What’s going on fantasy golf fans?! Congrats to Ted Potter Jr.!! The dude showed he owns a big pair of stones holding off DJ, Day and Mickelson in the final round on route to his second career victory. We have finally made it past the Pro-Am portion of the schedule and we should all be fired up for this week’s event!
It’s time for the Genesis Open hosted by Riviera Country Club. Hollywood welcomes a very strong field for the last event of the West Coast swing. Riviera, one the premier stops on the schedule, is a 7,300 Par 71. It has one of the more famous holes on tour, the Par 4 10th – the ultimate risk reward hole. It has played host to this event for over 40 years, giving us a good idea of what it has to offer. The greens at Riviera are Poa, pretty normal for California courses and is something that can be used as a tiebreaker when deciding on certain golfers.
Bombers will have an advantage here, not very surprising. Added length off the tee is crucial for having easier to hit irons into these greens – not saying anything new here. The majority of approach shots hit into the greens are from 175 yards and out, putting a greater emphasis on ball strikers. There have been some shorter hitters who have won here, but those golfers, Stricker, Baddaley, Haas, are all great around the green and is the only way shorter golfers will have a chance. Due to the fact that around the green game and putting is just so much more difficult to predict than ball striking, favoring a golfer known for their iron play seems like the stronger option.
Stats for the Week
SG: Ball Striking
Birdie or Better Gained
2017 – Dustin Johnson (-17)
2016 – Bubba Watson (-15)
2015 – James Hahn (-6)
2014 – Bubba Watson (-15)
2013 – John Merrick (-11)
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Dustin Johnson – $11,900
Not going to spend too much of your time pumping the tires of the best golfer in the world who has dominated this event the past five years. DJ won here last year, has four straight top fives and is coming off of a runner up finish at Pebble. His price tag could deter some stupid people away, but he is clearly the lock of all locks. There are some value plays that can be found in order to squeeze DJ into your lineups. The only way DJ doesn’t make it into the majority of my lineups is if we have another “falling down the stairs” incident.
Tommy Fleetwood – $9,500
Jump on the Fleetwood bandwagon! It’s getting a little full right now but it should be a great time. Fleetwood is making his first start in the States in 2018 after a very successful Middle East lap. He won in Abu Dhabi and finished T6 in Dubai. His ball striking skills are electric, some of, if not the best in the world. He pounds greens in regulation and is a fantastic putter. Fleetwood has all the tools to win at Riviera.
Chez Reavie – $8,000
I missed the wagon on Chez last week after he followed up his Waste Management runner-up with another second place finish. Chez has clearly found something in his game and it is firing on all cylinders right now. He is playing in late pairing on Sundays, gaining valuable experience in high pressure situation. For a shorter hitter, he consistently is gaining strokes off the tee that will translate really well at Riviera. Chez has made 19 straight cuts and leaving him out of your cash lineup at $8,000 would be a huge mistake.
Charles Howell III – $7,300
In a week where most of the pricing is spot on, seeing Charles Howell at $7,300 was an obvious mistake. Howell is a previous winner of this event and is a known West Coast monster, consistently making cuts and playing his best golf of the season in Cali. He came T15 at this event last season, finished T6 at the Farmers his last time out and has said on a recent Tour Junkies interview how much he loves this course. He is a lock for cash and gives you so much cap flexibility.
James Hahn – $7,100
This is the price we want to see Hahn at! I feel like I have mentioned James Hahn in my articles more than anyone this season, but rarely do we see a golfer’s price jump around so much. When he is expensive, fade. When he is cheap, showing consistency AND at a course he has won at before, go all-in. He has made his five cuts in 2018 and ranks 3rd in my weighted stat model over the past 12 rounds. He ranks 7th in SG:BS over that time. Low risk, high reward is what Hahn brings to the table this week.
Genesis Open Interactive Data
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Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jordan Spieth – $11,300
With early indications that Dustin Johnson’s ownership is going to exceed 30%, that leaves Jordan Spieth as the elite golfer who will benefit ownership wise. For people making only a handful of lineups, Spieth is going to get left behind for those opting to go with DJ. Spieth finally gained strokes putting last week (although we only have Pebble Beach shotlink data) which is encouraging. He also has a T4 under his belt at Riviera back in 2015. Fading DJ isn’t wise, but make sure you also have a good mix of Spieth incase this is the week he puts it all together.
Branden Grace – $9,000
Branden Grace had a solid showing at Pebble, gaining strokes in all categories on route to a T20 finish. He led the field in greens in regulation, failing to convert some of those chances into a few extra birdies. Overall, his first start on American soil in 2018 was solid, and expect that to continue this week. $9,000 is a lot to pay for a non-sexy option and everyone will be finding the extra $500 to jump up to Fleetwood. Grace makes sense here as a shorter hitter who has the short game to contend here, similar to a Stricker or Haas type.
Charl Schwartzel – $7,800
Another South African makes the list as a pivot option. This is the first we have seen of Charl this season as he makes his way over to the States to gear up for Augusta. Charl has zero tags on FanShare Sports and is wedged in between Chez Reavie, Brendan Steele, and Thomas Pieters, all of whom are inside the top five most tagged early on this week. Charl missed the cut here last year, but he does have two top fives at this event in the past five years.
Patrick Cantlay – $7,600
It seems as though people are over Patrick Cantlay. He was suppose to come out this season and put his name in the mix as a top 10ish player in the world, and the results just haven’t been there. He doesn’t have a single tag on FanShare Sports, and is priced right below the very popular Thomas Pieters. Cantlay got out of the gates quickly last week, but faded as the week went on. As a tournament option, there aren’t many guys in the mid $7,00 range who offer his upside at a reduced ownership.
Jhonattan Vegas – $7,200
Vegas is surrounded by the likes of Charley Hoffman, Charles Howell and Sang-Moon Bae, and because he has been MIA for a few weeks, nobody is paying attention to him. Aside from his missed cut at the Farmers, Vegas has put together some great results early this season. Vegas came T15 here last year and has made the cut each of his last three tries. Expect Vegas to fly way under the radar.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Justin Thomas – $10,700
Taking a stand at the top of the board and leaving Justin Thomas out of my build. It’s always a risky endeavor to do this, as it has burned me in the past, but JT’s history here isn’t great. He has failed to finish inside the top 35 in three attempts and doesn’t have a top 10 since his win in Korea. I know any given week JT can show up and win, but I’m going all in on the fact that this won’t be that week.
Tiger Woods – $8,800
Tiger is in the field once again and just like the last time he showed up, isn’t worth the price. A steep price tag made a bit more sense at Torrey Pines, a course he had won at eight times. But oddly enough, Tiger has never won at Riviera, the course he made his debut in as a 16-year old. To be priced $8,800 after the driving display he put on at Torrey is ludacris. I’ll be cheering for Tiger, but not because I am backing him financially.
Beau Hossler – $7,700
It has now been a couple of weeks in a row where we see Beau Hossler’s name creep up to the top of the leaderboard. He held a share of the lead early last week, before crumbling on the weekend shooting 74-76. Hossler is still way to expensive for my blood in a field of this strength. He would be a much better flier if he were say, $500 cheaper.
Adam Scott – $7,400
Scott is lost and I am not willing to risk trying to find him this week. He missed the cut in terrible fashion last week, finishing down with some of the typical suspects of the week, aka. Mike Weir. Scott has had a lot of success at Riviera in the past and does have a nice price tag, but it still isn’t enough to consider rostering him. Let the fish flock to the popular Scott at $7,400.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Rory McIlroy – $11,100
Rory’s outing at Pebble was not the result we were all hoping for and expecting. His missed cut was driven by his struggles off the tee and inability to putt. Rory had never played in the Pro-Am, which may have added another layer to his poor performance. Now that the buzz of everyone claiming Rory is back is over, this weeks is a perfect week to stay on board. This course seems like a perfect fit for his length and ball striking. He has only played here once, in 2016 where he came T20. So much ownership this week is going to land on DJ, McIlroy shouldn’t exceed 20%.
Matt Kuchar – $8,400
Those who backed Kuchar in cash last week got an incredible sweat on Saturday, saved by the cut moving to -3 late in the day. Kuchar should have missed the cut, and even though he did, he didn’t really do anything on Sunday to make it worth it. Kuch continues to make cut after cut, is priced only $8,400 and the Genesis Open is an event he has played solid at the last two years. Not the longest guy on tour, but he does rank 2nd in Par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards over his past 12 rounds in this field.
Austin Cook – $7,300
Cook was the chalk of all chalk last week being priced only $7,000 and making all of his cuts this season. This week, Cook has his price increased $300 after his first missed cut in 2018. No one is going to be eager to get back on the Cook wagon at an event he has never played before in a loaded field. He really struggled with his approach game last week, losing 3.1 strokes, by far his worst showing this season. I do not expect that trend to continue and it was encouraging to see him fair decently well on the Poa greens last week.
Thanks for reading the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am preview article! Follow me on Twitter for more DFS and golf betting talk! Also, don’t forget to check out FanShareSports.com to get a full look at who the DFS golf community is talking about this week!
Good luck this week everybody!!