Fantasy Golf Picks – 2022 Honda Classic Picks, Predictions, Rankings and Sleepers

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Pat Mayo provides a brief preview and makes his Honda Classic picks for early 2022 in his first look and research for this week’s PGA TOUR event.

2022 Honda Classic Price Notes, Preview + Trends


2022 Honda Classic — Selection & Preview | Info & Research | Statistics/Tools

2022 Honda Classic — DraftKings Picks | Player/Course Notes | Own projections

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2022 Honda Classic: Field

Field: 144 players
Cut: Top 65 and ties
Lineup Restriction: Thursday 24 February
Defending champion: Matt Jones

The Florida swing starts with a whimper rather than a bang, but the 2022 Honda Classic has a stronger field than meets the eye. Daniel Berger, Brooks Kopka, Louis Osthuizen, Sunjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Tringale, Billy Horschel, Ricky Fowler, Patrick Reed, Keith Mitchell, Matthew Wolff, Gary Woodland, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alex Noren, Luke Herbert and Garrick Higgo Headlines on the field at Palm Beach Gardens.

It’s being supported by the infusion internationals finally making their trek to the States. Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Paddy Harington and Danny Willett will all be making their 2022 PGA TOUR debuts this week.

Chase Koepka is also in one of his brother exceptions.

There have been considerable crossover leaderboards between Honda Classic and Sony Open over the years. both are shorter (par 70), wind-affected holes. Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, Ernie Els and JustinThomas have all won Waialae CC (Sony Open) and PGA National (Honda Classic).

These are the table leaders in SG: Sum of the players in the field in the last 24 rounds between both places:

SG: Total Sony + Honda
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2022 Honda Classic: Key Stats

Strikes Won: Approach
Par 4 won
Overall Handling Gains (Spilt 70% DD + 30% DA)
chances won

Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com


2022 Honda Classic: Track

PGA National (Champion)
Score: 70
Mileage: 7,125
Green: Bermuda


2022 Honda Classic: Past Winners

2021: Matt Jones -12
2020: Sungjae Im-6
2019: Keith Mitchell -9
2018: Justin Thomas -8
2017: Rickie Fowler-12
2016: Adam Scott -9
2015: Paddy Harrington-6


2022 Honda Classic: Notes

Finally a difficult course? I can’t wait to be disappointed when someone fires a -20 now.

PGA National is one of the toughest courses on the TOUR annually. There is water involved on 15 holes at PGA National, meaning the pro shop could triple the price of sleeves and still be sold out before noon. Over 6,200 balls have dipped into the water since 2007. If Florida had beavers, they would have to build a complicated dam at this point to irrigate the site without electronic irrigation. There are also 67 sand traps dotted around the site, and they aren’t simple up-and-down bunkers. They will cause problems.

Oh, and the wind. No, not the Arlen boys’ soccer team, the eddies and gusts of air promoted by the Earth’s uneven heating by the Sun combined with its own rotation. The wind usually rears its gusty head at Palm Beach Gardens, turning a difficult course into one with scorecard colors not normally seen in our reflectance spectrum.

The water/sand combination makes this an extremely difficult climb. The GIR rate is only 60% (vs. the TOUR average of 66%) and the historical scrambling percentage is only 55% for the field. Normally you’d assume that short game at PGA National would be a crucial lane of winners, but you’re not thinking of scrambling in the right context. Yes, being solid around the greens is important. As it turns out, however, no amount of chipping magic can soften wet tee shots. A missed GIR this week doesn’t mean putting from the rim, it means trying to get it up and down after a drop from 163 yards. And yes, not every time, but you get my point.

While the ubiquitous Aqua lurks menacingly like the mysterious new friend in every true crime series, there are godlessly difficult passages on the scorecard. It’s plural, by the way. The bear trap (holes 15/16/17) gets its own TV feed so obviously everyone knows how tough this is playing. However, the holes 5/6/7 have played just as exhausting. So to the number. Since 2007, both troikas have been an identical +.638 over par ties for the fourth most difficult three-hole courses on the PGA TOUR (non-majors, of course). They just don’t have a memorable name or an Insta-friendly statue, but if you’re skimming through your lineups on Thursday and wondering how a guy you added to the list fired an 80, take a quick look at these six holes. The Bear Trap is death by a thousand paper cuts, while holes 5-7 will hit you over the head with crooked numbers.

A total of 1,604 balls have been hit in The Bear Trap since 2007. For the first time in course history, no player made it through The Bear Trap without making a bogey in 2021. It didn’t play as hard as it was but could have. Yes, the field was +230 overall for the week, down from +277 in 2020 and the all-time high of +516 in 2018.

You’d think a course under 7,200 yards would favor almost all abilities. Logically, the more accurate short hit players would have an advantage since they wouldn’t always be in the water. However, that was not the case. Recent history has indeed progressed towards the long hitters by the end of Sunday. As with the low scrambling count, PGA National has one of the lowest average ride distances of any course: 272 yards compared to the TOUR average of 283 yards. Thing is, as the deep drivers have to hang up, their accuracy improves significantly, but they still have the short club advantage on greens. It makes the two par 5s much more accessible, and longer shots can have an advantage cutting through the wind when it picks up.

There is a mini hack for DraftKinGS lineups. Since birdie streaks will be sparse this week, players starting at hole 10 have a slightly better chance of running together three times in a row and earning those very valuable bonus points. Hole 18, the par 5, is the second easiest on the course. Hole #1 is the third easiest (18% yardage rate). So if you’re lucky on #2, you’re going to go nuts.

In recent years the cutting line has been +2/+4/+3/+6.


2022 Honda Classic picks

Louis Osthuizen

With the recent string of winners shedding the “can’t close” label, it’s time to engage with Louis. The South African was solid in his season debut in Phoenix, producing a T14 despite stalling on the last lap. Now, in a weaker field, with a difficult layout, Louis is primed to finally claim that always elusive first win on US soil. The main concern this week will be his short game. Despite gaining +1.4 SG:ATG per start over the past 20 years, he has been dismal in his four career PGA National appearances, losing an average of -1.4 SG:ATG. Clean that up and he’ll live.

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Michael Thomas

On a course with extreme variance, why not lean on a guy whose results were all over the map in 2022. 2013 Honda Classic Champion Thompson has a target list worth making Si Woo Kim so far this year: T5/MC/T11/MC/MC. Those top five came at the accompanying Sony Open, and he’s made four consecutive cuts at PGA National, so that’s a positive. Because the main reason for his poor results is primarily related to putting. Thompson has lost an average of -1.32 SG:PUTT in his last six measured rounds, despite winning four of them with the driver and irons. While the putter has been cold overall, these greens have been far from good for the last half decade, but Thompson averaged nearly +3.0 SG:PUTT in his last five appearances at the Honda Classic.


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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short content, and the host of the daily talk show The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe Video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, as well as the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best award sports betting Analyst Award and finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2022 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 24 FSWA nominations lead all authors this decade and is the second most of all time.

Mayo was recognized across multiple sports (soccer, baseball, and golf), media (video, writing, and podcasting), genres (humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have an imaginative question, general inquiry, or snarky comment, send it to Mayo at [email protected] and the best are addressed on the show.


I’m a promoter at DraftKings and also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and sometimes play on my personal account in the games I give advice on. While I have expressed my personal opinion on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect DraftKings’ view(s). and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All clients should use their own skill and judgment in building constellations. I can also use other players and strategies than those I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to non-public information.


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