The WGC events are some of the few tournaments outside of the Majors and the FedEx Cup Playoffs where viewers can watch most, if not all, of the best golfers in the world at once. This week’s Mexico Championship is no exception. For those of you who are familiar with Jason Day’s recent string of WDs, this week’s double ear infection/flu should be no shock to you. There are 49 out of the Top 50 golfers in the field this week despite his absence. The field this week has compiled 243 PGA Tour victories, as well as 327 combined foreign tour victories.
It is extremely difficult to make the “wrong” pick this week given the strength of the field. All golfers are guaranteed 4 rounds this week which makes the finishing position bonuses even more important than usual. Stats wise, there are a few things that I’m focusing on (in no particular order):
- Driving Distance
- Birdie or Better %
- Strokes Gained: Around The Green
- Putting (Mix of 3 Putt Avoidance and Strokes Gained: Putting)
With so many supremely talented golfers up at the top, you basically have to decide what kind of golfer you’re going to focus on. Will you let the long Par 5s make you focus on driving distance? Will you let the strong field make you focus on birdie or better? Small greens making you focus on short game players?
The Clear Studs ($10,000+)
The bombers up at the top are Dustin Johnson ($12,500) and Rory McIlroy ($10,900). Dustin Johnson put together a dominant performance at Riviera a few weeks ago. Johnson is also in the Top 10 when it comes to strokes gained around the green. If there’s a construction that will let you pay up for him, Johnson is an excellent play. McIlroy is a little riskier. He is coming off of an injury layoff but has performed well in strong fields. There is potential that he withdraws because of his rib injury. He’s not worth the risk for me, I’ll be very underweight on him this weekend.
If your focus is on the short game, Hideki Matsuyama ($10,700) is 4th in the field when it comes to strokes gained around the green. Jordan Spieth ($11,500) leads the field in my Frankenstein-ed putting metric which combines 3 Putt Avoidance and Strokes Gained: Putting. He’s also on a streak of 12 straight Top 25 finishes. Spieth is at an interesting price this week and could be under-owned compared to DJ.
Mid-Range Players ($8,000-$10,000)
Rickie Fowler ($9,900) is right at the top of this range. He could easily be more expensive after his performance in The Honda Classic, though. He boasts one of the best combinations of driving distance, scrambling, and putting of anyone in the field.
Adam Scott ($9,200) is an elite golfer when it comes to birdie or better percentage. He finds a way to hit greens and make putts in every tournament.
Jon Rahm ($9,000) is an interesting name this week as well. Rahm stormed through the Farmers Insurance Open with a highlight win on the 72nd hole. He is 6th in the field in both birdie or better percentage and driving distance.
Gary Woodland ($8,400) is in tremendous form as of late. Woodland has made all but one of the last twelve cuts. In that span of time, he’s gone from 60th to 30th in the world. He’s also been great recently with two straight Top 5 finishes. Woodland has evolved from a bomb it and pray golfer to a solid, all-around pro.
Value Plays ($6,500 – $8,000)
There are two elite bombers in this range in JB Holmes ($6,800) and Bubba Watson ($7,000). Between those two, I’ll go for Holmes this week. Holmes drives the ball further than everyone else in the field on average. He also has the 4th highest apex in the field. That will be useful when cutting the corners on the doglegs. Watson withdrew last week in Florida and it’s too risky to have a potential WD in a no-cut event.
Bill Haas ($7,000) is one of the more attractive options in this range. He performs incredibly well around the green (3rd in the field) and posts solid birdie or better numbers (17th in the field). I’m not going to mention that Jay Haas won an event at this course back in 1991, nope, not going to mention it.
Jhonattan Vegas ($6,600) has performed well recently as well. Vegas has finished no worse than 44th in his last 9 starts. In a week where almost anyone has a chance to win, I’ll take Vegas with the 68th highest salary but the 45th best odds to win.
Good luck this week! Follow me on Twitter @MattJonesTFR