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PGA DFS: The PGA Championship - Betting Picks + Fantasy Golf Deep Dive (Core Plays, Bets, Lineup Process, Value Plays, Ownership Leverage, and Player Pool)

The PGA Championship, the second major of the year, is set to take place at Valhalla Golf Club. This course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, spans over 7,600 yards, almost 200 yards longer than a decade ago. Expect challenging conditions with tight fairways and thick rough, making scoring more difficult. In terms of betting, this week appears favorable for one of golf's current top three players: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Xander Schauffele. These golfers have shown consistent performance over the past year. For DFS considerations, it's recommended to include at least one of them. (Note: Ludvig Aberg would also be a contender if not for his knee injury). If one of the big three doesn't win, a player from the LIV Golf group could emerge victorious. Brooks Koepka, the defending PGA Championship champion, is a strong contender with recent success on the LIV Tour. Cameron Smith and Tyrrell Hatton are also worth considering, given their solid performances in majors and at the Masters earlier this season. Stay tuned for more insights on the PGA Championship as we delve deeper into the event.

*Please note I always publish the rough draft version of this writeup, and then come back and edit it / correct it later that day. If there are grammatical errors that is why.


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Below you will see my breakdown this slate, calling out what data points we will be looking at to determine which golfers are the best plays this week and it will show why. The NineToFive Data is all curated data to specifically tell us and show us why a golfer is a good or bad play this week. I will be going through and putting my analysis to how the NineToFive Data views those plays and whether or not I agree with those plays. If you would like access to this great data, or the plethora of data that NineToFive offers click the join now button below and signup for just $10 a month.


Key Stats:

*Based off of which key stats led to golfers winning but also making the cut in previous years at the course tournament. When no course history is available I will difficult to compare course history. I look for which one or two Strokes Gained stats matter the most. Look to see whether this is a wedge fest or a long iron event. (175-125 stats don't really matter in terms of predicting who will play well in a given week) Find out which scoring stat matters the most (BOB, B2B, or BA). Find if this is a course in which accuracy or distance matters the most.

  • Effective Birdie to Bogey Ratio + Bogey Avoidance (EB2B)

  • Greens Gained (GG)

  • Ball Striking (BS)

  • Effective Scoring (ESCR) - NineToFive Stat

  • Total Driving (TD)

  • Strokes Gained Off the Tee (SGOT)

My main concern with the PGA Championship / the US Open is that it aims to determine the best golfer in the world at that moment, yet the course setups often favor only specific types of golfers, leaving others with no chance of winning. The players who are likely to excel this week are those who can drive long and accurately, which is why statistics like Total Driving, Ball Striking, and Strokes Gained Off the Tee are crucial to consider. A significant factor in Major tournaments is Bogey Avoidance, as it is important to focus on golfers who can consistently make the cut by minimizing errors and avoiding bogeys. Additionally, scoring plays a vital role in maximizing potential, which is why I have combined Birdie to Bogey Ratio with Bogey Avoidance this week.

Course History:

Going forward Course History for an event with go by H1, H2, H3, and H4. For most weeks that will simply be 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 course history. (Last 4 years is course history is when the data is the most significant)

This week, there is no Course History to focus on because this is the first time we are encountering this course since the 2014 PGA Championship. In 2014, the course was shorter compared to its current setup, and there are fewer than 10 golfers participating this week who also played here in 2014. Therefore, I recommend consulting the NineToFive Specialist data as the most suitable alternative to course history for identifying the golfers who excel on the specific features of this week's course.

But I do feel we need to look at how golfers have done in the past majors so I will be using this for course history this week:

  • H1: 2023 US Open

  • H2: 2023 PGA Championship

  • H3: 2022 PGA Championship

  • H4: 2024 Masters


The US Open and PGA Championship tend to play the same key stat wise that is why I am using those. Lastly using the Masters from this year as it was the last major that we saw.


Slate confidence rating is a way of looking at the slate in terms of predictability. Red will be a week in which I am reducing my units bet. Typically this will mean entering the same amount of lineups but in a contest where the entry $ amount is less. A Yellow week is a standard week. Green is a week that appears to be very easy to predict, these are weeks in which we typically have a full field event that is loaded. (Majors) thus it should be very easy to make a good profitable lineup. **Note for betting my strategy does not change per week.

Typically speaking Majors are he easiest to profit on because it draws in a lot more casual players, and typically we get extremely soft pricing that makes it super easy to make any lineup path you want work. This week DraftKings made it so that it will not be extremely easy to make a great build. Still I keep ending up on lineups where I really like 5 out of 6 golfers that I am on.


With rain in the forecast it could potentially make the course play even longer as it will causes the course to play softer thus less runout for golf balls. On the flip side this would also mean that greens should be easier to hit. What I like to see if that it is not projected to be windy, so at least we do not have to worry about that potential variance,

Betting Picks

First Round Leader

AM Tee Times

I will be targeting AM Tee Times that rank out top 7 for FRL betting using the NineToFive betting sheet until further notice (basically if weather tells us not to)

3 Ball Bets:

Available by clicking on either the Ownership Leverage, or Props page on NineToFive, then click on the 3 person Icon.

Outright Bets:

Picture 1 = Golfers that are the statical best Outright Bets. This is determined by looking at which data points were the most predictable in regards to players that won the past two seasons. These golfers meet at least 80% or more of the statical thresholds used to determine winners.

Picture 2 = Golfers that are the statical best Outright Bets. This is determined by looking at which data points were the most predictable in regards to players that won the past two seasons. These golfers meet at least 70% or more of the statical thresholds used to determine winners.

My Outright Bets:

  • Xander Schauffele

  • Tyrrell Hatton

  • Rory McIlroy

  • Scottie Scheffler

  • Lucas Glover (400/1 Fanduel) (Best bet is a made cut bet)

  • Alex Noren 150/1 (Better top 20 bet)

  • Akshay Bhatia

Core Plays + Outright Bets

Core Plays are the golfers that I am prioritizing the most


This week we received significant updates from the top two golfers in the tournament. Scottie Scheffler welcomed his first child, while Rory filed for divorce. These events are the primary focus for them this week.

Scottie Scheffler has one bad data point going into him as a play this week and it was his missed cut at this event two years ago. (oh well). He is someone I am happy to get to. As someone that was recently a new dad (9 months ago) who is not a multi-millionaire I can't really comment nor can anyone really comment on how Scottie has adjusted. The way he talks about his wife though I get the impression that as long as she is good, she will be able to allow Scottie to create the separation from personal life and the course.

Rory's recent improved performance could be attributed to the fact that he has mentally moved on from the idea of getting a divorce. Looking back, it's now clear why his performance was below expectations for most of the season, likely due to the heavy burden of his personal situation. It seems like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders now. However, the public disclosure of his situation and the possibility of having to address questions about it may still affect him mentally.

One more uncertainty we face is Xander's mental state heading into this event, following his lead for most of the tournament last week only to see Rory take over the back nine and claim victory. The crucial point for me is that Xander didn't actually lose the golf tournament; rather, Rory excelled and won it. Xander didn't make any mistakes, and in most years, he wins by a significant margin. I anticipate him being mentally prepared for this week's event too.

That is the biggest questions marks from the big three as on paper they are all elite options. I have found myself getting to Xander the most (in cash) as I like the builds I end up on more that way.

One advantage of the majors is the LIV discount we receive, making them consistently affordable and less popular than they should be. I recall that Cameron Smith was a standout pick at the Masters, yet only 10% owned. This week, we are once again eyeing Cameron Smith as he remains undervalued and a strong choice on paper. He is a reliable option to secure a made cut and offer potential winning upside.

A similar case can be made for Tyrrell Hatton, as both players present comparable profiles on paper, with the main distinction being Hatton's lack of victories in major events compared to Cameron Smith. Hatton essentially mirrors Smith's situation at the Masters, making him a seemingly safe bet.

High Exposure

Players that I am still going out of my way to roster, but have a slight pause for whether that be course history, recent form, stat fit, safety, upside or price. (*This is based off of the the NineToFive Data Tag, which accurately marks a slight flaw in a great play thus why they would only be high exposure plays)


The High Exposure range for me this week is a list of golfers that I want to be overweight on, but also I worry they could end up being a bit too risky. They are all golfers that have one thing that makes them a tougher click, but due to their upside I couldn't really knock them that much more.

*Brooks will not rank out well because his PGA Tour stats prior to leaving for LIV were bad, as part of those starts were when hew as injured.

The biggest knock I have on Brooks is that I would much rather get to Xander, Rory, and Scottie, and the only way you can get to Brooks is in GPPs, and when I am making my hand builds I can't click on Brooks at that price.

I would be loving Aberg this week if it were not for his injury, and his injury is what will make him a GPP only play, but this is a course in which he is the perfect fit, and I could see him winning this week.

From there Bryson would is someone that you think of when you think of a course like Valhalla, the issue with Bryson is that he is very difficult to gauge because he is a LIV golfer. What we do know is that the last three times we have seen him at a major he has finished 20th, 4th, and 6th. All great results. It would not be shocking to see Bryson in contention on Sunday.

Cameron Young is basically Bryson, just cheaper, and we have seen more upside from him recently.

Tommy Fleetwood has exceled at the past few majors and is almost coming in checking all the boxes. The biggest concern for Fleetwood is that he is not a great stat fit, however he is a good Specialist so those two somewhat offset each other. But his stat fit is why I have him ranked here.

Hun An was really difficult for me to rank because he is far from a lock to make the cut, but at the same time he has most of the measurables for someone that should be in contention to win on Sunday, like he has been able to do in his last two events where he finished 3rd and 4th. He is the 13th best stat fit in the field, and the only real concern with Hun An is making some putts.

Mid Exposure

Players that are still good plays but have more than one flaw to them as a play this week. This could be due to recent form, stat fit, course history, injury uncertainly or just due to the fact that their are better plays around their price tag.


This range is basically the opposite of the High Exposure plays, as these golfers all seem like more of safe plays that lack upside.

Now Max Homa and Hideki are certainly not safe plays, but they are golfers that do pop. Homa even though he has struggled has still made 7 straight cuts in a row and has two top 10 finishes over his past 3 starts. He has been a little bit too hit or miss to trust any more than this but it would not be shocking to see a top 10 finish out of him this week.

Hideki would be one of the best plays this week if it were not for the fact that the last time we were supposed to see Hideki play he withdrew. If we know he was healthy he would be a core play this week, but we do not know that and we will not know that so the risk is still there that he could be injured. If he is not he should be one of the stronger plays considering his price.

Now Reed, Si Woo, and Chris Kirk are all strong plays given their prices and all plays I feel will make the cut. The length of this course will most likely end up hurting their ability to have an elite finish, but they are all golfers I very as safe plays.

Keith Mitchell is a play that will be tough to avoid because you could make an argument that he should be priced where Si Woo Kim is, and that is because Mitchell is a better stat fit, and has had better results at major recently than has Si Woo. This is a track that fits Mitchells game and I expect to get a top 30 finish out of him this week, and if that does occur than at this price tag he is way too cheap.

The same applies to Lucas Glover, who appears to be the most underpriced golfer this week. Glover has achieved 5 consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour, consistently finishing within the top 25. In terms of metrics, he ranks within the top 27 or higher across all the key areas we consider. The only hesitation I have with considering Glover is his track record of occasionally disappointing when you place your trust in him. However, the positive aspect is that he comes at a very affordable price, and securing a likely cut at such a low cost is incredibly advantageous. This allows for greater flexibility in constructing lineups.

Despite his recent struggles at the majors, Alex Noren is currently in exceptional form heading into this major tournament. Disregarding his previous major performances, he ranks as the 11th best Specialist, the 15th best stat fit, and is in the 5th best form among the competitors. If he can manage to avoid putting too much pressure on himself, I believe he has a strong chance of performing well this week.

Shane Lowry is the final golfer on my list, and I have been undecided about including him in my picks this week. This uncertainty stems from his recent performance, where 3 out of his last 4 events were not impressive. However, in the midst of these results, he secured a victory with Rory at the Zurich Classic. Looking back a bit further, we can see that he achieved a 19th, 3rd, and 4th place finish in other tournaments. The more I contemplate selecting him for this week's lineup, the more I am inclined to view him as a reliable choice. Maintaining a consistent streak of top 20 finishes every week is challenging, and the fact that he managed to deliver good results even when not at his best is quite encouraging to me.

Low Exposure

Risk/Reward Plays, Plays to get a made cut, Shoulder Shrug Plays, or Fomo Plays


Collin Morikawa has been trending in the right direction for the past 6 or so weeks, and it feels like he could be peaking coming into this event. If he does that he could obviously win this week, but considering where he is priced he is a tougher click than some of the other golfers around him.

Corey Conners' success this week hinges largely on his performance off the tee. If he can maintain accuracy and avoid the rough, he is well-suited for this course as he ranks 7th in statistical fit among the field. His 12th place finish at the 2023 PGA Championship demonstrates his ability to excel at similar courses. Additionally, he is currently in 10th place based on recent form. Given these factors, it is likely that Conners will make the cut, making him a strong contender to bet on.

Sepp Straka, Taylor Pendrith, and Stephan Jaeger are all three very polarizing plays this week. All three golfers are coming in with at least 3 straight great results especially considering their price. Both Pendrith and Jaeger have been really long off the tee ranking top 10 in driving distance. Which again could be HUGE this week. Straka is just a bit over priced.

Mackenzie Hughes is another play that I was not going to be on at the start of the week due to his poor stat fit, and due to his poor results at majors. But the fact that he is top 10 in recent form rank is difficult to ignore. Hughes has made 7 straight cuts in row. In those 7 straight made cuts he has an average finished of 22nd.

      Lower Exposure

Golfers that I will not being going out of my way to roster in hand builds, but will be attempting to get to in large field GPPs.


Clark, and Finau are both golfers that fit the mold for players that should fair well this week, but both are golfers who have been extremely hit or miss both recently on the PGA Tour and at majors. Finau is priced where you can somewhat get away with an off week that still results in a made cut whereas Clark that would really hurt your builds.

Adam Scott should have no problem making the cut this week, he has been one of the most consistent golfers on tour this season, the issue I have with him is that he lacks upside.

Russell Henley is a hit or miss play.

CBez terrible stat fit, tour major history, strong form. Not sure what to do with him as a play but at that price he is still in play.

Harris English, and Kurt Kitayama are to golfers that are too cheap as both should be able to make the cut.

Taylor Moore has my trust.

EVR went from being the highest golfer on the slate last week in an alterative event to being $5,700. Another golfer that has yet to really produce good results at majors but still should be able to make the cut or give us a good chance at a made cut.


Player Pool

Player Pool Breakdown:

Player Pool is rank in order of how I am prioritizing a golfer as a play this week. (This is based off of 20 entry max lineups. For 150 entry lineups I will open up the player pool slightly more but this will be determined by the lineup optimizer)


(Finalized on Tuesday Member Writeup)

Cash Play: Highest Likelihood to make the cut.

GPP Play: Reduced Likelihood to make the cut, but if they do they have a high likelihood to exceed their salary.

Cash: Core + Lowry, Kirk, Reed, Glover, Mitchell

GPP: High Exposure Plays, Hideki, Homa, Morikawa, Clark, Finau


*This is a sample lineup for you to use as a reference tool. This is typically the first look lineup that I get onto for the week. Most of the time my main lineup will be adjusted throughout the week as I do a deeper dive.

The first lineup is just an example of how you can still make a quality build while playing both Rory and Xander. I will have plenty of builds that mimic this path.

The second lineup is the one I did first this week, I feel it has a solid mix of both safe plays and plays that provide upside.

The third lineup is one that I did to make the most fair and balanced build I could.

Ownership Leverage

Taking a look at the players that are under-owned, and too high owned. Talking about why.

*Tool Update Alert* New to 925s Ownership Leverage Tool - Return Value for Finishing Position: Measuring where a golfer needs to finish to return value based on their current ownership projection at their price point.

Like I mentioned earlier we do tend to see a LIV bias during the majors thus we can get players who should be chalk at an extreme discount. That is what we have this week with Smith and Hatton.

It is a bit crazy that Xander is more than $1000 cheaper than Scottie but projected at half the ownership. I will be overweight on Xander.

That is all for this weeks deep dive, hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to further your fantasy golf game, click the picture below.


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