PGA DFS Playbook: American Express
Published: Jan 19, 2022
It was a pretty good week at the Sony Open as four players from my playbook finished inside the Top 10 and another six in the Top 25. My one disappointment was having a DraftKings ticket for Russell Henley to win the tournament at +3200 and Hideki Matsuyama catching him on the back nine on Sunday. I hope you had green screens as we head into this week's event in LaQuinta, California at PGA West for the American Express.
The PGA Tour finally heads to the continental United States for the American Express in La Quinta, California. This tournament has known many names over the years like the Desert Classic, the CareerBuilder Challenge, and the Bob Hope Desert Classic to name a few. After a one year hiatus, this tournament will welcome back amateurs and the third course to the mix. This tournament is unique in that it is played on three courses over the course of the weekend. Each of the golfers will play a different course each day for three days and then we have our cut after Saturday's round. Sunday will feature only the Top 65 and ties competing for the title.
A few things to remember when playing DFS this weekend. One is that this is a Pro-Am. This will slow down the pace of play and unlike the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a lot of big name celebrities participating, it's a bunch of no names playing alongside these professionals. Another thing, I do not like playing in cash games because of this multi-course format, just too much to worry about and there are just not a lot of guys you can play with confidence this weekend. Usually there's 5-10 guys that have great track records and you can feel good about but I just don't this week. I'll give you a cash example lineups but I am telling you right now, I'm going to be more focused on GPPs this weekend.
Here are a breakdown of each of the three courses:
STADIUM COURSE AT PGA WEST: 7,113 yards / Par 72
There is water all over this track and when there is no water, these players have to deal with bunkers all around the fairways and greens. We need to target players who keep the ball on the fairways and greens which means ball strikers (strokes gained: tee-to-green; SG:TG). There is no scrambling from the water. This is the course where the final round will be played.
NICKLAUS TOURNAMENT AT PGA WEST: 7,159 yards / Par 72
This is another course that favors ball strikers. It features a mix of narrow and wide fairways and gives the players a lot of risk/reward situations involving water. Iron play is vital on this course which means we need players with consistent ball striking ability. Also, we want players who have good sand game as there are bunkers all over the place. Most Nicklaus courses reward players who can avoid the hazards and give these players a chance to go low.
LA QUINTA COUNTRY CLUB: 7,060 / Par 72
This course is considered the easiest of the three. The fairways are a bit narrower than the Nicklaus course but the track is shorter. We continue to target ball strikers on this course because players must stick the greens to go low.
The players must take advantage of their rounds on La Quinta and Nicklaus courses to keep up with the rest of the pack. The Stadium Course which will host all of the players on Sunday consistently ranks as one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour schedule.
ONE AND DONE:
If you want to use a high end player, I'd go with Tony Finau.
If you are looking more for a mid-tier option, I'd go Adam Hadwin.
GOOD LUCK THIS WEEK!