It’s back! With the PGA teeing off their biggest season to date, Underdog thought it would be fitting to match that with our biggest PGA contest ever! The Albatross is your chance to put your golf knowledge to the test over the four major tournaments for a share of a massive $500,000 prize pool!
Every year, golf has four Major Championships which consist of the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. These events are held in a variety of locations and on a variety of courses with a variety of difficulty year over year. For example, this year’s tournaments will be held at the following golf courses
Round 1 - The Masters
April 6-9 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA
Round 2 - PGA Championship
May 18-21 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY
Round 3 - U.S. Open
June 15-18 at Los Angeles Country Club in Los Angeles, CA
Final Round - Open Championship
July 20-23 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Merseyside, UK
The Albatross treats each of these events as a round in the tournament. There is a prize for advancing to the next round, with the top score in the final event earning a $100,000 grand prize! There are a few tips and tricks to this contest that, if utilized properly, can hopefully give you a better shot to come out on top.
The Albatross gives you ten roster spots and will take the top six scores from the first round (The Masters) for a chance to advance to the next round. This format continues through each of the four rounds. So as with any best ball tournament on Underdog, the most valuable ability in a golfer is availability. Since each tournament has a different qualification criterion, it’s extremely important to know which golfers are likely to play in multiple tournaments.
There were only 50 golfers last year that played in all four majors and 29 more that played in three out of four. With this being the case, it is crucial to give yourself the most bites of the apple in every tournament when selecting your golfers.
Here is a list of each golfer and the majors they currently qualify for (excluding TPC which is not an official major and therefore, not a part of this tournament).
You might be asking yourself how are we supposed to know who will be available for these tournaments if every tournament has a different qualification criterion? The fact that you have to draft months before some of the later tournaments adds a wrinkle in strategy too. While it might seem difficult, there are a couple exemptions that each tournament shares that allows golfer to participate in every major.
Criteria #1 - The last five winners of any major
Masters, PGA, US Open, The Open Championship
Criteria #2 - The top 50 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings leading up to each event
Each event starts in a different month which means rankings can change so a golfer who stays in the top 50 throughout that span will qualify for each major
With only seven golfers qualifying from Criteria #1 because the rest are already firmly in the Top 50 world golf rankings, our main focus here should be trying to get as many golfers in or around the top 50 as possible (rankings can be found here). Keep in mind these can change week-to-week and often pretty drastically if a golfer wins or places highly in a few tournaments leading up to these events.
Knowing what we know about the format and the tendencies, let’s take a look at some golfers you should target given their current average draft position on Underdog.
Shane Lowry (ADP 22.8) – Lowry’s popularity stateside might be diminished by his lack of play in the US, but he always shows up for the big events. Lowry has played in every major tournament over the last two years and has finished in the top-25 in six of those eight events. A consistent contender who is typically available into the fourth round.
Billy Horschel (ADP 39.2) – Currently 19th in the World Golf Rankings, Horschel is firmly within the qualification criteria for every major this year. And as someone who has played in every major over the last eight years (and made the cut in six of them), he’s a great steal currently going in the seventh round of drafts.
Brian Harman (ADP 38.4) – Another golfer firmly inside the top 50 and eligible to play in all the majors, Harman brings a high floor but also a high ceiling given his seventh-round draft position. He has also played in every major over the last two years and finished inside the top-20 in four of those eight tournaments.
With limited spots on our best ball rosters as is, the last thing you want to do is burn a pick on someone that has a very slim chance of helping us throughout the series of tournaments. Here are some players I would avoid at their current draft spot.
Rickie Fowler (ADP 40.6) – Fowler is currently ranked 72nd in the World Golf Rankings and with no other exemptions, Fowler is currently on the outside looking into most major tournaments this year. Drafting Fowler this early is relying on him to not only play well in the majors themselves, but also to play well enough to qualify for said majors.
Jason Day (ADP 28.7) – Currently 46th in the World Golf Rankings, Day is on the bubble and needs to continue his solid start to 2023 in order to qualify for the Masters and the rest of the major events as well. Day very well has the talent to qualify but spending a fifth-round pick on someone with poor injury history can be risky. Though he was a fan favorite at one point Day is a fade for me at this current position.
Taylor Montgomery (ADP 36.1) – another golfer sitting outside the top 50 and fighting for eligibility in any of the majors, Montgomery brings almost zero major experience, as he has never played in three of the four major tournaments. In tournaments that often reward the best and most experienced, this might be a tough year to rely on Montgomery to qualify as well as perform well in 2023’s major tournaments.
Week to week, and especially month to month, golf can be one of the highest-variance sports to predict and is even more daunting when trying to predict the outcomes of four matches over a 3-month span. Don’t be afraid to spread out your exposure and as long as we understand the format of not only the majors, but Underdog’s golf tournament format as well, hopefully this article can help propel some of those teams up toward the top!