Don’t discount the massed ranks of overseas sleepers this week.
In recent years David Lynn has been second (2012), Mikko Ilonen T7 (2014), Marc Warren T15 (2014), Anirban Lahiri T5 (2015), George Coetzee T9 (2015), Gregory Bourdy T18 (2016), Jordan Smith T9 (2017) and Tyrrell Hatton T10 ( in both 2016 and 2018).
There are bargains out there if we can sort the wheat from the chaff.
All of the following golfers are available at $7,000 or cheaper on DraftKings.
Matt Cooper guests on this week's European Tour Race to Dubai Show podcast, discussing last week's British Masters and the PGA Championship. To listen click here.
A fifth major championship for the Dane, but only his second since 2015. His two missed cuts and T41 before then can be taken with a pinch of salt and his semifinal appearance in the WGC World Match Play (he beat Tiger Woods in the last eight to get there) and T21 in the Masters are much better guides about the current state of his game. If being long from the tee is as key as we’re led to believe he has that in his favor.
The three-time European Tour winner didn’t play in the Masters, which tells you a lot about his inability to kick on from his fine Ryder Cup debut in 2016 and T4 debut at Augusta National the following year. That said, he was T6 in this championship last summer and has made ten top 30s in his last 12 starts including T23 last week at Trinity Forest.
Back in 2009 the Northern Irishman spent all week in the top 25 at this course in the US Open and ended it T18. But two subsequent visits in the 2012 and 2016 Barclays saw him miss the cut. He’s desperate to play the Open in his home town (saying on Irish radio that he won’t attend if not, it will hurt too much) so he is worth following these next few weeks, but he has only one top ten (T10) in 13 PGA starts and no major top ten since 2014.
Another European major winner who has fallen off the form train. He won two of his first 28 major starts, but has just one top ten in his last 18. He shot 76-69 to miss the cut here in 2009, but his T8 last week at Hillside was a first top ten since the Turkish Airlines Open in November. A winner of this event in 2010.
At the price ($6,900) there is surely some great value in the Englishman? He finished T16 in the 2017 US Open and was T6 in last year’s Open at Carnoustie. Moreover, he was also T3 in this year’s Players Championship and T2 last week in the British Masters. Against that he hits a lot of 3-woods, not much liking his driver, and that might be one reason he said last week: “Bethpage is completely different to here (Hillside). I was aware of that coming into this week. I kind of prioritized this week. I’ll enjoy next week but not really set too many expectations.”
An interesting puzzle as a man with stunningly consistent form on the European Tour takes a step up in levels. In his last six starts he has won the Trophee Hassan II and also added two seconds and two thirds. His worst result was T20. Will that trump his major form, which is an admittedly small sample? He missed the cut in both the Open and this championship in 2018, his only previous starts.
A 43-time worldwide winner and yet no major. It’s the perennial question: his career or that of Shaun Micheel or Todd Hamilton? The answer would, of course, be Westwood’s every time, but he also knows how much he’d like to validate the sustained brilliance with a win in one of the four that really matter. He owns 18 major top tens in 80 starts, but just one in his last 16. Started well last week at Hillside (66) but went backward thereafter to finish T35.
The Dutchman has struggled to find the secret ingredient to performing in the majors. He’s now teeing it up for a 17th time in them and is yet to record a top 20. He’s also made only half the cuts. T8 last week at Hillside, but on American soil he has just two top 20s in 23 starts.
Late last summer the Englishman rediscovered his mojo and, although it took a little time to come to fruition, he earned victory at the DP World Tour Championship and then spun off that to make some cuts on the PGA Tour. However, that run has come to a halt and he arrives off a run of 1-for-6. He’s played 17 majors Stateside and made just one top 25 – victory in the 2016 Masters (see Lee Westwood, above, which is the better record?).
As things stand the Englishman peaked very early in his major championship career, earning a share of the first round lead on debut at the 2011 Open on his way to T30 and Low Amateur. Since then he has missed two cuts in the US Open and was T47 in last year’s Open. Hit a strong seam of form last year, but after in 11 top 20s in 15 starts he now lacks one in his last six and cut a grumpy on-course figure in Morocco and at Hillside.
The 29-year-old South African played out of the University of Minnesota and will be excited to return to America, the first time he has done so on the PGA Tour. His top-level experience amounts to T36 in this year’s Mexico Championship, T22 in the 2018 HSBC Champions and an impressive T17 (T2 after 18 holes) in last year’s Open.
The 32-year-old Kiwi is the son of a New Zealand rugby legend (Grant Fox) and he hits the ball a mile so top grade nerve and suitability for the course are ticked. But he’s yet to quite get the majors right. His T27 in this event last year is his best effort in six and better than his three WGC starts. Disappointing MC last week at Hillside.
In nice form on the European Tour (second in Abu Dhabi, T9 in Morocco, T13 in Saudi Arabia), but it would be something of a leap of faith to expect that to be turned into success this week. He’s played 16 majors and is yet to finish better than T25 in any of them and was 1-for-18 when he played the PGA Tour in 2015.
Only a third start in the majors for the ebullient Frenchman and whilst he’s 2-for-2, he’s done very little in reality (T62 2017 Open, T65 2018 PGA Championship). T2 in Qatar and T5 in China this year, but still yet to win at ET level.
A winner of the Dunhill Championship at the start of the season and arrives off the back of T5 in the Trophee Hassan II and China Open. A first major championship on home soil for the American. He was T62 in the 2015 Open and missed the cut in the same tournament two years later.
Once rated a 33/1 shot to win the 2009 Open, shortly after he returned T5 in the US Open. He would finish T13 at Turnberry and T19 in this event that year, after T30 in the Masters. But having gone 4-for-8 at getting top 30s in majors to start his career he is 1-for-23 since.
A third major for the young Aussie with a growing reputation. He shot 85-74 to miss the cut in last year’s US Open and was T51 in the Open at Carnoustie. Started 2019 strong with T7 in the Dubai Desert Classic but not one top 20 in his last six starts.
A fourth major championship and he has grown into the business of performing in them. He missed the cut on debut in the 2017 Open, but was then T28 in the same event last summer and then T19 in this tournament. A muscle injury laid him off over the winter but since his return he has T4 at the Indian Open, T2 in the Trophee Hassan II and T19 in the China Open.
Struggled to make an impact at home so the 26-year-old Californian took the Asian Tour route to the top. He won on the second tier, graduated to the top level, and earned a crack at the European Tour. This season he has blossomed, claiming two wins. Major debutant this week.
A shy character who speaks very little, he plugged away at the Challenge Tour and Q School for years, finally settled on the main tour and has won in both the last two seasons, most recently last time out in China. A second major start; he missed the cut in last year’s renewal of this championship.
The first name on this list most appeals - Lucas Bjerregaard ($7,000), whose poise in the WGC Dell Match Play hints at his quality whilst his length from the tee should be an advantage. Eddie Pepperell's reliance on the 3-wood counts against him, despite form in recent majors (including the phantom fifth one).