2023 Tour Championship Matchup Picks: Bet Si Woo Kim & Patrick Cantlay
Via Michael Wade/Getty Images. Pictured: Si Woo Kim during the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship on August 10, 2023 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.
We have finally reached the year-end finale at East Lake, with the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings vying for the grand prize of $18,000,000. For those new to how things work, the field will start with a staggered position on the leaderboard, highlighted by your top yearly point-getter at 10-under par, down to the last few names starting 10 back at even par.
Personally, I don't know if this is the best course of action for the tour to garner interest from fans or players that are out of contention. However, it is what we have for now, which means us as bettors and DFS players will have to try and get creative for how to find value on a slate that is lacking a ton of luster.
If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user input to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
Tour Championship First-Round Matchup
Si Woo Kim Over Sepp Straka (-140 | FanDuel)
It is one of those weeks where numbers are moving drastically throughout the space to any dollar amount entering the market. That is making content nearly impossible because this was a wager that began at -120 when I first started talking about it earlier in the week and has since drifted into the -140s at most shops as of Wednesday afternoon.
Proceed with caution: we are now entering a range of minimal value. However, Sepp Straka graded as the most volatile golfer in my model because of his boom-or-bust profile that exerted high-end potential when diving into his weighted proximity and GIR rate but low-end grades almost everywhere else.
You can make a sound argument that a statistical makeup like that does have the potential to get hot for a round and cause this bet to go south early. Still, Straka failed to crack the top 25 of this field in recent tee-to-green performance, weighted strokes gained to mimic East Lake, weighted scoring and recalculated scrambling.
While Si Woo Kim isn't perfect with his past rendering of data on fast Bermuda greens, we are looking at a solid ball-striking advantage that hopefully equates to safety in this round-one matchup against a golfer that possesses last-place equity.
Tour Championship Tournament Matchup
Patrick Cantlay Over Max Homa (-130 | bet365)
Welcome to version two of numbers on the move throughout the week.
It is funny to give out this bet for how locked in the industry seems to be on Max Homa and his chances at East Lake, but my model noticed an alarming trend from a statistical perspective that has me worried about his actual floor.
Homa ranked 27th out of 30 players on a Donald Ross course, 24th in proximity from outside 200 yards, 25th for projected total driving to mimic East Lake and 29th in weighted par-five scoring. Some of those answers are easier to digest than others. Still, the concern of only placing 29th in this field for par-five scoring is a detrimental quality since every winner of this new FedExCup structure has generated over 50% of their 72-hole total at those eight chances over four rounds.
When we add all that to Homa gaining 4.5 shots putting last year to overcome a poor iron performance, the red flags start to appear a lot brighter than may meet the eye for some bettors. I believe there are credible reasons most numbers in the market are drifting against Homa, and I would see what your book has when it comes to taking on the American. Some places have been slower to move than others.
Many of these answers are never as cut-and-dry as 'Cantlay over Homa.' The core takeaway I want people to get from any head-to-head matchup I talk about is looking into who the fade candidate is and if you can find value in fading them against someone, even if that option doesn't become the name inside the article or podcast.