The Old White TPC will host the Greenbrier Classic this week, as it has done every year since 2010, save for last year’s edition, which was wiped out due to devastating flooding in West Virginia. The damage to the Greenbrier Resort and the Old White TPC in particular was so bad that noted golf course architect Keith Foster was brought in for a course restoration to make it playable again. While Foster retained the course’s routing plan and hole concepts, every green complex was rebuilt, and new grasses were introduced throughout the course.
Phil Mickelson, who owns a home at Greenbrier and even does commercials promoting the resort and its falconry (whatever falconry is), will be playing for the first time since splitting with his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. Mickelson’s ownership will be intriguing to track this week. FantasyLabs provides ownership projections in our Models, and Pro Subscribers will be able to review Phil’s ownership across tournaments of various stakes in our DFS Ownership Dashboard shortly after contests lock.
The Old White TPC is a Par 70 that measures 7,287 yards. It was designed in 1914 by C.B. Macdonald, who modeled several holes based on iconic holes from Macdonalds’s native Scotland, including St. Andrews’ famous 170-yard Par 3 11th hole called “Eden.”
Per PGATour.com, five holes on the front nine have allowed at least a 20 percent birdie percentage, including the 388-yard Par 4 fifth hole, which has yielded a 24 percent birdie percentage against just an eight percent bogey percentage, good for a scoring average of 3.872. The 404-yard Par 4 ninth hole has also been player-friendly, allowing 23 percent birdies and only seven percent bogeys. The most likely places to lose strokes on the front nine are the 488-yard Par 4 second hole (4.139 scoring average and 22 bogey or worse percentage) and the 471-yard Par 4 sixth hole (4.111 scoring average and 21 bogey or worse percentage). While there are two Par 3s on the front nine, both play over 200 yards, and pars are much more likely than birdies. In fact, the 234-yard Par 3 eighth hole is a beast, claiming more bogeys (16 percent) than birdies (12 percent). When Stuart Appleby — in the field with a sponsor’s exemption — christened the course with an epic 59 on Sunday to bring home the inaugural title in 2010, he birdied six holes on the front nine.
The back nine starts with two legitimate birdie opportunities in the first three holes. The 385-yard Par 4 10th hole surrenders 25 percent birdies and just nine percent bogeys with a scoring average of 3.843. After the very tough 11th hole, where only 11 percent of players manage birdies, the inviting 569-yard Par 5 12th hole gives up a whopping 36 percent birdies and a 4.715 scoring average. The 401-yard Par 4 14th hole — designed with the 15th hole at Muirfield in mind — presents another great scoring opportunity with 25 percent of players carding a birdie. The 444-yard Par 4 16th hole will likely see some aggressive tee shots over Swan Lake end up wet, contributing to the hole’s 15 percent bogey or worse percentage and 4.120 scoring average. The back nine ends with two excellent birdie opportunities on the long 616-yard Par 5 17th and the short 175-yard Par 3 18th hole. Golfers who start on the back nine will have a great chance to earn the DraftKings three-birdie streak bonus from No. 17 back to the first.
Since Appleby’s victory, the course has crowned a diverse group of champions, including Scott Stallings, Jonas Blixt, and Angel Cabrera. The most recent champion (in 2015) is Danny Lee, who needed to survive a four-man playoff to earn the title. It’s worth noting that, other than Stallings, each one of these former winners has a Long-Term Driving Distance (LT DD) of less than 290 yards.
Metrics To Remember
As our baseline: All courses on the PGA Tour have allowed an average of 50.40 DraftKings points with a -0.57 Plus/Minus and 49.1 percent Consistency Rating (per our PGA Trends tool). Golfers at the Old White TPC course have historically averaged 49.46 DraftKings points per tournament (PPT) with a +0.09 Plus/Minus and 48.8 percent Consistency.
Here is how the top 20 percent of golfers in various metrics have done (in Plus/Minus values) at the Old White:
- Adj Rd Score: +3.66
- Driving Distance (DD): +1.92
- Driving Accuracy (DA): -2.00
- Scrambling (SC): +2.96
- Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament (Adj Bird Avg): +5.49
Obviously, LT Adj Bird Avg and Adj Round Score jump off the page with their high Plus/Minus values, and not far behind is LT SC. Given the shorter driving distances of previous champions, it’s somewhat surprising to see the long hitters providing more value than the accurate ones in terms of exceeding their salary-based expectations.
We see some massive Plus/Minus numbers with recent metrics: Adj Rd Score and DD are both close to five points, while GIR and Bird Avg are in the double digits! Because the sample size for GIR was incredibly small, I expanded the trend to include the top 25 percent of golfers. While the sample size more than doubled, the Plus/Minus remained incredibly steady at +11.07. This is a metric I will likely weight more heavily than I typically do in our Models. The sample for Adj Rd Score was near 100 golfers, and, as a result, I will pay particular attention to current form when selecting golfers for this event.
Here’s how the top 20 percent of golfers in recent metrics have historically performed:
- Adj Rd Score: +5.19
- GIR: +11.05
- DD: +4.28
- DA: -0.74
- SC: -0.53
- Adj Bird Avg: +10.46
A Few Names to Remember
No golfers have more than two starts at the Old White in our database, but among those, Keegan Bradley has perfect Consistency and has averaged a very solid 83.75 PPT with a chunky +17.70 Plus/Minus. Billy Hurley III has been an incredible value with his +33.99 Plus/Minus in two events, and he is once again priced at an economical $6,200 this week.
Adam Levitan created a course history model, which I’ve adjusted slightly. David Lingmerth is the model’s top golfer and this week’s Levitanimal. It will be interesting to see how Lingmerth responds after leading the first three rounds last week, only to falter in Sunday’s final round. Lingmerth has finished no worse than 16th here at the Old White, with two top-10 finishes in three starts. And despite not closing out the win last week, Lingmerth has been hot lately: He is tied for third in the field with his 67.9 Recent Adj Rd Score.
Another highly-rated player in Levitan’s model, Johnson Wagner, has made five straight cuts here and has a second-place finish on his resume from 2013. Further, Wagner is fresh off a T5 finish at another Par 70 TPC course last week, where he posted 78.0 DraftKings points. Wagner has posted 64.25 PPT and a +20.18 Plus/Minus in his last two trips to the Old White.
Outside of DFS, he currently has +8,000 moneyline odds in the prop market to win the tournament. While he’s not likely to win, he’s a much better fit for this course than other golfers with similar moneyline odds. Additionally, he has fired rounds of 64 and 66 in his last two opening rounds on tour, so a few Coors Lights on Wagner as the first-round leader may be humprific.