DFS Golf Preview: Greenbrier Classic 2019
After the shortest “off-season” in pro sports (Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship two weeks ago), the PGA starts back up again this week with its’ fall swing season. The 50 new golfers with tour cards and many of the veterans looking to accumulate early FedEx Cup points will be teeing it up this week in West Virginia at the Greenbrier Classic (officially called “A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier”). This is an extremely weak field so there will be some sticker shock when you see the prices. Bryson DeChambeau ($11,100-DK; $12,300-FD), Viktor Hovland ($10,900-DK; $12,100-FD), Jason Kokrak ($10,500-DK; $11,500-FD), and Bubba Watson ($10,000-DK; $11,400-FD) are the only golfers that are priced in both DraftKings and FanDuel’s top five most-expensive golfers. DraftKings gives you $50,000 to select six golfers (average roster spot of $8,333), whereas FanDuel provides you with $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000.
The tournament is played at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The par-70 course measures 7,286 yards.
This event made its debut in 2010 and was held in July each year until this one when the PGA reconfigured the schedule. The event was canceled in 2016 because of severe flooding.
There are 156 players scheduled to tee it up this week with the top 65 (and ties) making the cut. Starting this season, there is no longer a secondary cut (MDF).
The Old White TPC has fairways that are easy to hit as the driving accuracy has been 70%. The mountain elevation allows for longer drives, as well. Eight of the par 4s measure less than 450 yards making it easier than normal to hit these bent grass greens with a wedge or scoring club on approach.
The average winning score has been 15-under par.
The Greenbrier is the first tournament of the 2019-20 PGA season. This time of the year is called the “fall swing season” and typically features mainly the young guns who recently earned their TOUR cards on the Korn Ferry Tour or the veterans trying to get a head start on FedEx Cup points.
Only three players — Bryson DeChambeau (10th), Marc Leishman (24th), and Bubba Watson (25th) — from the top 25 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) are scheduled to appear this week. In total, there are only seven players playing this week that are ranked in the top 50 of the OWGR.
FAVORITE HIGH-TIER PLAY
Viktor Hovland ($11,100-DK; $12,300-FD)
The former world top amateur is close to getting his first win as a professional. He has no flaws in his game as he drives it straight and long off the tee, has a solid approach game, and is steady on the greens. He has six straight top-16 finishes, including a fourth at the PGA’s last regular-season event and a T2 the last time he teed it up (Boise Open on Korn Ferry Tour). He was low-amateur at the Masters and the U.S. Open (T12) before turning pro. He is going to be a special player.
FAVORITE MID-TIER PLAY
Harold Varner III ($8,700-DK; $9,700-FD)
He had a T5 here last year after a T29 in his first Greenbrier start in 2017. He can be a streaky player, but I like the way he ended last season making the cut in his final three PGA events that had a cut, including finishing T3 at the first playoff event (Northern Trust).
FAVORITE LOW-TIER PLAY
Brendon Todd ($6,700-DK; $8,800-FD)
This is a risky play. Saying that he’s had a few rough years is an understatement. Starting in October of 2015, he missed 42 cuts in his 45 starts. It looks like he has gotten a little bit of his mojo back. Since this past November, he has only played in 14 events but has six top-25 finishes. This includes four events on the PGA Tour (through a past champions exemption). He is one of the few former winners on the PGA Tour to tee it up this week. He just finished runner-up in a Korn Ferry playoff event a few weeks ago. He last played the Greenbrier in 2014 and 2015 when he finished T4 and T6, respectively.
Scottie Scheffler ($9,300-DK; $10,200-FD)
There are a bunch of new guys moving up from the Korn Ferry Tour, and Scheffler was the most dominant this past year. He led the tour in money won, cuts made, and top-10 finishes. He was also the top-ranked player at the end of the regular season. His worst finish in the three KFT playoff events was a T11. He has 10 top-10 finishes in his last 22 events, including two wins. This past season, he made the cut in three of his four PGA starts, including a T20 at the Valero Texas Open. The only missed cut was at the U.S. Open.
Robert Streb ($8,500-DK; $9,900-FD)
Most people mention Russell Henley as the “course horse” with his three top 10s in the last three years, but he is priced up quite a bit. Plus, I think Streb has done better. He barely finished outside the top 10 last year with his T11 but was runner-up the previous two years. He’s made the cut in five straight starts. His price is also much nicer than Henley. It’s also worth mentioning that Kevin Na is the defending champ and is 5-for-5 in made cuts.
Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.