PGA 101

If you are thinking about playing PGA DFS, there are a few things you need to understand before diving in and making your first lineup.

PGA on Draftkings is similar to NASCAR in that you are given $50,000 to create a roster of 6 golfers. However, the PGA DFS is in a league of its own.  I will discuss some specifics in a second, but let me first address a main difference between PGA and other sports.

In most every other sport, we have to account for a defense.  For example, in MLB we are concerned about a pitcher or hitters, in NFL we are concerned about the defense, and even in NASCAR we have to be a little concerned about other drivers.  However, PGA DFS golfer performances are completely independent of one another.  They are only related when it comes to the final position of a golfer relative to the scores of other golfers.  If Jordan Spieth gets a birdie, it has no effect on how Adam Scott will perform on the course that day.  Sure Adam may drop one spot on the leaderboard, but as far as playing the course, he will not be affected.

The “defense” in PGA is a 7,200 yard long course with sand traps, water, and a tiny little hole the golfer needs to be able to putt the ball into and perhaps the weather conditions on the day of an event.

Keeping this in mind, here are some aspects of PGA DFS you need to consider when setting your lineups.

A Breakdown of PGA DFS Scoring (Draftkings)

  • Per Hole Scoring
    • Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
    • Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
    • Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
    • Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
    • Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
    • Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
    • Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
  • Tournament Finish Scoring
    • 1st: 30 PTs
    • 2nd: 20 PTs
    • 3rd: 18 PTs
    • 4th: 16 PTs
    • 5th: 14 PTs
    • 6th: 12 PTs
    • 7th: 10 PTs
    • 8th: 9 PTs
    • 9th: 8 PTs
    • 10th: 7 PTs
    • 11th–15th: 6 PTs
    • 16th–20th: 5 PTs
    • 21st–25th: 4 PTs
    • 26th–30th: 3 PTs
    • 31st–40th: 2 PTs
    • 41st-50th: 1 PTs
  • Streaks and Bonuses
    • Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
    • Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
    • All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
    • Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs

There is an important thing to note about the scoring:

While placing is important and typically leads to better scores, eagles, double eagles, birdies, and hole in ones are extremely important when picking players for a course. For example, if on day one Spieth shoots a 70 with 2 birdies and 16 pars he would have scored 17 fantasy points, but if on day two Spieth shoots a 70 with 1 eagle, 4 birdies, 4 bogeys, and 9 pars he would have scored 22.5 fantasy points.

Understanding the Cut

Understanding the cut and what it takes to cash is a huge deal when looking at PGA DFS lineups.  Typically, the top 70 golfers with ties will make the cut, the players that aren’t in the top 70 will not play the final two days of the tournament.  If a lot of players are tied at the cut line and 80 players make the cut, Saturday is a MDF day.  MDF means Made cut but did not finish, meaning the player will play on Saturday and not Sunday.  Ideally, you are looking to create a lineup with 5/6 or 6/6 golfers making the cut to make money each week.  Most of the time a lineup with less than 4 golfers is a dead lineup.

Make Sure You Check Out the Vegas Lines

Much like all the other sports, Vegas odds are a great resource when trying to set your lineups.  For each tournament, Vegas sets the odds of each player winning an event.  This can help you find a few guys that may be heavily favored to win, but underpriced.  Always keep the odds in mind when you are trying to set a lineup.

Research the Course History

Since the course is the “defense”, one interesting aspect of PGA DFS is the ability to consider course history.  Listening to guys talk about how they felt about a course, or how they played a course goes a long way when setting your PGA lineups.  Most of the time if a course fits a golfer’s eye, he is going to perform better than other golfers.  One thing to note: if a tournament switches locations, disregard this historical data as we are only concerned with how players performed on specific courses in the past, not necessarily how they performed at tournaments.

Use Available Statistics

But Be Sure to Factor in Golfer Tendencies Subject to Course Makeup, Course Location and Weather

Golf is evolving as a statistical driven game.  Each year more statistics are available to help better predict how players will play in certain conditions or at different courses.  Some of the more predictive stats are driving distance and accuracy, hitting greens in regulation (from different distances), strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained putting, scrambling percentage, sand save percentage, and adjusted score.  Which statistics are useful each week can change dramatically, depending on the weather, geographical location and make up of the course.  This is another way setting a PGA lineup differs from other mainstream sports. The weights assigned to each of these statistics should be adjusted to reflect these various factors.

For example, there are certain players that putt better in California because of the grass, play better in Florida because of Bermuda grass, or players that play better than the rest of the field in storms or in wind.  Course length can help you decide which players to add to your lineup, or perhaps fairway widths might help differentiate players when the need for accuracy is in play.  if the course is a long course that is wide open, driving distance would be more important than driving accuracy and we would want to look at strokes gained tee to green to find players that have a better chance of scoring well.  If a course has a lot of water in obscure places, then players that are more accurate will prosper or to a course has more sand traps then you want to check out player sand save percentages.  In addition to considering water and bunkers, knowing what type of holes dominate a course can help with scoring.  If a course is a par 70, then players who make up ground on par 5’s are at a disadvantage because par 70 courses have two less par 5’s than normal courses.

Considering such details when analyzing each potential golfer to add to your roster can change your lineup from a middle 50% lineup to a top 20% lineup.

Thanks a lot for reading!  If you have any questions feel free to contact me on twitter.
Chris Hollander @UndoneRSG

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About the Author:

Chris Hollander

NBA/PGA/MLB Content Provider
Twitter @UndoneRSG

“CH” aka @UndoneRSG, has been playing fantasy sports since 1997. He made the transition from season long to daily fantasy sports in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. In college, Chris wrote his thesis on “Beating PECOTA ranking system” and came out with a ranking system that was equivalent with PECOTA. He has been obsessed with using statistics in fantasy ever since. Current math teacher, he is working on a ranking system for PGA and NBA that should be out shortly.

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