Ownership Review | PGA Championship 2022
Ah, the old saying "hindsight is 20/20" has now been turned into an official series. The Ownership Review pieces will come out every Monday by yours truly, and will simply be a recap of the overowned vs. underowned of the week's event. I'll also touch a little on the difference in ownership between the lower stakes contests vs. the higher stakes (DFS sharps) contests. Hopefully in turn, over time, we'll get a better feel on what defines good chalk, and what chalk the DFS pros are running away from.
Rory McIlroy ($10,000) | 26.83%
To be completely transparent, this is the hardest ownership recap I've done thus far. The best DK scorers this week were middling in the ownership department. The highest ownership were middling in the DK scoring department.
Rory McIlroy stood out towards the top of the ownership side. He was the second highest owned player across the DFS slate (highest among the sharps coming in at 36.2% in the $4,444 Mega Milly) and back-doored his way into another top-10 at a major. However, this was done differently than we've become accustomed to.
If you would have told me pre-tourney that Rory would have two great rounds, one medicore round and one poor round, I'd have thought, "of course he did", but would have ordered it differently. If you would have told me Rory would run out to a Thursday lead, shooting a five-under 65 (-5 being the eventual winning score), I'd have said he'd have easily won.
Not the case, obviously, but a very solid DFS performance, nonetheless.
Will Zalatoris ($8,900) | 17.93%
After blowing up lineups a week ago, Zalatoris came through in a big way this week. It's been well documented that his game is built for more difficult tracks, as evidenced by his (early) major track record. Everyone expected Southern Hills to bring out the world's best ball-strikers, and it did; one being Will Zalatoris.
If not for the typical Zalatoris putter coming out in full force on Saturday, Willy Z may have run away with this event. However, in the end, he made a clutch 12-footer on 18 which got him into a playoff with Justin Thomas.
Zalatoris was the eighth highest owned player in the field, and would wind up as the second highest DK scorer. His ownership was relatively even across the board from the $5 Drive the Green (15%) to the $4,144 Mega Milly (21.8%).
Alex Noren ($7,000) | 21.67%
Noren provided the biggest body blow to the field from an ownership perspective. He was the fifth highest owned player across the slate, and the stark contrast between the 13.9% in the $5 Drive the Green contest and the 31.1% in the $4,144 Mega Milly was a blow to 1/3 of the high stakes players.
Coming in with great form, Alex Noren seemed like a slam dunk from a value perspective, which generally spells disaster. I fell for it, as did many others. For a course that we thought would bring out the best of the best in terms of short game, it appears we missed the mark on this assessment. Southern Hills certainly brought out the best ball strikers, and the slow(er) greens (due to windy conditions in the forecasts) appeared to favor those that may not be the best putters in the world.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,100) | 17.53%
In addition to Alex Noren, Patrick Cantlay seemed to be the obviously missed price value play of the week. Major record aside, Cantlay is the reigning FedEx Cup Champion and has been one of the hottest players in the world over the last 12 months.
He was dreadful this week, however, and was outscored (and flat-out beaten) by quite a few club pros. That'll surely be something they tell their kids about. I know I would, and I'd probably put it on my business card as well (and definitely my Twitter bio).
On the course, Cantlay could not get anything going, only making two birdies over the 36 holes he played.
Us VS The High Rollers
Chalk was a mixed bag this week, as the top of the ownership board was littered with middling finishes. The Champion, Justin Thomas, was just the 13th highest owned player.
I thought this was going to be more of a "chalk-bomb" style week, which is generally the case when we get to these extremely difficult events. Even after studying the board from an ownership, and scoring, perspective, I still don't know what to make of what we experienced this week. The chalk was.. fine, I guess.
The top four highest owned players were Jordan Spieth (T34), Cameron Smith (T13), Rory McIlroy (8), and Xander Schauffele (T13). Meh. Nothing special, yet certainly not *terrible*. On top of that, the four highest scoring players weren't sleepers by any means either: Justin Thomas (14.19%), Will Zalatoris (17.93%), Cameron Young (15.96%), and Mito Pereira (13.18%).
Final conclusion: this was a quirky DFS week, but an excellent "golf watching" week. The best player of the week won, as Justin Thomas dealt with poor conditions for all four days (rather than just two for the AM/PM crew), and still managed to put together a trio of 67's en route to his second PGA Championship title.
Here is a little breakdown of the ownership differences between the $5 Drive the Green and the $4,144 Mega Milly contests (data provided by Fantasy Labs):
[Player ($5 / $4,144)]
Rory McIlroy (21.5% / 36.2%)
Cameron Smith (19.9% / 31.6%)
Alex Noren (13.9% / 31.1%)
Xander Schauffele (18.0% / 29.2%)
Tony Finau (11.5% / 20.8%)
Justin Thomas (17.1% / 9.4%)
Scottie Scheffler (16.6% / 10.8%)
Joaquin Niemann (12.7% / 6.8%)
Billy Horschel (11.4% / 4.8%)
Don't forget to check out my Pivot Point series every Wednesday to see how to *properly* avoid the chalk each week! After you read that, or before, check out the Tour Junkies Youtube page, as they're producing video content like you wouldn't believe!