Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD
This week on the PGA Tour will feature another replacement venue and another absurdly capitalized event name, as the Tour stays out west for one more week as we inch closer to the highly anticipated November edition of The Masters. Last year’s inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP was the first PGA Tour event held in Japan, and a big purse brought plenty of star power, including noted popular person and eventual champion Tiger Woods.
The brand names will be in full force again this week, with the defending champion chief among them in his first event since missing the cut at the U.S. Open. It will be just the sixth time he’s teed it up at an official PGA Tour event since February — with no finishes inside the top 30 in that span — so while anticipation is of course high, we should keep our expectations low.
Sherwood Country Club will be the fill-in host, a Jack Nicklaus-designed track in Thousand Oaks, California last seen hosting PGA Tour action in 2013 at the Woods-hosted event now known as the Hero World Challenge. Sherwood stretches just 7,073 yards to its par 72, just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Typically, we’d expect to see wind play a major factor this close to the coast, but Sherwood is constructed within a valley and surrounded by mountains and hills, which should mitigate some of the gusts.
For now, the weather looks like a good advertisement for living in Southern California, with cool temps topping out in the low 70s and sunshine expected all week.
Let’s dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Sherwood Country Club
Distance: 7,073 yards
The tournament scorecard features an interesting quirk in that there are five par 3s and four par 5s. At just over 7,000 yards, Sherwood will play as one of the shortest par 72 courses on Tour this year. All but one of the par 3s are at least 185 yards and just one par 5 is shorter than 530 yards, so we can deduce the field will be facing some of the shortest par 4s they’ll see all year. None is longer than 460 yards, and this could very well turn into a wedge-fest.
For comparisons, we’ll skew toward short California courses, and without much data, we can look to event history at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am and the American Express. The Pebble rotation includes Pebble Beach Golf Club, Spyglass Hill Golf Club, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club; the American Express includes La Quinta Country Club, the Stadium Course, and the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
These stats will be key to success in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD.
|Key Stats for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (especially shorter than 450 yards)|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
We’ll be looking for golfers who bomb it out there, with the goal on most holes to either drive the green or get a short club in their hand for their approach. Strokes gained: off the tee can point us to the best drivers of the golf ball.
What happens next will be just as — if not more — important. While the goal will be putter or wedge on all the par 4s, they won’t get that choice on the extra par 3 or the par 5s. Golfers who gain strokes with their approaches, whether those approaches are 125 yard wedges or 200 yard mid-long irons, are the primary targets this week.
We can expect the course to yield plenty of birdies given this strategy, so we’ll look to the birdie-makers over the scramblers. The aggressive mentality needed to score on the par 4s also lends itself to the traditional birdie opportunities on the par 5s, and with a full allotment at their disposal this week, scoring on those holes will be paramount.
Course History Studs
Woods is the only man the field with a win at Sherwood back when the Hero World Challenge was held there under different sponsorships. Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw from THE CJ CUP due to a positive COVID-19 test, but based on the timing, he may be able to return this week for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. His father-in-law to be, hockey great Wayne Gretzky, is a member at Sherwood, and Johnson plays frequently with The Great One and even holds the course record (61).
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.