Happy 2021! The PGA Tour is at Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and with the electricity around the Rahm Callaway signing and new TaylorMade gear hitting the streets, there is a ton to track.

Here is a list of who had new gear in the bag to kick off the year.

Titleist

Justin Thomas finally put the new Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) into the bag fully equipped with a Fujikura Ventus Red 6 X. The Ventus Red is gaining popularity little by little with Adam Scott and now Thomas switching into it. The new set up saw JT keeping his launch constant from the old TS3 set up all while going from 176 to 179mph ball speed and dropping spin from 2300 to 2100.

Richie Wereksnki also added a Ventus Red 6 X to his yet-unreleased Titleist TSi4 (10 degrees @9.25, D1 SureFit)

Lanto Griffin joined the long driver crowd with a fresh new TSi2 (9 degrees) with a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 6.5 @46 inches.

Adam Scott made some fairway wood switches adding a 15-degree TSi2 3-wood with an old-school Fujikura P95 and a TSi2 7-wood with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 10 TX.

TaylorMade

Dustin Johnson tested the new SIM2 and SIM2 Max heads in 9 and 10.5 degrees. The world No. 1 tried both heads with his trusted Speeder 661 Evolution and a Ventus Black 6 X. DJ will also put the SIM2Max HL (16.5) 3-wood in play with a Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X.

Collin Morikawa tested SIM2 (10.5) and SIM2 Max (9). Word is on course he was going back and forth between the SIM2 (10.5 degrees @9) and his current gamer SIM (8 degrees @8.5) both with the MCA Diamana D+ Limited 60 TX. Morikawa also has a new Spider FCG putter in the satchel as well as the new Sim2 3-Wood ([email protected]) with an MCA Diamana D+ Limited 80TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched into the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green (Hulk) 70 G 6.5 TX.

Michael Thompson is now in the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6X.

Joaquin Niemann also added the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 TX.

Tony Finau added swing weight to his entire set over the winter. The reason was to reduce a left miss, and after some tweaking, he ended up adding two to three swing weights across the board. The irons went from D3 to D5+ (D5.5).

Mackenzie Hughes put the new Ping G425 Max (9) in play with a Project X Hzurdus T1100 60G 6.5.

Callaway

Jon Rahm showed up with a whole bag of new Callaway gear

Driver: Callaway Proto Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI (Black) 8 X

Irons: Callaway UT Proto (3), Callaway Apex Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

  • TBD on UT or 5 Wood

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged JPN (52-8, 56-12, 60-10)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

Marc Leishman added a prototype Odyssey putter to his bag. The putter has an OG White Hot insert, and sources tell me Leishman loved the feel of the face straight away.

Xander Schauffele put a new Callaway Triple Diamond Prototype driver in play. The 9-degree (@8) head is loaded with his usual Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7X (custom black finish) shaft. Xander, like Rahm, also has the new Apex Prototype irons in play with Nippon Pro Modus3 130 X. The irons are rumored to have less offset, thinner top line, shorter blade length, and no Flash Face Cup.

Srixon

Hideki Matsuyama swapped shafts in his Srixon ZX5 driver (9.5 degrees) from a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 TX into a Graphite Design Tour AD MD 8X XX (that’s right). The prototype shaft is a modified XC with a soft butt section and a very stiff tip.

Free Agents

On the fashion front, Patrick Reed who parted ways with Nike at the end of 2020, showed up in head-to-toe G/Fore apparel. The coolest part about the story is that Reed was such a fan of the brand that instead of signing a deal or expecting it for free, the 2018 Masters Champion went online and put all of his gear on the old AmEx like everyone else. According to my source, he’s loved G/Fore clothing for a long time and insisted that he get it like everyone else. Well done, PR.

This is what a representative from Team G/Fore had to say

“We are happy anytime we hear someone is enjoying our products and though Patrick is not on our roster for 2021, we are glad to learn he enjoys our gear!”

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