2015 Greenbrier Classic: Preview, Strategy, Picks
After an exhilarating finish at the Travelers Championship, The PGA Tour moves to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic.
Interestingly enough, there are a lot of similarities between the two events from a golfers and daily fantasy perspective. Both fields are decent, but not great. The winning score is usually around 15-under par. Plus, they are both par 70s with minimal eagle opportunities.
However, strategy wise, there will be some differences. We’ll get into those after we cover the Old White TPC, the course for the Greenbrier.
Old White TPC
Old White TPC plays just over 7,200 yards at a par 70. Since the course was lengthened to over 7,200 yards in 2011, the winning score has been between 10 and 18-under par.
There are only two par 5s, which both present eagle opportunities. However, there are no drivable par 4s. Therefore, we’ll dive into the par 5s specifically, which resemble No. 14 and No. 17 at St. Andrews (the host of the Open Championship this year).
No. 12, 568 Yards – A risk-reward par 5. You can take the shorter route over the dogleg, but there’s a cross-bunker you must fly to have the opportunity to go for the green in two. Play safe to the wide side of the dog leg, then it’ll most likely be a layup. Around 10 eagles on this hole for the tournament is normal.
No. 17, 618 Yards – A creek follows entire right side of the fairway on this dogleg right. A smashed drive down the right side of the fairway makes this hole shorter and possible to reach in two. Otherwise, it’s a three-shot hole. With its length, approximately only five eagles are converted here each tournament.
So, in order to make an eagle on one of these two holes, you need to hit it a decent length, essentially if you’re an aggressive player who is in the top 100 in driving distance.
However, given the way this course sets up and how few eagle opportunities there actually are, I wouldn’t prioritize length here. If approximately 100 of 156 players are chasing a total of 15 eagles out there, there is too much variance for not enough of a reward. If there were four par 5s or a couple drivable par 4s, I might think differently.
Old White TPC is a track I would lean more on driving accuracy along with players who have been great this year with their mid-to-long irons. The four par 3s are 205, 234, 217 and 175 (the dramatic finishing hole) yards. There are also several long par 4s, and many of them involve tight drives with heavily tree-lined fairways.
This isn’t to say length doesn’t help, you should fade longer hitters or there won’t be some of those guys near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, but given that daily fantasy players often do pursue length without enough course research and there are often shorter hitters near the top of the leaderboard, I would favor more of the accurate players.
What else? Given the salary structure this week and the players in the field, this is definitely a good week for a balanced-salary method (a lot of guys between $7,000 and $11,000).
That’s about it for this week. If you can find those guys who are finding the fairway often and sticking it close from 150-plus yards, but also playing well as of late, that’s a nice bonus. If you’re looking for a field-strength comparison of this event to tournaments earlier this year, this one is about average – very similar to last week. Oh, and Tiger Woods is playing, for your duffing and shanking pleasure.
Also of note, I’ve seen A LOT of daily fantasy players in general complain on Twitter about WDs. This is many of the players’ final, and in some cases only, tuneup for the Open Championship in two weeks. But given that it’s two weeks away, we shouldn’t see any random WDs unless it’s due to a legit illness or injury.
Hopefully I can give you guys some better names this week. Of the 27 players I used last week, I provided nine of them. However, with the exception of the high-salary guys (including Bubba Watson), the others didn’t work out too well (on top of the cut moving to two-under at the last second). A handful names I used who weren’t in this article last week were Paul Casey, Jon Curran, Steven Bowditch, Harris English and Billy Horschel (all T25 or better). Also, fading Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grance, Hunter Mahan and Russell Knox worked out well.
So remember, even though I’m only giving you a fraction of my picks, there are several others who you can and should consider using the strategy provided. I’m often making dozens of lineups to put myself in position to win those GPPs. And again, feel free to use the golf forum to ask questions about specific players. Odds per dollar tab is also updated.
Bill Haas $10,500 – If you take out the U.S. Open, a tournament that produced a lot of luck-oriented results and a track that doesn’t suit his game, Haas’ last five finishes are T12 (Masters), T31, T4 (Players), T64 and 18 (Memorial). Haas typically schedules around courses that reward driving accuracy and often thrives on them as well.
Kevin Kisner $10,200 – Kisner’s last seven tournaments resulted in 2nd, T28, T2 (lost in playoff at the Players), T38, T5, T8 (Memorial) and T12. Kisner is 16th in driving accuracy and like Haas, Kisner has performed beautifully this year on tracks that require that skill.
Kevin Na $9,100 – Kevin Na has been one of the most used players recently, specifically at the Travelers Championship and U.S. Open. Before his missed cut at the, his previous nine finishes were T9, T10, T6, T20, T12 (Masters), T6 (Players), T10, T13 (Memorial) and T46 (U.S. Open). Na does have good odds per dollar, but I do think his usage will decline some because of his minor struggles the last two weeks, and he is near some popular DFS players like Justin Thomas. However, this course fits Na’s game perfectly for driving accuracy and his highly-ranked approach game inside 200 yards. I’d fully expect at least a T20 finish here at least with the possibility of him earning his second PGA victory.
Pat Perez $8,700 – 34th in driving accuracy and one of the best on approaches from 125-to-200 yards. Perez hasn’t missed a cut since the Arnold Palmer invitational, and five of those seven made cuts have been T20 or better.
Brendon Todd $8,500 – 10th in driving accuracy and one of the best on Tour in approaches from all distances. Todd has been inconsistent this season, but his strong finishes have always been on the courses that require driving accuracy. Todd does have great odds per dollar, so beware of usage here. I’m expecting between 15 and 20% from the field.
Kevin Chappell $8,100 – To be fair, there isn’t a lot around $8,000 that I like this week. I’d rather play two or three guys more expensive than $8K and play three or four around $7,000. So, this is kind of a fill-in for the last spot for middle tier. But I will use Chappell a little bit. He’s another player who is hot as of late making his last four cuts and is succeeding on the par 70 courses that require driving accuracy. Historically, Chappell does well in this stretch of tournaments with the tighter courses, and he’s had success specifically at the Greenbrier with making the cut in the three seasons he’s played in the event (2012-2014). His odds are solid as well.
Jason Bohn $7,400 – Fourth in driving accuracy and one of the best on Tour in approaches from any distance. Along with posting a T2 at the Crowne Plaza and a T9 at the Wells Fargo, Bohn is another player who excels on the tighter tracks. His great odds per dollar make sense.
Robert Streb $7,400 – After missing several cuts earlier in the year before the Masters (courses that are more wide open), Streb has made five consecutive cuts, three of which inside the top 20. The other two made cuts were at the Players and U.S. Open.
Kevin Streelman $7,100 – Despite the cut moving to two-under last week at the last second and missing the cut by one, Streelman is still playing superb golf. He’s made eight of his last 10 cuts, is 27th in driving accuracy and is one of the best on Tour in approaches under 200 yards.
Fade of the Tournament
Daniel Berger $8,200 – Berger is often a DFS favorite with his length and aggressive play. He also has five top 10s that will grab a lot of people’s attention. However, Berger has struggled on the tracks that require driving accuracy, particularly as of late by missing the cut at the Memorial, Crowne Plaza Invitational and Players Championship. While Berger has Top-10 potential if he’s on his game, his tournament schedule lately has been light, and he’s much more likely to miss the cut.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz