Pebble Beach Golf Links will play host to 156 of the world's best golfers this week.
The course is seen annually at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am but it's also hosted the U.S. Open five times (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010).
There is plenty of history to lean on this week but there is also plenty of history to be made with Phil Mickelson searching for the last piece of the career grand slam, Brooks Koepka attempting a three-peat, and Tiger Woods trying to pad his major-championship tally.
For DFS purposes, we have a tough cut-line this week with just the top 60 and ties playing the final 36 holes. Combine that with a full field and we should have an extremely low percentage of 6-of-6 lineups across the industry.
Let's recap the weather forecast then look for some value options.
Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high of 65 degrees. Winds at 4 to 10 MPH.
Friday (R2): Sunny with a high of 64 degrees. Winds at 4 to 10 MPH.
Being on the coast, we can never count out the wind to show up but this looks relatively calm for the Monterey Peninsula.
In theory, that'd lead to better scoring but calm conditions also mean that the USGA has more control of what they do to the golf course. This will still be a very tough test.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Phil Mickelson (70.16 Projected Pts): Has all the narratives lined up this week as it's his birthday week, father's day and he's trying to complete the career grand slam. Golf isn't played on narratives, though. Mickelson is a mess off-the-tee right now and Pebble Beach will punish him if he doesn't tidy that up. Mickelson has nothing but bad things to say about the USGA setups so I think he's one of those golfers that is talking themselves out of contention before the event even starts.
Tony Finau (75.06 Projected Pts): The big hitter bombed out at Muirfield Village and in hindsight, we should have seen it coming. He finished bottom 25 in accuracy at Quail Hollow, dead last in accuracy at Bethpage, and bottom 15 in accuracy at Colonial. That trend continued at Muirfield Village and the results finally caught up. Finau will need to tidy up the driver a bit before I consider him again as a top-tier option.
Jim Furyk (54.38 Projected Pts): Playing healthy again, Furyk has been rattling off cuts made this year with plenty of top 25s (8) to boot. He also finished T16 at Pebble Beach during the 2010 U.S. Open.
Sergio Garcia (52.85 Projected Pts): It's kind of wild that he's missed the cut in three of his last four events. Nothing in his stats suggest he should be in such a slump. He's gained strokes off-the-tee in each of his last three starts. He's gained on approach in two of those three and the same for around-the-green play. The Spaniard has a good chance to bounce back this week on a course that yielded a T22 back in the 2010 U.S. Open.
Pebble Beach GL was used at the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Opens. Each year it was the hardest course on TOUR, relative to par.
Let's see who likes a tough test.
Looking at sample-adjusted performance on hard courses since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on Hard Courses (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
It's no secret that Koepka has become a big-game hunter and a big part of that is the difficulty of the courses in majors. The others all bring upside to the table.
Webb Simpson: The main case against Simpson would be the fact that Pebble Beach features poa annua on the greens. Simpson grew up on the East Coast with bermuda and smooth bent being the primary surfaces. However, poa in late spring is a bit different than winter poa annua that is usually seen during the West Coast Swing. The winter poa is much softer which leads to much bumpier conditions. I don't think we'll see as much of that this week. Everything else lines up great for Webber who has gained at least 6 shots over the field in six of his last seven starts. He finished top 5 at the Masters and top 30 at Bethpage. His confidence is overflowing right now.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!