Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: The Masters
The first major of the year is here! After match play and a weak field at the Valero Texas Open, the PGA Tour heads to one of the most iconic venues in all of sports. Augusta National hosts the 83rd Masters this week, where one of the toughest tests in golf awaits. The course requires distance and precision both off the tee and on long approach shots into firm, fast greens.
The 7,435-yard par 72 features one of the most diverse layouts in golf, with holes both short and long, left and right. Players will need to deploy a variety of shots and strategies to manage the course, making all-around golfers the target when building daily fantasy lineups. Bombers get a slight advantage just like they do every week, but Augusta is not a course to be walked over.
The select few that own green jackets are not a motley bunch. Almost all of the winners would have been considered a top-10 player in the world at some point in their career, and arguably the two most aberrant victors beat out leaderboards that featured plenty of world class talent. Trevor Immelman won in 2008 and the top 10 included major champions Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Padraig Harrington. Danny Willett capitalized on a collapse by Jordan Spieth in 2016, but other top tier golfers that booked top 10s that week included Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Jason Day.
(Speaking of Tiger Woods, if you join the PGA Mega Eagle on FanDuel and Tiger wins, you'll get your entry fee refunded!)
Of course, part of this trend comes from the fact that the field is so strong that only the best of the best get in. Even so, the cream usually rises to the top at Augusta. With only 87 golfers in the field and 15 of them either old former winners who no longer play regularly on Tour, or top worldwide amateurs who qualified only by virtue of that status, the field is a tight one and getting 6 of 6 golfers across the cut line in DFS lineups is absolutely essential this week.
There is very little rough at Augusta, but wayward tee shots still find trouble in the way of heavy trees and soft pine straw.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Augusta National
Distance: 7,435 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Bermudagass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
Augusta National is hard. As befitting a major championship, Augusta rates out as one of the most difficult courses on Tour year after year. The cut has been plus-three or higher in each of the last seven years.
The par 4s are particularly difficult to score on, as golfers birdied them at the sixth-lowest rate of any set on Tour last year. They had the lowest birdie or better percentage in each of the two prior years.
These stats have proven vital to success in the Masters at Augusta National.
|Key Stats for the Masters at Augusta National|
|Strokes Gained: Off The Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Total|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
It may be cheating to highlight total strokes gained as a statistic, but in the case of the Masters, where the best of the best shine through every year, it pays to go with the top golfers who are in the best form. Patrick Reed had booked back-to-back top 10s leading into Augusta last year. Sergio Garcia won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier in the season prior to his 2017 win and led in with stroke play finishes of T14 and T12. Willett also won in Dubai before finishing T3 and T22 in his two events immediately preceding the Masters.
Without ShotLink data, it is difficult to nail down exactly how contenders make their bones at Augusta. The top 10 in total strokes gained at the Masters over the last five years (via Fantasy National Golf Club) include short-game wizards like Spieth and Day, ball-striking mavens like Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama, and all-around studs like Johnson, Rose, and McIlroy. Ball striking is the most predictive of any skills in a golfer's arsenal, so highlighting both strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: off the tee should highlight consistently solid players.
Augusta National has had one of the five lowest scrambling percentages on the PGA Tour in all but one year since 2013 (it was ninth in 2015). Finding golfers who can get up and down will be an underrated key this week, and it factors in sinking a pressure putt on these fast greens.
Reed led the field in strokes gained on the par 5s en route to his win last year, and the four par 5s are the only holes with a birdie rate higher than 18% according to Fantasy National. All of them are at least 32%, which means gaining strokes on these holes is a ticket to the top of the leaderboard.
Course History Studs
Spieth's case is well documented, but in light of his horrid form over the past year it is worth noting his comfort level at Augusta is off the charts. He had just two top 5s in 2018, the Masters and the warmup at the Houston Open. He's finished T3, T11, T2, WIN, and T2 over the past five years.
Two golfers with long, successful careers that are noticeably lacking green jackets actually have the second- and third-best performance at Augusta over the last five years: neither McIlroy nor Rose has finished outside the top 15 in that span.
Everyone knows about Tiger and Phil's history here, but the only other golfer in the field under the age of 50 with two green jackets is Bubba Watson. Watson also finished T5 last year. For those curious, Bernhard Langer (61 years old) and Jose Maria Olazabal (53) are the ones over 50 with two wins at Augusta.
Charley Hoffman showed signs of life at the Valero and has fared pretty well at the Masters recently, with four straight finishes inside the top 30. His T12 finish last year is the only reason he's eligible for the 2019 edition.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.