The PGA Championship is in a once-traditional spot as the fourth major of the season, but it’s in its latest position in May as the fourth of six majors of this super season. Got that?
Who cares, right? Golf has been back for 11 months and we’re treated to another visually stunning course for your high-definition viewing experience.
The PGA of America operates the tournament but every shot at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will be measured and recorded officially for ShotLink purposes, so all fantasy scoring opportunities are available in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. The absence of bonuses for Hole Outs, Driving and Putts wouldn’t be reason to deter you from investing in your preferred charges because it’s the PGA Championship, but referencing it here will eliminate confusion you might have otherwise.
Both Masters of 2020-21 did not and The Open Championship will not measure every stroke, so only actual scoring and scoring bonuses contribute to our cause in those majors, but there’s a important message as it concerns the two U.S. Opens.
The 2020 U.S. Open that Bryson DeChambeau won included shot-level bonuses that were added after the conclusion of the tournament. The USGA has measured every stroke at the U.S. Open since 2017, but that data had not contributed to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf until this season.
And it won’t again at Torrey Pines next month.
As marked with an asterisk in Appendix A on the How to Play page, the 2021 U.S. Open will be a scoring-only tournament. However, it shouldn’t influence your lineup decisions then, either, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the PGA Championship (in alphabetical order):
Bryson DeChambeau (+1600)
Viktor Hovland (+2000)
Marc Leishman (+6600)
Rory McIlroy (+1200)
Jon Rahm (+1400)
Xander Schauffele (+2000)
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Daniel Berger; Sam Burns; Tony Finau; Collin Morikawa; Joaquin Niemann; Ryan Palmer; Patrick Reed; Scottie Scheffler; Cameron Smith; Jordan Spieth; Justin Thomas
Driving: Daniel Berger; Keegan Bradley; Paul Casey; Corey Conners; Emiliano Grillo; Dustin Johnson; Jason Kokrak; Collin Morikawa; Joaquin Niemann; Scottie Scheffler
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Joaquin Niemann (+6600) … If ever I’d have boycotted for one more slot in a Power Rankings that already was 20 deep, I’d have done it for him. The only reason he didn’t appear – well, other than I’m committed to a set number for every tournament – is because he’s yet to showcase his talent in the majors. He’s only 22 years old, so it’s going to change and he’s on a trajectory to be consistently strong in premier competition, but he’s only 3-for-8 with one top-35 finish in the set so far. Don’t let that stop you from investing with confidence, however, because this probably will be the event at which he establishes a personal best. He’s perfect in 16 starts this season with a pair of runner-up finishes among four top 10s and 11 top 25s. He gives you all you want in the stats, too.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, May 18 at 5 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Patrick Reed (+3500) … Snubbed from the Power Rankings because his Achilles’ heel is the approach game, so if scoring is favorable – it very well could be unless the winds pick up – he’ll drift into the pack relying too much on his phenomenal short game. That’s valuable insurance to be sure, but the depth of the waters around him could have him gasping for air. At worst, sprinkle in a few shares in DFS because he’s a big-stage performer.
Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) … Started the week with him as a default inclusion in the Power Rankings as the 2021 Masters champion, but despite the accomplishment and all of the deserving accolades that go with it, it still was a spike in his recent performance over time. That said, his baseline is higher than most, so I’m not going to talk you out of him in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf or DFS.
Bubba Watson (+8000) … He can’t be a Sleeper but there should be more chatter around the 42-year-old bomber right now, so here you go. Finished T11 at Kiawah Island in 2012 and strides in with top 20s in four of his last five starts (sandwiching a T26 at the Masters), but he’s been a constant force for eight months now.
Paul Casey (+6600) … Co-runner-up at TPC Harding Park in the 2020 PGA Championship and hasn’t lost stride. Always a sturdy complement to every roster game from PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf to DFS.
Lee Westwood (+10000) … Reversed the trend last week, so I’ll respect it. Also flexed his muscle with the longest drive of the week at TPC Craig Ranch even if his 425-yard poke on the par-4 eighth hole in the third round got an assist from a cart path. (He birdied the hole, so he didn’t waste the gift.) Big-time players show up for big-time games. Done and done.
Stewart Cink (+15000) … The PGA TOUR’s leader in greens in regulation and par-3 scoring is just a month removed from his second victory of the season over at the other Pete Dye design in South Carolina – Harbour Town.
Tommy Fleetwood (+5000) … Sputtering but rising up enough to rule out extended troubles. Sparkling record in the majors tilts the balance.
Matt Kuchar (+12500) … In a groove with top 20s in four of his last five starts and possesses the proper ball flight to tease.
Victor Perez (+20000) … He’s rested since the Masters if for no other reason than he doesn’t want to play his way out of future events by falling short of Special Temporary Membership and running out of his allotted starts as a non-member. A two-way T18 at Kiawah Island would eliminate the worry. In his last two starts on Pete Dye designs, he finished T9 at TPC Sawgrass and fourth at Austin Country Club.
Si Woo Kim
K.H. Lee (+15000) … The last automatic qualifier in the field by virtue of his breakthrough victory doesn’t even have a full week to celebrate. He’s not complaining, and he’s not unaccustomed to winning (twice each in Japan and his native South Korea), but this week’s set of variables presents an entirely different challenge.
Brooks Koepka (+3300) … No doubt I’ll pay for this with his performance this week, but I’m used to that. Yet, I cannot, in good conscience, advise that that he’s warm enough since having surgery on his right knee two months ago. He’s missed the cut in both starts since. Yes, this is a major and we can’t get enough of the confident rhetoric that he’s delivered about being a favorite in these tournaments, but it’s not enough in which to trust because of the doubt of his physical health.
Patrick Cantlay (+4000) … It’d take me a minute to determine because I don’t keep records of this, but I can’t remember if he’s ever been a Fade. Why would we have been, right? Well, as the old saying goes, there’s a first time for everything. Plain and simple, he’s missed four consecutive cuts in individual, stroke-play competition and he’s gone 10 consecutive rounds without a red number.
Danny Willett (+25000) … He’s been flashing some form again for a few months, and he’s fresh off a T11 at the European Tour event that he hosted in England, but the combination of his uninspiring analytics and the possibility that last week was a heavy lift given the duties is enough to cause pause in even aggressive considerations.
Kevin Na (+15000) … Forever my Kryptonite, but nope, not on this beast.
Henrik Stenson (+30000) … It’s been 20 months since he recorded a top 20 in a full-field individual competition and the once-reliable cut-making machine has failed to cash in 12 of 20 starts since play resumed in 2020.
Francesco Molinari (+20000) … Still absent form. Don’t hold your breath for him or others who are scuffling to find it at Kiawah Island.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Webb Simpson (neck) and Dustin Johnson (knee) … Both appeared in Monday’s Power Rankings.
Tyrrell Hatton … Intended to tee it up at Copperhead three weeks ago but that was thwarted by a positive test for COVID-19. As you know, I’ll never compare or rank motivations because, from our perspective, there’s too much focus on the outcome instead of the process, but we can agree that he’s hungry to get back to work. Might as well hop aboard ahead of the curve logjammed by conservative investors.
Brendon Todd … Had to sit out the Wells Fargo Championship after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s cashed in 12 of his last 13 starts, so that’s valuable, but he’s just 99th in the FedExCup. He’s still the most accurate off the tee on the PGA TOUR and he’s third in Strokes Gained: Putting, but the 35-year-old will be challenged by the length The Ocean Course because his iron play remains substandard compared to his street value.
Matthew Wolff … Dealt with an injured right hand early in 2021 and the variety of results that have transpired adds to the mystery of his status. There wasn’t an explanation attached to his decision not to compete, but the 22-year-old has cited the challenge of adjusting to life as a touring professional. No doubt it’s easy for full-season gamers to be impatient (or worse), so if you’re in a competitive situation and he’s weighing you down, cut the cord and shop for an international non-member on the rise. With three majors and a World Golf Championship still to be played this season, you might be able to mitigate the temporary loss of one of the most compelling talents in the sport.
Tiger Woods … This coming Sunday will mark three months since his automobile crash in California.
Davis Love III … This is his third early withdrawal on the PGA TOUR since the API in early March. He’s missed a pair of cuts in the interim while making the occasional appearance on the PGA TOUR Champions. The winner of the 1997 PGA Championship has missed seven consecutive cuts in this major since the last time that Kiawah Island hosted in 2012.
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – AT&T Byron Nelson
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Jon Rahm T34
2 Jordan Spieth T9
3 Marc Leishman T21
4 Bryson DeChambeau T55
5 Daniel Berger T3
6 Scottie Scheffler T47
7 Ryan Palmer T47
8 Matt Fitzpatrick MC
9 Sam Burns 2nd
10 Will Zalatoris T17
11 Sergio Garcia MC
12 Aaron Wise T55
13 Charl Schwartzel T3
14 Matt Kuchar T17
15 Hideki Matsuyama T39
Wild Card Brooks Koepka MC
SLEEPERS RECAP – AT&T Byron Nelson
John Catlin MC
Talor Gooch T39
Ben Martin T26
Wes Roach T61
Sepp Straka T26
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
May 18 … none
May 19 … K.J. Choi (51)
May 20 … Branden Grace (33)
May 21 … Stewart Cink (48); Gary Woodland (37); John Huh (31)
May 22 … Scott Brown (38); Jason Kokrak (36); Dominic Bozzelli (30)
May 23 … none
May 24 … Bill Haas (39); Mark Hubbard (32)
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