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11D AGO

DFS Dish: Look to Rory McIlroy to anchor DFS lineups at 106th PGA Championship

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    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    The second major championship of the season welcomes the deepest field in professional golf.

    Featuring 99 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, provides the only major without amateur competition. Ramping up the challenge this week will be selecting lineups from a professionals-only group.

    Valhalla Golf Club is hosting the PGA Championship for the fourth time since opening its doors in 1986. The Jack Nicklaus design will stretch to 7,609 yards, the third-longest track used on TOUR in 2024, and plays to par 71.



    DraftKings – Top of the board

    • Scottie Scheffler ($13,200): Imagine posting 21-under and not finding a top-10 payday. The American Express, played in late January, is the only event this season the Texan has not visited the top 10. The other nine results on his ledger have produced T10 or better. Paying top dollar this week comes with four wins and T2 in his last five starts. One player has beaten him since cashing T10 at The Genesis Invitational. It’s expected that a major addition to his family has been made since winning the Masters and RBC Heritage in back-to-back weeks in April. The new family dynamic will likely not affect his golf swing or flat-line heart rate. On a course where putting will not be the focus, the man with the best set of sticks tee-to-green will shine again.
    • Rory McIlroy ($12,000): The narrative of not winning enough on TOUR recently has been replaced with the 10-year drought in major championships. The Zurich Classic tonic with Shane Lowry opened the floodgates for a five-shot romp Sunday at Quail Hollow Club. Winning the week before the PGA Championship here in 2014, he bested an elite field at Firestone South in a WGC event. Playing well the week before major championships has not been the issue in the last decade. Carrying the momentum over the next 72 holes has been. The ownership this week should be quieter, to some degree, with the return of Scheffler.

    Key Stats for the PGA Championship using McIlroy's 2014 win at Valhalla


    Overvalued or undervalued?

    • Brooks Koepka ($10,800): In the last six PGA Championships, he’s won three times, including last year at Oak Hill. The fifth choice on the board this week has already defended his title at this event once and has five major championships to his name. I wouldn’t get too hung up on T45 at the Masters four weeks ago.
    • Patrick Cantlay ($10,000): I feel I’m picking on the Californian every time he enters, but I’m trying to help you. Cashing T29 last week in Charlotte, he sat 50th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 47th SG: Off the Tee in a field of 69 players. Making the cut in seven consecutive majors is great, but he’s signed for one top-10 payday in six starts in the last two months.
    • Justin Thomas ($9,300): The 2017 and 2022 winner of the PGA Championship gets a home game this week. Without the pressure of winning a first major championship, or even this event, the local lad from Louisville can just let 'er rip. After missing the cut at the Masters, he ran T5 at Harbour Town and T21 last week at Quail Hollow.
    • Ludvig Åberg ($10,500): In a field of this depth and breadth, I don’t know if I can hope his knee can hold up for 72 holes. Skipping last week at Quail Hollow for extra rest, I’d hate to be on the sideline if something goes wrong, especially at this price. For cheaper salary, I can shift to a healthy, two-time major champion alternative in Collin Morikawa ($10,300).
    • Russell Henley ($7,300): Sitting 12th in SG: Total, the Georgia native hits plenty of fairways and sits in the top 40 in SG: Tee to Green and SG: Putting. Entering the week off T10 at Wells Fargo and T12 at RBC Heritage, I’ll wedge him in and hope the rest do not. Playing from the middle of the fairway in major championships is never a bad idea.

    Makers or breakers

    • Xander Schauffele ($10,900): Leading for 54 holes last week was just a reminder of the consistent excellence he carries. His final eight holes are the reason some do not latch on. Super throughout the bag, the harder the setup, the better he plays.
    • Jordan Spieth ($8,800): The seventh attempt at completing the career Grand Slam will take place in his good buddy’s backyard. The wrist injury that has bothered him for over a year has resulted in four missed weekends from his last seven starts. The price is enticing, but coming with that are plenty of moving parts.
    • Shane Lowry ($8,400): The Irishman, a recent winner in New Orleans with McIlroy, has quietly cashed T12 or better in four of the last six PGA Championships, including T12 at Oak Hill last year. Playing the weekend during the last seven PGA Championships, the 2019 Open champion pounds fairways and greens, rarely a bad formula on difficult courses.
    • Corey Conners ($7,600): Finishing T12 and T17 in two of the last three editions, the Canadian ball-striker should be excited to attack small targets off the tee and into the greens. The co-leader through 36 holes last year sat one off the 54-hole lead at Oak Hill before cashing T12.
    • Tiger Woods ($6,800): The winner of the 2000 edition over Bob May in a playoff, the four-time champion has not played since gutting out 72 holes at Augusta National. I’m not entertaining him at this (or any) price.
    • Denny McCarthy ($6,300): Two weeks running in this column, he merits his place after cashing T6 in Charlotte. Playing Memorial last year, another Jack Nicklaus design with tough driving conditions and tougher scrambling, he lost to Viktor Hovland in a playoff.
    • Victor Perez ($5,700): Playing in his fourth PGA Championship, the Frenchman cashed T22 at TPC Harding Park and T12 last year at Oak Hill in the two events he qualified for the weekend. Quietly sitting 52nd SG: Total, his highlight is sitting 26th SG: Tee to Green.
    • Tim Widing ($5,600): Winning in back-to-back weeks on the Korn Ferry Tour, this Swede is hotter (and perhaps healthier) than Åberg. Cashing T26 or better seven times in nine KFT events, hot golf is hot golf.


    The lineup

    Here’s a look at how I would devise a six-team roster this week while staying below the $50,000 salary cap offered for DraftKings contests:

    • Rory McIlroy ($12,000)
    • Brooks Koepka ($10,800)
    • Corey Conners ($7,600)
    • Russell Henley ($7,300)
    • Denny McCarthy ($6,300)
    • Taylor Pendrith ($6,000)

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