It’s a tough life for members of the PGA Tour as they trade in three beautiful California golf courses for another beautiful California golf course. Previous winners have proven that you can bomb it, rely on approach shots, putt lights out or any combination of the three on your way to victory. Much like Thursday in Pebble Beach, Riviera Country Club will feature some wet and windy conditions on Friday and Saturday. As of Wednesday, the forecast is showing the potential for 20+ MPH winds on Friday. Driving distance will be even more important than usual at Riviera if the course becomes wet. We’ll also be focusing in on approach shot proximity to figure out who will be able to stick it on these wet greens.
Clear Studs ($9,500+)
There are six players that make this salary tier this week. We’ll start off with Jordan Spieth ($12,600) given that he won last week’s tournament in Pebble Beach. To me, Spieth has been the all-around best golfer so far in 2017. He is right around average driving distance for the field but he makes up for it with close approach shots and has one of the hottest putters on Tour right now. It’s difficult to pay over $12,000 for a guy but if anyone deserves consideration at this price, it’s Spieth.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,500) is a close second when it comes to recent form. Matsuyama has also posted three straight Top-25s at this tournament. His price point is difficult to swallow this week as well.
Dustin Johnson ($11,400), Adam Scott ($10,300), and Jason Day ($10,000) all deserve consideration as well. Dustin Johnson is the prototypical bomber that can leave himself with short irons on just about any course. He also played well last week in Pebble Beach and will look to continue his bounce-back from the missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Scott hasn’t played much as of late but did finish as the runner-up here last year. Jason Day hasn’t played this tournament since 2012 where he finished at T62 for the week.
Justin Thomas ($9,600) is where I’ll be starting many of my lineups this week. Yes, he struggled at the Waste Management and missed the cut. But he’s only a few weeks removed from dominating in Hawaii. Most of the ownership will be concentrated on Spieth, Johnson and Matsuyama in this range. Give me Thomas at a much cheaper price and just as good of a chance to win.
Mid-Range Guys ($7,500-$9,400)
The model I set up this week weighs the Vegas odds, driving distance, birdie or better percentage, and proximity. Justin Rose ($8,400) and Charles Howell III ($7,500) top the list for my model in this range. Justin Rose is top 15 in the field in driving distance and proximity. He also has two Top-4 performance in his last three starts. Howell is playing some of his best golf in recent memory. Coming into this tournament last year, he was ranked 124th in the world. Howell enters this week at 65th in the world and is coming off of 6 straight Top 15 performances. In addition to Howell’s great form, he also has the biggest price to odds discrepancy of anyone in this range.
Keegan Bradley ($7,500) isn’t the beneficiary of a pricing discrepancy this week but he is popping in my model nonetheless. His price tag is basically free and he provides unique GPP upside with his boom or bust results lately. There is a real chance that he misses the cut, but there is just as big of a chance that he finishes in the Top 10. He had a missed cut here last year but also has 4 Top-20 finishes in the last 5 years at this event.
Bubba Watson ($8,300) is one of the headliners of this tier based on his past results. His course history is elite with 4 Top-15 finishes, including 2 victories, in the last 5 years.
Value (Sub- $7,500)
Hudson Swafford ($6,600) represents an interesting decision for DFS players this weekend. Swafford hasn’t found success at this event, but he has never been in this good of form as a professional. He’s a few weeks removed from a victory against a similar field and could provide the salary relief necessary to get to the guys up in the $11,000+ range.
J.B. Holmes ($7,100) is another beneficiary of a pricing discrepancy. He has the 13th best odds yet the 44th highest salary. It’s rare that these differences in price and odds are available so it’s important to take advantage when they are. Holmes is a bomber, he scores well on Par 4s and has above average proximity stats for this field. Brendan Steele ($7,100) is another beneficiary of a price gap at the same price range.
Luke List ($6,400) scares me because he missed his last two cuts. List took a week off though and will look to get back in the form that allowed him to post 6 out of 7 Top 15s before the Farmers Insurance Open. List will find his way into a few GPP lineups this weekend.