The PGA Course Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Trends Tool and metrics to highlight stats for the upcoming tournament.
The last major of the year just wrapped up, and now we get a WGC event, which means a 64-player field with no cut.
Let’s dive in.
As always, I back-tested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out those that have been the most valuable at TPC Southwind. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).
Historically, this course has yielded averages of 43.63 DraftKings points and a -5.01 Plus/Minus with a 43.1% Consistency Rating to the field.
Metrics that tested with at least a +2.00 Plus/Minus:
- Long-Term Birdies: +4.93
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +3.48
- Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +3.28
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +3.14
- Odds Score: +2.87
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +2.78
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +2.69
- Recent Scrambling: +2.45
- Course Adjusted Round Score: +2.45
- Recent Bogeys: +2.43
- Long-Term Scrambling: +2.36
- Long-Term Missed Cuts: +2.31
It’s worth noting that when TPC Southwind previously hosted the St. Jude Classic in past years, which was a standard event that featured a cut. Now since it’s a WGC event with no cut, there could be multiple approaches to roster construction without the fear of losing golfers after Friday.
TPC Southwind checks in as a fairly long 7,237-yard course considering its a par 70 with just two par 5s. This is perhaps the first time I’ve seen par-3, 4 and 5 scoring all rank right next to each other, and within fractions of a point.
Par-5 scoring is worth noting since the No. 3 and No. 16 par 5s have birdies rates of 34% and 48%, along with eagle rates of 1.5% and 3.2%, per Fantasy National. It could be worth singling out golfers who have the distance to potentially eagle the par 5s. However, most weight should probably be emphasized towards the par 4s since they make up 66% of the holes.
Southwind is one of the more difficult courses on tour. This course features an abundance of water hazards along with narrow fairways and hard to hit greens. Historically, golfers hit 61% of fairways and 65% of greens in regulation (GIR) at an average tour event, but at this course, golfers manage just 53% of fairways and 58% of GIR, respectively (Fantasy National).
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that Strokes Gained: Approach has driven most of the scoring, and at an almost 5% higher clip than your average event, per Data Golf. The same goes for Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, albeit not as important as Strokes Gained: Approach.
Since the greens are harder to hit at this course, the positive backtesting of scrambling makes sense. If golfers aren’t going to hit the green, hopefully, they can do their best to save par.
That said, since there is no cut this week, I may be willing to take a flier on some golfers with more upside even if they don’t have the best ability to save for par. For example, in the small sample we have for Matthew Wolff, he’s saved for par on just 54.4% of the holes where he’s missed the green, but he has the distance to hit these par 5s in two, and at $7,500 on DraftKings he allows for some roster flexibility.
A golfer who doesn’t fit the profile for this course at all is Bubba Watson. He possesses a scrambling rate of just 56.3%, and he’s averaged 1.0 adjusted strokes on the par 4s. While he’s going to gain strokes off the tee, over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 56th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 55th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. Watson is someone who typically struggles on approach and around the greens.
Key metrics: Birdie or better scoring, par-4 and par-5 scoring, scrambling, Strokes Gained: Approach
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Pictured above: Bryson DeChambeau
Photo credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports