The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The RSM Classic involves two courses: Seaside and Plantation. What’s unique about this tournament is that golfers play Seaside for three of their four rounds and Plantation for one round. For simplicity, I backtested just Seaside since that’s where the majority of this tournament will be held, as I don’t think the addition of the Plantation course will change my strategy.
As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out which ones have been the most valuable at Seaside. Per the Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation). Historically, the tournament has yielded averages of 50.53 DraftKings points and a +3.18 Plus/Minus with a 47.4% Consistency Rating to the field.
I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively above the baseline (Sea Island):
- Long-Term Greens In Regulation: +6.35
- Recent Scrambling: +5.07
- Recent Bogeys: +4.69
- Long-Term Birdies: +4.20
- Long-Term Eagles: +3.19
- Long-Term Bogeys: +2.96
- Recent Driving Distance: +2.04
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +1.92
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +1.67
- Recent Eagles: +1.48
- Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +1.46
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +1.11
- Long-Term Scrambling: +1.01
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +0.97
- Long-Term Tournament Count: +0.91
- Recent Driving Accuracy: +0.57
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +0.46
- Recent Par-5 Scoring: +0.36
The Plantation course has the easier layout, yielding an average of 91.11 DraftKings points and a +19.32 Plus/Minus with an 86.3% Consistency Rating. It’s a rather short 7,058-yard, par-72 course with four par 5s compared to just two at Seaside.
While it doesn’t show up 100% in the backtesting, these courses favor accuracy over distance given the narrow fairways. Overall, I’ll be emphasizing birdie and eagle metrics, greens in regulation (GIR) and par-4 and par-5 scoring.
On the top end, the two golfers who stick out just happen to be the most expensive. (All pricing is DraftKings.)
- Webb Simpson ($11,800)
- Cameron Champ ($10,900)
Given the weak field and some of the strong plays in the $7,500 range, rostering one of these two golfers will be a priority.
At +900, Simpson is a significant favorite this week. His 68.4 Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) and 68.3 Recent Adj Rd Score are both top-two marks in the field. Simpson has historically done well at this tournament, making every cut since 2010 (withdrew in 2017), and he has a field-best -2.0 adjusted strokes on par 4s. Despite the high price tag, I’d prefer Simpson as my building block given his consistency and excellent 7% missed cut rate.
Champ boasts solid upside with his 14.9 birdies per tournament and -5.7 adjusted strokes on par 5s. While he’s a bomber, he’s still hitting a respectable 63.6% of fairways, and his 72.3% of GIR over the past 75 weeks is a top-10 mark in the field. Additionally, Champ has a slate-best 10 DraftKings Pro Trends, three more than any other golfer. Historically, golfers with comparable Pro Trends have outperformed the baseline Plus/Minus at this tournament by almost 10 DraftKings points (per our Trends tool).
One way to find value is to leverage our LT Adj Rd Score metric. If you sort the field by LT Adj Rd Score, you’re looking at players who have been the best golfers over the past 75 weeks. Among these golfers, those who have low salaries make great value plays.
Anders Albertson ($7,300) has made three-straight cuts and is averaging a +28.13 DraftKings Plus/Minus with a 75% Consistency Rating over that time. He has just three tournaments under his belt in our Models, but in those three events, he’s hit 77.3% of GIR and 67.8% of fairways and he’s averaged -1.7 adjusted strokes on par 4s, trailing only Simpson with that mark.
Keith Mitchell ($7,500) has a mediocre 59.7% LT Driving Accuracy (LT DA), but he is one of the better birdie makers in the field, averaging 14.5 birdies per tournament. Since the fall swing has been underway, Mitchell has yet to miss a cut, finishing inside the top 22 three times.
Brice Garnett ($7,600) is coming off a fifth-place finish at Mayakoba, and his overall balance makes him a decent fit for this course, as he’s averaging 69.3% of GIR and hitting 66% of fairways over the past 75 weeks.
Ryan Armour ($7,500) has a field-best 73.8% LT DA, and he’s been able to gain strokes on par 4s and par 5s over the past 75 weeks. Armour hasn’t missed a cut since the PGA Championship in August, and in his three appearances at this tournament, he’s made the cut twice.
Kramer Hickok ($7,400) is my favorite play in this range. He’s hit 70.3% of GIR and 71.6% of fairways. Most importantly, Hickok is averaging just 6.4 bogeys per tournament. Overall, Hickok is just one of ten golfers in the field who’s been able to gain strokes on par 3s, 4s and 5s over the past 75 weeks.
Austin Cook ($9,400): He won this event last year, and his 15.0 birdies per tournament is the third-best mark in the field.
Lucas Glover ($9,900): He boasts an excellent 68.3 Recent Adj Rd Score, finishing in the top 17 over his past three outings. Additionally, Glover is tied with Simpson for the second-highest mark in the field with seven Pro Trends.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,900): He’s one of the best par-4 scorers (-1.4 adjusted strokes) in the field, which isn’t surprising since he has an excellent blend of power (310.0-yard LT Driving Distance) and accuracy, hitting 65.7% of fairways and 72.1% of GIR.
Zach Johnson ($9,000): His 68.8 LT Adj Rd Score trails only Simpson’s, and most importantly, ZJ is sponsored by RSM…
Sam Ryder ($8,600): His 7.1 bogeys per tournament is among the best marks in the field, and he’s hit 71.3% of GIR and 66.8% of fairways over the past 75 weeks.
Carlos Ortiz ($6,800): I don’t think I’ll use Ortiz in cash games since he’s coming off two missed cuts, but he’s 1.1 strokes better than any other golfer in his price range with his 14.9 birdies per tournament. Overall, Ortiz’s long-term metrics are solid, as he’s averaging 71% of GIR while finding 65.4% of fairways. Additionally, his -5.6 average strokes on par 5s is the third-best mark in the field.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!
Pictured above: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit: Webb Simpson