PGA Championship Preview and Prediction

PGA Championship

Quail Hollow, Charlotte, NC

Past Champion: Jimmy Walker

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Sadly, the PGA Tour season is on its final leg of the Major Championship series, finishing with the PGA Championship at Quail Hollows. We have seen Sergio claim his first Major victory at The Masters, Brooks Koepka bomb it around Erin Hills to capture the U.S. Open, and recently watched Jordan Spieth dominate down the stretch to win the 3rd leg of the career Grand Slam at the Open Championship. Who will take down the final major of the year?

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Quail Hollow, which has been the site for the Wells Fargo Championship, is hosting a major championship for the first time. However, this is not a Quail Hollow track we are used to seeing. With renovations made throughout the entire course, with a few completely different holes, as well as new Bermuda grass installed on every green. Not only will the renovations make Quail Hollow play differently than in the past, but the rain that has fallen and will fall throughout the week has changed the way the course plays as well. Not only will are the greens faster, but the rough is thicker, and with the addition of the rain, it is even more important to hit fairways this week at Quail Hollow.

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FORE PGA Championship Storylines

Grand Slam Dreams

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Go Get That Grand Slam

Jordan Spieth has the chance to become the youngest golfer ever to complete the career Grand Slam beating Tiger by about 4 months. After his heroic Open Championship victory a couple weeks ago, Spieth is in as good of form as ever to complete the career Grand Slam in his first opportunity. A victory at Quail Hollows will cement Spieth legacy as one of the greatest young talents the game has ever seen.

All Eyes on Rory

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Many golf experts and analysts are calling this years PGA Championship Rorys to lose, and rightfully so. With two victories under his belt at Quail Hollows, along with 6 Top 10’s, Rory is without a doubt the favorite heading into this week. After struggling through the middle of the PGA Tour season, Rory has picked it up with Top 10 finishes in his last 2 starts (The Open and Bridgestone). If Rory can attack this golf course as he is accustomed to doing here, this tournament could be over before it even starts.

 

SHORTS! SHORTS! SHORTS!

If you haven’t noticed yet, the PGA of America gave golfers the permission to wear shorts during practice rounds this week, and the golf media went wild. I wouldn’t be doing my job (this isn’t my job) if I didn’t have a take on shorts being allowed on the course during practice rounds, but in the words of newly unretired Jay Cutler…DONT CARE! God forbid players not have to sweat their asses off week in and week out during the PGA Tour season.

 The Green Mile

One of the more exciting and challenging finishing stretches in golf belong to Quail Hollow and “The Green Mile”. If you can walk out even par over the final three holes you will most likely gain at least one stroke on the field as all three tend to play over par. Come Sunday, you are going to want to tune into the final groups as they make their way through The Green Mile because anything can happen.

PGA Championship Prediction

Dustin Johnson (+1200)

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Similar to Erin Hills, I believe the weather is going to effect Quail Hollow and it is going to be a bombers paradise. What better player to pick than the No.1 Player in the World, and the best driver of the golf ball on Tour. After winning three starts in a row, DJ experienced quite a slip up (pun intended), and hasn’t been the dominant force we saw earlier in the year. You can’t pass up 12-1 odds on the No.1 player on a course that plays to his strengths (Great DK Value too). Dustin picks up his 2nd Major this week at Quail Hollow.

Darkhorse Pick of the Week

Gary Woodland (+10000)

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Long hitter.

Greens in Reg.

5 Top 10’s.

Due for a W.

Draftkings Team of the Week

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Enjoy the final Major of the year!

THE PLAYERS Championship Preview and Prediction

THE PLAYERS Championship

TPC Sawgrass

Defending Champion: Jason Day

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Touted as the 5th major of the year, THE PLAYERS Championship is the most star studded field of the season with 46 of the top 50 players in the world competing. THE PLAYERS Championship, similar to the Masters, is played at one course and one course only, and that course is TPC Sawgrass. Home of the iconic 17th Island Green, Sawgrass is said to be in the best condition it has ever been in according to the likes of Jordan Spieth and Florida native Billy Horschel. With a perfect course and a stellar field, this is a golf fans dream! Expect tons of drama come the weekend, especially once the final groups hit the home stretch of 16, 17, and 18.

FORE THE PLAYERS Championship Storylines

Day to Day

While there has never been a back to back winner at THE PLAYERS, defending champion Jason Day is in a great spot to do become the first. As my DK Obvious Pick of the Week, I believe Day will be in the mix on the weekend and with everything surrounding his mother and it being Mother’s Day on Sunday the good karma should be flowing for Day and his family.

Stars are out at Sawgrass

Boy Oh Boy do we have a deep field this week! With 24 of the top 25 players in the world playing this week this is the first tournament of the year we really get to see the best of the best competing against each other  (DJ included). We may finally get to see the real powerhouses of the sports such as DJ, Rory, Spieth, Rickie, and Day all at the top of the leaderboard on the weekend competing for one of the most elusive trophies in golf. Regardless of who takes home the beautiful crystal trophy.Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 4.01.56 PM.png

Unlike the Masters coverage, the featured groups for Thursday and Friday on PGA Tour Live are AWESOME!

“Better Than Most”

The famous Island Green, Par 3 17th Hole, at TPC Sawgrass is just that, better than most. With the iconic “better than most” call during the 2001 PLAYERS Championship taking place on this green, there is no better way to describe this golf hole. One of the most iconic holes in the game of golf, will provide drama all week from possible hole in ones like Rickie in a Wednesday practice round to Sergio putting it in the drink TWICE on Sunday.

Luckily you can follow along with the action on the 17th all week on Twitter.

Go for Broke? Or Lay Up?

The newly renovated, now driveable, Par 4 12th hole will create some difficult choices for players whether to try to drive the green or lay up. If the tee boxes are moved up (whispers of Thursday and Saturday) the hole will be playing a measly 305 yards to the middle of the green, however as you can see the green is heavily guarded with a new pond down the left side of the green. It will be interesting to see how these players attack this hole.

THE PLAYERS Championship Prediction

Rory McIlroy (+1000)

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Between the new $100 million equipment deal with TaylorMade and his new marriage, everything is coming up (as if he needs more) Rory and I think in a star studded field, Rory takes the (wedding) cake this week. Not to mention when I heard he was carrying a 1 iron in the bag this week I got legit giddy. Not to mention McIlroy is on the record saying in all his years of testing clubs, “I’ve never been this excited about equipment as right now”, which seems like a pretty good indicator he feels comfortable with the switch coming into this week. Rory has finished in the top 10 four times this season in only 5 PGA Tour starts, which is pretty decent imo. In the right mindset and form to really attack this course Rory is my pick this week at THE PLAYERS.

Darkhorse of the Week

Brooks Koepka (+3500)

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Five Top 25 finishes, including two 2nd place finishes, Koepka is right on the doorstep of getting a W this year. With the definite firepower to compete with the big boys, I would not be shocked to see Koepka in the mix this weekend. Also, not only can Koepka win you some money, but if he gets a hole-in-one this week Michelob Ultra is giving away thousands of free beers (http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19350077/fans-win-2280-cans-beer-brooks-koepka-fires-ace).

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THE PLAYERS Championship is a Must Watch for any golf fan, especially with this star studded field. Enjoy the coverage and some serious weekend drama!

Follow me on Twitter (@mattmarks19) for live updates and highlights from THE PLAYERS.

Wells Fargo Championship Preview and Prediction

Wells Fargo Championship

Eagle Point Golf Club

Past Champion: James Hahn

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With the regular venue of the Wells Fargo, Quail Hollow, hosting the PGA Championship later this year, the event has moved to Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, NC. The change of scenery sure will not disappoint, with the Tom Fazio design being touted as Augusta-esque with its perfectly manicured blades of grass, white sand bunkers, and surprisingly hilly terrain given the flat North Carolina land the course is built on. While Eagle Point has never hosted a PGA Tour event, the early reactions from the players are full of high praise for its beautiful design and condition.

The Field

This being the last tuneup before the “5th Major”, the Players Championship, next week, the field has some big names such as Dustin Johnson, who is making his first start since his back injury, which kept him out of the Masters, as well as Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, and Patrick Reed. Granted DJ is the only player inside the Top 10 in the OWGR, the field is strong enough to make for an exciting week of golf.

Thursday Tee Times

Friday Tee Times

Fore Wells Fargo Storylines 

Members Bounce?

While 99% of the field is seeing this course for the first time, Webb Simpson and Carl Pettersson are members of Eagle Point, so they may have a slight advantage over the rest of the field. With Simpson on the record as saying he has played the course over 150 times, including just recently, it will be interesting to see if his knowledge of course layout will jolt him up the leaderboard this week.

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“Can I book a tee time Sunday for the Final Group”  Simpson calling the Pro Shop (probably)

Is DJ really back?

After an alleged slip and fall that kept him out of the Masters, Johnson is back this week and I don’t know what DJ to expect. Do we get the World No.1 DJ, who has won 3 of his last 3 starts? Or do we get a rusty DJ who is just tuning up for The Players next week? I am going with the latter, as he is my Fade of the Week for Draftkings for the sole fact that the whole slip and fall drama has so many question marks (Also way overpriced). I will be ready to hop back on the DJ train next week after I get a week to see how he responds.

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Augusta Point

I wouldn’t go as far as Steven Bowditch did in calling Eagle Point, Augusta Point, however the similarities are certainly there. Featuring the same green grass, white sand bunkers, and pines surrounding the course, the look and feel is eerily similar. Featured as #100 on Golf Digest latest America’s Greatest Courses list, I fully expect Eagle Point to be added to the PGA Tour schedule in the future, even before replacing Quail Hollow once again in 2021.

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Spring in Full Swing

With The Players next week, and the U.S. Open on the horizon, this week at the Wells Fargo Championship should be a good indication of how players are coming into form for the main stretch of the PGA Tour season.  As we get into the meat of the Tour schedule expect to see the best players in the world at the top of their game. Some great golf tournament ahead, starting this week at Eagle Point.

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2017 Wells Fargo Championship Prediction

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Paul Casey (+1800)

As I stated in my Right in the Fairway segment, I love Paul Casey this week. Granted Eagle Point is hosting a PGA Tournament for the first time there is not much to go off of, but through research a few aspects about the course that I find important are tough approach shots with hazards involved and unexpected angulations in the fairways, as well as the greens. In terms of the difficult approach shots Casey ranks 14th in GIR and 8th in scrambling to compensate for the possible missed green. Also, as an Englishman with a links background, as well as someone who has found success at Augusta, the change in elevation and contoured greens should be an advantage for Casey this week. Even though you need to go back to 2009 to find Casey’s last win on Tour, the 13 time European Tour winner, has the ability to win and coming off 6th and 9th place finishes in his last two starts #Nice, Casey is in great form to get a win this week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Dark Horse of the Week

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Emiliano Grillo (+5000)

A fantastic ball striker who I think has decent value coming into the week. If his ball striking is up to par this week I can see him attacking these difficult approach shots that Eagle Point has to offer.

Enjoy this weeks action and follow Fore Right on Twitter for live updates and highlights.

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Right in the Fairway DK Wells Fargo Picks

Wells Fargo Picks

Obvious Pick of the Week:

Paul Casey ($9,900)

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I LOVE Casey this week. Casey has made 7/8 cuts this year, and in especially good form coming off 6th and 9th place finishes in his last two starts #Nice. I consider this pick obvious in the sense that his value at $9,900 allows you to grab another high priced player (Scott, Reed, or Phil), as well as getting a player consistently makes cuts and near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend.

*Don’t forget to check out my Preview and Prediction coming out later today, you might just see Caseys name pop up again ;)*

Gut Guy of the Week:

Zach Johnson ($7,400)

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Johnson can not only be considered my Gut Guy of the Week, but could very well be the Value Pick as well. Getting Johnson, a 12 time PGA Tour Champ, at $7,400 is an absolute steal in my opinion. I believe DK has him a little undervalued coming off two missed cuts, but that is the exact reason I chose him as my Gut Guy of the Week. Johnson has made 6/9 cuts this season #NiceAgain, including 2 Top 10 and 3 Top 25 finishes. I fully expect Johnson to get back on track this week and compete on the weekend.

Value Pick of the Week

Alexander Noren ($6,600)

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BANANAS! The 12th ranked player in the OWGR, who has made 4/5 cuts this season, is only worth $6,600?! The 34 year old Noren has won 6 times on the European Tour, and is worth less than the likes of 54 year old Vijay Singh (1/7 cuts made) and rookie Curtis Luck ($7,000). Similar to the rationale behind Johnson, getting Noren at such a ridiculously cheap price, you are now able to go out and get another Tier 1 golfer to pair up with Casey.

Fade of the Week:

Dustin Johnson ($13,000!)

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I am not telling you to fade the No. 1 Player in the World, or the same DJ who has won 3 of his last 3 starts. I am telling you to fade the wayyy over priced DJ, who is coming off a “back injury” dating back to the Masters. Worth $2,000 more than the next highest priced golfer (Jon Rahm) I don’t see the value in picking DJ, especially with all of the question marks regarding his recent absence. While I am not doubting DJ can get back to his recent form and dominate another tournament, I think this is the best week as any to fade him and see how his game is after a long “injury” layoff. I am interested to see what % takes him even with such a high price differential.

DK Tournament of the Week 

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Good Form+Value+Cuts Made+Tour Sauce-Players I can’t root for =

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Good Luck!

 

#TigerTuesdays: Foul Mouth Tiger

With the recent news of Woods’ 4th back surgery, the idea of Tiger never playing professional golf has crept in the minds of golf fans everywhere. Similar to when Tiger hits a bad shot, I tend to scream profanities after reading articles about Tigers recent struggles. Granted, in his prime these moments were rare, but when Tiger missed he’d let everyone know about it, including himself, as he loved to yell at himself in the third person (“God Damnit Tiger”).

There is no doubt in my mind that when Tiger makes a mistake in real life he scolds himself in the third person and that is hilarious to me. The real question is if, like Derek Jeter (Yeah Jeets!), he refers to himself in the third person in bed with his lady friends, of which there are many as well. Can’t wait for that Tiger tell-all book to come out and really find out what is going on in his head throughout this portion of his career.

 

 

 

 

Zurich Classic Preview and Prediction

Zurich Classic 

TPC Louisiana 

Past Champion: Brian Stuard

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We’ve got team golf ladies and gentlemen! For the first time since 1981, there is a team event on the PGA Tour this week at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. I love the inclusion of a team event mixed into the Tour schedule, as I am sure both players and fans are as well. Good on the Zurich Classic Committee to be the first tournament to change up its format, and the difference in field is undeniable. With 17 of the top 30 in Fed Ex Cup points in the field this week, there are a few powerhouse duos that stick out.

Featured Teams

Rickie Fowler/Jason Day

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With two Top 10 players in the World, and the odds on favorite (+600), the pairing of Fowler and Day will sure to be a fan favorite this week. Not only can both crush it off the tee, but when on, their short games can be deadly. If both are firing on all cylinders this week, this will be a SCARY team.

Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 

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Couple Texans, and frequent Tuesday afternoon practice round partners, the pairing of Spieth and Palmer is not random. While friends, the reason behind the pairing this week goes back to when Palmers caddie, James Edmondson, bet Spieth that he would beat him during a friendly round last November. Can you guess who won that bet?

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson

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This Ryder Cup duo has the experience and trust in each others games to dominate this week. As an American it will be fun to finally watch and root for this team of Rose (2015 Zurich Classic Champion) and Stenson, instead of wanting them to lose like in Ryder Cups past.

Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace

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Can the South African continue their team dominance following the 2015 Presidents Cup where they were 4-0 as a team. This should be a good preview of what to expect in this years Presidents Cup that will take place at Liberty National.

Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay

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Patrick Reed in a team event? Sign me up! Reed during these team events is a different animal (See Below) and I LOVE his fire. However, this is a team event and I think Cantlay is good fit to level Reeds emotions out.

Format

First and Third Rounds: Alternate Shot 

Alternate Shot- Players on a team rotate tee shots, meaning one player will tee off on all odd holes, and the other all even holes. From there the player who did not tee off is responsible for hitting the next shot, and that rotation continues until the ball is holed. For example, if Player A tees off, Player B hits the second shot, Player A hits the third shot, and so on until the hole is over.

Second and Final Rounds: Four-Ball

Four Ball- Each player is responsible for their own ball and are playing normal stroke play, with the only caveat being the lowest score for each team on the hole is the only score recorded. For example, if Player A pars the first hole and Player B birdies the hole, Player Bs score will be recorded and they will go to the second hole at 1-under.

2017 Zurich Classic Prediction

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Daniel Berger and Thomas Pieters (+1400)

While both are sure to be Ryder Cuppers of the future, Pieters proved himself in last years Ryder Cup going 4-1. While Pieters was able to showcase his team skills at the Ryder Cup, Berger was able to showcase his ability to win tournaments last year winning the FedEx St.Jude Classic. Other than both being some of the longest hitters on Tour, these two also play the same ball, which to an average golfer may not seem to be a big deal, but to PGA Tour players their ball is everything. This is just one less thing this team has to worry about and plan for heading into the week.

To be honest, with this being the first team event in the last 35 years, picking a team to win is tough, but after seeing Pieters Instagram story earlier this week, I knew this was going to be my team #NoLayingUp

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Darkhorse Team of the Week

Tyrrell Hatton/Jamie Donaldson (+6600) both being potential Ryder Cup participants in the future, and a win here this week can possibly propel them both into the conversation for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Enjoy this new format as it should make for an exciting weekend of golf, with a twist! Also, look out for Tripod, the infamous 3-legged alligator, that has made a name for himself at the Zurich Classic.

Right in the Fairway DK Valero Texas Open Pick

RBC Heritage DK Pick Grades: 

Martin Kaymer T32 (-4) : B+

As the Obvious Pick of the Week, Kaymer was able to make the weekend (a must) and accumulate 78.5 DFS points. While posting a 3-over on Saturday, and a 4-over back nine on Sunday, Kaymer had the chance to be higher on the leaderboard, but we will take it.

Patrick Cantlay T-3 (-11): A+

As the Gut Guy of the Week, Cantlay put together a gutsy performance finishing T-3 (2nd best of his career). Cantlay will continue to be a play for me throughout the year as I see a lot of potential in this former World No.1 Amatuer.

Daniel Summerhays T59 (E): A-

“Do Your Job.” As the Value Pick of the Week, Summerhays channeled his inner Bill Belichick last week and did just that, his job. Your job as the value pick is to make a cut and gain some “free” points during the weekend. After posting a 5-under on Friday, Summerhays made the weekend and was able to finish with 63.5 total points.

Valero Texas Open Picks

Obvious Pick of the Week:

Patrick Reed ($9,700)

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Obvious is an interesting word to describe how I feel about Patrick Reed this week. Is he in good form? The simple answer is no, especially with a missed cuts in his last two starts, and having to go back to January to find his last top 10 finish. However, Reed had a second place finish last year at this event so you know he feels comfortable around this track. Not to mention Reed was born in San Antonio, and similar to Wesley Bryan being the first South Carolina native to win the RBC Heritage last week,  I love those small connections to an event. So this week I love Reed and think he falls out of his recent slump this year with a solid finish.

Gut Guy of the Week:

Harold Varner III ($7,800)

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With a T-9 in last years event here at TPC San Antonio, Varner is someone to watch this week. Although he has yet to get that elusive first Tour victory, Varner seems to be in good form coming into this week with made cuts in his last 4 starts. Varner is a sneaky big hitter who averages just over 300 yards in Driving Distance, good enough for 28th on Tour. This helped him in last years event ranking in the Top 5 in Par 5 Scoring, which just means more DK points. I am excited to see how Varner performs this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend.

Value Pick of the Week:

Smylie Kaufman ($6,200)

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Good Ole Smylie. Coming off a #SB2K17 trip with the boys, I fully expect Smylie to be relaxed and focused heading into this week at the Valero. While he his performance this year has been less than stellar (2/7 Cuts Made), Kaufman has also been nursing a wrist injury dating back to last year. After missing his last 6 cuts, I think #SB2K17 got his mind right and he comes out playing more freely this week and makes the cut.

Fade of the Week: 

Charley Hoffman ($10,700)

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Winner of last years event and a solid Masters appearance, Hoffman is considered one of the favorites this week, but I think he is WAY over valued at the third highest price. Especially coming off a missed cut last week at the RBC Heritage, Hoffman may have hit his ceiling in terms of DK value and for that reason I am out on him this week.

DK Tournament of the Week

PGA $500K Dogleg ($50,000 to 1st)

$33 entry fee

Good Form+Value+Cuts Made+Tour Sauce-Players I can’t root for =

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(Three guys with no picture not a great look, but let’s do it!)

Good Luck!