PGA Sim Sports Picks for the Open Championship on FanDuel

FanDuel is simulating another golf major. Who should you be rostering?

The PGA Tour's season is on hold, but FanDuel is doing its part to keep golf going -- in spirit.

They have simulated out three big-time events so far: THE PLAYERS, the Masters, and the PGA Championship. This week, it's time for the Open Championship.

So far, the simulated results saw Jon Rahm take home THE PLAYERS and Seve Ballesteros (not a typo) win the 2020 simulated Masters.

Rahm again won the simulated RBC Heritage by a full five strokes over Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, and Marc Leishman. Rory got payback at the Wells Fargo, edging out Dustin Johnson and Rahm.

At the PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka won in a playoff over Nick Faldo, Jim Furyk, and Tyrrell Hatton. Last week, Jhonattan Vegas fended off Hideki Matsuyama, Rahm, Webb Simpson, and Bryson DeChambeau to win the simulated Valspar.

FanDuel is running back the simulations for this week's Open Championship. You can join the free-to-play contest here.

There are some caveats, so we'll dig into everything about it now.

The Basics

You can learn all the details about PGA Sims Sports over on FanDuel, but I'll run down the basics: it's the same format as your usual PGA DFS event. You roster six golfers and accrue fantasy points for how they do in the simulated event. Scoring is the same as a standard PGA Tour event.

Are there any wrinkles? Of course. The main one is that -- rather than these golfers playing out the event -- stats are the basis for the simulation. Specifically, "distance, par, and player skill." That's really all we have to go on.

Additionally, there are some legendary golfers, such as Jack Nicklaus, and fictional golfers, such as Happy Gilmore. (For real.)

So, we're going to have to use some guesswork here.

Overall Strategy

The field is small (106 golfers), but with the regular cut rule, we're going to see around 65% of golfers play the simulated weekend. We can get a little punt heavy as a result, but a six-for-six lineup is always key.

Without knowing exactly what data goes into projecting the winner of a golf tournament, I went back and leveraged's adjusted strokes gained data.

Typically when breaking down an event, current form is key, but I would have to assume a larger sample of data goes into this. I used data since 2019 to try to identify some of the best per-dollar plays on the slate among the active golfers.

Handling the Active Golfers

With pricing pretty static week to week and no actual changes to the stats to input, I figure I can make a running list of the best values per tier.

Best Values
Salary Best Values
Salary Best Values
Rory McIlroy $12,000 Hideki Matsuyama $9,400 Erik van Rooyen $7,200
Patrick Cantlay $11,300 Matt Kuchar $9,900 Collin Morikawa $8,700
Xander Schauffele $10,300 Gary Woodland $9,800 Paul Casey $8,900
Adam Scott $11,400 Justin Rose $10,000 Ian Poulter $8,100
Justin Thomas $11,500 Rickie Fowler $9,600 Jason Day $8,500
Jon Rahm $11,900 Billy Horschel $9,100 Brandt Snedeker $8,800
Webb Simpson $11,000 Sungjae Im $9,300 Jim Furyk $7,600
Tommy Fleetwood $11,100 Tyrrell Hatton $9,600 Byeong Hun An $8,000

Of the 64 golfers who were in all six simulations so far, nine have made every cut: McIlroy, Rahm, Justin Thomas, Koepka, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Jason Day, Kevin Kisner, and Jim Furyk.

Another 19 golfers missed only a single cut:

5/6 Cuts 5/6 Cuts
Patrick Cantlay Hideki Matsuyama
Graeme McDowell Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Dustin Johnson Charley Hoffman
Marc Leishman Sergio Garcia
Matt Kuchar Tyrrell Hatton
Adam Scott Daniel Berger
Henrik Stenson Francesco Molinari
Joaquin Niemann Billy Horschel
Matthew Wolff Lee Westwood
Collin Morikawa

Handling the Legends

Looking at the two majors where legends were included in the simulations, we have 57 individual events. Combined, they have made 37 of 57 cuts (67.8%). About the field average, really. Only five times, however, did a legend finish top-10. So far, their upside has been pretty tame.

Further, only Sam Snead has finished top-25 in both events. It's a small sample, of course, but we haven't seen legends popping off uncontrollably.

Handling the Fictional Characters

So far, we've seen one or two fictional characters do surprisingly well. Out of 17 total events, there have been only three made cuts from the fictional golfer pool. Two of them, though, belong to Shooter McGavin, who has finished 38th at the Masters and 10th at the PGA. Perhaps he's got a balanced game that has let him play the weekend a a low salary.

Rannulph Junuh was 58th at the PGA Championship but wasn't included at the Masters. It's been Shooter McGavin or bust, really, with the fictional options.

If you're thinking of loading up on these guys, stop being a damn fool.

The author of this article has no involvement with the PGA Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of the upcoming contest.