Yahoo DFS Golf: The Honda Classic
Yahoo DFS Golf: The Honda Classic

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

Honda Classic

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
PGA National Golf Club (Champion Course) - Par 70 - 7,125 yards
Field - 144 Entrants
Purse - $6.8M

The Preview

As the PGA Tour embarks on its four-week Florida Swing following the conclusion of the year's first World Golf Championship, the infamous 'Bear Trap' lurks on the Back 9 at PGA National's Champion Course. The extremely challenging venue in Palm Beach Gardens has played host to the Honda Classic since 2007, as a strong crop of the world's best golfers have annually tested their luck in windy conditions. This time around, however, the event lacks both an exclusive field and harmful breeze as Camilo Villegas' tournament scoring record of 13-under-par at PGA National could be in danger. An altered schedule moving THE PLAYERS Championship to mid-March this season has caused the Honda's acquisition of top-tier competitors to suffer, resulting in just three of the Official World Golf Rankings' top 20 slated to tee it up. Rain early in the week will soften the course and somewhat limit the threat of undulating greens, while abnormally tame winds improve scoring chances as well.

Recent Champions

2018 - Justin Thomas
2017 - Rickie Fowler
2016 - Adam Scott
2015 - Padraig Harrington
2014 - Russell Henley
2013 - Michael Thompson
2012 - Rory McIlroy
2011 - Rory Sabbatini
2010 - Camilo Villegas

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Tee-to-Green - Ball striking has been a primary indicator of success with names like Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas winning in subsequent years here

Proximity - Despite Jack Nicklaus' recent revamp to the Champion Course that includes slightly larger greens, hitting the correct portion of the dance floor will do wonders for birdie opportunities

Bogey avoidance - PGA National was the second toughest venue on Tour in 2018 with a 72.30 scoring average

Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Gary Woodland - $46

There's a good chance this is the highest price tag we'll see on Woodland all season – he's evenly matched in salary with World No. 4 Brooks Koepka – which should work to reduce exposure for the former as gamers pivot to the aforementioned three-time major champion, as well as Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler. Woodland has earned a luxurious $46 fee by racking up seven top-10s already this season, currently ranking third on Tour in birdie average, fourth in GIR percentage, fifth in SG: Off-the-Tee and seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green. He tied for second at PGA National in 2017 and harnesses enough power to keep driver in the bag when a sacrifice for precision becomes necessary.

Adam Scott - $42

The Aussie now resides in the top 20 on Tour in SG: Putting after altering his setup with the flat stick, a much-needed change after he finished 165th in this statistic during the 2017-18 season. Scott led the field in GIR percentage en route to his 2016 victory at the Honda Classic and has finished no worse than T14 in his last three trips to PGA National. He ranks second in proximity from 50-125 yards and third from 125-150. He will be well-rested after electing not to play in Chapultepec's altitude at the WGC-Mexico this past week.

Sergio Garcia - $40

Daily fantasy aficionados may have noticed a dip in Garcia's ownership since his DQ at the Saudi International, but he certainly produced last week in Mexico, where he racked up 21 birdies to complement finishing fifth in both SG: Approach and putts per GIR. He has totaled eight top-10s worldwide in 10 starts since September's Portugal Masters and has never missed a cut in eight tries at the Honda, notching a solo second in 2016 as well.

Glue Guys

Luke List - $36

Coming off a top-15 performance at the Genesis Open, List returns to the site of his 2018 playoff loss to defending Honda Classic champ Justin Thomas. During his most recent start at Riviera CC, List ranked second among the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green, simultaneously joining the top-15 on Tour in SG: Total for the season. List nukes the driver and consequently slots in at 13th in par-5 scoring average.

Daniel Berger - $33

Berger managed to rebound from back-to-back missed cuts and boost his confidence by tying for second against underwhelming competition at the Puerto Rico Open, pacing the field in putts per GIR while also averaging less than two bogeys per round. The Florida native and former FSU Seminole earned runner-up honors during his Honda Classic debut in 2015, but he also ranks top-5 on Tour in proximity and par-3 scoring.

Lucas Glover - $30

Glover will be a hot commodity this week with just one finish outside the top 20 through seven starts this season. He ascended to second in GIR percentage, 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green, first in rough proximity and sixth in scrambling. He posted top-25s in each of his last two appearances at PGA National, finishing T10 in GIR percentage at the 2018 Honda Classic.

Bargain Bin

Michael Thompson - $26

The 2013 Honda Classic champion is shaping up to be a chalky play as he heads to PGA National with top-15s in four consecutive showings from the Desert Classic through the Genesis Open. Thompson is ninth on Tour in SG: Approach, seventh in proximity from 50-125 yards and 20th in scrambling.

Graeme McDowell - $20

McDowell played his last nine holes in a collective four-under-par at the Puerto Rico Open, ultimately finishing T6 in GIR percentage as he made his fifth cut in six starts this season. Both his GIR and FIR percentages eclipse the 70-percent mark, and overall, he ranks 11th on Tour in rough proximity. McDowell's resume at the Honda Classic includes a quartet of top-10 results and eight made cuts in 10 career appearances.

J.T. Poston - $20

The 25-year-old has finished top-40 in six of seven events dating back to the Mayakoba Golf Classic, most recently averaging four par-breakers per round in tough conditions at the Genesis Open. He's only made one voyage to PGA National, but notched a T27 during his Honda debut in 2017, when he ranked top-20 among his peers in driving accuracy and putting average.

Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week

With such a minuscule concentration of elite-level talent at the top, consider fading Thomas and Fowler as a combination of potentially inflated ownership and extremely high costs damage overall value if they don't find the podium. From shanked approaches to missed gimme-range putts, they were both stressed by various aspects of the game in Mexico. Further limiting JT's appeal is the fact that nobody has repeated at the Honda Classic since Jack Nicklaus in the late 70s.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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