DraftKings PGA: Presidents Cup Picks and Strategy

DraftKings PGA: Presidents Cup Picks and Strategy

This article is part of our DraftKings PGA DFS Picks series.


Location: Charlotte, N.C.
Course: Quail Hollow Club
Yardage: 7,576
Par: 71
2019 champion: United States

Tournament Preview

The DFS community had been clamoring for years for DraftKings to offer games for the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Last year, we finally got the Ryder Cup. Now, it's time for the Presidents Cup. It's far different from a regular PGA Tour week, so stay tuned for all the changes and strategy tips.

The Presidents Cup debuted in 1994. There have been 13 of them, and the United States' record against the International team is 11-1-1. The U.S. team has won the past eight Cups and is a perfect 7-0 on U.S. soil. It was last contested in 2019 at Royal Melbourne in Australia, and this edition was delayed one year because of the pandemic.

This year's tournament will be played at Quail Hollow Club, which we are quite familiar with from its annual hosting duties for the Wells Fargo Championship. It is an absolute behemoth at more than 7,500 yards for a par-71, and it was chosen in large part to give an advantage to the long-hitting American team. The U.S. team is heavily favored -- and that was the case even before the 12-man Internationals lost half their team to LIV Golf. There will be eight Presidents Cup rookies for the Internationals and six for the Americans. That's a bit misleading, since the International rookies really are new to the team-competition format, while some of the American rookies, such as Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa, played in last year's Ryder Cup. Even the International captain, Trevor Immelman, is a rookie. His counterpart, Davis Love III, has been doing this for years.

There will be 30 matches across four days, beginning five foursomes (alternate shot) on Thursday and continuing with five four-balls (best ball) on Friday, four foursomes on Saturday morning, four four-balls on Saturday afternoon and ending with 12 singles matches on Sunday.

The prices listed below are just for Thursday's matches. We don't know the pairings yet, and won't until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. All games will be under the Showdown format (single-day contests). The prices likely will change from day to day, though not by much and the strategy presented here will serve as a good guide throughout the three days of team matches.

All lineups must be set up in Captains Mode, same as for last year's Ryder Cup. While there will be the traditional six-man lineups with a $50,000 salary cap, we must pick a team "captain." It is far from a ceremonial decision; it is critical. Your lineup captain will accrue 1.5 times the points he would have under ordinary circumstances, but here's the catch -- and you knew there would be -- he will cost 1.5 times his designated price. For example, Scheffler is the top guy at $10,600 but would cost you a whopping $15,900 as your captain, almost 30 percent of your budget.

Since there are only 24 guys in the competition, let's just list them all right here, with the regular salary price and Captain's price.

NameStandard $Captain $
Scottie Scheffler$10,600$15,900
Patrick Cantlay$10,200$15300 
Xander Schauffele$10,000$15,000
Justin Thomas$9,600$14,400
Max Homa$9,200$13,800
Sam Burns$8,800$13,200
Hideki Matsuyama$8,400$12,600
Tony Finau$8,200$12,300
Collin Morikawa$7,800$11,700
Sungjae Im$7,400$11,100
Jordan Spieth$7,000$10,500
Cameron Young$6,600$9,900
Corey Conners$6,200$9,300
Adam Scott$6,000$9,000
Billy Horschel$5,800$8,700
Tom Kim$5,600$8,400
Christiaan Bezuidenhout$5,400$8,100
Si Woo Kim$5,200$7,800
Kevin Kisner$5,000$7,500
Cam Davis$4,800$7,200
Mito Pereira$4,600$6,900
Taylor Pendrith$4,400$6,600
K.H. Lee$4,200$6,300
Sebastian Munoz$4,000$6,000

It is important to note again that this is just for Thursday's matches. It should go without saying that you should not lock in a lineup until seeing who the two-man teams are and who will be playing against whom. Don't forget that only 10 golfers on each side will play on Thursday, so two guys on each side won't play and of course should not be used.

As you can see, the prices are heavily weighted toward the Americans, which is understandable considering their collective higher world rankings. The top six guys and 10 of the top 12 on the DK board are American.

While we don't know the pairings as of this writing, we do have some indications as to who might be playing with whom. The pre-tournament media sessions have been set up in groups of six. For the Americans, Burns, Homa, Horschel, Scheffler, Spieth and Thomas are grouped to meet reporters. That makes sense, since it's likely we shall see teams of good friends Spieth-Thomas and Burns-Scheffler, leaving Homa and Horschel together. The other group is Cantlay, Finau, Kisner, Morikawa, Schauffele and Young. We know Cantlay-Schauffele will be one pairing.

For the Internationals, the first group to meet reporters is scheduled to be Davis, Im, Kim, Matsuyama, Munoz and Scott. The second is Bezuidenhout, Conners, Kim, Lee, Pendrith and Pereira. We should expect to see veterans Matsuyama and Scott paired with younger players (maybe Kim and Davis?). The problem for the Internationals is, almost all their players are young. Heck, Im, who is a mere 24, will likely be considered a veteran for Immelman. Conners and Pendrith, a pair of Canadians, were in the second group of six, so maybe they will be paired.

Scoring will break down like this: +3 points for holes won, +0.75 for holes halved, -0.75 points for holes lost, +1.6 points for holes not played, +5 points for matches won and +2 points for matches halved. Also: +5 points for a streak of three consecutive holes won in a match (maximum one per round) and a +7.5-point bonus for no holes lost in a match.

Okay, now on to the course. At more than 7,500 yards for a par-71, Quail Hollow has often been the biggest brute on the PGA Tour calendar, an absolute behemoth. We did not see it this year for the Wells Fargo because the course was being readied for this week. It also played host to the 2017 PGA Championship and will return to major championship golf for the 2025 PGA.

Quail Hollow is a 1961 George Cobb design with a 2016 Tom Fazio renovation. It normally ranks among the top-10 hardest courses on Tour, in large part because of the famed Green Mile, the closing three-hole stretch of two par-4s of about 500 yards sandwiching a long par-3 over water. This year, however, they will not play as Nos. 16-18 but as Nos. 13-15 so they won't get squeezed out of early-ending matches. If you really know your Quail Hollow, this will be the routing this week, according to the Golf Course Superintendents sheet: 1-8, 12-18, 10-11, 9.

Half the holes are par-4s of at least 450 yards (okay, one of them is 449) -- and five of those are 480-plus. Three of the par-3s are 190 or more, with No. 6 topping out at a just-not-fair 249. The key to Quail Hollow success was always par-5 scoring. There used to be four, but now there are only three, and none reaches 600 yards. The strategy is not quite the same for match play. Even when there were four par-5s, sometimes the winning score in stroke play was single digits. That tells you all you need to know about Quail Hollow.

The bermudagrass greens are of the large variety, averaging 6,578 square feet. There are 61 bunkers and four water hazards encompassing seven holes.

Notably, most of the 24 golfers have not played Quail Hollow or have not played it much. The Wells Fargo was not there this year, the 2020 edition was canceled because of the pandemic and the course was not used for the Wells Fargo in 2017 because it played host to the PGA Championship. Regulars include Matsuyama, who was fifth at the 2017 PGA, and Finau, who had a best of T18 in 2018. Thomas won the 2017 PGA, Homa won the 2019 Wells Fargo. Kisner, considered not be a factor on longer tracks, tied for seventh at the 2017 PGA.

Some final lineup/scoring notes: In foursomes and four-ball, both golfers on the same team will receive the same score, no matter who is making birdies, bogeys, etc. And you ARE allowed to pick both partners among your six guys, which might be a very sound strategy if you think they will do well. But, if you want to pick just one guy from a two-man team, PICK THE CHEAPER GUY. You can even pick six Americans (or Internationals) if you can fit them into the salary cap.

Key Presidents Cup DFS point: Historically, the U.S. has dominated in foursomes but the Internationals have a slight edge in four-ball and the singles have been pretty close.

  • Foursomes:  85.5-49.5
  • Four-ball: 66-67
  • Singles: 83.5-72.5

Now, the singles might be somewhat close because the Americans have had a big lead going into Sunday and have taken their foot off the gas a bit.

Reminder: The tournament begins with foursomes on Thursday, so it stands to reason to load up on Americans. Friday with four-balls might see more of a balanced result.

Weather-wise, the beginning of the week will be very hot, reaching the mid-90s on Thursday. After that, the golfers should see temperatures in the 70s and 80s with little chance of rain and not much wind.

Key Stats to Winning at Quail Hollow

The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance. There are other variables in match play, such as team chemistry.

• Driving Distance/Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
• Ball Striking/Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards

Past Champions

2019 - United States, 16-14 (Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia)
2017 - United States, 19-11 (Liberty National Golf Club, New Jersey)
2015 - United States, 15 1/2-14 1/2 (Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, South Korea)
2013 - United States, 18 1/2-15 1/2 (Muirfield Village, Ohio)
2011 - United States, 19-15 (Royal Melbourne)
2009 - United States, 19 1/2-14 1/2 (Harding Park Golf Club, San FRancisco)
2007 - United States, 19 1/2-14 1/2 (Royal Montreal Golf Club, Canada)
2005 - United States, 18 1/2-15 1/2 (Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Virginia)
2003 - Tied, 17-17 (Fancourt Hotel and Country Club, South Africa)
2000 - United States, 21 1/2-10 1/2 (The Country Club, Massachusetts)

Champion's Profile

Let's start out by saying the obvious: This isn't a normal week, so many other things matter. Like pressure. That said, Quail Hollow has favored the biggest hitters. Justin Thomas led the 2017 PGA Championship in driving distance. Max Homa averaged "only" 312 yards and ranked 21st in the 2019 Wells Fargo field, but here's what was the difference for Homa: He ranked first in the field by a wide margin in Strokes Gained: Putting and made more than 380 feet worth of putts. As we know, putting takes on added importance in match play. You gotta make birdies, even at Quail Hollow. At the PGA, Thomas ranked fourth in the field in SG: Putting. Since Tom Fazio's 2016 renovation, we have seen Quail Hollow winners rank first, second and fourth in putting. Unlike in stroke-play events, where taking advantage of the par-5s was vital, they are just one hole this week, even with an eagle. The Americans are heavily favored, but sometimes golfers, especially the younger ones, get nervous in this format.


Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

Xander Schauffele - $10,000/$15,000 (Odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook to be the Top Point Scorer: +700)
It will be hard to go wrong with any American this week, especially in foursomes. Until the singles matches, we won't know for sure who will play and who will sit each day. But it's safe to say Schauffele will play on Thursday, paired with frequent partner Patrick Cantlay. They won the Zurich Classic together earlier this year. That's not the same format as the Presidents Cup, but still. Schauffele is cheaper than Cantlay (by just $200 or $300 but still cheaper). So if you go with one guy, go with Schauffele. He tied for 14th at the 2021 Wells Fargo won by Rory McIlroy. Schauffele and Scheffler are the co-favorites at the Sportsbook to finish the week with the most points. At least for Thursday, Schauffele is cheaper. He went 3-2 in the 2019 Cup.

Justin Thomas - $9,600/$14,400 (+900)
Thomas and Jordan Spieth are an electric pairing, and with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson no longer part of these team competitions, Thomas and Spieth are now the U.S. leaders. That's not the best reason to play them, but it surely is a consideration. Thomas won the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow. He was also top-25 at the 2018 Wells Fargo and just missed again at the 2021 Wells Fargo. He has a 6-2-2 record from the 2017 and 2019 Cups.

Max Homa - $9,200/$13,800 (+1200)
Homa's pricing might've been a little slow to catch up to his game and his results, but it has caught up. He is clearly one of the best golfers in the world, better than his No. 16 ranking after winning his second straight Fortinet Championship on Sunday. He also won the 2019 Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, beginning the trend that he plays his best on long, hard tracks. Homa has been at the forefront of passionate speakers defending the PGA Tour against LIV, and how playing on International teams is so important to him. This will be his first chance, but we don't think nerves will be much of an issue after the start.

Sam Burns - $8800/$13,200 (+1000)
Burns is priced this high in DFS and at the Sportsbook because of his likely pairing with his great friend Scheffler. We should expect to see them on Thursday. Burns tied for 55th at the 2018 Wells Fargo and WD after one round a year later. But that's a lifetime ago in terms of Burns' golf game. Like Scheffler, Burns is a Presidents Cup rookie (Scheffler played in the Ryder Cup last year).

Hideki Matsuyama - $8,400/$12,600 (+2200)
Matsuyama, along with Adam Scott, will be counted on to do whatever is humanly possible to prop up the International team. That's a lot to ask. This will be Matsuyama's fifth Presidents Cup and his record is 6-7-4. But paired with C.T. Pan, he was 2-0 in four-balls in 2019, both times defeating Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson. Matsuyama has performed well at Quail Hollow, tying for fifth at the 2017 PGA, plus 11th at the 2016 Wells Fargo.

Sungjae Im - $7,400/$11,100 (+2000)
Scott is not done yet, and neither is Matsuyama, but the future of this team could lie with Im, who went 3-1-1 in his native South Korea in 2019. His game is so balanced, he could partner with almost anyone. As we noted above, four-ball might be the best place to play the Internationals. Im defeated Cantlay and Schauffele not once but twice in four-ball, first with Adam Hadwin and then with Abraham Ancer. Im then bounced Gary Woodland in singles, 4 and 3.

Jordan Spieth - $7,000/$10,500 (+1400)
Spieth -- the veteran of the team -- will be making his fourth Presidents Cup appearance. His record is 8-5-5 across three appearances. Remember, Spieth did not play in 2019, which came during his inexplicable four-year drought. He will be paired with his good friend Thomas, and chemistry counts so much this week. We could see them paired in all four sessions before Sunday's singles matches, though if it's a real blowout they could sit out a Saturday session. At a very cheap price, Spieth could be an excellent choice as your Captain. And remember, he is a lot cheaper than Thomas and they will get the same score when paired.

Tom Kim - $5,600/$8,400 (+2500)
Kim is priced not far from Scott on the DFS side, and the same at the Sportsbook. He is a real wild card this week, a 21-year-old Korean who came out of nowhere late in the PGA Tour season to win a tournament and zoom into the top-20 in the world rankings. While he was a fan favorite in his recent PGA Tour events, he will have to handle screaming pro-American crowds. Kim has shown maturity far beyond his years, and he could be making the first of many, many Presidents Cup appearances. We don't know his match-play partner yet. A word of advice to his U.S. counterpart in singles: Watch out.

Kevin Kisner - $5,000/$7,500 (+5000)
Kisner is the lowest-priced American. He was the last guy picked and, frankly, would not have been here had Will Zalatoris not gotten hurt. But this could be the time for al of Golf Twitters' Kevin Kisner truthers their time to shine. Kisner of course has been a great player in the annual WGc-Match Play and the winner in 2019. The Presidents Cup is not the same, at least until Sunday. We must say that there's a good chance Kisner doesn't play Thursday, so be mindful of that. But he could be a great pairing with a longer hitter, maybe offering leadership to a younger guy. nd Kisner has done quite well at this super-long track. He was seventh at the 2017 PGA and sixth at the 2014 Wells Fargo. He went 2-0-2 at the 2017 Cup.

Cam Davis - $4,800/$7,200 (+4000)
This is a bit of a hunch play, a hunch that the young Aussie could be paired alongside his veteran countryman in Scott. We know that Davis has the length to match the American bombers here. Davis just missed a top-25 at the 2021 Wells Fargo, tying for 26th.

Taylor Pendrith - $4,400/$6,600 (+5000)
Pendrith would not be here without all the LIV defections. But maybe this a silver lining for the Internationals. Pendrith really showed an ability to compete on the PGA Tour late last season after a four-month injury absence. He was 13th at THE PLAYERS before getting hurt, then ws runner-up at the Rocket Mortgage and eighth at the a BMW Championship featuring most of these President Cuppers. Pendrith is a super-long hitter. And he was among the top ball-strikers on Tour over the final two months of the season. We might see him paired with fellow Canadian Corey Conners, but it would seem to be more prudent to pair him with a better putter.

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. Len Hochberg plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DK: Bunker Mentality.
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Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for nine years. Len is a three-time winner of the FSWA DFS Writer of the Year Award (2020, '22 and '23) and a five-time nominee (2019-23). He is also a writer and editor for MLB Advanced Media.
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