DraftKings daily fantasy golf has become incredibly popular around the world, and UK players had the chance to pick their team of six for the Masters recently. What's next? DraftKings has launched a new fantasy golf game covering the European Tour. How do you play this and win? And what differences are there between fantasy European Tour Golf and fantasy US PGA Tour golf? Let's dive in and take a look.
Fantasy Golf Basics
You have a maximum salary to pay out to all your team of players in golf, as in daily fantasy football. The difference is, DraftKings asks you to name six golfers, instead of eleven footballers. You the pick up points for your players depending on what they do out on the course. This means points for doing well from hole-to-hole, but also for getting through to the next day.
Your ultimate aim is to have all six of your golfers reach the final day's play, because the really big points come to players who are at the top of the leaderboard. To do that, though, you'll need to use a mix of good strategy and skill, because you can't just spend big money on top, prominent golfers - they're usually the ones who will command the highest salaries, and so you'll find that except for maybe one or two, they're out of your reach. Better to pepper your selection with lesser-known golfers who can, in your opinion, go the distance. This might be because they regularly perform well on a specific course, or because of a current good run of form. Whatever the case, you need a solid reason for each golfer you pick.
DraftKings' scoring system is statistical, which means that if you want to follow how your players are doing out on the course, you'll need to keep an eye on scorecards from hole-to-hole, and maybe also half an eye on the overall leaderboard. Clearly it matters too that you look at previous tournaments - that's how you get your data on form and on player performance - but you should also remember that course knowledge and expertise, particularly on the European Tour, is crucial.
Here's a brief summary of the DraftKings daily fantasy golf points system:
- Double Eagle: +20
- Eagle: +8
- Birdie: +3
- Par: +0.5
- Bogey: -0.5
- Double Bogey: -1 PT
- Anything worse: -1 PT
This is how a player on your team will score depending on where they finish.
- 1st: +30
- 2nd: +20
- 3rd: +18
- 4th: +16
- 5th: +14
- 6th: +12
- 7th: +10
- 8th: +9
- 9th: +8
- 10th: +7
- 11th–15th: +6
- 16th–20th: +5
- 21st–25th: +4
- 26th–30th: +3
- 31st–40th: +2
- 41st-50th: +1
There are special scores that can be gained for "streaks". Here are the special streaks you should look for:
- Streak of Three or More Birdies: +3
- Bogey-Free Round: +3
- All Four Rounds Under 70 Strokes: +5
- Hole in One: +10
What's Special About the European Tour?
The European Tour is a different challenge to the US PGA Tour. The most obvious thing is that the PGA Tour attracts the most famous and best-remunerated golfers, with the promise of far bigger prize packages. European-raised golfers like Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and, it seems, 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett, have all embraced the riches of the US tour, recognising that every sporting career has a short lifespan at the top, and that financial opportunities must be maximised.
This is bad for the European Tour, but good for the informed punter. That's because when you're playing daily fantasy sports, you need to be aware of those players below the radar who can do something special for your points tally without bending your wallet. In the European tour, the salary sheet is a goldmine of that sort of player - the plucky golfer who might turn up for every possible tournament, but gets it right during the British links part of the season, or loves the dry, arid surfaces of a place like Valderrama, where moisture is at a premium and so the ball bounces higher and - potentially - catches people off-guard.
And that's the great thing about the European Tour. Whereas the PGA Tour gives its superstars the pick of manicured fairways at country clubs all over America, there's a lack of variety there, partly due to stringent regulations. There's diversity and variety on show on Europe's courses, and so there's more chance of an outsider coming in and taking a particular tournament by storm - you just need to have your eyes open to the prospect.