This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Par 72 - 7,876 yards
Field - 156 entrants
Purse - $11M
The AT&T Byron Nelson is going to feel like a Korn Ferry Tour event compared to what awaits at the PGA Championship this week, as TPC Craig Ranch allowed all 72 of those who advanced through the 36-hole cut to finish the tournament in red numbers. A six-under-par cut line in McKinney, Texas is even more laughable when you consider the winning score at Kiawah Island could hover around that mark if coastal winds along the Atlantic Ocean persist. Measuring nearly 8,000 yards, Pete Dye's Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort becomes the longest course setup ever used in major championship history, so driving distance is a common suggestion for success. However, a stout short game can be just as important, given both GIR and scrambling rates fall well below the Tour average here.
Take note that 20 of the 156 entrants are PGA Club Professionals, all of whom hardly stand a chance at surviving the cut. There a handful of legitimate sleeper values at the $20 minimum salary, though.
2020 - Collin Morikawa (TPC Harding Park)
2019 - Brooks Koepka (Bethpage Black)
2018 - Brooks Koepka (Bellerive Country Club)
2017 - Justin Thomas (Quail Hollow Club)
2016 - Jimmy Walker (Baltusrol Golf Club)
2015 - Jason Day (Whistling Straits)
2014 - Rory McIlroy (Valhalla Country Club)
2013 - Jason Dufner (Oak Hill Country Club)
2012 - Rory McIlroy (Kiawah Island Golf Resort)
2011 - Keegan Bradley (Atlanta Athletic Club)
Key Stats to Victory
Proximity: 175-200 and 200-plus
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Dustin Johnson - $48
It's a weird feeling when game theory actually draws you to the No. 1 player in the world, but Johnson appears likely to carry the lowest roster percentage among the top three players in the OWGR, a group that consists of himself, Justin Thomas ($48) and Jon Rahm ($46). Betting favorite Rory McIlroy ($46) will also soak up a ton of exposure, as his win at the Wells Fargo Championship pairs with the eight-shot victory here at Kiawah back in 2012 to spark massive interest. The last unmentioned option above $45 is Bryson DeChambeau, who plays directly into the length narrative this week. The minor knee discomfort that caused Johnson to withdraw prior to the AT&T Byron Nelson didn't seem too legitimate after videos surfaced of him doing backflips off of boats just days later, and he has looked perfectly fine on the range at Kiawah Island. Following his missed cut at the Masters, Johnson gained a combined 8.8 strokes off the tee at the RBC Heritage and the Valspar Championship.
Viktor Hovland - $43
The 23-year-old arrives at Kiawah with at least 8.7 strokes gained from tee to green in each of his last two starts, notching back-to-back top-3s at the Valspar and Wells Fargo Championships where he also picked up a collective eight total strokes with the flat stick in as many rounds. Hovland has been an elite DFS weapon as he leads the PGA Championship field in birdie or better percentage over his last 36 rounds, while he's also third in SG: Off-the-Tee and 12th in SG: Approach over his past 24. He paces the entire PGA Tour in scoring average this season and he's second to only Justin Thomas in birdie rate.
Daniel Berger - $40
Berger's iron play is in excellent form with 3.5 or more strokes gained on his approaches in three consecutive measured starts dating to a top-10 at the PLAYERS. He most recently posted a T3 at the AT&T Byron Nelson where he finished fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green. Additionally, Berger ranks third in proximity from 200-plus yards over his last 24 rounds, and he hasn't lost strokes off the tee since the ZOZO Championship in October.
Jordan Spieth - $36
Despite a $11 inflation in Yahoo salary compared to his $25 tag at the Masters in April, Spieth is still underpriced in this spot. He's rattled off four straight top-10s since the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, including a T9 this past week at TPC Craig Ranch where he gained nearly five strokes on his approach shots. Spieth is fourth in SG: APP over his last 24 rounds and fourth in birdie or better percentage over his past 36, though he's also 11th in SG: Total on Pete Dye tracks under difficult relative-to-par scoring conditions.
Paul Casey - $36
The 2020 PGA Championship runner-up has gone without losing strokes on his approach shots in a single measured event since the CJ Cup last fall, so it's no surprise Casey is No. 1 in proximity from 200-plus and seventh in proximity from 175-200 yards over his last 24 rounds. He's also fifth in good drives gained during this same time frame, which is a metric that measures FIR percentage combined with the tendency a GIR is still attained when missing a fairway off the tee. Casey's putting variance is always intriguing as well. He finished fifth at both the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the PLAYERS Championship when he gained at least 3.9 strokes with the flat stick, but still managed to tie for 21st at the Valspar where he lost almost four strokes on the greens.
Joaquin Niemann - $31
Chipping is Niemann's Achilles heel, but the links-style layout at Kiawah should lend him opportunities to get crafty with a putter around the greens as he attempts to mitigate the damage usually done by his wedge play. The 22-year-old is already one of the best drivers on Tour, ranking 12th in SG: Off-the-Tee and sixth in driving distance over his past 24 rounds. He's also been on the positive side of SG: Approach in all but one of his eight measured starts to begin the 2021 calendar year.
Marc Leishman - $24
The Aussie is known for his ability to flight the ball and thrive in gusty conditions, so he'll generate a lot of buzz this week with the wind potentially providing much more of a defense than Kiawah's length on paper. Leishman is not only top-10 in proximity from 200-plus yards over his last 24 rounds, but he's also top-20 in SG: Putting over his last 36 rounds specifically on slow-to-average speed greens like we usually see on the Ocean Course. He tied for fifth at the Masters before adding his seventh top-25 of the season at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Shane Lowry - $21
Lowry caters to a similar narrative as Leishman, given their relative values are promoted by tougher conditions. Lowry is obviously a former Open champion, signaling past success at correlating venues. He's a great long-iron player and has gained 9.3 strokes on his approaches over his last eight rounds, which includes a top-10 performance at the RBC Heritage.
Keegan Bradley - $21
Bradley has rounded into form and found consistency with seven finishes of T30 or better throughout his past eight starts, so he'll be pretty chalky at such a discount this week, especially given his past champion status as he became a major champion back in 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club. Bradley has gained strokes from both tee to green and on his approach shots in a whopping 18 consecutive measured tournaments dating to the Northern Trust last August. He's 10th in proximity from 200-plus and 18th in SG: APP over his past 24 rounds.