Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: TOUR Championship

The 2019-20 PGA Tour season comes to a close with the TOUR Championship. With a few added quirks including a very small field and different starting scores, the TOUR Championship requires unique preparation for daily fantasy and betting.

One of the strangest PGA Tour seasons comes to a "close" with the TOUR Championship, the final leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs featuring just the top 30 golfers in the Standings after last week's BMW Championship.

The first two legs of the Playoffs could not have looked more different, with both the margin of victory and challenge of the course at opposite ends of the spectrum. A week after blowing the field out by 11 strokes, Dustin Johnson sunk a 43-foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Jon Rahm. Rahm would go on to make one from over 65 feet to earn the win. It was championship golf at its best, the top two players in the world duking it out.

And so we arrive at East Lake with Johnson in the FedEx Cup Points lead just ahead of Rahm. That is more significant heading into the season finale, as the 30 qualifying golfers start with a predetermined score based on their ranking. Johnson will start at 10-under par, a two-stroke advantage on Rahm and more down the line. Add in the wrinkle that one of the top challengers from further back in the pack, Rory McIlroy, may opt to sit out the event depending on the timing of the birth of his child.

East Lake Golf Club is the host, an annual distinction unlike the rotations on the other legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. This Donald Ross design in Atlanta, Georgia is a 7,346-yard par 70, with fairways lined by trees on every hole except the ones bordered by water hazards. All-around play will be key here, with both bombers and straight hitters having success in the past.

The most important thing for building daily fantasy lineups this week is finding diversity in your lineups, given the tiny player pool. Whether you decide to leave a lot of salary on the table or get very creative with the bottom of the player pool, finding a unique lineup this week will be a priority.

The weather looks hot and humid aside from a few showers early in the week, so the ball should be flying, and we can expect fast, firm conditions at East Lake.

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: East Lake Golf Club
Par: 70
Distance: 7,346 yards
Fairways/Rough: Zoysiagrass fairways, bermudagrass rough
Greens: Bermuda

SeasonParYardageAverageO/U Par AvgRank

The FedEx Cup winner does not always win the TOUR Championship, but the new format introduced last year is a huge variable in determining the victor. The strokes to par average above is not reflected in the final leaderboard given the starting scores. Last year, McIlroy started at 5-under par and made it to 18-under to win by four strokes. The FedEx Cup Points leader to start the event, Justin Thomas, got to just 13-under after starting the week at 10-under. Even in a small field, there are huge swings.

We discussed East Lake earlier this year when examining course correlations and found that Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship) and TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS) were the two with the most overlap. Both feature Bermuda greens and tree-lined fairways, and Ross is also the designer at Sedgefield.

Key Stats

These stats will be the keys to success in the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club.

Key Stats for the TOUR Championship at East Lake GC
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Birdies or Better Gained
Strokes Gained: Par 3s (200+)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda)

The all-around theme continues, with ballstriking and birdie-making at a premium. Birdies, in particular, will be huge this week, as the highest path to upside in DFS is rostering a golfer way back in the pack and have him make enough birdies to be in contention. The birdies themselves generate points, and accruing additional finishing place points by climbing the leaderboard has the added benefit of other golfers actually losing those points.

Putting is never going to be predictive one way or the other, but golfers starting five or more strokes back will have to putt well to make up that many strokes. We'll look not for consistency to rely on but for golfers with spike weeks in their range of outcomes.

Finally, the par 3s. They are LONG. The second hole is 197 yards and the shortest of the bunch, and it actually played under par last year. Whoever ends up on top this week will have scored well on the second and survived the others.

Course History Studs

A third of the field each year finishes inside the top 10, so prior results are not the best guide. McIlroy finished 13 strokes ahead of the three golfers tied for 9th last year. Besides Rory, only Xander Schauffele and Billy Horschel have won at East Lake. We'll use this space to lay out the field and their starting positions.

RankingGolferStarting Score
1Dustin Johnson-10
2Jon Rahm-8
3Justin Thomas-7
4Webb Simpson-6
5Collin Morikawa-5
6Daniel Berger-4
7Harris English-4
8Bryson DeChambeau-4
9Sungjae Im-4
10Hideki Matsuyama-4
11Brendon Todd-3
12Rory McIlroy-3
13Patrick Reed-3
14Xander Schauffele-3
15Sebastian Munoz-3
16Lanto Griffin-2
17Scottie Scheffler-2
18Joaquin Niemann-2
19Tyrrell Hatton-2
20Tony Finau-2
21Kevin Kisner-1
22Abraham Ancer-1
23Ryan Palmer-1
24Kevin Na-1
25Marc Leishman-1
26Cameron SmithE
27Viktor HovlandE
28Mackenzie HughesE
29Cameron ChampE
30Billy HorschelE

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.