This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Bethpage Black (7,459 yards, par-70)
$1,980,000 and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner
For the first time in its 83-year existence, the Black Course at Bethpage Black is primed to host a PGA Championship as 99 of the Official World Golf Ranking's top-100 flock to Farmingdale, New York for the vicious test that awaits. It won't be the first time that Bethpage Black hosts a major, however, as the public site invited brutal scoring conditions at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. In 2002, Tiger Woods was the only entrant to finish in red numbers as he won by three at three-under-par. Lucas Glover's winning score was only one stroke better at four-under in 2009, while five total competitors managed to break par that year. Bethpage's difficulty is evident, but scoring should be a dose easier this time around with the PGA Championship's transition to May as mild temperatures, soft conditions and little to no wind await.
Recent Past Champions
2018 - Brooks Koepka
2017 - Justin Thomas
2016 - Jimmy Walker
2015 - Jason Day
2014 - Rory McIlroy
2013 - Jason Dufner
2012 - Rory McIlroy
2011 - Keegan Bradley
2010 - Martin Kaymer
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
P3 and P4 scoring
The infamous warning sign recommending only highly-skilled golfers embark on the challenge at Bethpage Black is no joke, especially when it's played as a par-70 at 7,459 yards with thick rough surrounding tight landing areas off the tee as many long-iron approach shots await into relatively small and elevated putting surfaces. Bombers have the advantage here as half of the Black Course's 18 holes measure 460-plus yards, while a trio of the four par-3s come in at over 200 yards as well. Simple brute force isn't going to get the job done alone, however, as driving accuracy also factors into SG: Off-the-Tee and will have a major impact given the laborious task of making pars from the rough at Bethpage. With only two par-5s listed on the scorecard this week, there will be less gimme par-breaker opportunities as par-3 and par-4 scoring naturally takes on additional weight.
FanDuel Value Picks
Rory McIlroy, $12,100 - The two-time PGA Championship winner won't be under as demanding a spotlight after heading to Augusta National as the betting favorite on the heels of a victory at the PLAYERS, which also accompanied the massive pressure of finalizing the Career Grand Slam as he ultimately placed just T21 at the Masters. McIlroy's final round issues continued at the Wells Fargo Championship during his most recent start, carding a 73 on Sunday in Charlotte to fall into a tie for eighth. He's still getting the job done from a fantasy perspective regardless of his finishing position, ranking first among this week's field in DFS scoring over his last 12 rounds. During this span, he also paces the competition in par-3 scoring, SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Off-the-Tee.
Brooks Koepka, $11,800 - If it's a major championship, Koepka is likely to land among anyone's list of recommendations as his projected ownership continues to rise. His win at Bellerive last year was the cherry on top of a brilliant run that includes five consecutive top-15s at the PGA Championship. Over his last 12 rounds, Koepka is No. 1 in birdie or better percentage and he gained six strokes putting last week at Trinity Forest, so he'll be feeling extra dangerous if his confidence with the flat stick remains.
Tiger Woods, $11,700 - The game's most polarizing figure is always going to foster too much attention from the casual gamer no matter the price, but at this point it's impossible to just play game theory and completely fade Tiger after proving that he's all the way back at the Masters. There is nobody on the entire PGA Tour with a better GIR percentage than Woods this season, hitting just over 75 percent of his greens in regulation. He also leads the Tour in proximity from over 200 yards and scrambling from inside 10 yards while ranking eighth in par-breaker percentage, second in par-3 scoring and 13th in total driving. Plus, Tiger has already proven capable of winning a major at Bethpage Black, securing a three stroke victory over Phil Mickelson during the 2002 U.S. Open.
Rickie Fowler - $11,100 - Rebounding from mediocrity at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship, Fowler has posted results of T17-T9-T4 from the Valero Texas Open to the Wells Fargo Championship. Over those most recent 12 rounds, he ranks third in SG: Total, ninth in proximity from over 200 yards, eighth in par-4 scoring and 23rd in driving accuracy. On the season, Fowler sits fifth in scoring average, seventh in SG: Putting and second in par-4 scoring as he continues the pursuit for his maiden major triumph. His last appearance at Bethpage Black included a T7 finish at the 2016 Northern Trust where he very well could've won if it weren't for a final-round 74.
Xander Schauffele, $10,900 - Schauffele has a reputation for not being afraid to battle with the big names on a grand stage as he's collected wins in exclusive spots such as the TOUR Championship, WGC-HSBC Champions and Sentry Tournament of Champions. But, when is it time to include the X-Man among those top-tier players he often times defeats? Schauffele has resided inside of the top-10 in the OWGR since January and he finished only one shot shy of Woods at the Masters, notching his fourth top-6 in just eight career major appearances. The 25-year-old is second in the FedExCup standings and has gained strokes tee-to-green in nine straight measured events.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Bubba Watson, $9,700 - Finishing T18 or better in three consecutive trips to Bethpage Black from the 2009 U.S. Open to the 2016 Northern Trust, Watson enjoys a considerable length advantage here and should easily gain strokes off the tee is he's able to keep it in the fairway more often than not. Over his last 24 rounds, Bubba ranks second in SG: OTT and first in driving distance. The lefty will be well-rested and fully prepared with no appearances other than the Zurich Classic since a T12 at Augusta National.
Ian Poulter, $9,600 - Gathering back-to-back top-12s at the Masters and RBC Heritage, Poulter ranks fourth in GIR percentage, fourth in P4: 450-500 efficiency and 21st in SG: Putting over his last eight rounds. The Englishman compiled a top-20 finish at the 2009 U.S. Open hosted by Bethpage and has made the cut in seven of his last eight major championship displays. Additionally, Poulter is 11th on Tour in GIR percentage and 20th in total driving.
Jason Kokrak, $8,900 - Leading the PGA Tour in consecutive cuts made with 21, Kokrak's game is a good fit just about anywhere as he ranks 15th in total driving, 10th in SG: Approach and 17th in SG: Tee-to-Green. He's already amassed nine top-25s in 15 starts this season and he's third in SG: Approach over his last 36 rounds. Following a first-round 74 at Bethpage during the 2016 Northern Trust, Kokrak bounced back with three straight strolls of 69 or better to finish in a tie for seventh.
Julian Suri, $8,100 - Having spent much of his time overseas on the European Tour as of late, Suri could fall under the radar here despite stringing together finishes of T19-T2-T4-T20-T23 in his last five starts from the Volvo China Open dating back to the Turkish Airlines Open. He ranks eighth on the Euro Tour in bogey avoidance, fifth in SG: Off-the-Tee, 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 28th in scrambling. The 28-year-old not only made the cut at the 2018 PGA Championship, but also delivered a top-20 result.
Scott Piercy, $8,100 - The Las Vegas native could be a hot commodity at such a discounted price given his recent form alone, tying for second at the AT&T Byron Nelson on the heels of a T3 at the RBC Heritage. He led the field in SG: Approach last week at Trinity Forest while also holing 21 birdies to a rare zero bogeys throughout the entire tournament. Piercy is up to eighth on Tour in GIR percentage, third in par-4 scoring and first in par-3 scoring average.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
A studs and duds lineup will be very accessible this week given the plethora of top-100 OWGR talent spread throughout the 156-entrant field, but there's absolutely no reason to punt with a $7,000 Club Professional or an elderly past champion. Alongside Jordan Spieth, who's priced way too high at $10,600, Phil Mickelson ($10,300) will likely be one of my primary fades. His ownership figures to be inflated given the name brand, but he also finished runner-up at both U.S. Opens hosted by Bethpage Black in 2002 and 2009 before adding another top-15 here at the 2016 Northern Trust. Course history aside, he's been absolutely terrible at finding the fairway this season as he ranks 212th out of 214 in driving accuracy. Surely his swing speed and distance numbers are up, but wayward misses off the tee will cause a headache due to the penalizing rough. Mickelson has also missed the cut in three of his last five starts and ranks just 97th in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds compared to this week's field.