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Shriners Hospitals for Children Open DraftKings picks

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PGA Tour pros will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. This tournament was founded in 1983, and it has always been a part of the PGA Tour’s fall swing. The event is currently held at TPC Summerlin. 

This tournament has typically attracted a somewhat better field than some of the other fall series events, and this year is no different. Abraham Ancer, Sam Burns, Paul Casey, Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott, and Will Zalatoris will all be teeing it up this week at TPC Summerlin.

TPC Summerlin is a par 71, measuring 7,255 yards. It was designed in 1991 by Bobby Weed and Fuzzy Zoeller. Water comes into play on four holes. The fairways are Bermuda-grass, the rough is Bermuda-grass, measuring two inches on average, and the 7,400 square foot on average greens are Bent-grass. TPC Summerlin is a typical TPC venue with a number of risk-reward holes that tend to yield low scores from aggressive play.

Similar to most courses that we see during the fall swing, TPC Summerlin is generally torn up by PGA Tour pros. Outside of a wind-swept year in 2017 where Patrick Cantlay won at nine-under par, the winning score has been 20-under or below in eight of the last ten years. TPC Summerlin has annually ranked inside the ten easiest courses on Tour for each of the last three years. Last year, players had to shoot six-under par just to make the cut.

Along with wedge play and the ability to control the occasional long iron, I am primarily looking for players that are comfortable in easy scoring conditions and have experienced success before on Bent-grass greens. I know I sound like a broken record during the fall swing, but it’s true, birdies are the name of the game in this portion of the season. It should not be overlooked that some players are more comfortable than others in a tournament where the winning score is -25.

Let’s dig into my DraftKings picks.

$10,000 range 

Will Zalatoris, $10,100 (11.37%)

Brooks Koepka, Sam Burns, and Will Zalatoris all seem to be garnering significantly less ownership than Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson, and Abraham Ancer this week, and I view all of them as very acceptable pivots. I’ve already shared my love for Koepka this week in the betting tips column, so I’ll use this space to highlight another player who just barely missed my outright card, Will Zalatoris.

The Wake Forest product is coming off a 14th-place finish at the Sanderson Farms, where he gained 2.3 strokes off the tee and 2.1 strokes on approach. He has regained form with the putter as well, gaining over 2.6 strokes putting in three of his last four starts. The reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year now returns to a course that he finished fifth at on debut last year, and I am expecting a similarly strong performance this go around.

$9,000 range

Hideki Matsuyama, $9,500 (14.31%)

I’ve already discussed my case for Hideki Matsuyama in the betting tips column, and while I try and give out different players in this column, the recent Masters champion is undeniably my favorite outright option, and my favorite DraftKings play in this range. 14.31% projected ownership is extremely manageable, and he projects as a perfect pivot from the slightly more expensive and 23% owned Scottie Scheffler. I expect Matsuyama to continue his strong play in the desert and be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

$8,000 range

Jason Kokrak, $8,700 (8.57%)

The last time the PGA Tour traveled to a Bent-grass Las Vegas venue, Jason Kokrak claimed victory at the CJ Cup at the nearby Shadow Creek. While Shadow Creek is far from a perfect comp for TPC Summerlin, there is something to be said for being familiar with playing golf in altitude, and due to his relationship with BetMGM, Kokrak spends a great deal of time golfing out in the desert. This is the first we’ve seen of Kokrak since the TOUR Championship, but he gained over a stroke off the tee and on approach in that tournament, and now he returns to his preferred putting surface. At sub 10% ownership, Kokrak is one of my favorite DraftKings plays of the week.

$7,000 range 

Ian Poulter, $7,000 (6.10%)

There’s an argument to be made that Ian Poulter is the most mispriced and under-owned golfer on the slate this week. The Ryder Cup stalwart has no business being priced amongst the likes of Scott Stallings, Joseph Bramlett, Martin Laird, Troy Merritt, Joel Dahmen, Cameron Young, and Henrik Norlander. Maybe his less than stellar performance at the Ryder has thrown people off his scent, but Whistling Straits was always going to be an uphill battle for a player with Poulter’s skill-set. The Englishmen now travels to a sub-7,300 yard positional golf course, where length off the tee is of little value, yet catching a hot putter is of utmost importance.

$6,000 range 

Hank Lebioda, $6,300 (4.64%)

Apologies for overlapping from the betting column again with Hank Lebioda, but there is no other player in the 6K range that I am overweight on other than Lebioda this week. Not to belabor the point, but the Florida State product is priced around players that haven’t sniffed Sunday contention in years, whereas Lebioda has had a legitimate chance to win three of his last six tournaments. There is no player in this range with as much top-10 upside as Lebioda, and I highly recommend buying low on a player that was priced above $8,000 less than three months ago.

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19th Hole

‘Yuck’ – Cringe driving range mansplaining incident towards PGA pro goes viral

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While a female golf professional and coach was on the range, she received some unprovoked swing tips from an amateur onlooker.

“What you’re doing there is you’re coming back too slow,” the random man said to Georgia Ball, who has almost 200,000 Instagram followers based on her excellent golf tips she puts out on social media.

“I’m going through a swing change at the minute, so…,” Ball responds.

The man continues to try and “help” and says he’s been playing the game “for 20 years”.

You can see the full video on Ball’s Instagram page (@georgiagolfcoach) here:

 

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A post shared by Georgia Ball (@georgiagolfcoach)

The most infuriating part of the video is certainly after she makes a great swing, the man tries taking credit as if his advice is what produced the result.

The man takes a beating in the comment section so make sure to check out the post, with even Hollywood actor Don Cheadle calling the incident “yuck”.

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LIV Golf star accepts special invite to compete at 2024 Masters

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Augusta National

The Masters has handed out three special invitations to golfers for this year’s event, with one of those going to a LIV Golf pro.

Amongst those now heading to Augusta National in April will be LIV’s Joaquin Niemann with Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, announcing the news today saying:

“The Masters Tournament has a long-standing tradition of inviting leading international players who are not otherwise qualified.

Today’s announcement represents the Tournament’s continued commitment towards developing interest in the game of golf across the world. We look forward to welcoming each player to Augusta National this spring.”

Joining Niemann will be Thorbjorn Olesen and Ryo Hisatsune who also accepted offers to compete in this year’s Masters.

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4-time major champ says Tiger Woods will ‘without a doubt win this year’ – under one condition

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Tiger Woods’ return to golf during the 2024 season didn’t go to plan in his first start at Riviera Country Club last week. During the second round of the Genesis Invitational, the 15-time major champion was forced to withdraw due to what he later identified as influenza.

Prior to his withdrawal, Woods was +2 and flirting with the cut line. He was hitting the ball well off the tee and on approach but was a bit sloppy around and on the greens, most likely due to competitive rust.

While speaking with Sky Sports, Laura Davies gave her opinion on Tiger’s return, viewing it from an optimistic lens.

“I actually think, if he had been fit, he’d have probably made the cut; the cut was one-over at the time, and he was two-over when he had to withdraw,”

“The way we saw him driving it on Thursday, he was scrappy, he dropped five shots – very un-Tiger-like – and he’d already dropped a couple [on Friday]. If he can drive it like that all the time, we know his irons will come around.

“They have been a little bit loose. Putting’s been great; he’s still holing those very important five, 10-footers. A lot of them were for pars yesterday and he made them.”

Davies added that she thinks Tiger can win again this year.

“The way we saw him driving it on Thursday, he was scrappy, he dropped five shots – very un-Tiger-like – and he’d already dropped a couple [on Friday]. If he can drive it like that all the time, we know his irons will come around.”

“They have been a little bit loose. Putting’s been great; he’s still holing those very important five, 10-footers. A lot of them were for pars yesterday and he made them.”

“I think, if he is going to be fit – and it looked like the signs for that are good with his body – then I think we’ve got lots to look forward to. Without a doubt he will win this year – if he stays fit.”

Whether Woods “stays fit” or not is highly questionable given what we’ve seen from him since 2022.

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