The first event of 2017 starts Thursday, with the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii. Daily Fantasy Focus previews which of last year’s champs are likeliest to start the year off with a victory.
The PGA Tour is back, which means Daily Fantasy Golf games are also back on PlayON. We’ve previewed this elite field made up of only 2016 tournament winners to help you pick your teams for what has traditionally been a hugely exciting tournament to watch.
The Plantation Course in Kapalua might be the easiest these players will encounter all year, with wide open fairways and five par fives to feast on. Scoring is rarely an issue, with Jordan Speith shooting -30 last year en route to victory.
With so little trouble from tee to green, this event usually comes down to the short games. Putting in particular will be vital as you need to dominate on the sluggish, grainy greens in order to contend. Players struggling with their short games won’t make enough birdies to keep pace with the field this week.
Usually the same group of players have performed well on a regular basis here. Those racking up wins every year on the PGA Tour tend to be more familiar with the undulations and quirks of the course. Tiger Woods and Ernie Els seemed to go head to head every year at this venue for a time, while Zach Johnson also won a couple of times and Patrick Reed has finished first and second over the last couple of years.
Jordan Speith ($19.9m): Last year’s champion fits the profile of a contender perfectly. He has the previously noted course form, and a traditionally hot putter. The question with Speith is always consistency. He has hit the high notes with decreasing frequency since last year’s Masters debacle. Can he win for a second straight year?
Jimmy Walker ($15.6m): Walker lost in a playoff to Reed in 2015 and also finished in the top ten last year. A top 15 finish in last year’s FedEx Cup showed that Walker is a force to be reckoned with on tour. If he can get hot with the putter this week, he could seriously contend.
Brandt Snedeker ($14.8m): Snedeker has been a picture of unspectacular consistency in this tournament, never finishing worse than 11th over his last four appearances here. The Tennessee native rarely seems to close out tournaments but can be relied upon for a decent finish.
Vaughn Taylor ($7.0m): Taylor hasn’t been invited to this exclusive tournament for a decade, but interestingly finished in the top six on both of his previous visits. He offers value as an intriguingly low risk, high reward option.
Others of note: Patrick Reed ($18.2m) Tony Finau ($9.5m)
With no cut and a smaller field this week, the strategy changes a little for this week’s games. There’s no risk of your players going home after two days so make sure to go for players with winning upside. Middle of the pack finishers aren’t as valuable as on a normal week.