Favorite Plays by Tier (Will be posted Tuesday Night)
Well, if you didn't like last week's weather, you might not like this week's either. Riviera is getting rain on Wednesday and is under a Flash Flood Watch from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm local time on Thursday (weather.gov). It looks like there could be 1-2 inches of rain during this time and overnight from Wednesday into Thursday, potentially washing out Thursday. The tour would then have to decide whether to make this a 54-hole event or play 36 holes on Sunday (I'll assume they choose the latter). Friday and Saturday look better with Friday being the calmest day, and Saturday having 10-15 mph winds. I almost certainly think there will be a delay on Thursday, with a chance that some golf gets played Thursday afternoon, depending on how much hits the course. If there is play on Thursday, there will be 10-15 mph winds with gusts up to 20 mph. This does not seem like ideal playing conditions, and with a potential delay happening, I may lean towards golfers with the Thursday PM/Friday AM draw. They would avoid play on the windiest day on Thursday, if there is any, and get two rounds in soft and calm conditions. I don't think I'm going to primarily make my decisions based on this tier; however, it is a pretty good tiebreaker and worth building a few lineups in this direction, if entering multiple ones. I don't know how many lineups I will personally play: But, if I play more than one, I will have at least one lineup with this PM/AM draw.
Summary: If no one plays Thursday, I see no tee time advantage. If there is play on Thursday, I don't think it finishes, giving a potential advantage to the Thursday PM/Friday AM wave due to the calm winds on Friday.
It's a deep field, and while we see ownership spread out a little more than normal, there are still players who have emerged as chalk. Looking at FanShare Sports, Fantasy National, and listening to a few podcasts thoughout the industry, here are the names that could end up being the highest owned (in no particular order): Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Hadwin, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, and Cam Smith. (Honorary Mention to Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Bryson DeChambeau).
Hideki is the surprise for me: not that I don't think he's a really good play, as he is. But, he appears to be the guy that everyone was hoping would be low-owned and isn't. His form is great and fits this course profile. But, he's well over 20% in both models and has been talked up a lot this week. This is probably turning into a strategic fade for me, but I could see myself choosing him in my 2 pick One and Done League as my 2nd pick (Doubt I go there in my one pick league, but possible).
- The 6k Tier is interesting this week. There are some players getting some attention (Furyk, Ryder, Stanley, Ortiz, Mitchell, and Harkins): however, the most popular in this range may end up being Jhonnatan Vegas. I don't see why. He's coming off a 10th at Phoenix, but doens't have a great history here and the form hadn't been great prior to the WMPO. He rates out decently in the short-term stat models (14th Bogey Avoidance and 21st Tee-to-Green over last 24 rounds). But, I think I like the Langley/Furyk/Etulain plays better. If I go with multiple lineups and need a final guy from this range, it will probably be Ryder or Ortiz.
- I mentioned this on the podcast, but there appears to be some correlation between Riviera and Augusta National. Golfers who have won at both places that are playing here this week: Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, and Fred Couples. Players who have played well at Augusta that could be looked at here this week: Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman, Bill Haas, Charl Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen, and Rory McIlroy. Most are big names and I'm not factoring in current form into this. But, I do have som interest in Oosthuizen, Hoffman, and Moore (minimal) from those priced 8k or below.
- There also appears to be some correlation with left-handers playing well at Riviera. Phil, Bubba, and Mike Weir have all one here as left handers. Brian Harman does have a 3rd and has made 3 of 5 cuts at this event. If you want to play that narrative, here are a few left-handers playing this week other than the ones mentioned above: Ted Potter Jr, Cody Gribble, and Scott Langley. Langley is the one I have interest in, as he is Top 15 both short-term and long-term in putting and scrambling. He does have a 22nd here but also has 2 missed cuts. In 2019, he has made 3 of 4 cuts with a 6th and 12th place finish. He will probably be in my multi-lineup pool.
- Looking at the Official World Golf Rankings, Keegan Bradley is 32nd in the world, but yet is only 7,300. He will be a popular play but if you're not chalky elsewhere, he provides some solid value. If you want some other top golfers in the world at single-digit ownership, take a look at Brendan Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, and Tyrell Hatton. These international players tend to get overlooked and a great source of ownership leverage, with winning upside. Price considered, I like RCB, Hatton, Ooshuizen, and Casey the most.