It’s time to head to Hawaii. The PGA Tour season did begin back in October, but many still see this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions as the official start of the Tour year.
Kapalua describes its Plantation Course as follows: “Consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in Hawaii, playing The Plantation Course is sure to be on every golfer’s bucket list. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course was designed on a grand scale in keeping with its location on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and offers dramatic ocean views from virtually every hole. Its lengthy 7,411 yard par 73 layout challenges the pros but it’s wide fairways and generous greens make it very playable for the average golfer. With dramatic elevation changes, this course offers plenty of downhill tee shots. You’ll feel like one of the pros when - with the aid of the aggressive slope of the 18th fairway - you will enjoy hitting one of the longest drives of your life.”
As you sit down and follow the action this week, you can enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian scenery, champion golfers battling it out for the first title of the 2016 calendar year, and the excitement of knowing that another PGA Tour year is off and running.
Below are the players I like this week, as well as my DraftKings lineups for the week.
Jordan Spieth - Runner-up in 2014, returning after one of the greatest PGA Tour seasons in recent history. I know I personally can’t wait to see how he follows up the year he just completed.
Jason Day - Another coming off a breakthrough season. Since he won the PGA Championship, his confidence has been soaring. I definitely wouldn’t bet against him, but also wouldn’t be surprised to see a little rust. He and his wife just welcomed their second child, and for good reason, he has taken significant time off.
Bubba Watson - Hasn’t won this event, but does tend to play decently at Kapalua. Has been playing tremendous golf since the summer months, and won the Hero Challenge a month ago. All signs point to him continuing to perform.
Zach Johnson - Will be playing with new sticks this week, having just joined Parsons Xtreme Golf, but won this event in 2014, and finished 7th last year. There are certain courses that Zach tends to perform well on, and this is one of them.
Patrick Reed - Defending champ, defeated Jimmy Walker on first playoff hole last year. The two events he’s played since the end of the FedEx Cup playoffs have seen him finish T7 (HSBC Champions) & 2nd (Hero World Challenge).
Dustin Johnson - Winner of this event in 2013. Played incredibly well in the early months of last season, but seemed to get tired toward end of year, had trouble finishing events. Will be interesting to see if the time off does him any good again.
Jimmy Walker - Last year’s runner up, always seems to perform well during the winter months, including events in Hawaii.
Justin Thomas - This PGA Tour sophomore has shown that he can compete against the best in the game. In his rookie year, last season, he saw a ton of courses for the first time, and was still able to perform. I could see him doing the same this week at Kapalua.
Kevin Kisner - After coming so close to winning on many occasions last year, he finally broke through at the RSM Classic in November. He also finished second at the HSBC Champions two weeks prior. Hopefully the time off between events has not prevented him from continuing this hot streak.
Rickie Fowler - Last year was a huge year for Rickie, winning the Players, and the Scottish Open. He had a solid playoffs and has silenced critics who not long ago dubbed him one of the most overrated players on Tour.
Chris Kirk - I think Chris Kirk is a player to keep your eye on this week. Hasn’t played as consistently as he would have liked through portions of last season, but he seems to like this course, making it a great spot to continue building confidence into the new year.
Here are the lineups in which I will begin my DraftKings season.
Bubba Watson - $10,300
Zach Johnson - $9,500
Justin Thomas - $8,700
Bill Haas - $7,400
Chris Kirk - $7,300
Padraig Harrington - $6,800
Jordan Spieth - $12,500
Brooks Koepka - $8,900
Brandt Snedeker - $7,700
Scott Piercy - $7,100
Steven Bowditch - $6,800
Davis Love III - $6,800
You always have to be extra strategic when making your picks in an invitational field. They are not as many players to choose from, and usually those that are included have high price tags. At the same time, any player you pick, you’d expect to see perform, considering they are a PGA Tour winner.
I made sure to take Bubba and Jordan in my two lineups because they have been playing way too well to bet against. I decided against picking some of the newer young winners, instead picking veterans. The only exceptions I made were for Keopka and Thomas, for they performed like veterans for much of last season.
About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
DraftKings is a leading provider of online fantasy sports. Our core product is a 1-day Fantasy Sports Contest, where users compete against each other to win cash prizes. The game works similarly to how season-long contests on ESPN or Yahoo operate, with the key difference being that instead of season-long commitments, our users only need to commit to playing for a single day at a time. Free and entry-fee-based games are available. Featuring daily fantasy sports contests and same-day settlement, DraftKings makes playing fantasy sports simpler and faster for both seasoned and casual players.
Read more about DraftKings at: www.DraftKings.com