Hero World Challenge DFS picks 2023: Tiger Woods’ buddy is the play in the Bahamas
This year’s Hero World Challenge got an obvious shot in the arm when tournament host Tiger Woods committed to playing last week. The golf world will be buzzing on Thursday when Tiger hits his first competitive shot since the Masters after undergoing surgery to repair his ankle.
Rostering Tiger this week will take a bit of a leap of faith—though if you read the tea leaves, everything is positive so far about this latest comeback. He has been caddieing for son, Charlie, in junior events, walking and carrying Charlie’s bag, which seemed farfetched after watching him hobble around the grounds of Augusta National on Saturday. Stewart Cink was optimistic after speaking to him last month, and all the signs are that he has been practicing for a competitive schedule in 2024. We’ll know more about what that looks like after his press conference on Tuesday.
We will reserve judgment on Tiger until we learn more about his status later in the week. For the purpose of identifying DFS value in DraftKings contests this week, we’ll turn to some other players in this 20-man field.
Here are all the players who have my interest—and those who don’t—this week at the 2023 Hero World Challenge:
$9,000 and above range (pricing per DraftKings)
Play: Collin Morikawa, $10,000
If looking for a discount off the highly priced and highly sought-after Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler, I present Collin Morikawa, who I believe is in store for a big 2024. I recently wrote about how Morikawa significantly raises his baselines on courses with a high driving-accuracy percentage and a large plurality of middle to long irons. With nearly a 75 percent accuracy percentage historically at Albany Resort, and upwards of 30 percent of approach shots potentially coming from 150-200 yards, this is the perfect track for Morikawa to end his season on a high note.
Fade: Matt Fitzpatrick, $9,200
In two appearances at the Hero World Challenge, Matt Fitzpatrick has failed to finish in the top 10. While we started to see some better golf from the former U.S. Open champion in the latter stages of the season, I don’t quite get why he is priced above the likes of Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Cameron Young, who have all found far more success at this golf course.
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$7,000 and $8,000 range
Play: Justin Thomas, $8,400
Full disclosure, Justin Thomas is my pick to win this event, and I was prepared to play him at a much higher price point. After an unquestionably disappointing season, Thomas appears to have turned a corner, with back-to-back top-five finishes in his last two starts at the Fortinet Championship and Nedbank Golf Challenge. The two-time major winner has recorded three top-five finishes in a row at Albany, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone will be more motivated to win in front of his mentor than Thomas.
Fade: Jordan Spieth, $7,400
Something about Albany just doesn’t seem to click with Jordan Spieth, who has finished in the bottom five of this event in his last three appearances. My theory on this is simple. Spieth just doesn’t seem to devote a lot of time to golf at this time of year. Most players in this field have recorded at least some reps this fall, but the only time we have seen Spieth tee it up since August was at the Ryder Cup, where he was virtually unplayable. Add a recent newborn into the mix, and it’s hard to imagine that the three-time major winner’s golf game will be in anything but hibernation.
Play: Justin Rose, $6,900
A Bahamas resident with some strong course history? Justin Rose is my favorite play in this range by a healthy margin. The Englishman has recorded top-five finishes in three of his past four appearances at Albany and always seems to get up for this laidback event. Many players in this range either have serious questions about form, or have never before seen this golf course. Rose feels like the most sensible flier.
Fade: Brian Harman, $6,400
Only four players in this field will be making their first appearance at Albany. Of that group, I have the most questions about Brian Harman, who stumbled to a 44th-place finish at his hometown track in Sea Island at the RSM Classic. Against much stiffer competition, on a golf course that emphasizes power, I have little faith that the recent Open Championship winner will rise to the occasion in his first appearance in the Bahamas.
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports