WGC Cadillac Championship
Analysis and write-up provided by KendoVT. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to see each player’s tournament history.
Course Desciption and Strategy
The PGA Tour moves slightly south to Miami where the golfers will descend on Doral Resort’s Blue Monster Course for the WGC Cadillac Championship. The Blue Monster at Doral is a 7,500 yard par 72 with 4 par 3s and 4 par 5s. There was a major course redesign in 2013 by Gil Hanse and it completely changed the course. Before the redesign the Blue Monster was one of the easier courses on Tour with winning scores usually in the upper teens to over -20. Since the redesign the course has played the 3rd hardest on Tour in 2014 and 7th hardest in 2015, so looking at previous results from before 2014 might not give you the information you need. Personally I will only be looking at performances and stats from the last two years. Off the tee golfers will see narrow tree lined fairways that are very difficult to hit. Only about 50-55% of drives have seen the fairway off the tee the last two years which is well below Tour average. If golfers miss off the tee, which they will, they will have to deal with strategically placed bunkers, thickish rough, and water everywhere which makes sense since the course is called the Blue Monster. The greens use Bermuda grass and are average in size and slightly above average in speed. Most greens slope heavily from back to front and have a lot of mounds and undulations, making hitting the ball below the hole key. The greens are also surrounded by bunkers, water, and false fronts making this course a difficult test for all golfers.
The field at the Blue Monster consists of 48 of the Top 50 golfers in World Golf Rankings, the Top 10 in Fed Ex Cup point standings, and money leaders from other Tours around the World. The field is stacked and there is no cut. All golfers will play all four rounds making this different than most tournaments when it comes to strategy, especially in cash games. Instead of looking for cut makers to go along w/ your one or two high end picks, you need as many golfers to finish as highly as possible to succeed in cash games this week. Going stars and scrubs is an option but the cream of the crop usually rises in this tournament and the golfers under $7,000 this week definitely don’t fit that mold. If you feel comfortable with a couple of golfers under 7k then I would suggest this method. If not, then don’t worry because there are so many great golfers in the 7k and up range, I can also see using a more balanced attack when it comes to Double Ups, 50/50s, and H2Hs. Both options can fit this week and even I’m not 100% sure on which route I’ll take. If you are looking for an advantage in GPPs, research the many European golfers in the field and find a few that you would like to roster. Since the majority of players on DraftKings don’t keep up with the Euro Tour and its players, finding a low owned European gem could be the way to take down a GPP.
Looking at the course description above and trends for the course the last two years, a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats, current form, and course history (only from the last two years) to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups this week.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P), which is a key stat every week.
Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G):
As I’ve stated in previous write ups, SG:T2G is my favorite stat to look at on extremely difficult courses and the Blue Monster definitely fits into that category. Last year EVERY golfer in the Top 10 finished inside the Top 44 in SG:T2G for 2015. In 2014 nearly half the Top 10 finished inside the Top 17 in SG:T2G for that year.
Good Drive Percentage (GD%):
I like using this stat on courses where hitting the fairway is tough. GD% is defined as the number of fairways hit, plus the number of greens or fringe in regulation when the drive was not in the fairway on the tee shot, divided by the number of par 4 and par 5s played. Fairways will be missed and how a golfer performs when that happens will go a long way in deciding the outcome. Bombers tend to do well on this course so I will also be looking at Driving Distance (DD) this week but you shouldn’t avoid all short hitters because they have had some success here in the last two years as well. Bill Haas, Kevin Na, Jason Dufner, Patrick Reed, Graeme McDowell, and Ryan Moore have all had Top 10 finishes here in the last two years and they are some of the shorter hitters on Tour.
Par 5 Scoring (P5):
Since there is no cut, we know that every golfer will be playing 16 par 5s throughout the week. The par 4s and par 3s are very difficult on this course so scoring has to come from the par 5s to compete. In the last two years 15/18 golfers in the Top 10 with recordable stats for the year finished inside the Top 52 in P5 for the specific year they finished Top 10.
Proximity from 200 yards or greater (Prox200+):
Almost a third of all approach shot on this course the last two years have come from 200 yards or more. This is nearly twice as much as from any other distance. Golfers will need to hit it close with their long irons and hybrids this week to have a chance at victory.
Birdie or Better Percentage (BoB%):
There is no cut at this event so a golfer making a ton of birdies will be helpful to your team even if he doesn’t finish high on the leaderboard. Say your golfer makes 15 birdies and 15 bogeys throughout the tournament to finish even par and well off the leaders. He will still get around 38 points on DraftKings for those birdies and bogeys. So basically even if a golfer doesn’t finish that highly on the leaderboard because of a bunch of bogeys, he can still help your lineup out because birdies are 3 points and bogeys are only -.5 points on DraftKings.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
Adam Scott ($11,600):
Adam Scott is one of the hottest golfers on Tour at the moment. He won last week at the Honda Classic and finished 2nd at Riviera the week before. His tee to green game has always been one of the best but his putter has lost him many tournaments. It seems that he is getting used to the short putter, which makes him very dangerous. In the last two weeks he has been inside the Top 30 in SG:P and if he can keep that up, he can win multiple tournaments this year including this week. (GPP and cash)
Jason Day ($11,100):
The thing that stuck out to me with Day is his price. I can’t remember the last time he was the 6th highest priced golfer on DraftKings. It seems like the perfect time to take advantage of this. He will probably be lower owned than usual and he is Jason Day, one of the best golfers in the world. He hasn’t really showed his true form yet this year but it’s coming and its best to jump on him at this lower price. Remember, this is Jason Day, the 3rd ranked golfer in the world. Use him in GPPs this week. (GPP only)
Henrik Stenson ($10,300):
Stenson is probably going to be one of my highest owned golfers this week. He’s been playing really well this year on the Euro Tour with five Top 11s in six events and he is currently 1st in the Race to Dubai aka the European Fed Ex Cup. On the Euro Tour this year he is 3rd in Scoring Average, 18th in Driving Accuracy, 11th in GIR, and 8th in Putts per Round. He’s not that highly ranked in DD which could make some people shy away from him at this course but there is a good reason why he’s so lowly ranked. It’s because he hardly ever hits his driver. He doesn’t need to because he hits it 280 yards plus with his three wood off the tee and is deadly accurate with that club. This will be a distinct advantage for him this week since the fairways at the Blue Monster are so difficult to hit. He finished 4th here last year and 16th in 2014. In his last three WGC stroke play events he finished 11th, 6th, and 4th. So you know he likes playing against the big boys. He also finished inside the Top 25 76% of the time on the PGA Tour last year. I know it seems like I’m going on a tangent with him but it’s because he is my favorite golfer this week by a pretty wide margin. (GPP and cash)
Justin Rose ($10,100):
Rose has had a fairly good season so far with four Top 16 finishes in his last five events. His stats so far this year line up nicely with the course. He’s 12th in SG:T2G, 11th in BoB%, 19th in DD, 14th in GD%, 21st in P5, 62nd in SG:P and 53rd in Prox200+. He hasn’t fared too well at Doral since the course redesign but that could keep his ownership low, which would be helpful in GPPs. (GPP only)
JB Holmes ($9,400):
Holmes has stated that he loves the redesign at the Blue Monster because the course was too easy before. He likes difficult courses and this is definitely one of them. You can see how much he liked the course last year when he finished 2nd at the Blue Monster on his first time playing the course since the redesign. His stats are solid. He’s 6th in SG:T2G, 35th in BoB%, 69th in P5, 3rd in DD, and 69th in Prox200+. He has been playing very well this season making all six of his cuts with FIVE Top 11 finishes. I like JB a lot this week. (GPP and cash)
Brooks Koepka ($9,200):
Koepka played well here last year with a 17th place finish, his stats are solid, and I love his price. He’s 40th in SG:T2G, 9th in BoB%, 52nd in P5, 10th in DD, 57th in GD%, and 54th in SG:P. He has been playing well this year with three Top 10 finishes and at his price I will be using a lot of him. (GPP and cash)
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Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.