PGA Sim Sports Picks for the Open Championship on FanDuel
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.
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.
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.
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 datagolf.org'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.
|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|
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|
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.