The inaugural Wyndham Rewards come to an end this week but that hasn’t stopped most of the big names from skipping the regular-season finale.
There are still plenty of great golfers teeing it up in Greensboro this week. There are 156 of them lined up to take on Sedgefield Country Club with the top 70 and ties getting to play the weekend.
This is the event where FedExCup narratives get thrown around like parade candy but is there really a big movement from those golfers that currently outside of the Playoffs bubble? Looking at last year’s event there were just two golfers that started outside the top 125 and played their way in with a strong finish (Harris English from 132nd to 124th with a T11 finish and Nick Taylor from 129th to 119th with a T8 finish).
Looking further back, there have been three seasons were five golfers made the leap into the top 125 during the Wyndham. Then there was 2013 which saw no turnover after the Wyndham. In general, there are usually 2 or 3 movers and shakers.
Other than the top 125, other golfers are just trying to crack the top 150 (conditional status) or top 200 (Korn Ferry Tour Finals). It’s a nice extra bit of motivation but golfers that are safe inside the status bubble will have the luxury of playing carefree golf.
It might be a fun tiebreaker to use but this angle should not be a primary target this week when building DFS lineups.
Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high near 91 degrees. Calm winds at 5 MPH.
Friday (R2): Overcast with a high near 88 degrees. Calm wins around 7 MPH.
No rain and no major wind concerns. Should be plenty of scoring this week at Sedgefield.
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.
Jason Kokrak (63.96 Projected Pts): Grades out pretty well based on his season-long stats but at some point you have to consider his course history. Kokrak is 3-for-6 at this event with five of those finishes landing outside the top 55. He’s lost strokes to the field in 10-of-17 rounds played at Sedgefield. Not something I want to rely on flipping this week if I’m drafting him inside the top 10.
Joaquin Niemann (63.96 Projected Pts): Does he deserve this spot in the rankings based on talent and recent form? Yes. However, all of those good results happened on bentgrass or poa greens. Looking at the best finishes of his young career, only one of his 14 best finishes has come on bermudagrass. He set up shop in Florida so I have no doubt he’ll figure things out over the next few years but for now, I will reserve him for bent or poa layouts only.
Viktor Hovland (37.12 Projected Pts): If you believe in small samples then Hovland is a top-10 golfer in this field. Given his amateur pedigree, that doesn’t seem to far fetched but even if we allow a bit of wiggle room, he’s easily a top 30 golfer in this field so give him a big boost up the board.
Sungjae Im (38.26Projected Pts): A staple in this section all season, DRAFT refuses to boost his projected points. The young Korean has finished top 25 in 13 of his 31 starts this season. Six of those have doubled as top 10s. Definitely deserves a big bump up the board this week.
Golfers that pegged it in Memphis last week will be accustomed to the bermuda already. Let’s see who else might enjoy a return to bermudagrass.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance on bermuda 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 Bermuda (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Plenty of steady names on this list this week and they are now on their preferred surface.
Zach Johnson: Oddsmakers and gamers have thrown ZJ to the wolves. A T37 at the Fifth Major paired with a missed cut at The Open has him in the doghouse for gamers. He sits around 50th in salary on DraftKings this week and 40th on FanDuel. Over the last year, he grades out around 40th in this week’s field in terms of field adjusted performance. As a 12-time TOUR winner, we know his upside is much higher than that. He finished T5 the last time he played this event (2013). If he keeps performing at his season-long pace then we’re probably in for a finish in the 30th to 50th range but if his game clicks back into shape then suddenly we have winning upside at low ownership and low salary. Not bad.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!