The Masters is only two weeks away, and DraftKings has already released player salaries for the highly-anticipated Millionaire Maker contest. We figured it would be good to get a head start on strategy for this tournament, looking at the Augusta National course layout and history, as well as things to look for in the coming weeks as golfers prepare for the biggest major of the year.
DraftKings has made two big changes to their tournament selection for The Masters this year. First, the entry fee for the Millionaire Maker has gone from $20 to $33, and there is a 150 entry cap for all participants. That gives everyone playing a fair shot at winning the $1 million top prize. The other change — and what we think is the biggest change — is the $3 Birdie contest going from 150 max entries to 20. The $600K guarantee event has evened the playing field, allowing the novice/beginner players to compete fairly with the top DFS pros.
HOW DRAFTKINGS FANTASY GOLF WORKS
- In each fantasy contest, participants will be assigned a fixed salary cap of $50,000 that they can use to draft their entire six golfer lineup.
- The golfer pool will consist of all golfers expected to be participating in the tournament. Any missing golfers will not be added to the pool once DraftKings starts offering contests for that week. If a golfer is scratched late from an event, he will remain in the player pool, and you must be aware to remove them from your team before the tournament starts. Golfer salaries will also not change once DraftKings starts offering contests for that tournament start time.
- Contest results and winners will be based on the total fantasy points scored across each entrant’s six golfer lineup scoring system.
Golfers will accumulate or lose points during the tournament in the following ways:
- Double Eagle: +20
- Hole in One: +10
- Eagle: +8
- Birdie: +3
- Par: +0.5
- Bogey: -0.5
- Double Bogey or Worse: -1
Players will also score points depending on where they finish on the leaderboard. The tournament winner will receive 30 points, second place 20 points, third place 18 points, and so on, all the way down to the 50th place finisher who will receive one point. There are also points that can be gained for “streaks” which are hard to predict and even harder to get. These include a birdie streak of three straight holes and a bogey-free round. As you can see, you shouldn’t try to guess or estimate a streak or bonus as they are hard to gauge. What you can look up and research is a players birdie or better % and bogey avoidance to try and help gauge a players ability to make birdies and not make bogeys helping you value a players point total. Keep in mind that most tournament have a Top 70 and ties for the cut line. At The Masters that number is Top 50 and ties PLUS any golfer within 10 shots of the lead.
Augusta National Course Layout and History
The gorgeous Augusta National plays host to The Masters every year. Every hole is scenic and every shot memorable. This is the only tournament where you can watch four rounds of golf and paint a layout of almost every hole. You will hear commentators refer to each hole as a name of a shrub or tree and you will hear players talk about how “Amen Corner” was a turning point for them, whether good or bad.
Augusta is a traditional golf course, playing as a Par 72 at roughly 7,400 yards. Holes #11-13 (Par 4, Par 3, Par 5) are commonly referred to as “Amen Corner,” though the actual Amen Corner lies on the second shot on #11 through the second shot on #13. Some of the most memorable shots in Masters history have come on these holes, including Phil Mickelson’s pine straw shot on #13 leading to birdie, and Jordan Spieth’s collapse on #12 in last year’s final round when he made a quadruple bogey on #12 allowing Danny Willett to win the Green Jacket.
The course is advantageous for the longer hitters as all of the Par 5s are reachable for them, but don’t count out the short knockers. Spieth has placed in the Top 2 three straight years, while Lee Westwood and Matt Kuchar have also found great success lately at Augusta.
If you’ve played well on this tough course in the past, you are a likely candidate to be in contention on Sunday. The 2016 Masters saw nine of the Top 10 (14 players) as repeat top 10 performers in the last five years. Thirteen players in the last five years have repeat finishes in the top 10, with three of them having three top 10s and one player having 4 (Lee Westwood). We are a big believer in course history at The Masters.
What to Look For
Look for players who play well in the Shell Houston Open to also play well at Augusta. Players have said it is a great gear-up for the event because the courses play similar. An average of 9 golfers over the past three years have finished in the top 35 in both events. Although that number looks low, less than half the field at The Masters plays the Shell. Tune into the Shell next week and see who has their game ready for Augusta.
Look for players who hit it far and/or have touch around the greens. With the speed and angulations of the greens, chipping/scrambling should be a key stat at Augusta. With the exception of Willet, Spieth, Westwood and Kuchar, the leaderboard is packed with bombers most years.
Early DraftKings Picks
As of right now, the top tier of Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Ricky Fowler and Justin Rose all look to be ready to contend at Augusta. Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson look in prime form as the next tier of players. Below we’ve listed three of our favorite value plays to consider early on. Be sure to check back with us the week of The Masters to see who we are locking in on!
Daniel Berger ($7,300)
Berger is coming off a 10th-place finish in his first Masters last season and his game is shaping for another great finish this season. He ranks 19th in Birdie-or-Better Percentage and 13th in Scrambling. Berger finished fifth at The Shell last season before his 10th-place finish at The Masters. If he does play The Shell next week, and plays well, he’ll be a guy you want to lock into your Masters lineups.
Matt Kuchar ($7,400)
Kuchar has three top 10s at Augusta in the last five years and is coming off three straight Top 25 finishes this season. He is a great scrambler and is always around for the weekend at Augusta.
Jimmy Walker ($7,600)
A combination of good course history and recent form. Walker placed 29th, 37th and 8th in his last three Masters appearances and he has three straight top 25s going into the Masters this year. He has struggled to find fairways and has shortened his driver, but he can bomb it. If he can fix some minor things with his scrambling, he has a good chance to be in contention on Sunday.
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