The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 6, 2019 06:00

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Pebble Beach Pro-Am

The Waste Management Phoenix Open proved again to be one of the most exciting golf tournaments of the year, though this year it was for a far different reason than most other years. Typically, this is a course where disaster strikes in the final round at some point and you see one of the players in contention go into the water. This year, everyone did their best to try to choke away the tournament. Rickie Fowler ended up as the last man standing when it was over, and I think he was incredibly fortunate to do so as this had the makings of becoming a career defining loss if it had slipped away.

I have never seen a tournament before where the leader took a five shot lead into a hole and nearly gave the entire lead away within a single hole. After Rickie took a five shot lead into the 12th hole, I started to think about the snacks that I was going to eat during the Super Bowl and was lamenting the fact that it might be more interesting to flip over to one of the inane pregame shows rather than watching Rickie’s victory march to the title. Fortunately, that was when things got interesting in a flash. The final group played largely uninspired golf all day. Rickie did not make a birdie on the front nine holes and with a double bogey, shot two over up until that points. However, JT and Kuch also struggled and neither was able to take advantage of Rickie’s troubles. Some of this was due to the weather as the rains rolled in and the winds picked up. There were not a lot of low rounds to be found on the course as the day wore on, but ultimately, we were simply witnessing some really sloppy golf.

I was really surprised to see Rickie tee off with an iron in hand on the 12th hole. While I understand that he did not want to get too aggressive, being overly passive in this sort of situation can get a player into just as much trouble so when he did not reach the green in two shots, he was already staring down a potential bogey before he managed to chip the ball across the green and into the water. It was cringeworthy to watch as the ball dribbled off the green, refused to catch anywhere in the grass and just missed being saved by the bunker as it dropped into the water. What happened after that made me grind my teeth. After attempting to drop the ball twice and having it roll away, Rickie was allowed to place the ball in the grass. Unfortunately, for Rickie, as he walked up onto the green to survey the layout, his ball rolled back down into the water and he lost another stroke. When the rules of golf penalize players in this way, it makes for a poor viewing experience for all. There should not be a penalty for having a ball placed on a hill roll away into the water. Every year it seems like the rules change to try to make the game easier to understand, but inevitably, they just seem to lead to additional frustration.

Amazingly, Rickie was able to save triple bogey on 12, but continued his meltdown the next hole and within just two holes, his lead slipped away to Brendan Grace who once again turned on the jets as soon as the weather became a factor. Rickie was able to steady himself over the next couple of holes and made an easy birdie on 15 to get things back to even with Grace. That was the cue for Grace to implode as he took driver out of the bag on 17 and proceeded to hit the ball into the water. The 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale is probably my favorite short Par 4 hole on Tour. Something dramatic always seems to happen there in the final round and it is the perfect risk versus reward Par 4 hole that tempts players into making crucial mistakes in key moments when they try to do too much off the tee. Grace bogeyed the hole while Rickie slayed the demons of 2016 by driving the green and staying out of the water to make a birdie and take a two shot lead. After that, neither golfer took the easy path on 18 and it looked like some drama might ensue when Rickie hit it into the deep grass in the middle of the church pew bunkers, but both made par and Rickie was able to let out a huge sigh of relief in finally winning the ever elusive title at the WMPO.

For the week, I was profitable again which is always a positive to work from. My cash game team was again a winner so I’m picking up a little momentum over the last three weeks. I did my best to guide you to my team as I featured four value plays in my write up: ZJ, Martin Laird, Sungjae Im and Joel Dahman (yuck). If you started there, you had exactly enough money to afford Webb and Hideki (or drop to Rickie) which led to a nice win for the week. Last week was certainly a great time to take advantage of cash games. We had a strong field, reasonable pricing for value plays, a cut after two rounds and good history to use for the course. If you hit a landmine with Phil last week, you just have to shake it off. Having a player like that miss the cut in an event he loves, plays often and typically plays well and on a course where he should excel is something you just do not have any control over. He had one bad round, but that is a part of what makes DFS golf a little tougher than some of the other sports.

For GPP contests, I was very close to getting a breakthrough cash for the 3 max, $150, but unfortunately, the my last golfer screwed me over on the last hole of the day on Friday. Daniel Berger finally made a putt on the 17th hole (8th hole on the course) and got himself inside the cut line with one hole to play. He then proceeded to hit the green in two shots and was 28 feet away from sealing up a made cut and moving onto the weekend. My heart sank when his first putt left him 6 feet short of the pin and of course you know what happened next. He bogeyed to miss the cut and my 5/6 team managed to cash, but that missed cut cost me a Top-10 finish and a shot at a nice prize. Fortunately, with the cash game win, I was able to lock in a nice profit for the week and am ready to move on to Pebble Beach.

Before you get too deep into your research this week, I would caution you to plan for a light week of play. With and event like Pebble Beach where we are back to a three course rotation and where weather could end up being a factor on Friday afternoon, this is the time to scale back. The cut is unusual in that only the Top-60 players (and ties advance to the final round on Sunday which means that the 6/6 percentage should again be low in a field of over 150 players. It is also a Pro-Am event so each player will be paired up with some rich amateur or celebrity in the first three rounds which is fun for a less serious audience, but a little aggravating for many serious viewers as it means more shots from random people and less viewing time of the real pros until the final round on Sunday.

I don’t like the idea of playing much, if at all, in cash games this week. I will be in there with a couple of teams as I like to get a good feel for the action in all weeks and because I know that many of you are cash game only players, but there really is not a lot of incredible value in the lower ranges this week, unlike last week when we could lock a number of high quality players in the $7k-8k range and then pay up for our top guys to round out the roster. This week is a little trickier. There are certainly plenty of low priced plays that are popping on the model this week, but few have been all that consistent this season or have been okay but have a rather checkered history at this event.

If you do elect to play cash games this week, there are a couple of different approaches worth considering. As I have built and rebuilt my own lineup about a dozen times now, I’ve allowed myself to go with either a very balanced approach, or to get really wild and try to grab five of the better plays on the board followed by one total dog near the bottom of the list. With only 60 players and ties getting to Sunday, the 6/6 percentage will be low which means we can take on a little extra risk by throwing a dart for the last play. As with most weeks, a good 5/6 should easily get into the money and many 4/6 teams will get paid as well. I think there is definitely something to be said for trying to land one of the top golfers like Jason Day or DJ to anchor your team. If they finish around the Top-5 as they tend to do here often, it takes a lot of pressure off of having to get everyone else through the cut.

On the other hand, there are enough good players in the middle to build a well rounded team. This can work well as the field is on the soft side so these players should have plenty of upside potential. However, what I have come to understand in cash games is that the best laid plans always blowup on me by the first few holes on Thursday afternoon. Last week, it was Joel Dahman and the week prior it was Kyle Stanley. You just are not going to get 6/6 through the cut in cash all that often so you should never be too surprised to have 4 or 5/6 going to the weekend. The trouble that we can run into in building the balanced team is that sometimes all we get are a bunch of made cuts without the upside. A Top-5 finish can mitigate a lot of the problems that arise from a missed cut. Given that I expect extra carnage for this three course rotation, I do not mind getting much more aggressive this week to work in some of those top players into your lineup. With three courses and potential weather afoot on Friday, there are more variables to deal with this week than in others. Do not let this make you afraid of taking some chances, even in cash games.

I’m not going to write up all of the courses this week. Adam Daly covered that thoroughly already in his column as did Jeff in terms of the thoughts he had in how to approach each of them. I do favor trying to put extra emphasis on the Showdown slates this week. Thursday and Saturday look like perfect weather days to stack some Monterrey teams for some GPP and heads up contests. Friday, the winds look like they will get very gusty in the afternoon with potential rains coming in early in the afternoon. Be sure to check back to the linked weather page and to read our e-mail update tomorrow night. The winds near the coast can change dramatically by the hour so do not assume that what you see early will still be the same once the tournament begins. Typically, if the winds are up, Spyglass would be the preferred course since it is slightly more inland and has a little more protection from the winds, but honestly, if it looks like weather is going to be nasty on Friday, I would just plan to skip the Showdown slates for the day unless there is a particularly good window early in the day where some players may avoid the bad winds. This is tough though with three courses as all players will tee off between about 8-10 AM.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Proximity: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Par 4 Scoring: 10%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee: 5%
Scrambling: 5%


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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 6, 2019 06:00

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