PGA Championship: 15 DFS Golf Picks
DFS Golf Picks: The PGA Championship
Make the most of the data, predictions, and insights from this article to help with your fantasy golf picks for the AT&T Byron Nelson, and check out our PGA Optimizer to make more educated player selections for your DFS lineups. Best of luck to you!
The PGA Championship
Preview for the PGA Championship: It's time for the second major of the 2021-2022 PGA Tour season with the PGA Championship ready to make its scheduled start - bring it on! This golf tournament dates back over 100 years to 1916 when the first edition was held as a match-play setup and that format remained in place until 1958 when they went to the normal stroke-play. The 1917 and 1918 editions were unfortunately wiped out due to World War 1, so this event certainly has lots of history. Jason Day has the record score at the PGA Championship with a -20 in 2015 at Whistling Straits beating Jordan Spieth by three strokes. Winners of the PGA Championship over the last five years include Phil Mickelson in 2021, Collin Morikawa in 2020, Brooks Koepka in 2019, Brooks Koepka in 2018, and Justin Thomas in 2017.
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Tournament purse: The prize money for this week's event is $12M, the winner collects $2.16M and also earns himself 600 FedEx Cup points.
Course and key stats: This year, we are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at Southern Hills Country Club - the first time since 2007 when Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship for his fourth and final time. Southern Hills is 7,556 yards in length, is a par 70, and the greens are small and are bentgrass. The winning score at this tournament over the last ten years ranges from -6 to -20, so it really depends on the course they use each year and the top scores fluctuate widely as a result. Tiger won here with a score of -8 in 2007, so it's certainly a tough test of golf and we can expect the winning score to be -10 or worse this week. Some key stats to focus on this week are strokes gained: approach, driving distance, par 4s gained 450-500 yards, proximity 200+ yards, and proximity 50-100 yards.
The field: We again have a full 156-player field this week, and most of the world's best players are here - the top 70 players plus ties after round 3 will get the opportunity to play weekend golf for rounds 3 and 4. Last year's champ, Phil Mickelson, won't be competing this week to defend his title. On a scale ranging from A to D, I rank the field strength to be an A+.
Three questions I have about the PGA Championship:
1. Which 10 players have gained the most strokes on approach over the last 24 rounds? It's hard to nail down exact key stats this week since this course hasn't been played on in 15 years, but approach is always a key stat to pay attention to. The top players on approach over the last 24 rounds are Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas, Harold Varner III, Russell Henley, Collin Morikawa, Erik van Rooyen, Max Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, and Scottie Scheffler.
2. Which 10 players have the most top 10's at PGA Championships over the last five years? Jon Rahm with 3, Brooks Koepka with 3, and several players have 2 including Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Tony Finau, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, and Matt Kuchar.
3. Which 10 players have gained the most strokes total over the last 5 PGA Championships? Matthew Wolff (4 rounds), Collin Morikawa (8 rounds), Brooks Koepka (20 rounds), Scottie Scheffler (8 rounds), Harry Higgs (4 rounds), Dustin Johnson (18 rounds), Will Zalatoris (4 rounds), Francesco Molinari (12 rounds), Justin Thomas (14 rounds), and Stewart Cink (8 rounds).
DraftKings lineup construction strategy this week: With a strong field throughout except in the mid $6K range and below, you can easily take your lineups any which way you want to this week. I'll be landing somewhere between a stars and scrubs and a hybrid build this week for my core builds - be sure to get as much win equity in your lineups as possible while mixing in great depth golfers who have a good chance to make the cut and who have the potential to pop off for a top 10. Pay close attention to projected ownership on Wednesday, and look for pivot plays if you want your configurations to be as unique as possible for the large GPPs. Leave a bunch of money on the table, especially if you go into the huge $3M Fantasy Golf Millionaire contest on DraftKings as there will be 142,243 lineups entered.
All the best in your journey to win or at least be in the money in some contests this week - here are my 15 DFS golf picks which feature my top 3 players from each tier on DraftKings (DK) in no particular order, plus I include player salaries for DK, as well. I consistently provide recent and seasonal finishes for each of my picks, their performances at the event over the last 5 years, and add in some tasty pieces of information, also.
The $10K+ Range
Scottie Scheffler (Salary: DraftKings - $11.4K) - The world's best golfer is a threat to win every time now and this week is no different as he looks to win both majors thus far this season. Scheffler has four wins in his last seven stroke-play events and has been really tearing it up on approach and with his short game for quite some time now. He has outstanding results in just two PGA Championship starts, and I suspect another top 10 is coming his way this week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T8 and 2020 - T4.
Collin Morikawa (Salary: DraftKings - $10.4K) - It's still unreal to think that he won the PGA Championship in 2020 in his first career start at the major - he's just that good and has the potential to become the world's top player in the not so distant future. Morikawa has two top 9's in his last four starts including a 5th at the Masters where he gained strokes across the board and tallied 6.85 ball-striking. Expect him to be all over the leaderboard this week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T8 and 2020 - Won.
Rory McIlroy (Salary: DraftKings - $10.0K) - McIlroy had a huge Masters' Sunday to finish runner-up, then he followed that up with a 5th at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago and is gaining strokes like crazy across all stat categories. The two-time winner of the PGA Championship hasn't won a major since 2014, but you can bet he will be giving it all he has this week to capture another major victory. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T49, 2020 - T33, 2019 - T8, 2018 - T50, and 2017 - T22.
The $9K Range
Cameron Smith (Salary: DraftKings - $9.7K) - This season's PLAYERS Champion finished 3rd at the Masters after gaining 9.30 strokes on approach and 5.86 with his short game. Smith has two wins this year and is a serious threat to win again given his strong approach play and solid putting. He has yet to break through at this tournament, but I believe he will this week with a top 10. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T59 and 2020 - T43.
Hideki Matsuyama (Salary: DraftKings - $9.2K) - Matsuyama is coming off a sizzling T3 last week at the Byron Nelson thanks to gaining 9.41 strokes on approach and his putter has been quite good for a bit now with four gains in the stat category over his last six starts. He had a T5 at the 2017 PGA Championship and has four top 35's since - expect another good result this week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T23, 2020 - T22, 2019 - T16, 2018 - T35, and 2017 - T5.
Patrick Cantlay (Salary: DraftKings - $9.1K) - Last season's FedEx Cup champ finished runner-up at the RBC Heritage two starts ago and won the Zurich Classic with partner Xander Schauffele in his most recent start, so he's smoking hot and I think is a few hundred dollars too cheap. Cantlay's approach game has returned to life and it should propel him forward this week with a top 20 and he has the upside to win it all if his putter returns to form. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T23, 2020 - T43, 2019 - T3, 2018 - T27, and 2017 - T33.
The $8K Range
Shane Lowry (Salary: DraftKings - $8.7K) - My $8K range players are all quality ball-strikers and make for excellent plays in hybrid and balanced builds. Lowry just keeps piling up solid finish after solid finish with ten top 24's in his last eleven starts including a 3rd at the Masters three starts ago. He's deadly on approach and with his putter, which should be a perfect recipe for success this week. He also has three top 12's in the last four years at this event, so all signs point to Shane having a big week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T4, 2020 - T66, 2019 - T8, 2018 - T12, and 2017 - T48.
Corey Conners (Salary: DraftKings - $8.0K) - Conners is such a fantastic ball-striker and has been even gaining with his putter - five times in his last six events and his only losing event was only -0.50. He finished 6th at the Masters and I think his game will play quite well on this track - be overweight on the Canadian this week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T17, 2020 - Cut, and 2019 - T64.
Will Zalatoris (Salary: DraftKings - $8.9K) - So he missed the cut last week at the Byron Nelson, but he still gained 2.96 on approach and it was his putter that killed him losing 4.22 strokes on the greens. Prior to last week, he had three straight top 6's if you count the Zurich Classic, and in his PGA Championship debut last year, he finished T8 thanks to gaining a ridiculous 12.17 ball-striking. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T8.
The $7K Range
Matt Fitzpatrick (Salary: DraftKings - $7.9K) - Fitzpatrick has six top 10's in his last eleven starts, and he's coming off a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship thanks to killer ball-striking and putting, gaining 12.43 strokes between those two stat categories. He offers great mid-tier value and can work in any lineup you want to throw him into. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T23, 2019 - T41, 2018 - Cut, and 2017 - Cut.
Cameron Young (Salary: DraftKings - $7.6K) - He's really starting to make a name for himself with a T3 at the RBC Heritage two starts ago and he's coming off a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship after gaining 12.24 ball-striking, and has three top 3's in his last eight starts. He could be a large part of the PGA Tour's future, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to missing the cut at the Masters last month. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: None.
Keegan Bradley (Salary: DraftKings - $7.5K) - Bradley has been on his A-game over his last three starts with a T8, a 4th, and a T2, and he has four top 8's over his last six starts. He actually gained 9.74 strokes putting in his most recent start at the Wells Fargo Championship, so maybe he has finally found something with his usually cold flat stick. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T17, 2020 - Cut, 2019 - T29, 2018 - T42, and 2017 - T33.
The $6K Range
Jhonattan Vegas (Salary: DraftKings - $6.9K) - Despite having surgery not too long ago, he has been good with a T15 at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago and had a T59 last week at the Byron Nelson no thanks to losing 2.58 strokes putting. He gained 10.04 on approach at the Wells Fargo Championship and is consistently a sound ball-striker, so I can confidently endorse Vegas this week as a scrubs option. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2019 - Cut, 2018 - T59, and 2017 - Cut.
Davis Riley (Salary: DraftKings - $6.8K) - Don't look now, but Riley has three straight top 9's if you count the Zurich Classic, and he's doing it with a well-rounded game and a hot putter. He carries risk as he's not used to these huge events yet, but has the ability to make the cut this week and could have a top 25 finish if everything comes together for the youngster. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: None.
Anirban Lahiri (Salary: DraftKings - $6.5K) - Lahiri really caught us by surprise at THE PLAYERS Championship where he finished runner-up to Smith on the heels of strong ball-striking and putting. He has been quite good since too with three top 15's in his last four starts including a T6 at the Wells Fargo Championship where he gained strokes across the board. He seems like a really good low-cost golfer to use in stars and scrubs and hybrid lineups this week. PGA Championship finishes over the last five years: 2018 - Cut and 2017 - T75.
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Jeremy has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 successful years, and actively plays golf, hockey, baseball, and table tennis. He has over three years of fantasy sports writing experience - including writing a daily fantasy sports strategies and tools eBook in 2016. He is an active member of DraftKings - specializing in NHL and PGA contests over the past 5 years. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to hot places in the frigid Canadian Winters, binge-watching on Netflix, and starting and managing digital businesses.