What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! The Honda Classic has come and gone, and once again we have seen a top tier golfer in the field claim another title. Rickie Fowler was the second highest priced golfer on DraftKings and one of the betting favorites last week. This is now multiple weeks in a row where the cream has risen to the top, a trend I do not see stopping this week.
Pack your bags, we’re heading to Mexico! The WGC-Mexico Championship will take place in Mexico City at Club de Golf Chapultepec, a course that has been never been included in the PGA Tour circuit. This is a NO-CUT event, so unless your golfers get injured or hit one ball to collect their check, you will be guaranteed four rounds of golf. The fact that we have no course history makes the research of this event more difficult and much more important. One unique aspect of this track is that it is located about 8,000 ft above sea level. The ball will travel considerably further at this elevation. I found this snippet from Steve Aoyama, Principal Scientist of Golf Ball Research and Development for the Acushnet Company, when he was talking about the 2010 Senior PGA Championship in Colorado.
“As a starting point,” Aoyama said, “one can estimate the percentage distance increase (compared to sea level) by multiplying the elevation (in feet) by .00116. For example, at 5,000 feet elevation the increase is about 5,000 times .00116, which equals 5.8 percent. Thus, a golfer who drives the ball 250 yards in L.A. might see an increase of 14.5 yards (5.8 percent of 250) when playing in Denver. The percent increase will be less for players with lower swing speeds and/or when hitting a shorter shot. But on a mid to long approach shot, that could still make a one club difference. Not to mention that you’ll be about a club closer to the green as a result of the longer drive.”
Doing quick math, at 8,000 ft. of elevation, the ball should travel over 9% further than compared to a course close to sea level. Let’s just say, everyone will be gaining a considerable amount of distance and driver won’t be necessary on a lot of these holes. Par 4s will be drivable by some and the Par 5s will definitely be reached in two often. The course is lined with trees and will penalize arrant tee shots. I am looking for accurate golfers off the tee who excel in their approach games. Birdies will also be at a premium at this no cut event, so birdie or better percentage is my highest weighted stat in my model.
Alright, enough B.S., let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jordan Spieth – $11,500
WGC events provide us with plenty of options at the top of the DraftKings pricing. In a field this small, it is impossible to fade any of them if you are building multiple lineups. Cop out? You bet. Since there is no cut, it is much easier to roster these expensive guys when you aren’t afraid of your cheap guys missing the cut. However, for cash, Jordan Spieth is where I am going at the top. He has gained 26.7 strokes on approach shots in 18 rounds. That rate puts him in first on the season in that stat. He has an elite birdie or better percentage at 29.2%, setting himself up perfectly for a dominating performance this week. Give me four rounds of Spieth with his current form and elite stats. There is no one I feel more confident in.
Henrik Stenson – $10,300
So, this course doesn’t require a driver, forcing golfers to club down to a long iron or 3-wood if they feel comfortable? Pretty sure this sounds like Henrik Stenson’s heaven. The dude hits his 3-wood straight as an arrow and as long as most pros hit their driver. Stenson should have no issue navigating these tight holes, raking up greens in regulation and filling the cup with plenty of birdies. Oh, his worst finish in his last six starts….T9.
Alex Noren – $7,200
It is an all Swedish affair in my staples section. Alex Noren is the 11th ranked golfer in the world, a trivia question I am sure not a lot of people would have the answer too. He doesn’t play a ton in the Americas, but he has seen plenty of recent success on the European Tour. He had four victories in 2016, climbed up the world rankings and is now priced at $7,200?? That doesn’t make any sense. He has won the Omega European Masters twice in his career, another event that is played at an extreme altitude. His pedigree and winning potential is way too much to pass up on at $7,200.
Jhonattan Vegas – $6,600
There are few players entering this tournament with better form than Jhonattan Vegas. His last three finishes on tour are T28, T15 and T4, the exact trend you are looking for when trying to predict a winner. He was third in the field last week in terms of SG-T2G, behind only Paul Casey and Billy Horschel. Vegas comes in priced $100 more than the dead minimum and offers upside a lot of these golfers do not have. This is the perfect week to go all in on someone like Vegas, guaranteeing yourself to be overweight on a golfer who poses no risk of missing a cut and upside to contend. Rostering Vegas will allow you differentiate your lineups at the top.
Bad course fit? Terrible recent form? Players I will have no shares of.
Brooks Koepka – $7,700
What in the world is going on with Brooks Koepka. He has played terrible in his last two events and has reverted to snapping drivers in half to help solve his problems. He completely whiffed on a shot last week. His golf and mental game seem to be spiralling out of control. Koepka has red flags all over him not just because of his play. He has withdrawn from WGC events in the past. The potential for another withdraw because of poor play, or just his poor play resulting in a dead last finish are not worth the risk for $7,700.
Yuta Ikeda – $7,200
Sorry Yuta, but you don’t quite have the pedigree required to contend in an event like this. Cleaning up in the Japan tour is much different than competing with the best players in the world. He has never played in an WGC event (from what I can find) and is coming into this event with back to back missed cuts in Japan. $7,200 is WAY too expensive to even be considered in this field.
So you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Brandt Snedeker $7,800
The last time we saw Snedeker was at the Genesis Open, an event that a lot of people thought he would be able to contend at. Instead, he missed the cut and left a lot of DFSers with dead lineups. Now is a great time to jump back on Sneds, as this course has some similarities with west coast courses we have seen Snedeker have success on. These tricky Poa greens are not a surface Brandt should struggle on. He has an great approach game that will keep him in it in Mexico. He is the 41st most tagged golfer on FanShareSports.com, so clearly people are blindly ignoring him in a great bounce back situation.
Russell Knox – $6,900
Alright Russell, you are getting one more chance in this section. It has been back-to-back events where Knox has screwed over a lot of golf bettors. Whether it is in DraftKings, one and dones or outright winners, Knox has disappointed. We find ourselves at an event that Knox should theoretically have a great chance at, due to its emphasis on second shots. Knox is still an elite ball striker who is deadly accurate off the tee. His price has dropped considerably, and only has six (now seven) tags on @FanShareSports. People are avoiding Knox like the plague, but this is a prime spot for him to get back on the horse.
Branden Grace – $6,900
This one pains me the most out of all the golfers who have burned people recently. Branden Grace withdrew last week at the Honda Classic after an opening round 79, stating he is dealing with a shoulder injury. I am not buying that one bit, considering he played in a prestigious member-guest event on Monday. Playing on Monday shows he is either perfectly healthy or doesn’t take his real playing career seriously. I am guessing there is no injury and he really didn’t want to play his Friday round know he was likely going to miss the cut. I am giving Grace one more chance in a spot where he will have little to no ownership. He has had plenty of success on accuracy tracks in the past. This is the final straw Branden.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Hideki Matsuyama – $10,700
It was that long ago when Hideki Matsuyama was the hottest golfer on the planet, winning five of his last nine events. It seems as though one bad round in the cold rain at the Genesis Open has made people completely forget about that. He is least tagged golfer out of anyone priced above $10K on FanShareSports, making it easy to believe we will get him at a low ownership. Hideki excels at no cut events due to his elite birdie rate. If you are building multiple GPP rosters, Matsuyama has to be on 15-20% of them. Don’t let one round get you off of one of the best pivot plays on the board.
Adam Scott – $9,200
Scott is priced at what will likely be the lowest we see all year for him. He is priced well below all of the other top guys in this field and is being tagged less often then everyone priced around him – Rahm, Rose and Garcia to name a few. We all know Scott is one of the purest ball strikers on tour and is capable of winning any event he plays on. If his putter can just be slightly above average this week he will be a great play. He ranked inside the top 10 for both SG-T2G and SG approach last week at the Honda Classic.
“The Price is Wrong, Bob!”
The pricing on these golfers doesn’t seem right.
Francesco Molinari – $8,200
A lot of people in the DFS industry seem to be on Francesco Molinari this week and it confuses me. You are paying $8,200 for a golfer that has very little winning upside in this field. I understand being on Molinari if he was priced maybe $1000 less than he is now, but his odds to win do not match his price. I will be shocked if Molinari puts up enough birdies to contend this week. He is more of a grinder type of player, someone I would feel more comfortable rostering if the winning score was going to be around -10.
J.B Holmes -$6,800
J.B. Holmes is still underpriced, even with DraftKings reverting back to their old pricing system. $6,800 for Holmes is just way too cheap, especially when we are (almost) guaranteed 72 holes from him. Holmes is one of the best birdie makers in the field and will be flipping wedges into these greens all week long. He has been playing very consistent golf as of late, and is knocking on the door of a high finish. I am confident to say that Holmes will finish inside the top 10 in terms of birdies made. That alone should make his $6,800 price tag an extreme value.
WGC Mexico Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Thanks for reading my WGC-Mexico Championship preview article! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most.
Good luck this week everybody!