Dell Technologies Championship
Get ready to say goodbye to our good friend the cutline – for this week’s event at TPC Boston, it is breathing it’s last, hanging on for dear life as it slowly ebbs away. The top 100 golfers in the Fed Ex Cup standings are eligible, but not all of them will be present and plying their craft. Somehow, for someone who has gotten very wealthy off the game of golf, Henrik Stenson does not actually seem to enjoy playing golf and has withdrawn from this event. Additionally, among others, JB Holmes has gotten tired of his occasional sideway drives and has withdrawn.
Last week was a mighty fine week. Our only bad call was our distrust of Jon Rahm, but we knew that these greens would trip up Molinari and Finau and that Lingmerth’s putting would make him a solid value play. This week’s course is far more straightforward exercise. Personally, I think that Tour playoff events should be on tougher courses and that is why I so thoroughly enjoyed the Northern Trust. Glen Oaks was challenging and unique, but tameable with the right approach. TPC Boston, however, lends itself to straight scoring fests.
First, the preliminaries, TPC Boston is a par-71 course that plays at slightly more than 7300 yards. There are three par 5’s, two of them are under 550 yards, where a par would in essence be a bogey. Additionally, there are six par 4’s between 450 and 500 yards, but the fairways are wide and none of them seem to be shaping up like the first hole at Glen Oaks, which was almost a guaranteed bogey. Much is being made about bombers having an advantage here, which could be buttressed by recent wins by Rory McIlroy and a win in 2010 by Charley Hoffman, but I am going to take a contrarian view and say that, while distance helps, the easy nature of the course makes it open to many different styles of play. Some of the key stats this week are strokes gained tee to green, birdie or better percentage and ball striking. I will weight course history a little more heavily than usual this week since the top 100 golfers need a little more discernment.
One note on DK pricing this week – it is awful. I typically prefer tight pricing because it rewards the informed, but the pricing is softer than Charmin this week, which can lead to many different lineup combinations. About the only combination that is mathematically impossible is finding a way to roster Spieth and DJ. It seems that most of DK’s efforts went into preventing that. Outside of that, there are scores of options beneath $7000 that could subsidize DJ ownership so look for him to be close to chalk. Given how soft the pricing is below $7000, you will not even need to execute a stars and scrubs strategy, stars and stars will be very doable.
Without further ado, here are the weekly musings
Dustin Johnson ($12,000) – This is Captain obvious speaking. You’re welcome. DJ tends to win in bunches and that successful gambit he took hitting the ball over the Atlantic Ocean to set up his winning birdie will inspire confidence for the duration of the playoffs.
Justin Thomas ($10,300) – JT is tops on the tour in birdie or better percentage and in a scoring fest, you want to show up with the big guns. His Tour de Force in the PGA Championship has set his game right, which should be enough to overcome his two prior shaky starts at TPC Boston.
Jason Day ($9,500) – His game has been heating up and he overcame a dreadful front nine on Friday to finish 6th at Glen Oaks. Par 5’s are his things as he is 8th on the Tour in birdie percentage, both on par 5’s and overall. A stud golfer like Day for under $10,000 is a value too good to be passed up.
Rory McIlroy ($9,800) – Questions about his health and ho-hum recent performance have depressed his value, but Rory destroys par 5s and is first on Tour in strokes gained off the tee. Injury concerns should be enough to keep Rory from being chalk and his two prior wins here cannot be overlooked.
Paul Casey ($8,900) – I worship at the Church of Whatever works and right now Casey works and until he does not work or his price goes above $10,000, I will continue my worship. His price surprisingly went down after his solid 5th place showing as an example of the soft pricing this week. One day DK will learn to price Casey right.
Brooks Koepka ($8,700) – You would think this is a classic Koepka course with the wide fairways forgiving his lack of accuracy off the tee, but he has an MC and a 57th place finish. I am calling him out here due to some similarities with Erin Hills that Brooks dominated. His struggles last weekend are concerning and may depress ownership, but Koepka gets it right this weekend.
Sergio Garcia ($8,400) – He is not in the greatest of form, but this falls under the category of too cheap not to play him. Garcia is 10th on Tour in SG Tee to Green and 6th in ball striking. The course sets up well for Sergio to contend.
First I will say that I do not like too many of the mid-major options. Somehow, DK overpriced nearly every golfer in this range from $7200-$7700. There are a couple of values that I will touch on.
Adam Scott ($7,900) – There is no way not to play Adam Scott this week at this price. He has not been the Adam Scott of old this year, but Scott has four top 10 finishes on this track since 2010 and has had some time off (albeit in the delivery room) to get mentally right.
Daniel Berger ($7,600) – Berger does not stand out in any one stat category, but he is a solid scorer for this price range and will do well as a subsidy for DJ or Spieth. He is certainly better than the rest of the overprices in this range.
Mark Leishman ($6,900) – When I saw Leishman down here, I almost spit my drink out. Sure, he missed the cut last week, but Leishman is 17th on the tour is SG Tee to green and has top 50 finishes in all majors and plays well against strong fields.
Francisco Molinari ($6,900) – Perhaps some recency anti-bias due to his missed cut last week, but we wll know that Moli struggles on tough greens. There is no such challenge here this week and his top-notch approach game should set him up to score. I can see many lineups with DJ, Moli and Leishman or…
Xander Schauffele ($6,900) – It is time to stop thinking of X-Man as anything less than a golfer a golfer just a cut below the elite. 6 top 20s in his last eight starts puts him in the conversation. Minus his blowout at Quail Hollow, Schauffele excels on driver-heavy courses.
Harold Varner III ($6,800) – HV3 is the sneaky pivot at this price from the above three who will be highly owned. He is solid with the driver and the wide fairways will keep him from putting up the big numbers. You can sense that Varner’s game has progressed this summer from its prior pattern of fast start and faster fades. Staying out of trouble at Glen Oaks was a milestone for him and HV3 will return good value for this price.
Patrick Cantlay ($7,200) Has not missed a cut this year and will likely hang around the top 30 before making a weekend climb. He makes very few mistakes that will put him out of the running at a high scoring tract like this.
Webb Simpson ($8,200) – His price has taken a large hike over the past few weeks, but that is because of his scalding hot form. While Webb is not a bomber, I am looking at this course as one that will not penalize him for his lack of distance and will set him up for his excellent short iron game.
Keegan Bradley ($7,600) – Speaking of meltdowns, Bradley’s Sunday last week was not a fun day. I usually tend to stay away from golfers who have gone full J.B. Holmes on a Sunday. I think the best case for Keegan is cracking the top 35 even though he has a solid course history here.
Charley Hoffman ($8,300) – This is the first week that DK pricing will eradicate Charley the Chalk. Hoffman is very hit or miss here and will either go top 10 or struggle to make the cut. For this richer price, I don’t plan on taking the risk.
Gary Woodland ($8,000) – He may be popular due to his good track record at TPC Boston, but until he puts together four solid rounds of golf, he will not find his way onto my teams.