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DFS Dish: Finding (bermuda) comfort in Memphis

Russell Henley

Russell Henley

Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

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The PGA TOUR returns to TPC Southwind to kick off the FedExCup Playoffs this week in Memphis.

Golfers who pegged it last week in Greensboro saw Champion Bermudagrass greens and that is what they’ll see again this week, perhaps adding a bit of comfort as they try to navigate the grainy greens this week at TPC Southwind.

Let’s dive into the long-term grass splits to see who we may want to consider for our weekly rosters.

Bermuda Specialists

When you listen to the golfers talk about the course, there is no doubt they are well aware of the grass they’re facing.

“When you get perfect bermuda and people are worried about grain, this is 15 years that I’ve putted on this stuff. So like these older other veterans, players that have played out here for many years, it feels like I’m more of a veteran out on these greens.” -Daniel Berger

“With the bermuda greens, Dustin and I were talking, it’s like we putt at home. We’re used to fast, firm, bermuda greens. Some guys don’t like putting on them. Again, this is a lot like Hilton Head or some of the courses we play that you have to think your way around the golf course and it’s a challenge. I think it makes me focus real well.” -Davis Love III

Looking at the last two years of results across the globe, here are the golfers in the field this week who overperform their baseline when playing on courses with bermuda greens.

Collin Morikawa
Chris Kirk
Jason Day
Billy Horschel
Matt Kuchar
Rory McIlroy
Sam Burns
Russell Henley
Denny McCarthy
Tyrrell Hatton
Cameron Tringale
Alex Smalley
Webb Simpson
Emiliano Grillo
Keegan Bradley

McCarthy and Bradley have both spoken in the past about how they grew up on bentgrass greens but have grown fond of bermuda since they set up shop in Florida.

Ride the hot hand with Henley

Russell Henley ($7,800 DK) played a light schedule in the summer but recently told us why. He and his wife added baby number three to their squad, about 10 weeks ago. Perhaps feeling more rested than usual from a golf point of view, he’s popped with back-to-back top 10s.

Last week he snagged a T5 at Sedgefield Country Club despite losing strokes with the putter. As you see from the list above, he’s typically played well on courses with bermuda greens and that includes wins at Waialae and PGA National.

The Georgia Bulldog has four previous appearances at TPC Southwind with a solo 7th in 2016 being the only notable finish. The strength of field gets bumped up this week compared to the last two events he just played, but his salary has dropped despite the two big finishes. That keeps him high on my list of potential value options when building my DFS rosters across the industry.

Bounce-back Specials

When playing DFS on a regular basis it’s important to take a page out of Dustin Johnson‘s playbook and have a short memory. Let’s look at the bermuda specialist list above and see if we can spot any rebound, buy-low opportunities.

The first one that stands out to me is Matt Kuchar ($7,900 FD). He gained 4.7 strokes on approach in his latest start but lost 4.2 strokes putting on the poa annua greens in Detroit. Getting back to a positional-based course with bermuda greens, I like his chances of rebounding in Memphis.

Moving on, let’s talk about Denny McCarthy ($26 YAHOO). He’s missed the cut in three of his last four starts but also bagged top 10s in three of his last six starts. That boom-or-bust nature is great for DFS tournaments because his recent missed cuts will have gamers clicking his name less but his upside remains the same. McCarthy’s only previous trip to TPC Southwind resulted in a top 20 back in 2018, gaining 5 strokes putting on the bermudagrass greens in the process.

Last but not least, let’s turn our attention to Webb Simpson ($9,200 FD). He withdrew mid-event last week at the Wyndham when weather halted round two and he was far removed from the cutline. It was a disappointing showing for sure, for Simpson who has done a lot of damage at Sedgefield CC over the years. His track record at TPC Southwind isn’t too shabby, either. He’s posted a 4-for-6 record at the course and that includes a pair of podium finishes. He’s flashed his fair share of low rounds recently but still trying to find that consistency that was a staple of his game for years. Not a bad buy-low option for DFS tournaments, in my opinion.

Fading Finau

The big Samoan has quickly changed his label of underachiever to prolific winner in a matter of weeks. He arrives off back-to-back wins but now he faces off with his old nemesis at TPC Southwind. That nemesis would be bermudagrass. When you look at his career-best finishes it’s tough to find many of those coming on pure bermuda. He’s thrown in a few big finishes on overseeded bermuda but over the last two years his strokes gained per round is roughly a shot worse than his baseline when playing on courses with bermudagrass greens. Finau will likely be a popular option near the top of the board this week but I will look elsewhere when starting my builds.