Each week, “Chalk…or not?” looks at exclusive Tour Level Data and past trends to create a model that projects DraftKings ownership. The golfers with our highest projected ownership percentages and some other potentially low-owned golfers are then analyzed for you to give you a true ownership edge on the competition.
Dustin Johnson ($11,800, 15.6 percent projected ownership): The defending champion of this event has not looked quite like the same as the dude who dominated planet earth for a three month stretch to start the year but he is trending in the right direction — and, more importantly, I think he might go overlooked this week. Despite his recent swoon, DJ still leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained (SG): Tee to Green (T2G) and Off the Tee (OTT). Prior to winning here last year, Johnson’s course history wasn’t great at Firestone, but if you can leverage his talent with this type of ownership discount, you should. By the way, DJ has the No. 1 Optimal Rating on our CheatSheet this week.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200, 16.9 percent projected owenrship): Like DJ, Hideki should come in as one of the lowest owned players with a salary of $10,000 or higher this week. Hideki’s SG: T2G numbers in his last 10 tournaments have been off the chain and he’s had four top-15 finishes in his last six events. Matsuyama scored a whopping 152.5 DK points when he won the WGC – HSBC Championship in October of last year.
Jordan Spieth ($12,000, 22.7 percent projected ownership): Spieth is playing like the GOAT right now.
Jon Rahm ($9,700, 20.3 percent projected ownership): Speaking of GOATs, RahmGOAT has been erratic in his last eight tournaments, basically either missing the cut completely or grabbing a top-10 and contending for the win. There’s no cut this week, and Rahm has shown an affinity for the WGC events, finishing third or better in both of his first two attempts.
Rickie Fowler ($10,600, 28.9 percent projected ownership): Rickie has been amazingly consistent this season with seven top-10 finishes in 13 starts since the Phoenix Open. He has been consistently ranked inside the top-12 for both SG: T2G and Approach (APP) all year long and hasn’t slipped up in either area recently. Folwer has three top-10 finishes here at Firestone in his last three appearances and with his current form, he could easily win this week. The only reason I don’t have him as a medalist is because I’m projecting him to be the highest owned golfer of the week. Rickie is No. 3 in our Optimal Rating on the CheatSheet this week.
Brooks Koepka ($11,100, 25.4 percent projected ownership): Koepka is a freaking stud: He won the U.S. Open, spent some time partying in Veags, then showed up for The Open Championship where he finished T6. Brooks debuted at this event in 2015 (his only appearance) and finished sixth. Koepka’s T2G game has been money recently, but his projected ownership is keeping him out of the medalist category this week.
Rory McIlroy ($11,400, 22.2 percent projected ownership): Rory won this event at Firestone in 2014 and had three-straight top-10 finishes from 2010 to 2012, but hasn’t played here in two years. McIlroy’s overall season has been unimpressive but he flashed at The Open Championship where he fired three straight rounds of 69 or better — including a 67 on Sunday — to end up T4.
Daniel Berger ($8,300, 18.9 percent projected ownership): I had 60 percent of Boog Berger at this event last season when he hit one tee-shot and withdrew with pockets on swoll at $50,500. Excuse me while I go throw up. Zero chance that happens again… right?
Kyle Stanley ($6,700, 24.8 percent projected ownership): Stanley is great and at $6,700 in a no-cut event there’s zero risk in playing him. That’s why I’m off him at this potential ownership. In the words of Herm Edwards: “You play to win the game. Hello? You. Play. To. Win. The. Game… You don’t play it to just play it”. I prefer to get way more riskier with my lower salary guys in a no-cut event in an attempt to take down a large-field GPP. In my humble — and often times wrong — opinion, playing Stanley this week is not playing to win the game.
Hump’s Hacks From The Deep Rough
Chris Wood ($7,600, 3.8 percent projected ownership): Wood had a nice run this Spring where he posted two top-five finishes in three events on the European Tour before missing the cut at both the U.S. and Scottish Opens, and withdrawing from the Open de France. Wood looked ready to compete again at The Open Championship, finishing 14th thanks to weekend rounds of 69 and 68. Chris played well here at Firestone in his only appearance (2013), when he finished seventh. Wood has the No. 32 Optimal Ranking on our CheatSheet this week.
Bernd Wiesberger ($7,000, 4.8 percent projected ownership): Wiesberger hasn’t played great recently — he’s finished 51st or worse in his last two starts — but he’s been one of the most consistent players on the European Tour this season. Bernd won the Shenzhen International in last April, and then ripped off eight top-30 finishes in eight tournaments, including five top-20s.