Underdog PGA TOUR Golf Fantasy Leagues: Season-Long Best Ball Strategy & Rankings

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Written By John Haslbauer | Last Updated
fantasy golf leagues

Underdog Fantasy has taken the PGA TOUR fantasy streets by storm this year, offering new golf fantasy leagues via Best Ball contests for the 2024 season with a $100,000 grand prize for first place. Season-long Fantasy Golf has been slow to catch on, but Underdog’s Best Ball format is a very appealing solution that I can attest has drawn me in full steam.

With Best Ball season officially kicking off this Thursday at the WM Phoenix Open, this post will guide you through everything you need to know about Golf Best Ball and recommended strategies to draft yourself a team with the best upside to earn that $100,000 grand prize.

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Golf Fantasy Leagues: What is PGA TOUR best ball?

You may be familiar with the golf fantasy league Bets Ball concept from other sports like the NFL. The concept is simple: Draft your roster in a snake draft before the season starts, and kick back! Best Ball removes the hassle and time commitment out of managing a fantasy team week over week. There are no trade, waiver pick-ups, or grueling sit-or-start decisions to make. The team you draft is your team for the entirety of the season.

In PGA Best Ball, each team drafts 10 players. Each week, Underdog will automatically count the top six scorers on your roster. The top-scoring teams from each randomly assigned group will then advance to the following round.

In Best Ball, the best ability is availability, as players who play most often stand to earn your team the most points in this round-by-round format. That may sound like a given, but ironmen like Eric Cole and Sungjae Im are prime candidates to outperform their average draft position. By contrast, players like Rory McIlroy or Tommy Fleetwood, who are more selective with the amount of events they play on the PGA TOUR, may require a complimentary roster of golfers who will not be skipping B-level events like the Mexico Open or John Deere Classic.

As the chart below shows, the best golfers do not play the most golf. That makes intuitive sense when considering that players on the outside looking in of the FedEx Cup top 50 need to maximize their opportunities to climb up the standings and earn guaranteed status in the following year.

PlayerScoring AverageRoundsSG: T2GSG: OTTSG: APPSG: ARG
Eric Cole69.7571260.559-0.2680.5450.282
Adam Svensson70.4711220.5410.20.2780.062
Stephan Jaeger70.1851220.9240.3320.2130.387
Adam Schenk70.3681190.3510.0560.2930.001
Ben Griffin70.2861190.351-0.0660.0860.33
Nick Hardy70.6941180.0970.090.221-0.214
Mark Hubbard70.5611160.594-0.1820.5720.203
Brandon Wu70.721150.2690.1590.113-0.004
Justin Suh70.646114-0.410.052-0.068-0.394
Russell Knox71.498114-0.016-0.5110.54-0.046
Adam Long71.291113-0.422-0.182-0.4490.209
Emiliano Grillo70.5791130.2110.2030.213-0.194
Alex Smalley70.5561120.6840.2540.4070.022
Andrew Putnam70.1181110.168-0.4110.4760.102
S.H. Kim70.8241110.1880.412-0.4350.21
Sam Ryder70.5591110.064-0.3850.484-0.036
Will Gordon70.961110.0960.3580.154-0.416
Beau Hossler70.3981100.2260.23-0.2630.259
Justin Lower71.225109-0.382-0.2430.073-0.212
K.H. Lee70.6791070.3550.0350.0630.257
Lee Hodges70.6231070.2660.2450.18-0.16
Nate Lashley70.8341070.277-0.1050.3180.063
Ben Taylor71.486106-0.503-0.452-0.0850.033
Dylan Wu70.5451060.2660.0060.2530.007
Sahith Theegala70.2191060.304-0.1390.1750.267
Sam Stevens70.8451060.4680.4-0.0490.116
Aaron Rai70.3981050.8770.3430.3840.149
Byeong Hun An70.2441050.8920.4470.0480.396
Greyson Sigg70.7881050.3670.0640.2070.096
Brendon Todd70.3211040.294-0.3480.20.454
Robby Shelton71.0371040.048-0.2960.1250.219
Sungjae Im69.8391040.8420.4670.0950.279
Tom Hoge70.5671040.32-0.2530.706-0.134
Ben Martin70.9361030.0370.0480.318-0.33
David Lipsky71.141030.257-0.1330.330.059
Garrick Higgo71.0951030.120.509-0.291-0.098
Matthias Schwab71.907103-0.647-0.443-0.4460.242
MJ Daffue71.483103-0.0010.571-0.374-0.199
Davis Riley71.0381020.021-0.0170.361-0.323
Harry Hall70.846102-0.549-0.404-0.3040.158
J.J. Spaun70.4241020.7990.2930.2680.237
Patrick Rodgers70.3211020.3310.199-0.0590.19
Taylor Montgomery70.424102-0.442-0.206-0.5150.278
Wyndham Clark69.6421020.8310.1390.4360.255
Chad Ramey71.368101-0.332-0.015-0.239-0.079
Kevin Tway71.279101-0.250.046-0.15-0.134
Taylor Moore70.56101-0.065-0.041-0.0390.015
Austin Smotherman71.37100-0.330.016-0.063-0.284
Denny McCarthy69.8251000.280.0350.1020.143
J.T. Poston70.2021000.252-0.0810.2960.038
Lucas Glover70.8741000.7870.2820.566-0.061
Luke List70.9811000.7870.6410.267-0.123
Patton Kizzire71.319100-0.263-0.266-0.0290.031
Si Woo Kim70.2291000.9840.4620.3210.201
Callum Tarren71.203990.1270.1880.168-0.229
Carson Young71.19499-0.2730.0860.066-0.425
Matt NeSmith70.87990.2210.0060.245-0.03
Richy Werenski72.01799-1.076-0.137-0.802-0.138
Scott Piercy71.1499-0.135-0.098-0.017-0.02
Taylor Pendrith71.012990.2210.320.014-0.113
Thomas Detry70.478990.0690.029-0.0560.095
Austin Eckroat70.692980.3290.3630.015-0.049
Harris English70.414970.028-0.2880.1380.178
Kramer Hickok71.39397-0.1680.024-0.132-0.061
Michael Kim70.764970.256-0.0190.2240.05
Zecheng Dou71.489970.0710.127-0.1420.085
Chez Reavie71.59696-0.075-0.2290.367-0.213
Davis Thompson70.855960.3090.449-0.1980.058
Kevin Streelman71.149960.2840.0070.1420.135
Rickie Fowler69.576961.1360.1260.740.269
Andrew Novak70.973950.198-0.010.0370.171
Peter Malnati71.5395-0.619-0.571-0.3120.265
Tyson Alexander71.8795-0.659-0.426-0.2910.057
Chesson Hadley70.91794-0.212-0.1680.343-0.388
Keith Mitchell70.652940.4290.743-0.288-0.027
Tyler Duncan71.036940.0120.484-0.125-0.348
Brian Harman69.978930.2810.2540.0080.018
Doug Ghim70.952930.5150.2470.1740.093
Nick Taylor70.309930.429-0.1230.370.181
Alex Noren70.422920.126-0.3780.1620.341
Chris Kirk70.417920.6850.0090.3920.283
Joel Dahmen70.951920.4180.1840.1140.119
Max McGreevy72.50792-1.203-0.439-0.790.025
Paul Haley II72.01992-0.805-0.352-0.441-0.012
Ryan Armour71.65192-0.322-0.153-0.043-0.126
Sepp Straka70.597920.258-0.010.509-0.242
Troy Merritt71.685920.105-0.026-0.0750.206
Cam Davis70.175910.8650.5140.160.191
Henrik Norlander71.48491-0.145-0.182-0.0040.04
Jason Dufner71.87910.111-0.1110.1010.122
Matt Kuchar70.353910.4220.0270.0350.359
Kelly Kraft71.53690-0.735-0.198-0.245-0.292
Tano Goya71.39890-0.1430.145-0.4450.156
Tom Kim69.832900.8340.1280.6550.05
Christiaan Bezuidenhout70.74789-0.023-0.380.1510.205
Harrison Endycott71.63789-0.242-0.169-0.1840.111
Mackenzie Hughes70.74989-0.166-0.32-0.230.383
Adam Hadwin70.36880.265-0.0110.210.065
David Lingmerth71.54188-0.631-0.498-0.061-0.072
Martin Laird71.38688-0.184-0.194-0.0420.051
Scottie Scheffler68.629882.6151.0211.1940.399
Viktor Hovland69.123881.4120.7410.610.06
Hideki Matsuyama70.181871.020.0860.6090.324
Brice Garnett71.55286-0.15-0.118-0.1370.104
Cameron Young70.515860.620.5810.072-0.019
Corey Conners70.144861.0550.5860.534-0.066
Jimmy Walker71.53686-0.236-0.216-0.120.1
Max Homa69.516861.0260.3170.4750.233
Ryan Brehm72.6186-1.37-0.376-0.554-0.44
Augusto Núñez71.83485-0.1570.111-0.196-0.073
Austin Cook71.61185-0.622-0.564-0.3190.261
Vincent Norrman70.755850.5230.4690.084-0.03
Akshay Bhatia70.431840.7460.3890.394-0.037
Brent Grant72.17684-0.3670.806-0.674-0.5
Carl Yuan71.46684-0.2040.171-0.164-0.212
Harry Higgs71.98284-1.443-0.487-0.844-0.113
Hayden Buckley70.88784-0.0280.611-0.104-0.535
Matt Wallace70.9884-0.022-0.4230.1720.228
Russell Henley69.759841.0030.1970.5560.249
Scott Stallings71.36684-0.0170.031-0.1380.09
Tony Finau69.933841.2570.2880.7890.178
Gary Woodland70.542830.9260.5330.741-0.349
Ryan Moore71.115830.2-0.1120.522-0.211
Trevor Werbylo72.15683-0.857-0.137-0.7570.036
Keegan Bradley70.05820.4380.2020.2370
Seamus Power70.84782-0.248-0.034-0.3540.139
Trevor Cone71.9982-0.1470.55-0.179-0.503
Charley Hoffman71.197810.366-0.0370.408-0.006
Collin Morikawa69.429811.5470.4871.0120.047
Robert Streb71.7481-0.243-0.037-0.2290.023
Sam Burns70.233810.2120.266-0.10.046
Xander Schauffele69.127811.2010.2650.880.056
Aaron Baddeley70.65980-0.162-0.586-0.0550.479
Andrew Landry72.54780-1.39-0.208-0.911-0.271
James Hahn71.72880-0.1240.315-0.159-0.28
Jason Day70.018800.5190.346-0.020.192
Joseph Bramlett70.58800.7510.2260.3680.157
Scott Harrington71.99680-0.2280.149-0.246-0.114
Stewart Cink71.20380-0.326-0.317-0.1080.098
Kyle Westmoreland72.11479-0.4660.093-0.51-0.05
Matti Schmid71.75179-0.2510.237-0.016-0.473
Ryan Palmer71.087790.2740.210.223-0.158
Cameron Champ71.44578-0.1410.49-0.061-0.57
Doc Redman71.54678-0.470.052-0.134-0.388
Dylan Frittelli72.55278-1.299-0.695-0.620.016
Erik van Rooyen71.30978-0.2470.0630.056-0.367
Nico Echavarria71.58678-0.765-0.113-0.416-0.237
Tyrrell Hatton69.435781.0810.5330.4190.128
Zac Blair71.009780.046-0.2640.0930.218
Jim Herman72.50677-0.917-0.038-0.579-0.3
Kevin Roy71.496760.312-0.1320.574-0.13
Nick Watney72.90676-1.715-1.343-0.191-0.181
Tommy Fleetwood69.248741.2050.3880.4620.355
Brian Stuard72.2773-1.32-1.077-0.3520.109
Matt Fitzpatrick70.079730.3960.211-0.0530.238
Michael Gligic72.79473-1.127-0.081-0.534-0.513
Jordan Spieth70.15720.6240.20.1730.25
Justin Thomas70.52720.9980.1980.3620.436
Kurt Kitayama70.534720.274-0.1170.2850.106
Patrick Cantlay69.19721.5640.8520.5640.147
Jon Rahm69.037711.3430.360.8780.104
Kevin Yu70.808711.040.8030.2040.033
Trey Mullinax71.78971-0.209-0.1110.032-0.132
Cody Gribble71.45700.0990.16-0.059-0.002
Adam Scott70.101680.4650.421-0.1690.212
Justin Rose69.693680.789-0.0440.560.272
S.Y. Noh71.63468-0.968-0.624-0.335-0.01
Zach Johnson71.27468-0.537-0.199-0.31-0.029
Cameron Percy71.622670.0530.17-0.091-0.027
Danny Willett71.34467-0.244-0.147-0.2130.115
Billy Horschel71.04264-0.298-0.224-0.1220.048
Rory McIlroy68.777641.9380.9070.7210.309
Martin Trainer72.23263-1.045-0.364-0.65-0.032
Maverick McNealy70.50963-0.729-0.601-0.2690.141
Satoshi Kodaira71.26630.156-0.1310.1150.171
Lucas Herbert71.10462-0.650.181-0.496-0.337
Ryan Gerard71.469620.233-0.1480.250.13
Shane Lowry70.132620.9370.4080.4610.067
Hank Lebioda72.361-0.948-0.359-0.221-0.367
Jonathan Byrd71.86560-0.287-0.299-0.5150.527
Brandon Matthews73.15359-1.131-0.029-0.209-0.893
Chris Stroud71.61257-0.261-0.4120.229-0.078
Lanto Griffin71.75457-0.3360.149-0.405-0.08
Webb Simpson71.30557-0.264-0.2210.051-0.095
Kevin Chappell71.51756-0.116-0.1650.121-0.073
C.T. Pan70.857540.105-0.1960.2470.054
William McGirt71.65253-0.306-0.352-0.0560.102
Sean O’Hair71.53352-0.266-0.031-0.193-0.043
Ludvig Åberg69.603501.1850.982-0.0060.209
Sung Kang72.49749-0.779-0.610.013-0.183
Wesley Bryan72.0148-0.59-0.446-0.4230.278
Nicolai Hojgaard69.994460.315-0.0610.360.016
Peter Kuest70.588460.1980.4880.052-0.342

The 2024 PGA TOUR season also introduces Signature Events, which are limited to approximately 70-80 players. The top-60 players from the 2023 FedEx Cup Standings are automatically qualified for all Signature Events; therefore, it is best to prioritize drafting these players to ensure a full roster of six players can be fielded in Signature Event weeks. Round 1 notably includes two Signature Events (The Genesis Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational), while Rounds 2-5 each include one Major and one Signature Event.

Notable Golfers With 3000+ Underdog Points In 2023

Below is a list of players being drafted outside the top-five picks who scored more than 3000 points in this best ball and golf fantasy leagues format last year. Although they are not guaranteed to do it again, it may provide some insight into who plays the most tournaments. Just remember, some may not be eligible for Signature Events in 2024.

Player2023 Points
Eric Cole3761
Stephan Jaeger 3548
Adam Svensson3374
Ben Griffin3351
Brandon Wu3186
Nick Hardy 3179
Mark Hubbard3151
Sam Ryder3124
Adam Schenk3107
Sungjae Im 3085
Beau Hossler 3080
Alex Smalley3044
Andrew Putnam 3017
Nate Lashley3002

Golf Fantasy League Best Ball Scoring and Season Phases Explained

Underdog’s scoring criteria can be found in the table below. Of note, compared to traditional Daily Fantasy Scoring, there are no scoring bonuses for finishing positions. This means it is possible for the tournament winner not to be the highest points earner in a given week. There are points rewarded for each stroke under par to help counteract this (i.e. a final score of -20 earns that player 20 points), but a player who makes 18 Pars (19.8 points) would earn fewer points than one who made 8 Birdies and 10 Bogeys (20 points).

With this scoring in mind, there is an edge to stockpiling the best players in terms of Birdies or Better Gained and Par-5 Scoring, whereas Bogey Avoidance is slightly devalued.

Season Phases

  • Round 1 (February 8th – March 17th)
    • WM Phoenix Open
    • The Genesis Invitational
    • Mexico Open at Vidanta
    • Cognizant Classic
    • Arnold Palmer Invitational
    • The Players Championship

In 2023, no players played in all six of these events, but 14 played in five: Sungjae Im, Tony Finau, Aaron Rai, Wyndham Clark, Shane Lowry, Brandon Wu, Taylor Pendrith, Gary Woodland, Adam Svensson, SH Kim, Greyson Sigg, Lee Hodges, Adam Schenk, and Stephan Jaeger.

Of this group, Finau, Im, Rai, and Clark were the only players to make the cut in all five appearances.

Scottie Scheffler won both the WM Phoenix Open and THE PLAYERS in 2023, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2022. He is a no-brainer selection with the No. 1 pick in Underdog drafts and is a great candidate to carry teams out of the first round. The top-10 in SG: TOT across these six events in 2023 after Scheffler includes Tony Finau, Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Eric Cole, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Suh.

  • Round 2 (March 21st – April 14th)
    • Valspar Championship
    • Texas Children’s Houston Open
    • Valero Texas Open
    • Masters Tournament

In 2023, no players played in all four of these events, but many played in at least three. Only seven on TOUR made it through the cut in each of those three starts: Patrick Rodgers, Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Byeong Hun An, Si Woo Kim, SH Kim, and Michael Kim.

Always a threat at Augusta and throughout the Texas Swing, Jordan Spieth ranks as the No. 1 target for this group. Tony Finau notably ranks in the top two for each of the first two rounds. After Spieth and Finau, the top 10 in SG: TOT across these four events in 2023 include Sam Ryder, Wyndham Clark, Matt Kuchar, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Rodgers, Sahith Theegala, Aaron Rai, and Cameron Young.

  • Round 3 (April 18th – May 19th)
    • RBC Heritage
    • The CJ Cup Byron Nelson
    • Wells Fargo Championship
    • PGA Championship

In 2023, eight players started in all four of these events: Adam Scott, KH Lee, Matthew NeSmith, Matt Kuchar, Stephan Jaeger, Jimmy Walker, Sam Stevens, and Justin Suh. Of this group, Scott, Lee, and NeSmith made it through the cut in all four events.

Scottie Scheffler is also the No. 1 ranked player in this group, thanks to top performances at Oak Hill and Quail Hollow last year. The rest of the top 10 in SG: TOT across this group of four events include Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Wyndham Clark, Adam Scott, Corey Conners, Cam Davis, Justin Rose, and Matt Fitzpatrick.

  • Round 4 (May 23rd – June 16th)
    • Charles Schwab Challenge
    • RBC Canadian Open
    • The Memorial Tournament
    • U.S. Open

In 2023, Sam Burns and Eric Cole were the only players to start in all four events.

Surprise! Scottie Scheffler is also No. 1 in this group of four events! He’s followed by Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood, Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland, Mark Hubbard, Adam Schenk, Matt Fitzpatrick, and CT Pan to round out the top 10 in terms of SG: TOT.

  • Round 5 (June 20th – July 21st)
    • Travelers Championship
    • Rocket Mortgage Classic
    • John Deere Classic
    • Genesis Scottish Open
    • The Open Championship

In 2023, no players started in all five events, but nine made it through the cut in at least four: Alex Smalley, Troy Merritt, Callum Tarren, Russell Knox, Doug Ghim, Garrick Higgo, Ben Martin, Stephan Jaeger, and Zach Johnson.

Reigning Scottish Open champion Rory McIlroy is the No. 1 ranked player in this group with a great track record at The Travelers and The Open as well. The rest of the top 10 in SG: TOT across this group of five events includes Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Taylor Pendrith, Keegan Bradley, Scottie Scheffler, Adam Schenk, Stephan Jaeger, Chris Kirk, and Cameron Young.

Best Ball DRAFT Strategy

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to Best Ball golf fantasy leagues, as where you pick in the draft will dictate your roster construction. With the above insights in mind, here is a strategic guide to reference when navigating your Underdog Best Ball drafts:

Do Not Pass on Scheffler or McIlroy

There is a clear top two for this Best Ball Season: Prioritize Scottie Scheffler, then Rory McIlroy. Teams with Scheffler will have a distinct advantage in Round 1, as he is a past champion in three events and has a great history at the Genesis Invitational. McIlroy could be a lethal closer in Round 5, as he has previously won the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open and routinely plays well at The Travelers.

Viktor Hovland, Ludvig Aberg, Xander Schauffele, and Patrick Cantlay round out the consensus list of first-rounders but lack a dominant stretch in any given group.

Early Round X-Factors

Three under-rated players I love in the early rounds who give you a combination of (1) access to all Signature Events, willingness to play a volume of mid-tier events, and (3) proven pedigree across challenging venues are Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, and Sam Burns. I love drafts where you can land all three players in rounds 2-4, as they play complementary schedules in which they will each be favored in events most other top-tier players would skip. Finau has thrived in the Mexico Open and Houston Open, Spieth is hyperactive across the Texas Swing, and Burns carries a great track record at Valspar and the Byron Nelson.

Hone-In-One Specialists

This may not sound right, but you do not want to leave your draft with a roster full of “great” players. This could lead to a situation where you have eight players teeing up at The Travelers who all elect to skip the Rocket Mortgage Classic the following week. In that situation, players like Adam Hadwin, Stephan Jaeger, and Adam Svensson may offer your roster greater value than Sepp Straka, Shane Lowry, or Justin Rose, who are “better”, but play a less optimal schedule.

Avoid LIV Golfers

The biggest rookie mistake a Best Ball drafter can make is drafting LIV golfers who will only play in the Majors. These rosters are destined not to advance from the first round, where no LIV golfers will be eligible to play. Remember, Underdog Best Ball is not about who players best in the biggest events, it’s about who scores well most often.

Diversify Your Portfolio in Late Rounds Of Golf Fantasy Leagues

I believe Round 10 is the deciding factor in winning your Best Ball draft. Drafting a 10-man roster in a 6-man draft leaves so many talented players undrafted. So, with your last pick, throw ADP aside and choose the player who is going to best complement the scheduling holes in your roster to that point.

Drafted too many grinder types? Pick a veteran like JJ Spaun or Harris English who is pre-exempt from Signature Events. Need more volume in non-signature Events? Try Mark Hubbard or Sam Ryder. Or maybe you’re not satisfied with how your draft has gone and need to catch lightning in a bottle? Give Daniel Berger or Kevin Yu a shot! Whatever you do, it’s best to come prepared with a game plan to optimize your roster’s schedule and give yourself the highest chance of starting six players week over week.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your Underdog drafts and golf fantasy leagues!

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