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With Golf’s Second Major coming, DraftKings is giving you the opportunity to win some money. Well, a little more than just some. DraftKings comes in with their biggest fantasy golf challenge ever, a $2.5 million pool to be exact, with $1 million going to the winner! Participants are allotted $50,000 to select six golfers, with each golfer carrying a unique price tag that fits their worth.
A player over the age of 40 has yet to win a major in the United States this century. That’s right, as hard as it is to believe, there have been 47 majors played in the U.S. since Payne Stewart won Golf’s Second Major as a 42-year-old in 1999, just four months before his tragic death. But the links-style Chambers Bay course — there isn’t any high rough, tight fairways or lightning-quick greens — bears little resemblance to past tournament courses.
It’s actually more like the courses on which British Opens are played. And not only have three of the last four British Open champions been in their 40s (Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke), but both Greg Norman and then Tom Watson made serious bids for British Open titles well past the age of 50. We’re of the belief that experience is far more valuable in links golf, where golfers’ patience and consistency are tested. And that’s why you’ll find a pair of forty-somethings complementing a quartet of relative young guns on our six-man DraftKings squad. With that, here is our perfect team of six golfers for Golf’s Second Major at Chambers Bay.
Scott Gramling and Marc Malusis’ Team:
Rory McIlroy – $13,000
McIlroy enters the tournament as the favorite for good reason. The current world number one has won two of the past three majors, and he placed fourth at this year’s Masters. The links-style Chambers Bay course serves McIlroy well, as he has come up with some of his best performances on similar courses (most recently the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, where he shot 17-under par in a wire-to-wire win). At $13,000, McIlroy is the most expensive option, but he’s well worth the price.
Phil Mickelson – $10,200
Mickelson has been in fine form in 2015, having placed fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship less than a month ago. The lefty is extremely creative around the greens, and that’s going to be key on a course like Chambers Bay. A forgotten performance in the shadows of Jordan Spieth’s record-setting performance at the 2015 Masters was Mickelson finishing tied for second at 14-under par. Most years, that score is low enough to win at Augusta. Mickelson is a six-time tournament runner-up, and Chambers Bay sets up for him to finally win the only major that has eluded him.
Byeong-Hun An – $7,500
Byeong-Hun An played his way into the field with a stunning display at the BMW PGA Championship, where the 23-year-old shot a remarkable 21-under par en route to a six-stroke win, and he has three other top-10 finishes on the European Tour in 2015. His price of $7,500 represents a steal for someone who could finish amongst the leaders.
Angel Cabrera – $6,800
Although the word “consistency” mentioned in the above opening paragraph isn’t often used to describe Cabrera, he’s a world-class player whose loss in a Masters playoff two years ago is the closest anyone in his 40s has come this century to winning a major on U.S. soil. Like Mickelson, Cabrera knows how to scramble, and that ability certainly comes in handy at a course like Chambers Bay.
Michael Putnam – $6,300
What do I like most about Michael Putnam? The fact that he knows this course better than anyone. Putnam is a Tacoma native who lives just over a mile from Chambers Bay and who says he has played the course more than 30 times. In January of this year, he opened the Humana Challenge with a first-round score of 9-under par, and finished in 15th place at 17-under par. He has three top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, and at $6,300 is a great value.
Ryo Ishikawa – $6,200
Still just 23 years old, despite the fact that he seems to have been around for awhile, Ishikawa is the youngest man to ever win a tournament on the Japan Golf Tour back in 2007. He played well at The Players Championship a few weeks ago, placing eighth with an impressive 8-under-par performance. Of the golfers in this price range, I think he has as good a shot as any at putting together a solid four days at Chambers Bay.
Lineup Total Salary – $50,000
Be sure to tune in to the tournament, June 18-21, to see how Scott and Marc’s six golfers fare at Chambers Bay. If you’re interested in joining the DraftKings Millionaire Maker, head over to draftkings.com and fill out your team by the morning of Thursday, June 18.