This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Farmingdale, New York
Bethpage Black Course - Par 70 - 7,459 yards
Field - 156 Entrants
Purse - $11M
Oodles of future exemptions, and career security in general, are up for grabs this week – not to mention the Wanamaker Trophy – as the PGA Championship appears on the schedule in May for the first time since 1937. In order to avoid the exhausting heat and humidity that had annually accompanied this late-summer tournament in years past, along with Olympic golf considerations, the PGA Championship is now positioned just after the Masters in the rotation of majors. Because of this, some competitors, such as a certain Tiger Woods, will be making their first appearance since Augusta National. The 2017 PGA Championship winner, Justin Thomas, was also in the same boat (or yacht) as Woods before ultimately withdrawing due to a nagging wrist injury. This will arguably be the strongest field all season regardless, as every non-injured member of the top-100 in the Official World Golf Ranking plans to be in attendance at Bethpage Black. Famous for its rarity as a public course with dignified prestige and infamous for its warning sign recommending only highly skilled golfers embark on the journey, Bethpage Black – which hosted two U.S. Opens in the 2000s – will host the PGA Championship for the first time ever. The weather figures to be extremely mild in terms of precipitation and wind, but chilly highs in temperature reaching no more than the mid-60s will be frigid for the southern lads.
Key Stats to Victory
GIR percentage - A requirement for racking up birdie opportunities and DFS scoring upside, hitting greens in regulation is a must on Bethpage's smaller than average dance floors
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee - The rough is thick and par-4s measuring over 450 yards make up over one-third of the Black Course's layout, so a combination of power and precision off the tee will be paramount
Scrambling - Missing a fairway off the tee will create a grand challenge when it comes to finding the green in regulation, so tricky pitches to elevated surfaces could be in store on a regular basis
Par-4 Scoring - There are nine par-4s that have played to an over-par average at Bethpage Black in the past
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Dustin Johnson - $47
A final-round 77 during his previous showing at the RBC Heritage sent him careening outside of the top 25, but prior to Johnson's T28 at Harbour Town, the top-ranked player in the OWGR had strung together stroke-play results of T2-T6-T5-Win dating back to a victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Johnson might be well known for his prowess off the tee, but he also leads his peers in SG: Putting on poa annua greens over his past 50 rounds. Additionally, DJ has gained an average of 6.5 strokes tee-to-green throughout his last five tournaments, and he ranks third on Tour in par-4 scoring.
Brooks Koepka - $46
After losing strokes with the flat stick in six of nine measured events leading up to the AT&T Byron Nelson, Koepka significantly improved on the greens as he gained six strokes putting on the way to a solo-fourth finish. He also ranked fourth among the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and is now up to second in SG: Total over his past eight rounds, aided by a runner-up result in his penultimate start at the Masters. Koepka has been borderline unstoppable in majors as of late and has placed top-15 in five consecutive PGA Championships, culminating with a two-shot victory at Bellerive in 2018.
Jon Rahm - $41
With nine golfers priced at or above Rahm's $41 expense, this is great value for the Spaniard coming off a victory at the Zurich Classic alongside teammate Ryan Palmer. Rahm has placed top-10 in seven of nine stroke-play events to begin his 2019 campaign on the heels of a win at the Hero World Challenge in early December. He ranks second on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee and hasn't lost strokes in this metric since the 2017 Memorial Tournament. Rahm also resides top-15 in both par-4 scoring and putting from inside 10 feet.
Patrick Cantlay - $38
Cantlay, who rose to contention during the back nine of Round 4 at the Masters before ultimately tying for ninth, followed his impressive performance at Augusta with a T3 at the RBC Heritage in his latest showing. He gained 6.4 strokes tee-to-green and 4.5 strokes putting at Harbour Town, rising to sixth in SG: Total and third in scoring average on the season. Cantlay also leads the PGA Tour in scrambling from 20-30 yards and is second to only Justin Rose in scrambling from over 30 yards. Except for putting from 4-8 feet on occasion, there really isn't a weakness in Cantlay's all-around game.
Tommy Fleetwood - $38
Collecting his first top-10 since THE PLAYERS Championship at last week's British Masters, Fleetwood broke 70 in each of his first three rounds at Hillside Golf Links before bogeying three of his final seven holes on Sunday fall outside the top-5. The Englishman ranks seventh or better in SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Around-the-Green over his last 24 rounds, while he's also 15th on Tour in proximity from over 200 yards this season. Fleetwood is also top-3 in scrambling, sand save percentage and consecutive cuts made.
Sergio Garcia - $34
Aside from a T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship, Garcia's appeal at this price will be inflated by the quality of his history at Bethpage Black. He notched a solo fourth here at the 2002 U.S. Open, a T10 at the 2009 U.S. Open, and a T3 at the 2012 Northern Trust. According to Sean Martin of PGATour.com, Garcia is second to only Tiger Woods in terms of SG: Total at the Black Course (min. 8 rounds). The main concern with Garcia is his performance (or lack thereof) in major championships since winning the green jacket in 2017; he's been complacent with zero top-20s over the last eight majors and six consecutive missed cuts dating back to the 2017 PGA Championship, though he now ranks third on Tour in SG: Approach.
Henrik Stenson - $28
Stenson hasn't finished top-15 in a stroke-play setting since the BNI Indonesian Masters in December, but this drop in price makes for an intriguing play given his ranking of third among the field in SG: Approach over his last 24 rounds. He's gained an elite average of 5.4 strokes on approach shots over his past five tournaments and is a better putter on poa annua than any other surface. Stenson also ranks seventh on Tour in driving accuracy and finished top-10 at Bethpage Black during the 2009 U.S. Open.
Lucas Glover - $23
A missed cut at the RBC Heritage preceding a T31 at the Wells Fargo Championship could actually be considered quite a cool-off for Glover, who had posted a top-15 in nine of his previous 11 starts since the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall. Nonetheless, the 2009 U.S. Open champion has gained an average of 3.2 strokes tee-to-green over his past five tournaments and he ranks 18th on Tour in GIR percentage. Glover is also 13th in proximity, second in rough proximity, first in scrambling and third in par-4 scoring this season.
Scott Piercy - $22
Piercy is scorching hot with back-to-back top-3s at the RBC Heritage and AT&T Byron Nelson, where he led the entire field in SG: Tee-to-Green and played his final two rounds in a combined 15-under-par. Over his last eight rounds, Piercy paces this week's field in SG: Total and ranks top-10 in both SG: Approach and SG: Putting. He also notched a top-25 at the 2016 Northern Trust hosted by Bethpage Black.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
Although a stacked 156-man field causes a great deal of stress when attempting to get all six lineup selections through the 36-hole cut, you can immediately remove the 20 club professionals from your player pool, as well as several aging past champions such as John Daly, whose knee is in such rough shape that he's now allowed to joyride a cart along a walking-only course. It makes absolutely zero sense to select one of the club pros when names like Thomas Pieters and Daniel Berger are also priced at the minimum, so let the newbies make mistakes as they reach at the bottom of the board.