Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
Finally, after much anticipation and months of preparation, the best DFS sport is back this week!
No, not the NFL -- and maybe more like days of preparation and not a whole lot of anticipation since European Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events were still going on for the truly, ahem, interested. Golf returns this week with A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier kicking off swing season in its new slot on the schedule.
The Old White TPC is the venue, a 7,276-yard, par 70 track in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Old White has been the host since 2010, with the event then named the Greenbrier Classic falling in the summer lull between the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. With the new schedule layout, the event was skipped last year and makes its September debut this week.
The field will look similar to those summer editions, with only a few elite players and mostly young guns flexing their Tour card, or elder statesmen looking for a paycheck. The course plays fairly straightforward -- hit it long off the tee and you can find an easy approach. In 2018, the course yielded the third longest average driving distance (310.5 yards) and the eighth highest greens in regulation (GIR) percentage (70.83%).
The Old White TPC features long par 3s and long par 5s, but relatively manageable par 4s. Each of the par 3s is at least 177 yards, while the two par 5s come in at 568 and 616 yards. Conversely, no par 4 cracks the 500-yard threshold, and eight are less than 450 yards.
Rain is in the forecast for the weekend, and soft conditions will serve to further emphasize the tee-to-green elements of each golfer's game.
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: The Old White TPC
Distance: 7,286 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bent/poa annua fairways, Bent, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fescue rough
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average||O/U Par Avg||Rank|
The Old White TPC is no pushover, but after more than a year out of championship caliber greenskeeping and with a few extra weeks to prepare, golfers making the trip this week will be looking to go low. In its past life, The Greenbrier was in the bottom half of the difficulty rankings in terms of scoring relative to par, and by and large golfers can bomb it out with the driver and hit into receptive greens. The event was skipped in 2016 due to golf being added as an Olympic sport.
Kevin Na ran away with the 2018 title only by virtue of a tremendous putting performance, gaining 7.1 strokes on the field with the flat stick. He was solid tee to green, as well, ranking fifth on the week. The top-22 golfers in strokes gained: tee to green for the week all finished inside the top 30 on the leaderboard. The year before, all but five of the top 30 in strokes gained: tee to green ended up finishing 30th or better. The Greenbrier is one of the most pure correlations we will see all year.
Comparable courses will play on the easy side with long distance and easy-to-hit greens. Detroit Golf Club was a new venue on Tour last year and was eaten up by Tour pros in its first run. It is a tad longer but is a par 72, and last year allowed average drives over 304 yards and the 10th highest GIR percentage at 72.52%. The Wyndham Championship is held at Sedgefield Country Club and, like The Greenbrier, is a ball-striker's paradise that gives up long drives and easy GIR -- 300.1 yard average drives in 2019 to go with 74.15% GIR. North Carolina is about as close as we'll get to West Virginia on the PGA Tour schedule.
Neither of those courses have bentgrass greens, though, which leads us to TPC Summerlin and TPC Deere Run. Both ranked in the top third of highest GIR percentage and were the second- and third-longest average driving distance in 2019 (310.1 for Summerlin and 307.4 for Deere Run). All four comp courses ranked inside the top 10 in terms of total birdies by the field.
These stats will be key to success in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier at The Old White TPC.
|Key Stats for A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier at The Old White TPC|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (400-450 yards)|
The tee to green corollary is covered in detail above, but it also pays to pull out strokes gained: approach specifically (or greens in regulation gained, if that's your thing). Approach still rates out as the most important of the three tee-to-green stats, as top-10 finishers gain about 0.79 strokes on approach compared to 0.52 off the tee and 0.36 around the green, according to stats provided by Fantasy National Golf Club.
Proximity stats are divided pretty starkly -- the most approaches in the recent sample came from the 125-150 yards range, while the second most approaches came from over 200 yards. Long irons will be key on the par 3s and par 5s, while most golfers will have wedges into the par 4s. Approach or GIR can encompass all these ranges and clubs, but if diving deeper is part of your process, make sure to note that the course will dictate club as much as the golfer's preference.
Birdies get the edge over bogeys this week. The Old White TPC compares to some of the most birdie-friendly courses on Tour, but with only two par 5s, it can hardly be considered a birdie-fest. Converting on opportunities this week will be essential, as Na showed last year by finishing enough holes to cushion his lead when everyone else was hitting the green but making par.
As covered above, eight of the par 4s are less than 450 yards, but six of them are between 400-450. This key range will also help us identify golfers who thrive on the driver-wedge combo, as the best performers on short par 4s are likely taking that approach.
Course History Studs
Russell Henley has three straight top-10s here, finishing 10th in 2018 and back to back 5th-place finishes the two years prior.
Robert Streb is difficult to trust but paid off here last summer, finishing T11 after coming in as the runner-up in both 2017 and 2015.
David Lingmerth has certain courses that just seem to work for him, and with five made cuts in five tries and four finishes of T16 or better, The Old White TPC is one of his darlings.
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.