This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
Winner's Share: $1.188M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Blaine, Minn.
Course: TPC Twin Cities
One of the more memorable moments of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season took place at TPC Twin Cities, where 20-year-old Matthew Wolff drained a 26-foot eagle putt from the fringe on the 72nd hole to stun Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa to win the inaugural 3M Open. DeChambeau had just made an eagle of his own minutes earlier, and Morikawa missed his try right afterward. It culminated a week that can only be described as one giant birdie-fest. There were four 62s – Wolff and DeChambeau had one apiece – and 10 of the top 12 on the leaderboard shot at least one 64, including Morikawa. Rain softened the course significantly, contributing to the low scores – Wolff won at 21-under – and some rain is again in the forecast this week.
At the time, DeChambeau was a burgeoning star and Wolff and Morikawa had just burst upon the scene after stellar college careers. While Wolff is back to defend his title, the other two are absent, as are most of the top names on the PGA Tour. The field was significantly stronger last year. Now, just seven of the top 50 in the world rankings are on hand, as the 3M Open had the misfortune of falling between the Memorial and the WGC-FedEx on the reconfigured golf calendar. This event was originally scheduled for this week, though, and is one of just two tournaments that was not forced to change dates.
Wolff is not in the top 50 (he's 55th) but is certainly among the headliners. Those ranked among the top 50 who are teeing it up this week include Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Paul Casey, former Golden Gopher Erik van Rooyen, Bernd Wiesberger and, making his first appearance since the restart, Tommy Fleetwood. Bubba Watson and Rafa Cabrera Bello fall just outside the threshold, and that's the whole shebang. Yes, we definitely have been spoiled by loaded fields since golf returned. We'll have to endure an off-week. More than half the max field of 156 will be filled by Korn Ferry grads, the 126-150 group from a year ago and even those beyond that. This should be one wild, challenging week of DFS picking.
The PGA Tour returned to Minnesota last year after a half-century absence. But there had been a lot of big-time golf there in the interim, including the Ryder Cup only four years ago at Hazeltine, which has also played host to U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, the 2019 Women's PGA Championship and nearly two decades' worth of a regular Champions Tour stop, among other majors and big events. But as for the PGA Tour, there had been nothing since the Minnesota Golf Classic in 1969. As you'll recall, Frank Beard came away with the title, ending the tournament's nearly four-decade run dating to 1930.
TPC Twin Cities opened in 2000, an Arnold Palmer design with an assist from Minnesotan Tom Lehman, who did a renovation a few years ago no doubt trying to toughen the track for the regular Tour golfers. Lehman, now 61, received a sponsor's invite for the second straight year, as did fellow Minnesotan Tim Herron. The course is very long, nearly 7,500 yards as a par-71. That's much longer than it was for the Champions event, where they simply tore up the track. The winning score was often in the neighborhood of 20-under, with the 25-under record set by David Frost in 2010. And remember, those numbers were for only 54 holes, so they were some of the biggest birdie-fests you'll ever see. "We set it up as easy as you can set it up for the Champions Tour," 3M tournament founder Hollis Cavner was quoted as saying last year. "We wanted low scores, we wanted fireworks, and we got them. The course is much harder now. Five or six strokes harder." Good to hear, but ...
... the track had little defense last year other than its length, which, as we all know, is no real defense for today's modern bombers. There is a lot of water – after all, Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" – but without significant wind, this could be a second straight year of target practice. There are some super long holes: All three par-5s are close to 600 yards, there are two par-4s more than 500 and three of the par-3s are at least 200, one of them over 225. On the other hand, there are also four par-4s under 425 yards. The fairways are very wide – more than 30 yards at the 300-, 325-, and 350-yard checkpoints. That'll be a big change for the golfers who spent the past two weeks at Muirfield Village. There just won't be too many of them here.
Last year, the course was the 36th easiest out of 48 on Tour, but it also featured the eighth-most double bogeys or worse at a whopping 187. That would indicate lots of easy holes and some really hard ones. The three hardest were on the front, all par-4s, in order the 502-yard 9th, 468-yard 2nd and 501-yard 3rd. One of the easiest was the 596-yard 18th, where Wolff and DeChambeau took care of business despite a pesky greenside pond that caused a lot of damage. There's also the semi-driveable 381-yard 7th.
Weather-wise, thunderstorms were in the forecast for Tuesday and again on Friday and Sunday morning. So you may want to check an updated forecast closer to the lock to see whether there are any tee-time advantages. Otherwise, temperatures will be in the mid-80s before climbing into the steamy 90s on the weekend, with the wind not benign but not overly strong, either.
Key Stats to Winning at TPC Twin Cities
Note - The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key stats" follow in importance.
• Greens in Regulation/Strokes Gained: Approach
• Driving Distance/Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee/Ball Striking
• Putting Average/Strokes Gained: Putting
• Birdie-or-Better Percentage
2019 - Matthew Wolff
Last year, Wolff and Collin Morikawa ranked 1-2, respectively, in SG: Tee-to-Green; they flip-flopped at the top of the SG: Approach rankings and were both tied for sixth in the field in greens in regulation. So you can see where the profile of this champion is going. Bryson DeChambeau didn't quite match them in those stats, but he putted far better than those two on the average-size bentgrass greens (5,500 square feet). The Stimpmeter was running 12-12 1/2, which is not overly hard for today's pros. Interestingly, it wasn't DeChambeau or even Wolff who led the field in driving distance. It was Wyndham Clark, who tied for fifth and is back again this year. Wolff shot 62-65 on the weekend despite ranking 39th in SG: Putting for the week so, no matter how you slice it, someone's gonna have to make some putts to win. Morikawa ranked 47th in SG: Putting and DeChambeau, 11th. Wolff played the par-5s in 8-under – remember, there are only three of them.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Dustin Johnson - $11,500 (Winning odds at golfodds.com: 12-1)
We begin this tricky week of DFS prognosticating by picking a guy who is coming off a pair of 80s. That's right, Johnson trunk-slammed his way out of the Memorial to the tune of 80-80. But we still like him better than anyone else at the top of the DK board, a bunch of bold-face names carrying all sorts of questions marks (Brooks Koepka's knee, Tony Finau's mind-set after Sunday's immolation, Tommy Fleetwood's rustiness and Paul Casey's season-long funk). Not only does Johnson have the ability to forget both the bad and the good about five minutes after they happen, he also looked mighty fine in winning the Travelers Championship.
Tony Finau - $10,900 (16-1)
We just pointed out a very good reason to steer clear of Finau. But despite a brutal Sunday 78 at Muirfield Village – it's tough to hold the results of that day against anyone – relegating him to a tie for eighth, it still was his best tournament since the restart and before. Finau uncharacteristically was brutal around the green – he's ranked eighth on Tour in SG: Around-the-Green around on the season and should find TPC Twin Cities much less treacherous. He even putted amazingly on the super-fast Memorial greens, gaining more than six strokes on the field. Finau tied for 23rd at the 3M last year. He'll be grouped with DJ and Fleetwood for the first two rounds.
Lucas Glover - $9,400 (30-1)
No Brooks, no Fleetwood, no Casey, no Bubba, no Wolff. This is a big price to pay for Glover, though he has a smaller price than all those others. He had his string of top-25s end at the Memorial thanks to a final-round 78 – again, mitigating circumstances with the weather, etc. Glover hits it long off the tee, he hits in straight and he gets the ball on the green. At that point, we'll take our chances with his sub-standard putting.
Harris English - $9,000 (25-1)
As of this writing, we don't know whether English is still recovering from COVID-19 and if he will go out as a single. But he has a much better chance to be on the first page of the leaderboard than in past weeks, and that would look awkward on CBS on Sunday. Regardless, English tied for 13th all by his lonesome at the Memorial in his first event back after the test. It continued a renaissance season for the now-30-year-old, giving him a ninth top-25 in 14 starts, with five of those doubling as top-10s. English is ranked 11th in GIR and 30th in SG: Putting, a wonderful combo for this week.
Tier 2 Values
Erik van Rooyen - $8,800 (40-1)
The South African finds himself with a lofty price in part because he is ranked 43rd in the world, but also because his familiarity with TPC Twin Cities, having attended the University of Minnesota beginning in 2009. Van Rooyen has not been great in this, his first season on the PGA Tour. But he's been at his best of late, notching top-25s in two of his past three starts, including at the Memorial. He navigated Muirfield Village brilliantly, ranking second in the field in SG: Approach, third in GIR and fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Doc Redman - $8,700 (50-1)
Redman had a run of three straight top-25s end at the Memorial. He's like so many other young players on the PGA Tour in that his strokes-gained numbers are great until he gets near the green: 26th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 14th in SG: Approach. After that, don't ask, though he's still 28th in SG: Tee-to-Green. He missed the cut here a year ago.
Sam Burns - $8,500 (40-1)
We continue with The Biggest Prices These Guys Have Ever Had. Burns is outside the top-100 in the FedEx and closer to 200th in the OWGR, but $8,500 is probably a fair price in this field. He rides a good stretch coming in, three consecutive top-30s, including a tie for 17th at the Workday. Burns hits it really far (10th in driving distance) and putts very well (27th in SG: Putting) – it's all the other stuff in between that can make you cringe. Still only 23, Burns tied for seventh in the inaugural 3M.
Luke List - $8,400 (50-1)
List isn't one of the Korn Ferry grads we mentioned up above. But he did play – and win – a KF event just last month. Since then he's played five PGA Tour events, missing three cuts but playing very well in the two others, including a tie for 10th last week at the Memorial. List led the field in driving distance at Muirfield, helping him rank third in GIR and ninth in SG: Tee-to-Green. He also was third in scrambling. In sum, that was quite a week for List, who missed the 3M cut last year.
Tier 3 Values
Will Gordon - $7,700 (60-1)
Gordon earned special temporary membership with that tie for third at the Travelers last month. It was his third straight top-25 going back to before the stoppage. Predictably, though, he missed the cut the following week at the Rocket Mortgage. He's been idle since. Gordon has played only eight events, so it's a very small sample size, but he's ranked eighth on Tour in greens in regulation and hits the ball a ton.
Richy Werenski - $7,400 (100-1)
Werenski has made five straight PGA Tour cuts going back to the Honda, including a top-25 at the Rocket Mortgage. His numbers are pretty average across the board – that's a compliment – except for putting, which he's ranked 35th in. He tied for 46th last year at the 3M.
Kristoffer Ventura - $7,300 (100-1)
Ventura is far less accomplished than his former Oklahoma State teammate Wolff. But he is beginning to show some signs. He's been splitting time between the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours. He's played just once on the big tour since the restart, but it was a tie for 21st at the Rocket Mortgage. He also has two KF top-10s in recent weeks. Ventura, like Sam Burns, hits it far off the tee and putts very well – he's ranked fourth on Tour in SG: Putting – but it's the in-between stuff that needs work. Ventura is ranked 161st in the world, which is a little better than Burns (169th). Ventura is ranked 28th on Tour in birdie or better.
Tom Lewis - $7,200 (80-1)
The Englishman has really struggled trying to make a go of it on the PGA Tour this season. Lewis has played only seven events, and he missed his first four cuts. But his best outing by far was his most recent, when he tied for 12th at the Rocket Mortgage. He hit more than 75 percent of his greens and gained strokes putting. And he's pretty long off the tee. Lewis is ranked 67th in the world rankings, so he has plenty of game. He's won in Europe and took the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last year. He's just been having a hard time acclimating but maybe that's starting to change.
Matthias Schwab - $7,000 (100-1)
The 25-year-old Austrian who plays on the European Tour arrived stateside last week, and he missed the Memorial cut, his first event since golf was shut down. Schwab is ranked 92nd in the world, better than anyone else in the $7000-and-under set except Andrew Putnam ($6400). He's had a bunch of good finishes, including a top-5 at the WGC-HSBC last fall, one of his 13 worldwide top-10s across 2018 and 2019. He also tied for 42nd at the WGC-Mexico earlier this year. Basically, Schwab's pedigree is too good to pass up at this price, even though Minnesota is a long way from Austria.
Seamus Power - $6,500 (200-1)
Power has played pretty well when he's been able to get into a field, but so far there have been just eight of them. He's made the cut in five of his past six, including the Rocket Mortgage, where he tied for 10th. Power's numbers are better than decent in most places: 32nd in driving distance, 61st in greens in regulation, 34th in SG: Around-the-Green and 50th in SG: Putting. Really, that's a strong all-around game. He's also ranked seventh in birdie or better percentage. Weird fact: Power has made his past three PGA cuts and missed his last three on the Korn Ferry.
Cameron Davis - $6,500 (200-1)
Davis is 0-for-4 in cuts since the restart, but he's had some tough luck, twice missing by just a shot and another time by only two. The young Aussie is one of the longest hitters on Tour, he's ranked 74th in GIR, 48th in SG: Around-the-Green and really good 56th in SG: Tee-to-Green. So what's the problem? What's left? Putting, that's what's left. But in this field, that all sounds as if it adds up to a made cut and perhaps a whole lot more.
Zack Sucher - $6,200 (300-1)
Sucher is a long hitter and, while he's far from accurate, he still gets the ball on the green in regulation at a good clip – he's ranked 39th. He's also a not-too-bad 80th in birdie or better. Sucher has played once on the PGA Tour since the restart, tying for 68th at the Rocket Mortgage. He also tied for 58th here a year ago.