With the conclusion of the Wyndham Championship, the PGA TOUR regular season is now behind us, and while there is still some playoff golf left to be played leading up to the TOUR Championship in September, this article will focus on the events of the regular season and the four major championships.

If you have been following my work for the last couple of years on the site, then you already know how much I love wrapping up seasons with faux award ceremonies. Here, I plan on delivering the same type of sentimental reflection that I do in my NFL awards, however the main difference is that I will be looking strictly through a DFS (DraftKings) lens in relation to these PGA honors.

Now, without further ado... 

– The 2016-17 PGA TOUR DFS Awards –

John Daly Award (Rookie of the Year)

In 1991, a foul-mouthed, cigarette smoking, beer swilling, overweight, long hitting, rookie took the PGA by storm. John Daly not only led the tour in driving distance, but he also racked up 11 top-25 finishes, and captured his first major title at Crooked Stick as the ninth alternate in the PGA Championship. To say his rookie season was historic is quite the understatement, which is why his name graces this award.

As for the award’s criterion:

The PGA TOUR classification of a golfer’s rookie season is listed as follows:

A player’s rookie season ("Rookie Year") is defined as the season in which he becomes a PGA TOUR member (including Special Temporary Members) and plays in 10 or more events as a member or finishes in the Top 125 on the Official FedEx Cup Points List, the Top 125 on the Official PGA TOUR Money List or qualifies as a Top 125 - Nonmember, whichever occurs first. Further, for purposes of this definition, a new member (including Special Temporary Members) shall not be eligible for the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year if he has previously played in more than seven (7) Official PGA TOUR Money events as a professional in any prior season.”

For me, that’s too complicated and excludes a lot of highly qualified first year players. Basically, my list instead includes players who were mainstays on DFS rosters this season, despite being amateurs or foreign tour players last season. That makes it simple and fair enough.


Wesley Bryan – 16 cuts made in 25 starts; five top-10 finishes including a T4 at the Genesis Open, a T3 at the John Deere Classic, and a win at the RBC Heritage; ranked 27th in the FedEx Cup Rankings.

Ollie Schniderjans – 17 cuts made in 24 starts; five top-10 finishes including a T3 at the RBC Heritage and a second place finish at the Wyndham Championship.

Jon Rahm – 17 cuts made in 19 starts; seven top-10 finishes including five top-five finishes and a win at the Farmers Insurance Open; ranked eighth in the Official World Golf Rankings and sixth in the FedEx Cup Rankings; third in SG: off the tee, fourth in SG: tee-to-green, fifth in SG: total, sixth in par-4 scoring average, ninth in birdie or better percentage.

Bryson DeChambeau – 12 cuts made in 27 starts; two top-10 finishes including a T2 at the Puerto Rico Open and a win at the John Deere Classic; ranked 43rd in the FedEx Cup Rankings.

Xander Schauffele – 16 cuts made in 24 starts; three top-10 finishes including a T5 at the US Open and a win at the Greenbrier; ranked 33rd in the FedEx Cup Rankings; Averaged 58.0 DraftKings points per contest.


Jon Rahm  Mainly because Rahm is ineligible for the actual PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Award, I feel it necessary to heap praise upon him here. Of all the stats listed next to his name above, the most impressive of all is his current Official World Golf Ranking. Just one year ago to the day, Rahm was ranked 126th in the world. He is now number eight. The fact that he leapt over 100 spots in just one calendar year makes it pretty easy to say that he experienced one of the best first 12 months of PGA TOUR golf in the history of the sport, but it will be especially solidified if he can come away with the TOUR Championship after this next month of FedEx Cup Playoff golf.

DFS Darling Award

DFS players are always looking for an edge and in fantasy golf; the easiest way to do that is to follow statistics instead of narrative. Narrative is often spelled out in pricing on DraftKings, as the top priced options are not always the best course fit or in the best current form, but rather their expected production and name recognition are flaunted to bait the more relaxed DFS player. What we are looking for is a golfer who possesses top marks in all of the nerdy statistical categories that DFS junkies love to cherry pick, along with enough consistent season long production to be called a "DFS Darling." Essentially, this award encompasses the difference between fantasy golf and actual golf.


Tony Finau –  Long bomber; solid putter; relentless birdie maker; not highly publicized by the golf media -- A perfect recipe for a low owned DFS steal... Only problem is that the Finau secret got out quickly and his ownership peaked at nearly 40-percent in the "DraftKings Millionaire Maker" for the PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago. (Key Stats: Driving Distance 7th; Total Birdies, 2nd; Total Eagles, T1; Par-5 Scoring, 8th; Birdie-or-Better Percentage, 8th; SG Tee-to-Green, 7th; SG Off-the-Tee, 4th)

Rickie Fowler – Top-five in just about every statistical category that the tour and ShotLink can come up with. Won at the Honda in February and collected a tour leading nine top-10 finishes this season. His consistent form, statistical dominance, and fan favoritism make him a textbook candidate for this award. (Key Stats: Scoring Average, 1st; SG Putting, 1st; SG Total, 1st; Sand Save Percentage, 1st; Birdie-or-Better Percentage, 4th; Par-3 Scoring, 2nd; Par-5 Scoring, 6th; Birdie Average, 4th; Scrambling, 4th; Total Driving, 4th; DK Points Average, 2nd)

Luke List – Arguably the longest hitter on tour and a ferocious birdie maker, List consistently brings sky-high upside for a player so often priced down in the $6K range. A classic plug and play option in a "stars and scrubs" lineup. (Key Stats: Driving Distance, 3rd; Total Eagles, T1; Par-5 Scoring, 3rd; Birdie-or-Better Percentage, 6th; Birdie Average, 9th)

Matt Kuchar – An unconscious cut maker (17-for-22 on the season) and top-25 machine (14 out of 17 made cuts), Kuchar is another crowd favorite who backs up his popularity with production. Widely considered the safest play each week, Kuchar served as a cash game mainstay in DraftKings this season. (Key Stats: SG Around the Green, 6th; Scrambling, 5th; Final Round Scoring Average, 11th; Par-4 Scoring, 11th; Consecutive Cuts Made, 4th; DK Points Average in Majors, 3rd)


Rickie Fowler – In reality, Rickie is not only a DFS Darling, but a darling in the hearts of a large majority of golf fans rooting for the nicest guy on tour. That aside though, for our purposes here, I will stick to his statistical accomplishments that made him consistently the highest owned golfer in DraftKings contests this past season... As of right now, Rickie is fifth in the FedEx Cup Standings, largely in thanks to his win at the Honda Classic this past February and because of his tour leading nine top-10 finishes on the season. To go along with those accomplishments, Rickie is littered across the leaderboards in a slew of important statistical categories that DFS sharks look to when making their weekly models. To name a few, Fowler is first on tour in scoring average, SG: Putting, SG: total, and sand save percentage, while he's fourth in birdie or better percentage, second in par 3 scoring average, sixth in par 5 scoring average, fourth in total birdie average, fourth in scrambling, fourth in total driving, and second in DraftKings points average. Every year there is a guy who lights up DFS models with dazzling statistics, driving his ownership sky high for months at a time, and this year it was Fowler. What likely pleased DFS players the most is that while he dominated statistically, he rarely held a price tag in the elite $12,000 range, but instead was typically affordably priced in the $9,000-10,000 range. Headed into next season, I am sure that he will look to build upon this great statistical season and hopefully turn it into some more wins; most importantly a major championship... According to the numbers, he's so close that the DFS community can taste it!

Ben Hogan Memorial Trophy (Comeback Player of the Year)

From 1938 to 1949, Hogan won 52 professional tournaments, including a whopping 10 victories in 1948. Then, in early 1949, his career would come to a screeching halt, as he and his wife were hit head on by a greyhound bus. Hogan’s wife was largely unharmed because upon impact Hogan attempted to jump across her in hopes of protecting her, but the same couldn’t be said for Hogan himself, as his heroism was costly to say the least. The initial reports were that Hogan had died in the crash, but that wasn’t the case. While his life was spared, Hogan still suffered significant physical damage. In all, Hogan left the wreck with a double pelvic fracture, a fractured collarbone, a fractured left ankle, and a chipped rib. He would also nearly die from subsequent blood clots, but Hogan insisted that he would golf again. By 1950, after a rigorous rehab and training program, Hogan returned to professional golf against all odds. Just 16 months removed from a near fatal crash, and Hogan was crowned the US Open Champion. Beyond that, Hogan would go on to win 12 more times – including six more major titles – before he retired for good. To say that the namesake of this award comes with high honor is an understatement.


Patrick Cantlay – For 55 weeks – more than a calendar year – Patrick Cantlay was the number one ranked amateur golfer on the planet. This is, mind you, from 2011-to-2012 – an amateur era including the golden graduating class of golfers that get so much publicity now, like Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Emiliano Grillo, Patrick Rodgers, and Ollie Schniederjans. My point here is that Cantlay wasn’t just good as an amateur, he was the best of the best young crop of golfers in years. Just as he appeared ready to rise to professional stardom, his back gave out. Specifically, he suffered a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae just one year after turning pro. This back injury proved to be a tough one for Cantlay to overcome, as each time he would go through a rigorous rehab program and seemed ready for a return, he would suffer a setback. It took until 2017, nearly four years after his initial injury, for Cantlay to be fully healthy again. Just as his return neared, unfortunately tragedy struck again, this time in a different form. Cantlay’s caddy and lifetime best friend, Chris Roth, was killed in a hit-and-run situation while they were crossing an intersection on their way to a bar. Roth died in Cantlay’s arms before help could arrive. Despite all of this adversity and sorrow, Cantlay still rejoined the tour this season, and did so with inspiring success. He has yet to win an event, but his 8-for-8 made cuts this season is remarkable in itself, let alone when considering what he has gone through. Ultimately, Cantlay’s story of perseverance has proved to be a favorable narrative amongst the DFS community as well, as his ownership has remained higher than expected, just as his production has. With health and heartbreak now in his past, I see no reason that Cantlay will not continue to get better. The DFS community should take notice.

Jordan Spieth – We all know what Jordan Spieth accomplished as a 21 year old in 2015, but in case your memory is a bit fuzzy, let me refresh it for you… In total, Spieth tallied five victories in 2015, including two major championships and the TOUR Championship. He became the second youngest to ever win at Augusta National, and he set the Masters birdie record with 28. In the two other majors that he didn’t win that season, he came in second and fourth place, ultimately helping him capture and maintain the world’s number one ranking for the entire year. Spieth also won every major award including PGA TOUR Player of the Year, PGA Player of the Year, the Vardon Trophy, the Byron Nelson Award, and the Arnold Palmer Award. On top of it all, Spieth set the PGA record for total earnings in a single season with over $12 million, which doesn’t even include the extra $10 million bonus that he earned for winning the TOUR Championship at East Lake. Simply put, Spieth’s 2015 was one for the ages. 2016 on the other hand was a totally different story; a season instead defined by his back-nine collapse at The Masters. While he did still manage two victories, Spieth lacked momentum all season long and struggled in the other three majors. In 2017, Spieth made a concerted effort to improve his game – particularly in his ball striking. So far this season, Spieth has taken his SG: Approach stat from 86th last year to currently the best in the game. That improvement has brought him eight top-10 finishes, seven top-five finishes, six top-three finishes and three outright victories, including a major championship at The Open this past July. He’s currently in third in FedEx Cup Rankings, giving him a great shot at winning another TOUR Championship.

Pat Perez – In 2015, Perez had a rock solid season by his standards. He won nearly $2 million, registered two top-10 finishes, and finished inside the top-50 in the FedEx Cup Standings by season's end. Then 2016 happened. His best finish in any tournament last season – a season in which he missed most of with a shoulder injury – was a tie for 41st place at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. With zero top-25 finishes and a final ranking of 222nd in the FedEx Cup Rankings, Perez failed to win even $50K and was largely a fantasy zero for DFS DrafKings players. This season, was one of redemption for Perez, as he switched to PXG clubs and seemed fully healthy for the first time in a long while. Five top-10 finishes including a T3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions, a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship, and a win at the OHL Classic later, and Perez returned to being a DFS mainstay. Currently he sits at a whopping 12th place in the FedEx Cup Rankings and has accumulated nearly $4 million in tournament winnings.


Jordan Spieth – The other two nominees should be honored for their accomplishments this season, as both Perez and Cantlay have overcome a lot to return to prominence on tour. Spieth gets the edge here however because of his major championship victory at Royal Birkdale and because of his more prominent presence in the DFS community this season. His elite ball striking has also been one of the biggest improvements for any player this year, while his surge back up the Official World Golf Rankings is nothing to scoff at either. Overall, 2017 was exactly what Spieth’s career needed to get him back into the Tiger and Jack discussion.

Anthony Kim Award (Biggest Disappointment)

Ask any golf fan about Anthony Kim and they will describe to you the biggest anomaly in the history of the sport. He turned pro in 2006 at the age of 21 and finished T2 in his PGA TOUR debut. Before he turned 25 he had already tallied three victories on tour, had served as Team USA’s MVP of the Ryder Cup, and posted a 65 at Augusta National with a course record 11 birdies in one round. At such a young age, it was clear that Kim’s career trajectory was pointing towards the moon. Then, suddenly, it was over. After a 2011 season filled with injuries, Kim looked to return to form in 2012. That year though, at the Wells Fargo Championship, after an opening round 74, Kim literally walked off the course with his bag, opened his trunk, put his clubs in, and drove away. He was never seen on a course again. Kim’s namesake graces this “award” because the waste of his immense talent through injuries and stubbornness can only be described as one of the biggest disappointments in the history of golf.


Patrick Reed – After winning the first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and then serving as “Captain America” for the US Ryder Cup team this past fall, the sky seemed to be the limit for Patrick Reed headed into 2017. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, as he has only registered three top-10 finishes and zero victories. As for his statistics, outside of his putter, nothing in his bag is working. Reed currently ranks 70th in SG: tee-to-green, 66th in birdie-or-better percentage, 85th in SG: around-the-green, and he’s actually losing strokes when approaching the green, ranking him 112th in the world in that department. Hopefully his T2 at the PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago is a sign of good things to come for him, but with the regular season already over, it will be pretty tough for Reed to save his year.

Bubba Watson – With zero wins and zero top-three finishes, it is hard to classify what Watson – a former two-time Masters champion – has done in 2017 as anything other than a disappointment. His horrendous ranks in SG: tee-to-green, putting, and total have rendered him useless in all DFS formats for a large majority of this season. With that being the case, it’s no wonder he made this dubious list.

Danny Willett – After his improbable Masters victory in 2016, Willett vaulted all the way up to ninth place in the Official World Golf Rankings… Today he is 53rd. There is not enough room on this page to explain how disappointing Willett’s form has been between then and now, but just understand that he has been playing some awful golf and hasn’t even sniffed one of my DK lineups all year. Some stats to keep in mind: In 15 measured rounds, Willett is losing over a full stroke off the tee, he’s losing half a stroke approaching the green, he’s losing nearly a quarter of a stroke around the green, and he’s losing more than a half a stroke putting, for a total of -3.166 strokes “gained” total. That is a simple recipe for how you finish 222nd in the FedEx Cup Standings and how you lose 44 spots in the OWGR.

Jason Day – Coming off of a season in which he registered three victories and 10 top-10 finishes, Day’s winless 2017 is nothing more than a categorical disappointment. He’s arguably been the worst player approaching the green on tour, while his putter has been a huge letdown for most of the season as well. To top it all off, Day lost his world number one ranking early in the season, and has plummeted all the way down to ninth as you read this. Ironically I like him this week at The Northern Trust, so maybe he can still turn things around in time for the TOUR Championship.

Winner (or should I say loser??):

Danny Willett – I spelled it out above… Willett has become a weekend hack. Maybe this is just further proof that he didn’t win The Masters in 2016, but rather Spieth lost it with his epic back-nine collapse. If things continue in this direction, there is a chance that we will remember Willett as the worst Masters champ in history.

Gene Sarazen Award (Most Memorable Moment)

When analyzing the most memorable moments in the history of sports – let alone golf – the conversation cannot end without mentioning Gene Sarazen’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in the 1935 Masters… Trailing by three shots and already laying one on the iconic par-5 15th hole, Sarazen had a huge decision to make from 235 yards out: Lay up and avoid the infamous pond that protects the 15th green, or go for it in hopes of making up ground on Craig Wood – the tournament leader. Sarazen grabbed his 4-wood and chose the latter. The rest is history as they say, as he cleared the pond, landed on the green, and rolled the ball into the cup for one of the rarest occurrences in sports – an albatross. Just like that, the three shot lead was cleared and Sarazen managed to finish off Wood the following day in a 36-hole playoff. This award for “most memorable moment” rightfully bears Sarazen’s name and is only given to golfers who have achieved arm-hair raising moments of the magnitude that Sarazen did in 1935.


Jordan Spieth holes out from greenside bunker in 1st playoff hole to win Travelers Championship (June 25, 2017) –

Matt Kuchar drains hole-in-one on 16 at Augusta (April 9, 2017) –

Sergio Garcia eagles 15 on Sunday at Augusta en route to first major victory (April 9, 2017) –

Justin Thomas shoots 59 in the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions (January 5, 2017) –

Jon Rahm locks up first career victory with closing eagle on 18 at the Farmers Insurance Open (January 29, 2017) –


Jordan Spieth – Although the Travelers does not pull anywhere close to the pomp and circumstance of a major championship or even The Players, any time a future hall of famer pulls off a miracle, it is going to be the most remembered moment of the season. This was a week where Spieth had nowhere near his "A" game, but instead scratched and clawed his way to a playoff with Daniel Berger. The clinching hole out from the bunker was not only a microcosm of Spieth's game that entire week, but also of his career – He may not have the driving power of Dustin Johnson and he may not have the textbook form of  Rory McIlroy, but there is no more determined player on tour than Jordan. You can never count Spieth out. That's what makes him great, and that's why Justin Thomas tweeted "Wouldn't be surprised if @JordanSpieth just holed this bunker shot" right before he swung... If all of that didn't convince you then you should watch the celebration again. Him throwing his wedge at his caddy and then pulling of a top-notch mid-air body bump is a genuine reaction that I will never forget. It is a scene that will play in his hall of fame montage; mark my words.

Jack Nicklaus Award (Top Major Performer)

Of all of the fictional awards that I have come up with here, this one is the most straightforward. Jack has won a record 18 majors and arguably even more impressively has come in second 19 times. With a career 46 top-three finishes in 164 major starts, Jack is quite simply the greatest major performer ever. Below are a list of nominees who performed the best in all four majors for 2017.


Sergio Garcia  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (1st), US Open (T21), The Open (T37), PGA Championship (CUT) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 63.8 (10th)

Brooks Koepka  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T11), US Open (1st), The Open (T6), PGA Championship (T13) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 86.8 (1st)

Jordan Spieth  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T11), US Open (T35), The Open (1st), PGA Championship (T28) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 77.4 (5th)

Justin Thomas  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T22), US Open (T9), The Open (CUT), PGA Championship (1st) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 71.3 (6th)

Hideki Matsuyama  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T11), US Open (T2), The Open (T14), PGA Championship (T5) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 86.0 (2nd)

Rickie Fowler  Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T11), US Open (T5), The Open (T22), PGA Championship (T5) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 79.0 (4th)

Matt Kuchar   Results in 2017 majors: The Masters (T4), US Open (T16), The Open (2nd), PGA Championship (T9) | DraftKings PPG in 2017 majors: 83.5 (3rd)


Brooks Koepka –  Rather than overcomplicating a narrative, I'm going to give it to you straight... The first leg up that Koepka had on some of his fellow nominees is that he actually won a major this season (sorry Fowler, Matsuyama, and Kuchar). The second separating quality for Koepka is that he outscored everyone on tour in the four majors based off of DraftKings points average, and for our purposes, isn't that what it's really all about? Koepka absolutely deserved this award this season and based off of his historical form in all of the majors over the last three or so years, chances are that he will have a really good shot to win this award again next year.

Tiger Woods Trophy (Player of the Year)

For a lot of people who don’t or didn’t pay close attention to golf, they wonder what made Tiger the unquestioned best player of his generation. Sure you can go through the stats; like his incredible 14 majors in a 12-year span, his 79 career victories (2nd all time), 142 consecutive cuts made, his 11 PGA player of the year awards, 10 tour money leader awards, nine Vardon Trophies, and nine Byron Nelson Awards, but for me, what really separated Tiger was his mindset. Unlike most players on tour, Tiger didn’t golf for the money and he didn’t just show up for the majors… No, Tiger Woods was out to win, and he was out to do it each and every week.  When asked what separates him from his contemporaries, Tiger too agreed… “My mind is my biggest asset. I expect to win every tournament I play.” For our purposes especially, as DFS PGA fanatics, any player who can even slightly resemble Tiger in his ability to bring it each and every weekend should be glorified as the sport’s player of the year…


Jordan Spieth – 2017 DraftKings PPG: 82.0 (3rd) | Top-10's: (8) | Top-5's: (7) | Top-3's: (6) | Wins: (3) | FedEx Cup Ranking: (3rd)

Justin Thomas – 2017 DraftKings PPG: 75.4 (6th) | Top-10's: (9) | Top-5's: (8) | Top-3's: (4) | Wins: (4) | FedEx Cup Ranking: (2nd)

Hideki Matsuyama – 2017 DraftKings PPG: 93.8 (1st) | Top-10's: (7) | Top-5's: (8) | Top-3's: (6) | Wins: (3) | FedEx Cup Ranking: (1st)

Rickie Fowler – 2017 DraftKings PPG: 82.4 (2nd) | Top-10's: (9) | Top-5's: (7) | Top-3's: (4) | Wins: (1) | FedEx Cup Ranking: (5th)

Dustin Johnson – 2017 DraftKings PPG: 76.4 (4th) | Top-10's: (7) | Top-5's: (5) | Top-3's: (5) | Wins: (3) | FedEx Cup Ranking: (4th)


Hideki Matsuyama – Second, first, tied for sixth, first, second. That is how Hideki Matsuyama started out the 2016-17 season… Who does that?? While he may have slipped out of form slightly during the middle of the season, He still showed up big in all of the majors, featuring two top-five finishes and his worst being a T14 at The Open Championship. As the summer wore on, Matsuyama kicked it into even higher gear, as he racked up three more top-five finishes and a victory at Firestone over his last four starts. Sure he didn’t win his first major or lead the tour in tournament wins this season like Justin Thomas did, but this award commends consistency just as much or even more than sporadic winning and rollercoaster upside. Matsuyama’s complete wire-to-wire domination of the wraparound PGA schedule this season not only led him to second in the Official World Golf Rankings and first in the FedEx Cup Rankings, but it also was accompanied a DraftKings leading 93.8 points per contest, a number more than 10 full points higher than anyone else on tour. Chances are if you played him at all this season, you were not disappointed, especially considering his reasonable average salary of just over $10K per contest. Don’t be surprised at all if you see him $10 million richer and holding up the TOUR Championship Trophy come September.

DraftKings All-Star Team

As we all know, DraftKings gives DFS players a budget of $50K to choose six golfers of prices typically ranging from $11K – $6K. Based off of average price and general performance across the season, my goal here is to pick six golfers – one from each price range – and create the best possible lineup. Keep in mind, that I may go slightly over budget here, but I’m sure you get the spirit of what I’m trying to do anyway.

$6K Range: Xander Schauffele (Average DraftKings Salary: $6,763 | Average DK PPG: 58.0)

$7K Range: Adam Hadwin (Average DraftKings Salary: $7,117 | Average DK PPG: 62.2)

$8K Range: Tony Finau (Average DraftKings Salary: $8,078 | Average DK PPG: 71.1)

$9K Range: Rickie Fowler (Average DraftKings Salary: $9,988 | Average DK PPG: 82.4)

$10K Range: Hideki Matsuyama (Average DraftKings Salary: $10,459 | Average DK PPG: 93.8)

$11K Range: Jordan Spieth (Average DraftKings Salary: $11,478 | Average DK PPG: 82.0)