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DraftKings PGA: Honda Classic

Michael Riek

Michael is the 2016 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year winner. He is a former collegiate golfer with a passion for analytics and strategy.

HONDA CLASSIC

Purse: $6.1M Winner’s Share: $1.098M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Course: PGA National (Champion Course)
Yardage: 7,158
Par: 70
Defending Champion: Padraig Harrington

Tournament Preview


The Honda Classic marks the genesis of the Florida Swing, the change from West Coast Poa annua to East Coast Bermuda greens. Thirteen of the top 25 players in the world are present this week, including local residents Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, two of the world’s top 5 players. Jack Nicklaus redesigned PGA National in 2002; since the Honda Classic moved to PGA National in 2007 the Champion course has played as one of the 10 toughest courses on the PGA Tour. The famous “Bear Trap,” holes 15, 16 and 17, imposes two long-iron par-3s and a challenging par-4 where watery graves are commonplace for even the best players. For those who can’t look away from an impending train wreck, this week’s Honda Classic is sure to provide much viewing pleasure.

Key Stats to winning at PGA National

Par-4 Scoring
Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green
Scrambling Percentage

Past Champions

2015 – Padraig Harrington
2014 – Russell Henley
2013 – Michael Thompson
2012 – Rory McIlroy
2011 – Rory Sabbatini
2010 – Camilo Villegas
2009 – Y.E. Yang
2008 – Ernie Els
2007 – Mark Wilson
2006 – Luke Donald (Country Club at Mirasol)

Champion’s Profile

There are two types of player types who can succeed at PGA National: longer-hitting ballstrikers (McIlroy, Villegas, Els) and short game gurus (Henley, Thompson, Yang, Wilson). Total driving and greens in regulation are very important on the hazardous course that features several holes where water is dangerously in play. When the inevitable missed greens happen, the scrambling par saves will be crucial to avoid bogeys and maintain momentum. Another underrated factor to consider is previous performance on Bermuda courses; players who call the southeastern U.S. their home tend to play better on the sticky Bermuda grasses, an art not easily perfected.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Rory McIlroy - $12,500 (Winning Odds: 15%)
Rickie Fowler - $11,700 (8%)
Adam Scott - $11,000 ( 6%)

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Patrick Reed - $10,600 ( 5%)
Branden Grace - $10,300 ( 3%)
Russell Knox - $9,700 ( 3%)
Jimmy Walker - $9,000 ( 2%)
Zach Johnson - $8,800 ( 2%)

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Justin Thomas - $8,100 ( 2%)
Jason Kokrak - $7,800 ( 1%)
Boo Weekley - $7,200 ( 1%)
Jamie Lovemark - $7,200 ( 1%)

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Jason Bohn - $6,700 ( 1%)
Camilo Villegas - $6,700 ( 1%)
Zac Blair - $6,300 ( 1%)

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmy Walker $9,000
Zach Johnson $8,800
Shane Lowry $8,500
Graeme McDowell $8,400
Justin Thomas $8,100
Jamie Lovemark $7,200

Given the bifurcated profile, it’s best to diversify as much as possible to blend long-hitting ballstrikers with short game gurus in the safe lineup. Jimmy Walker is a sleeper of sorts at this venue because he hasn’t played PGA National since 2012, but has since bloomed into a top talent the last three seasons. Zach Johnson is making just his third start here in nine years, but hits it straight and is among the best at avoiding mistakes that cripple many at PGA National. Shane Lowry is making his first start but has good recent form with a pair of top-15s since the beginning of February. McDowell is a polished short-game guru with three top-10s at the Honda Classic in seven total starts. Justin Thomas saw his first PGA National action in the form of a missed cut last year, but with familiarity comes success and he has far more upside than last year’s Honda Classic rookie runner-up Daniel Berger. Finally, Jamie Lovemark finds himself as a great value at $7,200 with a handful of top-20s already this year and a T31 finish at the Honda last season.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Rory McIlroy - $12,500
Rickie Fowler - $11,700
Jamie Lovemark - $7,200
Zac Blair - $6,300
Tyrone Van Aswegen - $5,900
Stuart Appleby - $5,700

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The harder the course, the more top talent you need to give yourself the best chance to hit it big in a tourney. The pairing of local residents Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler not only means the two best players in the field, it means differentiation, as many will refuse to burn nearly half their allotted salary on two players. Lovemark finds his way into both my lineups due to his great value this week. Zac Blair has upside as he contended at the Sony Open earlier this year and notched a T22 last year in his first ever start at PGA National. Van Aswegen has quietly made 10 of 11 cuts this season and recently two top-20s, making him a safe choice at a rock-bottom price. Rounding out the high-risk lineup is Stuart Appleby, who has six career top-10s at this venue to go with a T26 at Riviera last week.

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.