This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
BUTTERFIELD BERMUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
Winner's Share: $1.17M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Southampton Parish, Bermuda
Course: Port Royal Golf Course
2020 champion: Brian Gay
For the second straight year, the alternate-field Bermuda Championship has been elevated to a full-points tournament. And for the second straight year, somebody forgot to tell the golfers. The WGC-HSBC Champions in China was canceled again, clearing the way for Bermuda to stand alone on this week's schedule. It has a attracted few big names for the third edition on this beautiful island, and on top of that golfers who did commit have been withdrawing in droves and alternates who get precious few chances have been saying no thanks, the likes we've never seen before.
The bleeding has been so bad that the 132-man field was down to 127 as of Tuesday afternoon – they had burned through all the alternates and, bluntly, no one else wanted in.
Patrick Reed is the only top-25 golfer in the field, and barely at that, as he checks in No. 24. There are two more top-50s and only seven total in the top-100: No. 26 Matt Fitzpatrick, No. 43 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, No. 51 Garrick Higgo, No. 57 Lucas Herbert, No. 79 Guido Migliozzi, No. 84 Thomas Detry and No. 90 Mito Pereira. Ouch. The field consists of almost all 50 recent Korn Ferry graduates and 20+ players from the dreaded "outside the top-150" category. Math tells us that some of these guys are bound to do well. Our job – your job! – is to identify them. Sigh.
Okay, enough piling on. Bermuda is beautiful so there at least will be "sweeping ocean views from nearly every hole," as the tournament website says, right?
Port Royal is a public course designed by famed architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1970. It is among the shortest tracks the golfers will see all year. It was a real pushover in Year 1, when Brendan Todd won at 24-under, but it stiffened last year when Brian Gay won at 15-under after a playoff with Wyndham Clark. But it's still very short. There are only three par-5s, two of which are under 520 yards. There are six par-4s under 400 yards. The signature hole is a long one, the 16th, which is one of the two 235-yard par-3s. As the tournament website says, there is "nothing but the Atlantic Ocean between the tee and the pin." It's actually really cool, with both the tee box and green on cliffs. The green is thin, surrounded by bunkers and on a peninsula.
Since Port Royal is not long, what are its defenses? For one, doglegs – eight of them. When you combine those doglegs with lots of cross bunkers, driver will not be a popular club this week. There's also water on five holes. There are significant elevation changes. The Bermudagrass greens are small, averaging only around 6,000 square feet (because of course they use Bermudagrass greens in Bermuda). But the primary defense on an island course, as you can imagine, is wind, wind and more wind. And this year, the forecast says it will be whipping, as you're about to read.
Weather-wise, it'll be warm, of course. But there's been rain all week with more expected during the tournament, especially on the weekend. Most important, the wind is expected to be howling all four days, worst on Thursday right now. You might want to check the forecast closer to the lock to see when it will be blowing hardest, and who will be teeing off when. If deciding between two guys, definitely go with the guy expected to play is calmer conditions. Right now the forecast has it in the mid-20s mph on Thursday, which is pretty significant near an ocean.
Key Stats to Winning at Port Royal
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in order of importance.
• Strokes Gained: Approach/Greens in Regulation
• Driving Accuracy: Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
• Putting Average/Strokes Gained: Putting
• Birdie-or-Better percentage (BOB)/Birdie Average
There hasn't been ShotLink on the course, so there haven't been strokes-gained stats the first two years. Todd and Gay are not and were not long off the tee. Todd ranked 51st in the field in driving distance and Gay 38th, but they were very accurate, both fourth in fairways hit. However, Wyndham Clark, who lost to Gay in a playoff, ranked second in distance but 68th in driving accuracy. Talk about opposites. It goes to show that with the course so short, the tournament should be won from the second shot on in. Todd also was 10th in greens in regulation and tied for third in putts per round. Gay was 15th in GIR and fourth in putts per round. The over/under on the winning score on golfodds.com was set at 270.5 – only 13.5 under par, which indicates they think the weather will depress scoring.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Matt Fitzpatrick - $11,100 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: (+1000)
If Fitzpatrick is ever going to win a PGA Tour event, this would be the week: top guy on DK's DFS board and Sportsbook, coming off a win a couple of weeks go in Spain, weak field here (but weaker in Spain, if you can believe it), short course, a weather forecast befitting an Englishman. There's not much more to say.
Mito Pereira - $10,500 (+1600)
Pereira is back after a couple of weeks off. He resumes his quest for a first PGA Tour win as one of the favorites – he's No. 3 on the DK board. In the early going this, he's ranked second on Tour in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green. Pereira might have won by now if not for his putting (ranked 199th, pretty bad). He was fifth at the Barbasol, sixth at the 3M Open, third at the Fortinet. He's been close.
Patrick Reed - $10,400 (+2000)
Reed is the highest-ranked guy in the field, but he's the No. 4 option on the DK board. And he's also tied for fourth at the Sportsbook with Seamus Power. Seamus Power? SEAMUS POWER? What has happened to Reed? A year ago, he'd be +300 in this field. Something is definitely off. But as poorly as Reed has been playing, he's only playing poorly by his standards. His last top-10 was at Memorial in June, but since then he's had a bunch of finishes in the 20s and 30s. Not good for him, but in this field it gets you in the Hall of Fame. He was top-7 last season in both Strokes Gained: Approach and SG: Putting. Still elite. If Reed does not deliver this week – and that doesn't mean he has to win – then it's a real red flag. We're not quite there yet. Check back Sunday.
Hayden Buckley - $9,900 (+2500)
The Korn Ferry grad is bound to be a popular pick based on his stellar entry onto the PGA Tour. Buckley is coming off top-8s at the Sanderson Farms and Shriners. He also finished the KF season with top-7s in three of his final five starts. The 25-year-old Mizzou alum is ranked third on Tour in greens in regulation so far, 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and a decent 69th in SG: Putting.
Tier 2 Values
Danny Willett $9,300 (+4000)
Willett won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship earlier this month over Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry, among others. When we checked Willett's career numbers we were surprised to learn he has won somewhere in the world in six of the past eight years. Not too many guys can say that. With severe weather forecast for the tournament, especially at the outset, this Englishman would appear to be great fit for the conditions. Willett followed up the European Tour win with a top-25 at the Shriners last time out.
Sahith Theegala - $8,800 (+5000)
The former Pepperdine all-American has not had a meteoric rise since turning pro, but he's turned a corner in the past two months. First, Theegala finished top-6 in two Korn Ferry playoff events, then tied for eighth at the Sanderson Farms. He's ranked 25th on Tour in greens in regulation so far this season and an elite fourth in scrambling. As like with many players, his putting is a work in progress.
Stephan Jaeger - $8,400 (+4500)
Jaeger has not been great since elevating from the Korn Ferry Tour for this season: two missed cuts, T26 at the Sanderson. He's a really short hitter and has had a hard time getting on greens in regulation. That should improve this week with the short track. And then Jaeger can rely on a pretty good short game: ninth in SG: Around-the-Green, 56th in SG: Putting.
Joseph Bramlett - $8,200 (+5000)
Bramlett is one of the Tour's biggest bombers. That's not required this week but not a deal-breaker. He's made the cut both years here (T31 last year). He's a good GIR guy. He doesn't miss too many cuts and had some good results last season: six top-25s, with a best of T7 at the Byron Nelson. Bramlett won the recent Korn Ferry Tour Championship against many of the guys in this field.
Tier 3 Values
David Lipsky - $8,000 (+5000)
Lipsky is a 33-year-old Californian who's made only 20 career PGA Tour starts. He's played mostly internationally and, recently, on the Korn Ferry Tour. He's shown some game in recent PGA Tour action, with a top-25 at the Fortinet and even a top-10 at the Palmetto in the spring. He's coming off a top-5 at the Andalucia Masters in Spain (won by Matt Fitzpatrick). In the very early going this season, Lipsky is ranked 27th on Tour in greens in regulation.
Mark Hubbard - $7,900 (+6000)
Hubbard had a rough patch early in the year but since May he's made the cut in 13 of 14 PGA Tour starts (curiously, he's 0 for 2 on the Korn Ferry Tour). One of his best results was a T16 at the recent Fortinet. Hubbard is one of the absolute shortest hitters on Tour, averaging in the 280s last year and this year, so we're eager to see how he does with the weakest part of his game muted. The rest of his game is pretty solid.
Lee Hodges - $7,300 (+6500)
We turned to the Korn Ferry grad earlier this season and now we're coming back. Hodges made the cut at the Sanderson Farms (T45) and did a whole lot more at the Shriners (T27). He also was fourth at the KF Tour Championship last month, a tournament filled with many guys in the Bermuda field. Hodges is ranked top-50 on the PGA Tour in both SG: Off-the-Tee and greens in regulation.
Jason Dufner - $7,200 (+6500)
Dufner is now 44, he knows his limitations. He plays where he has a chance to at least compete. He's made his past five cuts, including top-25s at the John Deere and even the Wyndham, which is no pushover. He made the cut at the Fortinet. Dufner ranked 65th on Tour last season in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green – and it was amazing to find that out while researching him.
David Hearn - $7,100 (+10000)
Hearn finished eighth at the 2019 Bermuda, missed 10 of his next 16 cuts leading to the 2020 Bermuda and finished eighth again. He then picked up right where he left off, missing 15 of 23 cuts leading to this year's tournament. But ... but ... he's actually cashed in four of his past six PGA Tour starts. He's one of the very shortest hitters (shorter than even Mark Hubbard, see above), averaging in the 270s off the tee. But he was eighth in fairways hit last season and a better-than-average GIR guy and putter. That's why he can compete this week.
Kramer Hickok - $7,000 (+10000)
Hickok is a lot like Hearn in that he was eighth here two years ago, did almost nothing for the next year, then tied for 15th here in 2020. Like Hearn, Hickok averages well under 300 off the tee. This course is so short, it allows golfers who have trouble contending elsewhere to get into the conversation. Hickok had a near-miss back in June when he lost a Travelers playoff to Harris English.
Cameron Percy - $6,900 (+10000)
There's a good chance the veteran Aussie makes the cut. He's missed only six in 22 starts this year. He hasn't missed since Colonial in late May. He's two for two in this tournament. It's such a crapshoot at this part of the DK board, we think it's prudent to play it safe, get to the weekend and hope for the best. Oh, one other thing about Percy: He led the entire PGA Tour in greens in regulation last season.
Danny Lee - $6,700 (+13000)
Lee is ranked in the 300s now, but was in the 100s last year and he's been as high as 34th in his career. In other words, he's shown he can play, unlike so many guys in this price range. Lee is still only 31. And he's even had a few moments of success this year: top-25s at the Palmetto and Valspar, 20th at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. The chance of a WD is always on the radar with Lee – three in 2021 alone – but it's a risk we're willing to take, almost have to take down here.