July 19, 2023, 2:33 am
The final major of the season is here with The Open Championship aka The British Open. The 151st edition of this prestigious event will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. This course has hosted two modern Open’s in 2006 which was won by Tiger Woods and also in 2014 won by Rory McIlory (that last time Rory won a major).
There are a couple of exciting changes to the course that we will get to later that should set up for another exiting week of major championship golf. It is a refreshing brand of golf to watch that is different than the typical courses we see here in America on a weekly basis. Numerous hazards await golfers this week and smart, strategic golf will be crucial to success. Wind will go a long way in determining the winning score this week, as weather is one of the main defenses of the course. Given the close proximity to the coastline and the general unpredictability of U.K. weather patterns, I would venture to guess the wind will be a factor this week.
Be sure to have your bets and DraftKings lineups made ahead of time as the first tee shot will go off at 1:35 a.m. ET.
This is a full 156 player field with the top 70 (and ties) advancing to the weekend (as opposed to the typical top 65 and ties).
DraftKings players will notice a noticeable change when filling out their lineups this week in the pricing structure. DraftKings got very aggressive with the top players (Scottie Scheffler is an astounding $12,500) having priced seven golfers at or above the $10K mark. To help account for the higher prices up top, the minimum pricing has been reduced from $6K to $5.5K with just over 50 golfers falling in the $5.5-$5.9K bucket price range.
It is going to be interesting to see how others use this newfound pricing structure, as DraftKings has rolled out these prices since the beginning days of PGA DFS back in the 2015-206 range. There is a lot of optionality to go with your lineup construction and difficult choices to be made.
Personally, I do not like stacking two of Rahm, Scheffler and Rory. I think it hampers the rest of your build and makes you rely too heavily on too many punts to come through and make it worth it. The beauty of playing DFS is trying to figure out the new puzzle we are presented with each week and this week got an unexpected surprise, which has me even more excited to dig into things.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club, which is not actually located in Liverpool, but rather the village of Hoylake in Wirral, England hosts the Open once again.
There have been a few changes to the course since we last saw it in 2014, starting with the change of now playing at a par-71, instead of the par-72 it always had. The 10th hole was converted from a par 5 to a long par 4 playing at 507 yards. The two par 5s on the back nine were lengthened so that both now play over 600 yards.
There is also a brand-new hole in play with the 136-yard par 3 17th. As you can see in the hole-by-hole flyover video below, this is an infernal little hole that will certainly penalize bad shots and reward great shots.
Playing 7,383 yards in length, which is slightly longer than the average PGA Tour course. There is no water danger to speak of on the course, but there are certainly plenty of bunkers, especially on the fairway. Many players have noted that staying out of these fairway bunkers will be crucial to success this week as there is just no way to significantly advance the ball out of them. This may cause players to reconsider what they hit off the tee and depend on accuracy more than pure power.
A unique feature of Royal Liverpool is the six internal out-of-bounds areas not far from the fairway. Hitting it in the out-of-bounds areas will be a monumental mistake for golfers as hitting it in them will not only cost golfers a stroke, but will force them to retee and hit another tee shot.
There seems to be a prevailing narrative this week that with the possible trouble off the tee that many golfers will “club down” and greatly reduce the use of driver off the tee. While this may be true and accuracy is certainly important, I think some are going too overboard with this notion and acting like distance won’t matter all that much. With soft conditions due to rain this week, and the lengthening of some of the holes, I think distance will be more important than it is being given credit this week.
Here is a link to a hole by hole breakdown of Royal Liverpool:
It is a major week so that once again means we will have golfers from the PGA Tour, LIV and DP World Tour at our disposal this week. Like the U.S. Open, those who we not previously eligible to participate were given the opportunity to qualify via various qualifying events a couple weeks ago.
Will Zalatoris is the only top 50 ranked player missing this week due to injury.
Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week. As always with majors, I will be considering previous major performances as well.
- SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. Long irons will be given a closer look, but especially in possible windy conditions, strong approach play will be required to contend.
- Proximity 175+– Whether it is due to the wind, laying up off the tee or just the general length of some of the holes, I expect a lot of long iron shots for players this week. This will not be a wedge and putting contest like we have seen in recent weeks.
- Scrambling– With gusting winds and long approaches, I expect plenty of missed greens this week. Being able to get up and down from the collection areas and greenside bunkers will be important.
- SG: OTT- As I mentioned before, I am weighing off the tee heavily this week. I think the prodigious drivers of the ball will put themselves in excellent shape this week.
- Par 4 Scoring (450+)- Seven of the eleven par 4s here are in the 450-yard plus range. Everyone should be able to score well on the par 5s, so taking advantage of the par 4s will help determine the winner this week.
Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!
DFS Top Tier Play
My heart says Brooks, but my brain says Rory in this spot. Winning last week will not deter me from going with the guy who I think is just playing the best golf right now. I know that Scheffler’s numbers on paper are out of this world, but it just isn’t resulting in wins for him right now. The serendipity of Rory breaking his major drought at the venue where he last tasted success after the heartbreak of both the Open last year and the U.S. Open a month ago just seems to perfect to pass up. Rory is driving the ball immaculately right now, but more importantly, his irons have been on fire as well. His distance will be a major advantage here given how straight he is with the driver or if he decides that he wants to club down and go two iron off the tee, he is one of the best long iron players in the field and will be able to attack the course that way. There are multiple gameplans and ways to win for McIlroy this week, which can be said about very few in the field this week. I do expect Rory to get some ownership, so we will have to get conscious about making our Rory build unique to the field and I may even experiment with some Rory/Brooks starts. When selecting golfers from this range, it is splitting hairs, but in my estimation, this situation is perfect for Rory.
Others Considered: Brooks Koepka ($10,400), Jon Rahm ($11,200)
DFS Mid Tier Play
Tony Finau missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage the last time we saw him, and quite frankly, since his win in Mexico at the end of April his form hasn’t been all that encouraging. However, I believe in the talent of Finau and this price is just too cheap. In addition to the price, there are a lot of things to like about Finau this week. In six appearances in the British Open, Finau has never missed the cut which includes four top twenty finishes (and two top tens). Tony ranks first in the field in total strokes gained in windy conditions over the last 50 rounds and I certainly expect there to be some wind this week. Correlating with his strong performance in windy conditions is the fact Finau gains 2 strokes (total) on the field on links courses on average since 2015 which ranks second in the field to Jordan Spieth. The putter has been a bit shaky of late, but perhaps the different surfaces will help him not bleed strokes on the greens. I think Finau has one of the highest upsides in his price range, and I will pay to hope he realizes it.
Others Considered: Max Homa ($8,400), Joaquin Niemann ($7,500)
DFS Value Play
Even if it was a regular pricing setup this week, this would be too cheap. I don’t understand why the likes of Brenden Grace, David Lingmerth, Danny Willett or Christian Bezuidenhout are more expensive than a recent winner on the PGA Tour. Grillo is one of the best ball strikers in the field and has been putting remarkably well recently as well. His Open Championship record is nothing to write home about, but is does include a couple of 12th place finishes. One could argue that this is some of the most consistent golf of Grillo’s career right now, so I’m not worried about his previous Open record or a recent missed cut at the John Deere. Grillo should find enough fairways off the tee to stay out of trouble and his elite iron play should give him enough opportunities to easily pay this price tag off. If he does have an off week with the irons, we could be in trouble because his around the green game is pretty miserable, but no one is without warts down here, hence the $6,600 price, but he does enough of the things that I’m looking for well to take a shot on the upside Grillo provides.
Others Considered: Louis Oosthuizen ($6,900), Jordan Smith ($6,800)
Brooks Koepka +2200
Dustin Johnson +3300
Tony Finau +5500
Adam Scott +8000
Louis Oosthuizen +12000
Position Player Name DK Salary G Rory McIlroy $11,800 G Tony Finau $8,200 G Emiliano Grillo $6,600 G Joaquin Niemann $7,500 G G REMAINING BUDGET $15,800 for 2 golfers