3 Golfers to Bet on for the PGA Championship:
There are many Sportsbooks that have already opened up odds for the PGA Championship, and even if you don’t bet, it’s never too early to start thinking about who we might use in DFS for the PGA Championship Millionaire Maker. The three players below likely won’t be buzz-worthy picks unless they pick up a top 10 over the next few weeks, but I think they all have a great shot at winning the year’s last major.
Ryan Moore (+10000)
A 35 year-old with no wins in the past 2 years and who has never finished better than 9th in a major? Hear me out. It may surprise you to hear that Moore sits in the top 20 on my overall Strokes Gained Tool, above more notable names like Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson. He’s been one of the more consistent players on tour this year.
One thing I like about Moore is his putting. While he’s been below average in SG Putting the past 2 years, my model has him as a well above average putter. The reason: He’s only 5’9″ (read my article on why this matters here) and has a history of being a great putter. I like that Moore has only been slightly below average the last 2 years, that indicates to me that there’s likely nothing wrong with his putting game, he’s just been on the poor side of variance.
But a bigger reason I’m high on Moore is his improved long game. Moore hired swing coach Drew Steckel at the end of last year, who is an up-and-coming coach who most notably has worked with Kevin Na, a break out player on the tour who won the Grienbrier several weeks ago. Moore has a pretty strange swing, with an outside-in move similar to Jim Furyk. This is what his swing looked like 2 years ago:
And this is what his swing looks like now:
From a swing perspective, while Steckel clearly hasn’t dramatically changed Moore’s swing, the backswing looks a lot tighter and in control than it was in 2016. While Moore isn’t a long hitter (in the bottom 1/5th of Driving Distance on tour), he’s currently in the top 3 of driving accuracy on tour. Another thing that stands out is Moore’s weight. He claims to have lost 20 pounds since last year, just one more reason why this 35 year old may finally be breaking out.
Webb Simpson (+7000)
The most notable thing in Webb Simpson’s game this year has been his putting. Formerly an belly putter, Simpson struggled when anchored putting was banned in by the Tour in 2016, when he finished the year with a bottom 10 Strokes Gained Putting average. Suddenly in 2018, Simpson is top 10 in SG Putting. My first thought when I saw this was that this had to be variance. But taking a closer look, Simpson is actually 5th in putts made under 10′, one of the most stable putting metrics. It turns out Webb has begun using a forearm anchored putting stroke with a claw grip that is quite strange to look at but seems to have great results:
Even if we take a conservative approach and estimate that Simpson is simply an above-average putter, that could put him in the top 10 of golfers on Tour. Webb is someone who only 2 years ago was coming off 2 straight years of top 15 finishes in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, and is possibly the most consistent player around the green over the past 5 years. He’s a player I like quite a bit going forward.
Justin Thomas (+2000)
This is not exactly the hottest take, but I was surprised when I saw a reasonably priced JT get only 6% ownership in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker during the British Open. It’s funny how people seem to forget that Thomas was the best player in the world in the first half of this season and from a strokes gained perspective, is clearly 2nd best in the world behind Dustin Johnson. JT is great in every facet of the game and is getting into his prime at age 25. To use Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, or even Brooks Koepka over Thomas for the PGA Championship, which many players likely will, is laughable. This guy is a top 5 stud long term and if we can get him at +2000 it’s an absolute steal.View all posts by Max J Steinberg