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FanDuel Strategy

FanDuel Fit: Sony Open in Hawaii

by Josh Culp
Updated On: January 12, 2021, 5:38 pm ET

We are in week two of the 2021 PGA TOUR schedule and we are still wearing our Hawaiian shirts. 

This week's event is the Sony Open, played at Waialae Country Club. 

What do we know about Waialae CC? Quite a bit. It's been used since the inaugural 1965 edition so there is a lot of history. 

The course is relatively short by PGA TOUR standards. It's a par 70 that plays at just 7,044 yards on the scorecard. 

One characteristic that many point to is the bermudagrass greens. Golfers that grew up in the Southeast are often comfortable when they get on the property at Waialae Country Club and start rolling some putts. 

Bermudagrass Greens

When you look at quotes over the years at Waialae, the turf is mentioned often. 

Let's see who has performed best on bermuda greens, over the last two years: 

Webb Simpson
Sergio Garcia
Collin Morikawa
Ryan Palmer
Matt Kuchar
Sungjae Im
Jason Kokrak
Marc Leishman
Kevin Kisner
Rory Sabbatini
Harris English
Adam Scott
Jim Furyk
J.T. Poston
Hideki Matsuyama

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs their expectations. Here is that list: 

Kramer Hickok
Marc Leishman
Mark Anderson
Sergio Garcia
Ryan Palmer
Jamie Lovemark
Chris Kirk
Matthew NeSmith
Nick Hardy
Jhonattan Vegas
Rory Sabbatini
Michael Gellerman
Lanto Griffin
Davis Love III
Ryan Armour

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Marc Leishman, Sergio Garcia, Ryan Palmer, and Rory Sabbatini

What's interesting to me is the overlap between bermuda performance and performance in the wind. You see a lot of overlap which doesn't say all that much by itself except that perhaps the bermuda courses the TOUR visits are often vulnerable to the wind. 


Short Courses

Waialae Country Club stretches out to just 7,044 yards from the tips.

Both of the par 5s are reachable for the field (506 and 551 yards). 

Eight of the par 4s play at less than 440 yards. 

Distance is really not required here. 

Here are the top performers on short courses, over the last two years: 

Hideki Matsuyama
Webb Simpson
Kevin Na
Adam Scott
Matt Kuchar
Abraham Ancer
Sergio Garcia
Daniel Berger
J.T. Poston
Billy Horschel
Cameron Smith
Sungjae Im
Andrew Landry
Zach Johnson
Harris English

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Andrew Landry
K.J. Choi
Jim Herman
Rafael Campos
Ben Taylor
Hank Lebioda
Rob Oppenheim
Michael Gligic
Kevin Na
Chris Baker
Danny Lee
Satoshi Kodaira
Bo Hoag
Matt Every
Nelson Ledesma

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Andrew Landry and Kevin Na

Not the stars you would usually expect to see in an overlap list which tells us that short courses elevate golfers that usually don't contend from week to week on the PGA TOUR. 

FanDuel Focus 

Rory Sabbatini ($8,900): When Sabbs shows up on an overlap list you have to listen. He's not going to land there most weeks but his game is tailored to a very particular style of course. That style just happens to perfectly overlap with Waialae Country Club. It's not surprise then to see that he's racked up six top 25s including a pair of runner-up finishes at Waialae over the years. 

Ryan Palmer ($10,500): Sometimes the plays are right in front of your eyes but you don't want to see them. For Palmer, he has five top 10s since the restart. That includes a T8 at the RBC Heritage and a solo 4th last week at Kapalua. Both of those events were played on coastal courses with bermuda greens. Something he'll see again this week. He also happens to be a past champ at Waialae (2010). 


Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis. 

Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.