Welcome back folks! This is another glorious week on the golf calendar. First of all, the weather is finally beautiful in the northern United States and southern Canada. In celebration, I have taken this week off as a Staycation to play lots of golf. I played my first round of the season yesterday and played another today. My game is in pretty decent shape for only two times out, but I don’t think you have come here to read about my golf exploits. Nay – you most likely want some analysis on the best golf tournament of the year that is not a major championship – The Players Championship.
The Players Championship boasts an amazing field as all of the top 50 players in the world are in action this week. As always the boys are playing the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Verde, Florida, near sunny Jacksonville. The course is a 7,189 par 72 course, with a lot of water all around. The signature hole is the island par 3 17th, which is picturesque, but when the wind blows many guys get wet. Key stats of the week for me are strokes gained approach, greens in regulation, strokes gained around the green and proximity. I did not use course history as much as usual, since there has only been one player, Tiger Woods, who has won this event more than once since the year 2000. I also did not use recent form as much as usual since Si Woo Kim, who was in awful form, won this tournament going away last year.
Are you guys ready to get started? I sure am! Alright, let’s do this!
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Justin Thomas ($10,800 DraftKings/$11,900 FanDuel) – Justin Thomas was the anchor of many of my lineups last week and that did not go as well as I would have liked. That having been said, I am going right back to the well this week. Thomas is 9th on Tour in strokes gained approach and 14th in greens in regulation. That bodes well for his chances this week. And while Thomas missed the cut here last year, he did finish in 3rd place at the Players in 2016. I think Thomas is an excellent play this week.
Jordan Spieth ($11,100 DraftKings/$12,300 FanDuel) – I am a bit on the fence about Spieth this week. On the one hand, he has missed the cut in his last three tries at this event. On the other hand, his stats pop off the page for me better than anyone else’s. Spieth is 8th on Tour in strokes gained approach, 3rd in greens in regulation, 14th in strokes gained approach and 5th in proximity. He is the only player in the field in the top 30 in all four of those categories. I am hoping to get him at low ownership since his price is not discounted and he has struggled at the Players.
Upper Middle Class
Henrik Stenson ($8,800 DraftKings/$11,600 FanDuel) – The first two categories I studied this week were strokes gained approach and greens in regulation. Guess who leads the Tour in both categories? If you guessed Henrik Stenson, you win an autographed golf ball signed by my editor Jim Finch. On top of leading the Tour in those categories, Stenson also ranks 8th on Tour in proximity. And, although I discounted course history somewhat this week, Stenson does own 8 top 25 finishes, including four top tens and one win at the Players since 2006. I think Stenson is going to be a contender this week.
Tiger Woods ($8,600 DraftKings/$10,900 FanDuel) – I haven’t recommended the Big Cat yet this season, but I think this is going to be an awesome week for Tiger. First off, Tiger has gotten better and better when he has played consecutive weeks. I think he shook some rust off again last week. More importantly, Woods is 11th in the PGA in strokes gained approach and an identical 11th in strokes gained around the green. As I mentioned earlier, Woods is a 2 time winner here and I think he will bring some of those good vibes back to the Players. I am feeling a top 5 finish for El Tigre this week. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Tony Finau ($7,500 DraftKings/$10,600 FanDuel) – Pricing is a bit soft on DraftKings this week, but it almost has to be when so many talented golfers are in the field. Finau, however, is a guy that seems to fit really well here and is also underpriced. The long limbed dude from Utah ranks 28th on Tour in strokes gained approach and 27th in strokes gained around the green. He has never made the cut here in two attempts, but like Jordan Spieth, I think that just helps keep ownership down. Finau is a birdie making machine and I love him at this price.
Zach Johnson ($7,500 DraftKings/$10,100 FanDuel) – Dustin Johnson’s price is about as low as it has been on DraftKings in years, but it is his namesake Zach Johnson that I am recommending this week. ZJ ranks 18th on Tour in strokes gained approach, 23rd in strokes gained around the green and an even more impressive 3rd in proximity. Johnson also has not missed a cut at TPC Sawgrass since 2008 and has 6 top 25 finishes at this course since 2007. This is a fantastic play for cash games.
Bang for your Buck
Adam Hadwin ($7,300 DraftKings/$9,700 FanDuel) – I will take this price for a golfer of Hadwin’s caliber any day of the week and twice on Sundays. The Canadian is ranked 21st on tour in strokes gained approach, 24th in greens in regulation and 7th in strokes gained around the green. On top of all that, when Hadwin’s putter is right, he is among the best rollers on Tour. I think Hadwin could very easily win the event this week. Fire him up at this discounted price.
Chris Kirk ($7,200 DraftKings/$8,300 FanDuel) – While I have not listened to many prognosticators thus far this week, I have a feeling that Chris Kirk is going to be extremely low owned this week. But he is my favorite GPP play of the week. Kirk ranks a solid 26th in strokes gained approach and 24th in strokes gained around the green. He also has a great course history at TPC Sawgrass as the only time in the last 6 years that he did not play the weekend was because of a withdrawal. Moreover, Kirk has finished in the top 20 in 3 of his last 4 appearances at the Players. He will likely be less than 2% owned, but I will be all over Kirk in GPPs.
Keegan Bradley ($6,900 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) – Bradley can be a frustrating player at times, mostly because he putts worse than I do, but at $6,900 on DraftKings he is a bargain. The Vermonter is 5th on tour in strokes gained approach, 17th in greens in regulation and 10th in proximity. He has not done much at the Players, having finished no better than 35th at the Players since 2011. Somehow, I think this is the year that he does better than that. And, truth be told, even if he finishes around 40th place, he will make value at this discount price.
Chez Reavie ($6,800 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) – Again, I don’t know what others are saying, but I have a strong feeling that Chez Reavie will be highly owned this week at this price. I don’t care – I will join the masses in playing Chez. The diminutive righty ranks 24th on Tour in strokes gained approach, 18th in greens in regulation and 8th in proximity. I don’t know how I can get away from Chez this week – especially in cash games.
Good luck to all of you this week!
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