Joey Ricotta | June 27th, 2019
Passionate golf fans throughout the state of Michigan are jumping with joy to see big-time golf back in Michigan. The state hasn’t hosted a PGA Tour event since Tiger Woods won the Buick Open for the third time in 2009. Mainly due to the automotive industry going down the tubes and eventually causing the population to decrease and the city of Detroit to file America’s largest municipal bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. So, this is more than just a tournament to a lot of Michigan natives. This symbolizes sort of a restoration or upswing in prominence and stability for the city of Detroit, Michigan. The Rocket Mortgage Classic or “Detroit’s major” as it reads from a billboard hanging above 7 Mile Road, will mark the first PGA Tour event ever within the city limits of Detroit.
The Detroit Golf Club (DGC) plays host for the Rocket Mortgage Classic which will be a new annual PGA Tour Tournament moving forward. The DGC is the oldest PGA Tour course to currently be used. The course plays rather old school with wider fairways and short to average distanced holes. The big bombers from the tee may not be as important as the accurate drivers for this course as it should be fairly easy for most players to reach.
The stage and tee times are set. It should be a terrific weekend with a lot of classic old-style feels. But with the old always comes the new. Nowadays we play fantasy golf and particularly daily fantasy golf. The only way to make things really fun is if we win money while we watch. With that said, let’s get to our new school ways and take a look at some golfers to consider using.
The Core Four
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200 on DK and $11,300 on FD)
Starting here, as far as your top dollar guy, seems like a good strategy this week. Matsuyama gets close to the top week in and week out, but never seems to be able to get over the hump and win. Matsuyama has four straight top-25 finishes. He currently ranks 26th off the tee and first in consecutive cuts made with 23. He also sits top five in strokes gained on approach, strokes gained tee-to-green, and total strokes gained. This presents a high floor, high ceiling type of situation for Matsuyama. By all means, feel free to pay up for Rickie Fowler or Dustin Johnson. But for cash games, I’m feeling the most optimal build will be to go with Matsuyama.
Billy Horschel ($9,000 on DK and $10,400 on FD)
At this price point, Horschel checks a lot of boxes for me. Nothing extremely off the charts great, but he’s solid in a lot of areas. He has five career PGA Tour victories and has finished in the top-35 in each of his last four tournaments, including three in the top-25. Horschel has made 12 straight cuts and played well at a similarly comparing course, the Colonial Country Club, placing 19th. He ranks 45th in strokes gained total and 43rd in strokes gained-putting. Solidifying my trust in him, he is solid in the main areas I’m looking at for this tournament, 64th in strokes gained approach the green and 80th in driving accuracy. Those numbers don’t sound ridiculously amazing, but all of it added together makes Horschel a good pillar to lean on in cash games.
Rory Sabbatini ($8,500 on DK and $9,400 on FD)
Sabbatini has been very consistent, making 11 straight cuts. In courses that compare similarly to the DGC, Sabbatini finished tied for sixth in the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club and tied for fifth in the AT&T Byron Nelson at the Trinity Forest Club. Sabbatini ranks 64th with a 65.02% driving accuracy and 41st in strokes gained off-the-tee. Birdies are huge in DFS. Sabbatini ranks 39th with a 3.96 birdie average. He’s also 20th in strokes gained around the green and 32nd in total strokes gained. He holds six career PGA victories and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this is another for him.
Brian Stuard ($7,100 on DK and $8,600 on FD)
Stuard will have the hometown support with much of his family and friends expected to be in attendance. He was born and raised nearby in Jackson, Michigan and played the DGC course during his collegiate days at Oakland University. Stuard has one PGA Tour win in 2016 at the Zurich Classic and has two top-ten finishes this year. He ranks seventh in driving accuracy (70.93%). Stuard also ranks fifth in scrambling with a 65.41% mark. Since this is a new course to the Tour, having familiarity with the course could pay huge dividends for Stuard. Understandably, Stuard will most definitely have some nerves. But he should be able to navigate his way through and at least make the cut.
Other Targets To Consider
High Tier: Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, and Dustin Johnson.
Mid Tier: Viktor Hovland, Jason Kokrak, and Charley Hoffman
Value Tier: Jonas Blixt, Harris English, and Brian Gay.
It’s a huge field as most tournaments are, so I wanted to give you some more golfers to take an extra look at. My favorites out of each tier, in order from high to low, are Rickie Fowler, Jason Kokrak, and Jonas Blixt.
Questions and comments?
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images