Below is a link to my golfer stats and projection cheat sheet for this tournament.
- Riviera Country Club
- Pacific Palisades, California
- Par 71
- 7,322 yards
- Poa Annua greens
- Small, fast greens
- Kikuyu fairways & rough (challenging rough from South Africa)
- Hosted 56 times (including 1999 – current)
- Patience is key — just reading about this course, there are a lot of quotes from golfers and analysts alike saying that Riviera demands a lot of patience to have success
- Being able to shape shots helps to attack pins that tend to be tucked away (Bubba Watson is a 3-time winner here)
- Bombers have had success here in the past but the course doesn’t necessarily favor any one type of player
- SG: tee-to-green
- SG: approaching the green
- Course History
- Recent Form
- Bogey Avoidance
- Birdie or Better
This is shaping up to be the strongest, deepest field of the year with 144 golfers in total. The first wave of changes includes: Out- Trey Mullinax, Kenny Perry, and Steve Stricker. In- Max Homa, Kyle Jones, K.H. Lee, Shawn Stefani, and Michael Thompson with one sponsor exemption left to be handed out and four undecided open qualifiers. This is the last event of the West Coast swing season before we head to Mexico and then on to Florida — let’s make it count. (Updated: In- Robert Garrigus, Aaron Baddeley, Curtis Luck, Richard H. Lee, and making his tour debut — Lukas Euler.)
Big Dogs ($9,300 and up on DK)
- Solid (Cash)
- Justin Thomas ($11,000 DK – $11,900 FD) – so far this year Thomas has been incredible approaching the green where he is ranked 1st in SG and 3rd in proximity. At the Waste Management he finished in 3rd place and last year at Riviera he finished 9th so he checks the boxes in terms of recent form, course history, and statistically.
- Bryson DeChambeau ($10,200 DK – $11,700 FD) – this week DeChambeau might be my favorite pick in this category. He’s in the top 5 in SG: tee-to-green, scrambling, birdie or better, bogey avoidance, par 5 scoring, and par 4 scoring. Bryson’s also 7th in GIR and 11th in driving accuracy If his name was… let’s say “Jordan Spieth” he would probably be the most expensive golfer in this field.
- Xander Schauffele ($9,400 DK – $11,200 FD) – Xander seems to shine in tournaments where the field is loaded and on top of that his tee-to-green, scrambling, and scoring stats are all up from last year which should put him in a prime spot to compete here.
- Risky (GPP)
- John Rahm ($10,400 DK – $11,800 FD) – Rahm hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his last five tournaments so he’s in about as good of form as he’s been in his career but we haven’t seen him play at Riviera on tour yet. If he can clean up his putting and touch game into the greens (as well as keep his cool) he can be as good as anyone in golf.
- Tiger Woods ($9,500 DK – $11,400 FD) – since the Hero World Challenge Tiger has only played the Farmers Insurance Open in late January so we don’t really have a great sample size on his recent form. Last season he was one of the best on tour in SG: tee-to-green as well as scrambling so if he is going overlooked this week, he’s not a bad GPP play.
- Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300 DK – $11,100 FD) – Hideki is top 10 in SG: tee-to-green, driving distance, and scrambling this year. He’s looked good lately and from 2014-2016 he had three consecutive top 25’s in this event so I’m thinking Hideki’s in the right spot to have success here yet again.
Value ($7,500 – $9,200 on DK)
- Solid (Cash)
- Patrick Cantlay ($9,000 DK – $10,800 FD) – Cantlay, like many, was a late scratch last week but shouldn’t be a WD threat going forward. He missed the cut at the Farmers but that’s not something to be too concerned with because he’s in great form outside of that and should be a good fit for Riviera (where he finished 4th last year after leading in the first round).
- Marc Leishman ($8,900 DK – $10,200 FD) – Leishman has missed three out of his last five cuts at this event but does have a 5th place finish here so if he’s feeling good about his game (which he should be after two top 5 finishes in his last three events) then he’ll be able to make it into the weekend.
- Matt Kuchar ($8,500 DK – $10,300 FD) – Kuch and Leishman are basically the same guys in my eyes right now, and most of the time anyways (except for the fact that Leishman actually pays his caddies). Stats and recent form are very similar so maybe go with Kuch in DK and Leish in FD.
- Sungjae Im ($7,700 DK – $9,100 FD) – last week Im missed the cut but most of that was due to his blowup 77 in the second round. We saw this with Phil at the Waste Management and he turned around and won the next event so I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. Sungjae is still in good enough form and could be a valuable play if he goes low owned.
- Risky (GPP)
- Tommy Fleetwood ($8,600 DK – $10,100 FD) – this is about as low of a price tag as you will see on Fleetwood all year so I’m guessing he could end up being a popular pick (especially with his 2nd in SG: approaching-the-green this season). If he isn’t real chalky then it would be nice to get on the bandwagon before the rest of the crowd does.
- Adam Hadwin ($7,800 DK – $9,700 FD) – Hadwin has looked good here with four straight made cuts, all inside of 35th place, and a 6th place finish last year. His numbers with the driver and proximity on approach are trending in the right direction so I like where he’s sitting this week.
- Tyrrell Hatton ($7,700 DK – $9,200 FD) – Tyrrell is hovering around 200th in SG: approaching-the-green, GIR, and proximity but inside the top 10 in SG: off-the-tee, SG: around-the-green, and SG: tee-to-green. If he can figure out his iron play this week then he could come out of nowhere and have a great tournament.
Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)
- Solid (Cash)
- Keegan Bradley ($7,300 DK – $9,300 FD) – Keegan seems to be wildly under priced this week which leads me to believe that he’s going to be highly owned. If that’s the case then maybe avoid him in GPP but he’s still good in cash lineups… and if he can knock down puts then he might even crack the top 10.
- Abraham Ancer ($7,300 DK – $8,900 FD) – Ancer is coming off of two missed cuts but it might not be as bad as it seems because he was right around the cut line in both events. What I really like about him is his 8th in SG: off-the-tee and proximity, as well as his recent form before the missed cuts.
- Harold Varner III ($7,000 DK – $8,700 FD) – in his last six events HVIII has been in the top 25 in five of those events. He’s really improved his tee-to-green game and limited the 3-putts which has vastly improved his scoring and bogey avoidance.
- Risky (GPP)
- Luke List ($7,400 DK – $9,200 FD) – List is 3rd in SG: off-the-tee and 2nd in driving distance with decent iron play. If he could clean up his par 3 scoring and knock down more putts he’d one day find himself in the “Risky Big Dog” category.
- Bud Cauley ($7,400 DK – $8,900 FD) – last year at this tournament Bud finished 20th and he’s recently coming off of a 13th and 26th place finish in his last two events. He’s got a well rounded game and is top 10 in par 5 and par 3 scoring this year.
- J.T. Poston ($7,100 DK – $8,700 FD) – in the last five years Poston has only played in this event once, in 2017, where he finished in 17th place. He’s made five of his last six cuts and four of those have been 26th place or better. J.T. is also top 25 this season in par 5 scoring and scrambling.
- Risky (GPP)
- Ryan Moore ($7,300 DK – $9,400 FD) – Moore is 0 for his last 3 cuts so he’s not in the best form but he seems to play well at Riviera with two top 10’s and a 22nd place finish in the last four years. He’s one of the worst scramblers on tour this year but last year he was one of the best so I expect him to turn it around sooner or later.
- Danny Willett ($7,300 DK – $8,500 FD) – Willett is 6th in SG: approaching-the-green and 11th in proximity this season. If the rest of his game comes together he should do alright, especially because people who tend to play well at Augusta tend to play well here.
- Kevin Tway ($7,100 DK – $8,900 FD) – Tway has always been long off the tee but he has really improved his scrambling and touch around the green which has helped his tee-to-green numbers.
- Joel Dahmen ($7,000 DK – $8,600 FD) – Dahmen missed the cut at the Waste Management and then dropped out last week at Pebble Beach so hopefully people are still avoiding him, which could help you save up for some of the top dollar talent this week.
- Jhonattan Vegas ($6,500 DK – $8,100 FD) – Jhonny Vegas is top 25 in SG: tee-to-green and scrambling this season and has greatly improved his proximity numbers, so for $6,500 it’s hard to find a guy down here with as much potential.