Golf handicappers now have a new array of tools at their fingertips heading into the second major of the year.
Exclusively available to EDGE+ Max subscribers at NBC Sports EDGE, the same tools that have helped bettors and DFS players in the biggest sports have made their way to golf. The PGA Championship at Kiawah Island will present several questions, but some can be answered by diving into the plethora of customizable search functions and data queries users now have available as they look to build lineups and round out the betting card.
With DFS tools ranging from lineup optimizer to salary tracker, player projections and more, you'll no longer need to worry about submitting an uninformed roster. And the Edge Driver tools take a new look at the betting markets, with hundreds of variables to dive into and cross-reference in an effort to get a leg up on the rest of the betting public.
Here's a look at some of the customized searches I pulled using the Edge Driver tools that could offer some extra insight into this week's major on the Ocean Course:
Pete Dye Designs
Dye is the man behind Kiawah Island, but his work on the PGA Tour extends far beyond the South Carolina shores. He was also the architect at places like TPC Sawgrass and Harbour Town, and he helped redesign TPC River Highlands as well. Veteran players have logged dozens of rounds on Dye layouts, and with the Edge Driver you can search specifically for Strokes Gained stats based on course architect.
Pulling the numbers strictly for Dye venues, there are some familiar names near the top: Dustin Johnson, who won last year at TPC River Highlands, as well as Jason Day, a PGA winner in 2015 at another Dye design, Whistling Straits. But there are also some surprising names, like Chile's Joaquin Niemann and +50000 PGA longshot J.T. Poston among those who have gained the most ground on Dye courses:
Most SG: Total on Pete Dye designs (min. 8 rounds)
Joaquin Niemann (1.91 average)
Jason Day (1.85)
Dustin Johnson (1.70)
Bryson DeChambeau (1.70)
J.T. Poston (1.62)
Matt Kuchar (1.59)
Justin Rose (1.59)
Adam Scott (1.50)
Brooks Koepka (1.43)
Webb Simpson (1.42)
Par 4 Scoring
Players are bracing for a difficult test this week at Kiawah, and that's even without the wind getting out of hand. A big reason for that is the course length: at 7,876 yards on the scorecard, this will play as the longest course in major championship history and 200 yards longer than when it held that same distinction back in 2012.
There's nowhere to hide on the Ocean Course, particularly on the par-4s. Six of those holes measure over 450 yards on the card, meaning that players can expect to hit several more long-iron approaches than they're used to needing in a typical week. Here's a look at who gains the most strokes on par-4s of 450 yards or more, a stat that could have outsized importance and unsurprisingly highlights some of the longest hitters in the game:
Most SG: Total on Par 4s of 450+ yards (min. 8 rounds)
Bryson DeChambeau (0.82 strokes)
Dustin Johnson (0.78)
Scottie Scheffler (0.74)
Justin Thomas (0.73)
Webb Simpson (0.63)
Xander Schauffele (0.62)
Sam Burns (0.60)
Harris English (0.59)
Tony Finau (0.57)
Jason Kokrak (0.57)
We all know that the wind is going to blow at various points this week, and that the unguarded nature of the Ocean Course will leave it especially vulnerable to gusts. So who does that favor?
Typically that level of handicapping has been left to anecdotal analysis, but now users can put numbers behind their picks. The advanced search tab allows for a search based on incremental wind conditions. Here's a look at who has gained the most strokes when the winds have blown at least 10 MPH, a list that includes some heavy hitters but also longshots like Steve Stricker (+40000) and Dean Burmester (+30000) among the top 15:
Most SG: Total when wind blows 10+ MPH (min. 8 rounds)
Justin Thomas (1.86)
Webb Simpson (1.82)
Rory McIlroy (1.66)
Dustin Johnson (1.63)
Jon Rahm (1.56)
Will Zalatoris (1.47)
Xander Schauffele (1.39)
Patrick Cantlay (1.38)
Justin Rose (1.34)
Tony Finau (1.33)
Throw it all together: Dye venues, blustery winds and long par-4s, and the player that tops the cross-functional search? You don't have to go too far down the rankings. It's world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, a runner-up each of the last two years at the PGA. But some other surprising names near the top of that Edge Driver search include the likes of Dylan Frittelli, Bubba Watson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Do with that what you will!
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