DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: Genesis Scottish Open Cash and GPP Strategy

DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: Genesis Scottish Open Cash and GPP Strategy

This article is part of our DraftKings PGA DFS Picks series.

Genesis Scottish Open

Purse: $9M
Winner's Share: $1.62M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: North Berwick, Scotland
Course: The Renaissance Club
Yardage: 7,237
Par: 70
2023 champion: Rory McIlroy

Tournament Preview

The Scottish Open sounds like it should be a big golf tournament. For one, it's played in Scotland, the birthplace of modern golf. Sounds like it's been around more than a hundred years. It's played on a links-like course the week before the Open Championship, which would seem like the best possible preparation for PGA Tour golfers playing almost entirely on Americanized golf courses. It has a big-time title sponsor -- the same one that Tiger Woods' tournament at Riviera has.

And yet ...

For the second year in a row, a lot of top U.S.-based golfers are taking a pass, including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. So are No. 8 Patrick Cantlay, No. 16 Tony Finau, No. 18 Russell Henley, No. 19 Keegan Bradley, No. 23 Cameron Young, No. 25 Akshay Bhatia, No. 27 Sam Burns, No. 29 Jason Day and, most somewhat surprisingly, No. 33 Shane Lowry.

Apparently $9 million in total purse doesn't buy what it used to, certainly not when you've become accustomed to $20 million.

Despite all those big names skipping the tuneup for next week's Open Championship at Royal Troon, the biggest name of them all, certainly at this tournament and at this moment in time, will play. McIlroy, the U.K. favorite and defending champion, will surface for the first time since we saw a courtesy car whisk him away from Pinehurst No. 2 after his soul-crushing loss to Bryson DeChambeau at the U.S. Open. McIlroy has come back from on-course heartache before, perhaps more than any other golfer ever, but he also never lost quite like he did three weeks ago. McIlroy will face the media in a planned session on Wednesday.

Last year here, McIlroy did a little bit of soul crushing himself, rallying to defeat native son Robert McIntyre by one shot to spoil what would've been one of the best feel-good stories in recent Scottish golf memory.

The year before, Xander Schauffele won by a stroke over Kurt Kitayama in the first year in which the Scottish Open served as a partner event between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

It was almost three years ago that the two tours announced a "strategic alliance," and it was such a big deal at the time that they used all caps in the press release: STRATEGIC ALLIANCE. It was in response to the emergence of LIV Golf, and the partnership has since expanded in other ways. For instance, 10 DP World Tour players will earn PGA Tour cards each season, and notably Matthieu Pavon has taken advantage of that opportunity this season. Additionally, more than 40 spots were reserved for DP World Tour players in the opposite-field ISCO Championship (formerly the Barbasol) being played this week at Keene Trace in Kentucky.

In all, there will be 75 PGA Tour pros and 75 DP World Tour pros in the 156-man Scottish field, along with three from the Korean Tour (because of Seoul-based Genesis) and three sponsor invites. Among the Euro-centric players, Keita Nakajima, Thorbjorn Olesen, Sebastian Soderberg, Rasmus Hojgaard, Thriston Lawrence and Rikuya Hoshino are ranked in the top 100 of the OWGR and will also be at Royal Troon next week. There are still three spots available here this week for golfers to get into the Open Championship.

One other PGA Tour player of note in the field is Will Zalatoris, who withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago with a recurrence of his ongoing back issues.

PGA Tour pros had been playing the Scottish Open with more regularity in recent years even before the alliance, to get acclimated for the Open Championship, course-wise and time-zone-wise. Former winners here include Phil Mickelson (2013) and Rickie Fowler (2015). Neither golfer, however, won at The Renaissance Club (pronounced Reh-NAY-sahnse). This will be the sixth year that one of the biggest events on the European golf calendar will be played at this club that sits along the Firth of Forth right next to Muirfield on Scotland's "Golf Coast" 20 miles east of Edinburgh. The North Sea lurks.

It may sound hundreds of years old, but the Tom Doak design has been around only since 2008. So it is not a historic links course. Further, The Renaissance Club was carved out of an old pine forest. But it does look and play, um, "linksy." Consider it a links/parkland hybrid, though links traditionalists, whoever they might be, surely would disagree.

The fairways are pretty wide, like on true links courses, and there also are deep bunkers. Some holes run along the coast. And there's gorse and thick fescue, two words all of us U.S.-based golf fans love to hear around this time of year. The large greens are fescue-based. But there are still some trees, creating an odd visual for links golf.

The course's biggest defense is weather, which of course is common in the U.K. Bernd Wiesberger won the first go-round at Renaissance in 2019 at 22-under. In far tougher, cooler conditions a year later, Aaron Rai won at 11-under. Three years ago, Min Woo Lee won at 18-under in a three-way playoff with Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Detry. Two years ago, Schauffele's winning score was a mere 7-under in windy conditions, and only five holes played under par, including all three of the par-5s. Last year, McIlroy's winning score was 15-under.

There are five par-3s and three par-5s on the par-70 track. The hardest hole is the 483-yard 18th, which annually plays as one of the hardest holes on the entire PGA Tour calendar. The 448-yard 8th and 218-yard 9th were next in difficulty.

As for the weather, there will be weather -- lots of it. Temperatures will be hard pressed to get out of the 50s amid cool, showery conditions all week, though right now the wind is forecast to be rather benign.

Scottish Open notes: There are three spots remaining in next week's Open Championship, and they are being held for the highest non-exempt finishers in the Scottish Open, as the last of the 11 events in the Open Qualifying Series. ... Separately, the tournament is part of the Rolex Series, the top tier of tournaments on the DP World Tour. There are only five. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Hero Dubai Desert Classic were played in January, the BMW PGA Championship will be in September and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai will be played right before U.S. Thanksgiving.

Fun Scottish Open factoids: None other than David Feherty won the third edition of the Scottish Open in 1986, beating Ian Baker-Finch and Christy O'Conner Jr. in a playoff at Haggs Castle. The Scottish Open may sound like it's a hundred years old, but it was first played in 1972 and '73, then took a 13-year hiatus before Northern Ireland's Feherty won it. 

Key Stats to Winning at The Renaissance Club

The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.

• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
• Strokes Gained: Approach
• Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green/Scrambling (especially if the wind blows)
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par-3 Efficiency 200-225 yards (in windy conditions)
• Par-5 Efficiency 550-600 yards (in calmer conditions)

Past Champions

2023 - Rory McIlroy (Renaissance Club)
2022 - Xander Schauffele (Renaissance Club)
2021 - Min Woo Lee (Renaissance Club)
2020 - Aaron Rai (Renaissance Club)
2019 - Bernd Wiesberger (Renaissance Club)
2018 - Brandon Stone
2017 - Rafa Cabrera-Bello
2016 - Alex Noren
2015 - Rickie Fowler
2014 - Justin Rose

Champion's Profile

We have five years of data to go by but only the past two years with a strong field. As we noted above, much will be dependent upon the weather. In three of the five years, there were calm conditions (2019, '21, '23) and two where weather played a larger role (2020, 2022). Windier conditions make this more of a ball-strikers course. With little wind, getting on the green in regulation will be easier, vastly increasing the emphasis on putting. The wind doesn't seem like it will be too bad, at least from the early-week forecast (a lot can change fast!).

Last year, McIlroy ranked only 34th in SG: Putting, but he sank birdie putts of 4 1/2 feet on 17 and 11 feet on 18 to dash MacIntyre's hopes. McIlroy ranked first in driving distance and SG: Off-the-Tee (38th in accuracy), seventh in Approach and 27th in Around-the-Green. MacIntyre was far more balanced, including seventh in SG: Putting.

Two years ago, Schauffele won for the second time in a month with a score of 7-under, one better than Kitayama and two ahead of Tom Kim. The weather conditions definitely suppressed scoring.

When Wiesberger won at 22-under in 2019, he hit more than 80 percent of his greens in regulation -- and he ranked only 23rd in the field, which will tell you a lot about The Renaissance Club and its large greens in calmer conditions. He also was sixth in putts per GIR, and the man he beat in a playoff, Benjamin Hebert, was fifth. Rai was fourth in GIR at nearly 78 percent. He was only 29th in putting but fourth in scrambling. In 2021, Lee, Fitzpatrick and Detry all tied at 18-under after 72 holes. Like in 2019, they gobbled up the par-5s, with Lee going 11-under and Fitzpatrick and Detry at 9-under.

The over/under on the winning score could go a long way in telling us what the books think the weather will be. On golfodds.com it's 263.5, which is 16.5 under par.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS

Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

$10,000+

Rory McIlroy - $11,900 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +800)
The great unknown is how McIlroy will respond in his first tournament after the U.S. Open disaster. What we do know is that there is no softer landing spot for him than the Scottish Open -- the closest thing to a home game for McIlroy with adoring fans and without the pressure of another major right off the bat. That'll come next week. McIlroy ranks No. 1 in our model based on the key stats -- but it doesn't take into account his current psyche.

Xander Schauffele - $11,700 (+900)
Schauffele is No. 2 in our model, and that's only because of a bit of weakness around the greens. He's basically been Scheffler Light this season, contending many weeks and breaking through for his first major. Before Schauffele won here in 2022, he tied for 10th in 2021. Last year, T42.

$9,000-$9,900

Tommy Fleetwood - $9,900 (+2000)
Not quite a home game for Fleetwood, but he is a fan favorite. And he's been lights-out at The Renaissance Club of late, finishing fourth in 2022 and sixth last year. He's top-5 in our model and hurt a little bit by his play off the tee. But you don't have to be super long to contend this week. It helps, but it's not mandatory.

Tom Kim - $9,500 (+2500)
Course history and recent form dovetail nicely for Kim. Since last month, he's finished fourth in Canada and second in a playoff vs. Scheffler at the Travelers. He also tied for sixth here last year and finished third in 2022. What's critical there is that Kim mastered The Renaissance Club in two completely different types of weather.

$8,000-$8,900

Brian Harman - $8,600 (+5500)
In hindsight, perhaps we should've seen Harman's great week at last year's Open Championship coming. The week before he won the Claret Jug, he tied for 12th here. On the other hand, he missed the cut the year before. But with weather conditions ripe for lower scoring like last year more than in 2022, that leans us toward Harman.

Wyndham Clark - $8,100 (+4000) 
Quite frankly, this pick is not pro-Clark as much as it is anti the other $9,000s. To be sure, Clark has played decently here, 25th last year and 16th the year before. He's not priced like someone who currently sits fifth in the OWGR, so the need to win or even contend is not mandatory.

$7,000-$7,900

Robert MacIntyre - $7,800 (+4000)
Scotland's favorite son surely has some unfinished business here. The only one who could make the fans root against McIlroy is MacIntyre, who had his heart ripped out here a year ago. He wasn't playing especially well at the time and now he is. MacIntyre checks in just inside the top 25 in our model, but that can't tabulate the good vibes he will feel back at The Renaissance Club.

Max Homa - $7,700 (+6000)
Yes, Homa has been playing terribly -- by his standards -- for about two months now. But he has played well here the past two years, tying for 12th and 16th, and is now at a price where he might be cheap enough to throw a little action his way. Probably more in GPPs than cash games. He models outside the cutline this week -- but just barely. The risk might be worth taking.

Thomas Detry - $7,200 (+6000)
Detry has played the Scottish Open every year at this location. He was runner-up in 2021, the year before the field got stronger. But he tied for 10th the next year, too. Detry has played very well of late, tying for fourth at the PGA Championship and for 14th at the U.S. Open.

Ryan Fox - $7,100 (+7000)
Fox has fared much better this season in DP World Tour events. That might speak to the caliber of the fields on the PGA Tour, but also to his comfort and familiarity. This is Fox's first season as a PGA Tour member. He's played every edition of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club and, after missing the cut two years and finishing in the 40s two more, he tied for 12th last year. Fox is also coming off a T17 last week at the BMW International Open.

$6,000-$6,900

Will Zalatoris - $6,900 (+11000)
This is another play where price is the determining factor. Zalatoris withdrew from his previous start at the Rocket Mortgage citing a recurrence of his back issues. And he might not be 100 percent now. But he really wants to be ready for next week and wouldn't jeopardize that this week, so logic sys he's fine -- or at least he thinks he's fine. At sub-$7,000, you don't need to reach for the moon; a top-25 would work nicely.

Jordan Smith - $6,600 (+12000)
He's not Jordan Spieth, he's not Cameron Smith. But he is a good golfer. Smith is back inside the top-100 after last week's shared runner-up at the BMW International. But we were targeting him even before. He ranks top-20 in our model, and that's with dicey play around the greens. Smith tied for 24th here two years ago and for 12th last year.

Seamus Power - $6,400 (+15000)
We haven't heard much about Power of late even though he's played pretty well the past few months. He's missed some cuts, but he also had top-20s the past two times out, at the John Deere and the signature Travelers. he had another top-20 at the Wells Fargo, another signature event, and just missed a top-25 at the Memorial. When a golfer's strength is approach play, he's often a decent play, especially at sub -$6,500.

Victor Perez - $6,300 (+12000)
Perez has had some very good results on the PGA Tour this season, and that hadn't happened much before. Last month, he was third at the birdie-fest Canadian Open and T12 at the tighter-scoring Memorial. He made the cut here last year with a tie for 35th. Perez lands inside the cut line again this year in our model, ranked in the upper half of this field in SG: Approach, Tee-to-Green and Putting.

$5,000-$5,900

Yannik Paul - $5,800 (+40000)
The Frenchman has missed his past two cuts on the DP World Tour. But he made five of six before that. Paul is a balanced golfer with no significant weakness -- maybe chipping a bit. That should be enough to make the cut, which is what he did last year in tying for 25th.

Marcel Siem - $5,400 (+40000)
Siem is two weeks removed from winning the Italian Open. He missed the cut last week at the BMW International in his native Germany. He also falls inside the cut line in our model, which is really all you can ask for way down here. Siem tied for 42nd here a year ago.

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Len Hochberg plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DK: Bunker Mentality.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for nine years. Len is a three-time winner of the FSWA DFS Writer of the Year Award (2020, '22 and '23) and a five-time nominee (2019-23). He is also a writer and editor for MLB Advanced Media.
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