Conor Coughlin shakes up the PGA Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) landscape in his series “From First Tee to Last Call,” where he combines lifestyle advice learned from times at the bar accompanied by friends with his projecting models. Tee off with Conor this week as he reveals his 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson DFS core plays.
I wanna talk about golf etiquette a bit.
I have been playing golf for 37 years. Give or take a year, but ever since I was old enough to carry a plastic golf club and chase rabbits around while my Dad played, I have loved this crazy game.
Growing up, I was fortunate to belong to private golf clubs wherever we lived. By belonging I mean, spending my Dad’s hard-earned money charging up insane beverage and food bills and billing dozens of Titleist Balata’s to my parents’ account all summer long for the first 21 years of my life. Turns out Titleist Balls aren’t free and I have always had very good taste in golf balls.
Aside from the perks, I was also involved in youth golf from a very young age. I learned the rules of the game and the etiquette involved with being on the course long before my Dad ever allowed me to even leave the practice tee. I learned the game the right way. I was taught to respect the course and know the history of the game. I know there can be negative connotations to being a member of a country club. I am not that type of person and joking aside, my parents raised me to appreciate what I have and not take things for granted. It has helped me immensely in my adult life.
Respect… That’s what I see being wrong with today’s game. I’m very conflicted on the subject of proper etiquette. In many ways, I’m a purist and a traditionalist towards golf. I want a quiet, peaceful and focussed round of golf. In other ways, I love the more millennial (Which I am, depending on what age range you buy into) way of thinking with the music cranked and laughing and talking the whole round regardless of if someone is actively addressing their ball for their next shot.
I think my problem with the culture of the millennial golfer is that it has bled into not caring about the rules of the game. Not respecting the course and overall just treating the golf course like it’s an extension of the dive bar that they pre-gamed their tee time at. I get it; it’s supposed to be fun.
I just want people to have a basic knowledge of how to properly care for and navigate a golf course.
If it’s not a group of five or six people with three carts in front of me, it’s some guy with a $150 set of Callaway knockoffs with his cart parked on the literal fringe of the green, lining up his putt by holding the putter out in front of his face like he would hold his favorite rifle. Even when the dangling putter maneuver is done correctly to line up a putt, I have never quite understood how it even works. If you think I’m making up the shotgun aiming technique, I can post pictures on Twitter as proof. It happens, and frequently.
The tee boxes on almost every course are littered with tee shrapnel, and zero effort is ever made to so much as fix a divot. People routinely don’t have any sort of 90-degree rule while playing in adverse conditions as they go fox-tailing down the middle of the fairway. This is yet another example of why courses are absolutely destroyed by mid-season.
Don’t even get me started on the condition of the greens. There are literally more dimples on the putting surface than there are on the actual golf ball, and this isn’t just a public course thing. I recently had the privilege of playing two very expensive, very private courses that were in strikingly similar condition on the greens.
Seriously? We just stopped fixing ball marks over the last 10 years? I carry a ball mark repair clipped to my pants pocket and make a point to fix at least three ball marks on every green, regardless of if any of those belong to my group. It’s part of being a steward of the game and respecting the course.
I understand that I may be a bit Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) about certain things. Still, I don’t think a basic understanding of the rules and conduct of golf is an unreasonable expectation. I don’t get to just show up to a shooting range and start popping off rounds without going through a safety class. I truly believe that everyone who books a tee time should have to take a small quiz or test at the beginning of each season, affirming that they have at least a basic understanding of the rules and etiquette. If you elect that you do not, I think there should be tee times that are “casual” and capped at nine holes maximum and cannot be played until 6 p.m.
I get it this may seem unreasonable to some, but I assure you this is in everyone’s best interest, and I may start campaigning it on a national level. Until the day that I get my pre-round test initiative rolling, I will continue to drink as many beers as I can in an 18-hole round to help soothe my sorrows.
The 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson this week is in no way related to my rant above, but I just wanted to share my frustrations from my first few outings on the course this year. I do also however have a love/hate relationship with TPC Craig Ranch.
On one hand, I love the birdie fest, on the other, I don’t love that this is a lower-quality field, and the big names that come here are most likely using it as a tune-up for next week’s tournament.
Onto the Green: 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch
TPC Craig Ranch Course Breakdown
• Par 71
• About 7,400 yards
• Bentgrass greens
As mentioned, this is going to be a birdie fest! I would guess the winning score to be somewhere between -22 and -27. There isn’t much to stand in the way of the golfers this week. The course is more forgiving than the last few weeks and much more receptive. We have a few tricky holes but nothing insanely difficult.
Par 4 scoring will be at a premium, in my opinion. The Par 5’s are gettable by most, and the Par 3’s are a bit challenging in that three of the four are over 220 yards long. The greens are already very receptive and slow, then add to that that there will be scattered thunderstorms all four days. Players should be throwing darts and attacking holes with their putters. I do have a slight lean toward golfers who can drive the ball far and accurately, but even that is not the end all be all this week.
• Shots Gained Approach
• Driving Distance
• Proximity 200+
• Par 5 Scoring
• Par 4 Scoring
• Birdies or Better Gained
2023 AT&T Byron Nelson Picks
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800)
Hideki Matsuyama will most likely pick up some steam with Jordan Spieth’s injury withdrawal. It’s hard to find a reason not to play Scottie Scheffler up top, but if you do want to go a different route, I feel Matsuyama represents good value. He is another one of those players that get lost in the shuffle if he isn’t outright winning tournaments. Over the last 20 rounds, he has not lost strokes in any major category. He is excellent at avoiding big numbers and adding birdies to his scorecard. The key approach ranges that I looked at for the AT&T Byron Nelson also seem to fall right into his wheelhouse. Matsuyama is steady and consistent and tends to do better in softer and slower conditions. One thing is for sure, when Matsuyama is hot, not many can keep up.
Jason Day ($9,400)
Jason Day burnt me and many others last week, but I am not giving up on him yet. I still love him for a win in the coming weeks. It may be here and now. However, I would prefer it to be at the PGA Champions next week, where his number is bigger, and he will most likely be significantly cheaper in DFS. Despite last week’s performance, he still rates out No.1 in bogey avoidance, No. 8 in birdies or better gained, and No. 2 for shots gained on par 4s. Day presents a really interesting low $9,000 first man in build. This allows you to build a much lower-risk and balanced lineup while being different from the rest of the field by fading the top. It’s a gamble but a calculated one. If you are risk averse, make him your second man and drop down to the low 7,000s. Regardless, I feel confident that Day will be playing on Sunday this week.
Other Golfers in My Pool
• Scottie Scheffler ($11,900)
• Tyrell Hatton ($10,100)
• Tom Kim ($9,600)
• Adam Scott ($9,200)
• Byeong Hun An ($8,600)
• Tom Hoge($8,400)
• Dylan Wu ($7,400)
• Tyler Duncan ($7,100)
• Kevin Roy ($6,500)
• Sam Stevens ($7,600)
• Augusto Nunez ($6,700)
“Last Call” Dart Throw of the Week
• David Micheluzzi ($6,600)
David Micheluzzi will make some noise in the coming weeks. He is the best player to come out of Australia in quite some time. He is making his PGA Tour debut this week and will be on a champions exemption for the rest of the Majors, including the PGA Championship next week. I love throwing him in some DFS lineups for the AT&T Byron Nelson and really love his outright betting number of 350/1 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Thanks for reading and considering my 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson picks. Good luck this week!