The finish line tape is only a few strides and an outstretched hand away. The Tour Championship awards the 30 best golfers on the PGA Tour a chance to win a heaping prize of $18 million. Unfortunately, only a handful of those golfers even have a chance. The event began a staggered scoring setup a few years ago to reward the points leaders heading into the final week.
The world’s No. 1 golfer, Scottie Scheffler, was the points leader and will begin at 10-under par before teeing off at the first hole Thursday. Even the second-place golfer, Viktor Hovland, will begin his tournament two strokes behind Scheffler. It is now widely regarded as the most anticlimactic finale in professional sports. However, the Tour Championship is still a fun event to tinker around in the DFS contest lobbies.
PGA DFS: Tour Championship 2023 Breakdown
East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta has long hosted the Tour Championship. A lengthy par-70 at 7,360 yards, the players will be challenged by narrow landing areas and closely mown Bermuda. Rory McIlroy has won here three times, while the defending champion is the deliberate glass of ice water, Patrick Cantlay. The staggered scoring will cause gigantic swings in DFS scoring, which is heavily weighted to a golfer’s standing on the leaderboard. The smallest field in tournament golf will exacerbate this.
Metrics My Weighted Statistical Model Focused on This Week:
- Par-4 Scoring
- Proximity on Approach (200+ yards)
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Good Drives Gained
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Bogey Avoidance
Winning at PGA DFS carries plenty of caveats. Naturally, you want all six golfers on your roster to make the 36-hole cut (top 60 and ties after round two). After that, scoring is about making birdies and avoiding bogeys (or worse). Bonus points are awarded for higher standings and birdie streaks of three consecutive holes.
You’ll hear me say the word “leverage” a lot when speaking about PGA DFS. Leverage is about positioning. It isn’t so much who you play but rather who you don’t. It’s risky to roster a golfer who is also rostered heavily by opposing lineups. There’s almost no reward when that player succeeds, par at best, to use a golf analogy. To make money playing DFS, it requires taking chances and making birdies when others are settling for par.
A popular player is deemed “chalky.” Good chalk is a popular player who is nearly certain to succeed. Bad chalk is a risky player that too many people have hitched their wagons to. A profitable DFS lineup will have a nice blend of good chalk and successful leverage. A leverage play is a good play that isn’t rostered by many… “lifting” it above the field.
Here’s how I’m attacking PGA DFS for the Tour Championship.
PGA DFS: Tour Championship 2023 Picks
(Prices courtesy of DraftKings)
High-Priced ($9,000 & Higher)
Good Chalk: Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa
Bad Chalk: Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay
Leverage: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark
Mid-Priced ($7,600 – $8,900)
Good Chalk: Tom Kim, Russell Henley
Bad Chalk: Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners
Leverage: Keegan Bradley, Collin Morikawa
Value-Priced ($7,500 & Lower)
Good Chalk: Jason Day, Si Woo Kim
Bad Chalk: Tony Finau, Tyrrell Hatton
Leverage: Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns