This article is part of our Yahoo PGA DFS Picks series.
East Lake Golf Club - Par 70 - 7,346 yards
Field - 30 entrants
Purse - $75M
Extremely hot and muggy conditions accompany the PGA Tour's late-August voyage to the 2022-23 season's grand finale as East Lake Golf Club once again plays host to the TOUR Championship, inviting those among the top 30 in the FedExCup standings after advancing through the first two legs of the playoffs. East Lake's narrow fairways and penalizing bermuda rough remain the same, so we'll revisit the unique Starting Strokes format that staggers this leaderboard before any shots are even struck.
Yahoo indicates that "scoring for final placement for the Tour Championship will include the weighted scoring when the tournament begins," but the DFS penalty for a starting stroke disparity is less severe the further down the leaderboard you travel. The gap in fantasy points received near the bottom is minuscule, especially with four guaranteed rounds of actual scoring still to be played. The difference between the bonus for a player finishing 11th vs. finishing 30th is worth only three fantasy points, or less than a single birdie over the course of 72 holes. The difference between finishing second and 10th is worth only four fantasy points. Whereas the difference between a golfer finishing in first place vs. fourth place is 17 fantasy points. So, it's as important as ever to roster the eventual champion, but grinding the starting-strokes conundrum near the bottom of the leaderboard doesn't have to be as trivial as it might sound.
2022 - Rory McIlroy
2021 - Patrick Cantlay
2020 - Dustin Johnson
2019 - Rory McIlroy
2018 - Tiger Woods
2017 - Xander Schauffele
2016 - Rory McIlroy
2015 - Jordan Spieth
2014 - Billy Horschel
2013 - Henrik Stenson
Key Stats to Victory
Birdie or Better percentage
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Scottie Scheffler - $50 (10-under-par)
This slate would be a lot more interesting and competitively balanced if Scheffler were priced closer to $60, but his projected ownership is monumental at just a $50 salary. Rising to the top spot in the FedExCup standings after a T2 at Olympia Fields last week, Scheffler begins the TOUR Championship at 10-under-par in the Starting Strokes format, as if being the best ball-striker in the world wasn't advantageous enough. Consequently, he's not far from even-money territory to win the event in the outright betting market.
Rory McIlroy - $47 (7-under-par)
The defending champion and three-time winner at East Lake is lurking once again, and McIlroy's exceptional current form includes nine consecutive top-10s dating back to the PGA Championship. Over his last 24 measured rounds, McIlroy is second to none in each of SG: Off-the-Tee, par-4 scoring, Birdies or Better Gained and even P3: 200-225 Efficiency, which is another key metric this week with all four par-3s ranging from 197-235 yards.
Viktor Hovland - $45 (8-under-par)
A $42 Hovland came through for us with the win at Olympia Fields on Sunday, posting possibly the best final-round performance of the season as he recorded a dozen threes and 10 birdies throughout his closing 18 holes in Chicago. His salary now inflates only $3 despite an eight-under Starting Strokes position, so cost isn't a reason to suddenly fade the hot hand. Over his last 24 rounds, Hovland is No. 1 in Prox: 150-175 as well as P4: 450-500 Efficiency.
Xander Schauffele - $39 (3-under-par)
Although the $39 salary might seem like a hefty premium for someone beginning the tournament seven shots back, Schauffele still figures to draw plenty of attention as a horse for the course. He was victorious in his East Lake debut in 2017, and he's placed no worse than T7 in the five editions since. He ranked third in SG: Off-the-Tee on the way to a T8 finish at the BMW Championship last week, and he's second in both Opportunities Gained and P4: 450-500 Efficiency over his past 24 rounds.
Collin Morikawa - $23 (1-under-par)
Much of the $25-$38 range figures to go overlooked, especially due to the prevalence of stars and scrubs lineups in a no-cut structure, so that's likely where you'll have to target a couple options in order to really get different in GPPs. But I'll highlight several glaring values near or at the minimum salary in this section, beginning with Morikawa. He's been legitimately awful with the putter in Atlanta the past two years, losing a combined 11.3 strokes putting across his last eight TOUR Championship rounds. However, he's gained strokes with the flat stick in four of his last six outings this summer, and Morikawa's elite driving accuracy is crucial at East Lake. He's second on Tour in both SG: Approach and FIR percentage this season.
Lucas Glover - $21 (5-under-par)
Glover couldn't make it three wins in a row last week at the BMW Championship where his short game finally regressed, but he still ranked sixth among the field in both driving accuracy and SG: Approach at Olympia Fields. He's second to only the aforementioned Scheffler in SG: Ballstriking over his last 24 rounds, a stretch in which Glover also sits second in Opportunities Gained and third in Prox: 175-200 yards. A $21 salary is disrespectful to Glover's ceiling, especially given his five-under start.
Sungjae Im - $20 (2-under-par)
The Atlanta-area resident considers this his home base in the United States, and he was surely able to pay off his new house after tying for second here at East Lake last year when he paced the 2022 TOUR Championship in GIR percentage en route to a $5.75 million payday. Im finished T14-T6-7 from the Wyndham Championship through the BMW Championship in recent weeks, gaining a collective 17.2 strokes from tee to green along the way. He also just put on a bogey-avoidance clinic while leading the field in scrambling at Olympia Fields.
Russell Henley - $20 (3-under-par)
Henley hasn't made an East Lake appearance since tying for third here in 2017, but he's now third in SG: Approach, third in par-4 scoring, fourth in driving accuracy and sixth in Opportunities Gained over his last 24 rounds, which include three straight top-8s from the Wyndham through the BMW Championship. He hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation this past Sunday at Olympia Fields, firing a final-round 63 while gaining more than three strokes with his irons.
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