Golf’s third major of the year is upon us. On July 14, the world’s top players will head to Royal Troon for the 145th edition of The Open. It will mark the ninth time the tournament has been played at the famed Scottish Course. It was last played there in 2004 when American Todd Hamilton claimed the championship in a playoff over Ernie Els.
Another American will be at the center of attention in this year’s tournament. Red-hot Dustin Johnson, coming off victories at the U.S. Open and the WGC-Bridgestone, will be looking to claim his second career major title. While Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are still considered the favorites to win at Troon, Johnson will surely be a popular golfer in betting circles and in daily fantasy contests.
As always, there is plenty of great fantasy golf to play on DraftKings. Our feature contest is the $3M Fantasy Golf Millionaire, a $33 entry GPP that will pay out $1 million to the winner. In this article we break down our top plays for the 2016 British Open.
HOW DRAFTKINGS FANTASY GOLF WORKS
- In each fantasy contest, participants will be assigned a fixed salary cap of $50,000 that they can use to draft their entire six golfer lineup.
- The golfer pool will consist of all golfers expected to be participating in the tournament. Any missing golfers will not be added to the pool once DraftKings starts offering contests for that week. If a golfer is scratched late from an event, he will remain in the player pool, and you must be aware to remove them from your team before the tournament starts. Golfer salaries will also not change once DraftKings starts offering contests for that tournament start time.
- Contest results and winners will be based on the total fantasy points scored across each entrant’s six golfer lineup scoring system.
Royal Troon is a Par-71 course measuring 7,190 yards. The traditional links course is spattered with bunkers along the fairways and greens, as well as deep rough that will punish any wayward shots that don’t find their intended destination. Finding the greens isn’t easy, especially on the “Postage Stamp” 8th hole which is the shortest Par 3 in Open history. Missing the target even slightly could result in the ball rolling off the tony green and into a deep bunker.
The key variable at the Open will be the wind. If gusts are blowing into golfers faces on the back nine, it will present one of the toughest challenges they’ll face all year. Gary Player called the last nine holes at Troon “the most difficult in the world when the wind is blowing.” And considering the course is located along the sea, wind is expected to be a big factor.
Stats to consider: Driving Distance, Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, Birdie-or-Better %
World Rank: 12
DraftKings Price: $10,000
Vegas Odds to Win: 25/1
Garcia is in top form heading into his favorite of the four majors. In 19 career appearances at The Open, Garcia has nine top-10 finishes. He has 12 top-10s in the other three majors combined.
However, the tournament has also haunted him year after year. In 2007 Garcia he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington, and two years ago he placed runner-up again. He tied for sixth last year despite playing some of his worst golf in years leading up to it.
Now, Garcia is coming off three straight top 5s, including a victory in the Byron Nelson in June. His tee-to-green game has been spectacular; he ranks 2nd on the PGA Tour in Greens in Regulation and 5th in Ball Striking this year. He’s also driving the ball better than ever, ranking 19th in Total Driving and 27th in Driving Distance. His pristine record on links courses makes him a favorite going into the tournament.
Call us crazy, but we think this is the year Sergio gets that dreaded monkey off his back and claims his first major.
World Rank: 3
DraftKings Price: $11,700
Vegas Odds to Win: 10/1
We like Spieth this week because of his putter. The greens at Royal Troon are mostly flat, so Spieth could use his putting prowess to run away from the field, much like he did at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational in May. He will likely carry the lowest ownership out of the Big 4 (Day, McIroy, Johnson). That makes him our favorite at the top.
Spieth has struggled tee-to-green this year but nobody is better when he’s playing at his peak. If you can find a way to fit Spieth and Garcia on a team, we highly recommend it.
Others to Consider: Henrik Stenson ($9,500), Phil Mickelson ($8,600), Matt Kuchar ($7,800)
VALUE PICKS AND SLEEPERS
World Rank: 22
DraftKings Price: $7,800
Vegas Odds to Win: 60/1
Schwartzel makes our list for the third straight major. He missed the cut at The Masters and then finished T23 at the U.S. Open. This event is the best fit for his game, so we’re expecting big things from the talented South African.
Charl has decent history at The Open, placing in the top 20 four times over the past six years. His great iron play and scoring on Par 4s make him a great fit for Royal Troon, but the putting could be his downfall. That’s the most inconsistent part of his game, so it could either be a really good or really bad week for Schwartzel. He’s a GPP option only.
World Rank: 71
DraftKings Price: $6,100
Vegas Odds to Win: 200/1
This price on Steele is mind boggling considering how he has performed over the past three months. Steele has made the cut in his last six tournaments with four top 20s, including a 15th-place result at the U.S. Open. He crushes the ball off the tee, he hits greens, and he can score on Par 5s. What more could you ask for in a punt play?
Steele is a fantastic option in GPPs and is a trustworthy lower-tier play in cash games as well.
World Rank: 56
DraftKings Price: $6,300
Vegas Odds to Win:160/1
Woodland is a bomber you want to target at Troon. Not only is he 5th on the PGA Tour in Driving Distance, he’s 2nd in Par 5 Scoring and 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. His game has really come around this year and the results prove it. Woodland’s ability to convert birdies and eagles makes him a top DraftKings GPP play at The Open.
World Rank: 102
DraftKings Price: $5,500
Vegas Odds to Win: 250/1
If you really want to dig deep, we present Englishman James Morrison. The Euro Tour player has finished in the top 25 at The Open in each of his two appearances (20th last year, 23rd in 2012). He has a handful of Top 10s this season as well. At the very least, for $5,500 you’re getting a player with good event history who has a lot of experience on links courses. You’ll get him at around 1% ownership, too.
Others to Consider: Harris English ($6,300), Billy Horschel ($6,800), Andy Sullivan ($7,200), Francesco Molinari ($7,000)