The Daily Spin – WGC Cadillac Classic

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 28, 2015 03:09

This year continues to be one of the most exciting in recent memory on the PGA Tour. Each week the courses get tougher, the fields get stronger and all sorts of factors like weather have played into the outcome of each event. The Honda Classic stretched itself out over a 5 day period and saw the leaderboard change rapidly each day as players made strong moves only to be chopped down by high winds, water hazards and The Bear Trap on holes 15 through 17. By Monday morning, two surprising players were left in a playoff with Padraig Harrington making several amazing putts down the stretch followed by a beautiful approach shot in the playoff to beat out a very talented young player in Daniel Berger. Both of these players surprised us a bit with how they finished, but in our initial preview, we did have Berger as one of our top value/sleeper plays of the week so his strong play overall was not terribly surprising.

For the rest of the picks on the Daily Spin, we had a handful of good and bad performances. We were very happy to have limited our exposure to Rory McIlroy as we used him in just one tournament lineup on a stars and scrubs type of roster. He struggled right out of the gate and never really was able to get going again after starting with a double bogey on the first hole. We do not want to overanalyze what happened with Rory last week as a number of top ranked players in the world also had their fair share of difficulties. Very few fantasy lineups made it all the way through the event unscathed. The lineups that I cashed in most tournaments with only had 4 men left standing by the end of the tournament. Fortunately, a couple of them played well enough to drag the rest towards a respectable finish.

Of our blue chip picks, our only true miss was with Justin Rose who missed the cut, marking the second tournament in a row where this has happened. There were rumblings within the daily fantasy golf community that Rose was still suffering from a wrist or thumb injury, but we were able to uncover very little in terms of news on either front. Considering that others struggled just as mightily as Rose, we think it is fair to say that he simply had a tough time on a tough track. He actually appeared to right himself on Day 2, but then a couple of late bogeys near the end of the round put him one stroke below the cut line for the weekend. Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Russell Henley all made the cut for the week, none of them were able to make a big move during the weekend. All in all, the blue chips were underperformers for us and pretty much as a whole. Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley and Charl Schwartzel were among the many who had experienced success previously at PGA National that failed to make the cut.

In looking at our value plays, we had more ups than downs for the week. Joost Luiten played solidly and managed to climb all the way up to 11th for the weekend. Stephen Gallacher also performed reasonably well as a value play with a respectable 41st place finish. Paul Casey was a standout for us as he managed a 3rd place finish after a 2nd the week prior. The biggest disappointment of the weekend had to be Freddie Jacobson. After playing very well leading up to the tournament and with a great tournament history to support him, he missed the cut, disappointing owners who owned him in bulk. This should give readers something to really think about each week in the construction of your lineups. You can predict very easily with a lot of certainty those players that are going to be heavily owned. It is a very simple formula. Strong tournament history + lower than average pricing = 25-30% ownership in most tournaments. We are going to make it a point here to try to help you to anticipate this to some degree by giving you a target on what we think ownership levels will be. If you are trying to really attack a certain tournament, you may have 5-10 entries to work with. You are going to need to have some conviction on certain players, but if one of those players falls into the category of being owned by nearly a third of the field, consider building many of your lineups without that player. Force yourself to be somewhat contrarian in finding two or 3 players each week that seem strong, but will also be under utilized.

Our sleepers had a very nice weekend for us with three of four making the cut. Steve Wheatcroft managed a 22nd place finish. Adam Hadwin settled in at 31st and Carl Petterson fell back to 51st after struggled on the final day. Tony Finau proved to be the only sleeper to miss the cut, ending a nice string of solid performances for us. We were pleased to see these players perform well, however, it was disappointing that some of the stud counterparts that we paired them with let us down by missing the cut.

All in all, a solid week for The Daily Spin. There was a lot of carnage out on the course over the five days of the tournament, but from most reports that we are hearing, our followers and subscribers had a good week and cashed in many of the events that they entered. As always, keep us in the loop on your successes (or struggles). We want to be sure that you are getting the maximum benefit and enjoyment out of our site so feel free reach out to us anytime.

This week, the tour moves on to the Blue Monster at Doral, a massive course, with water all around many of the holes creating a lot of swimming opportunities for players this week. Coming in at around 7500 yards, the course plays well to long hitters, but there is a definite edge to those that can keep it in the fairway as well. If you thought that the scores have been high the last couple of weekends, you are in for more heartache this weekend as we anticipate the wheels coming off the wagon for a few players along the way. Weather may prove to be a factor again as swirling winds could make this a particularly tough test for players. One area that is VERY important to note is that there was a major remodel of the course in 2013 so we want to place a little more emphasis than normal on the results of last year after the changes took place. Without a cut this week, we want you to be a little more aggressive with your lineup choices. Go for more of the top level players out there. The pricing is on the soft side this week and these are about the 70 best players in the world so the guys that are priced in the scrub range are hardly scrub performers. There are going to be a lot of new names on the list this week. Take some time to do a little extra research on some of those near the bottom of the pricing range. What you are going to find is that many of these guys are playing really incredible golf right now.

This is a fun week to preview. When the field is this stacked from top to bottom with the best players from around the world, there is a lot more research to dig into than normal. There are going to be some very obvious names this week that we need to cover, but a lot of names that are just coming over to the US for the first time this year and many for the first time in this tournament.


Bubba Watson – The price has finally come down enough on Bubba for him to make our Love list this week. Bubba is playing some of the best golf of his career. Not always the most consistent player from week to week, he has been steady throughout the season. His worst finish in 6 events was 25th. He also managed to score a 1st place finish at the WGC-HSBC and a 2nd place finish at the Phoenix Open. He’s always one of the best driving the ball, typically in the Top 5 of all players in driving distance. He’s one of the best in greens in regulation and strokes gained tee to green. Obviously, the driving distance helps him in being one of the best in Par 5 scoring. At his price this week, you need to own him on your tournament teams and with the depth of the field, he will play well in cash games. I would anticipate 20-25% ownership for Bubba so you will not be gaining a huge edge over the field, but with two second place finishes in the last three years, he is going to be a threat to win the event. With no cut, and a strong group of players to choose from in the lower price ranges, we feel great about rostering Bubba this week.

Dustin Johnson – We watched Dustin Johnson last week and were both cringing and smiling at the same time. Johnson was twelve over in two rounds and missed the cut after two strong weeks leading up to PGA National. What we loved was that we knew this would keep his price reasonable and also that this should keep ownership levels from being outrageous. He shares all the requisite statistics — driving distance, great tee to green and a top player in Par 5 scoring. He carries a slightly lower price than Bubba simply due to the extended layoff, but his game has been pretty solid. He missed the cut in his first tournament back by a single stroke, but nearly won the next two before struggling last week. We are willing to overlook last week and will own him in several tournament lineups this weekend. We anticipate his ownership level to be in the 20% range so again, this pick will not help you to stand out, but he has two Top 10s in the last 4 years so we expect him to be a very strong play this week.

Matt Kuchar – We may never see Matt Kuchar at this price for the rest of the year. Typically one of the favorites to win most weeks, Kuchar finds himself a little lower down the list this week. Maybe it is due to the fact that he is not as big off the tee as some of the other players we love this week or maybe it is due to being away for a few weeks, but Kuchar is a screaming value at his price and we will have a lot of exposure to him this week. His tournament history holds up well versus his peers with three Top 10 finishes in five starts and he took 13th last year after the course remodel so he was not terribly hurt by the added level of difficulty. He is a great tee to green player and what he lacks for distance off the tee he makes up for with a great approach game. Kuchar is also one of the best putters on the tour so we feel great about having him on many of our teams this week. We anticipate 15-20% ownership of Kuchar this week.

Jordan Spieth – In our crystal ball feature earlier this season, we predicted Spieth would emerge as one of the top young players in the game. He did not wait long. At age 21, Spieth is mature for his age and does not appear to let the pressure of the game get to him. Spieth seems to have gained a little distance off the tee this year. He has two wins this season and has finished in the Top 10 in 6 of 7 events, missing the cut in just one start. He is another player that is priced in a way that you wan roster him and two or three other stars this week. The scrubs you will pair with those stars will be strong players. We anticipate approximately 15% ownership of Spieth this weekend.

Adam Scott – Currently ranked #5 in the world, Scott has had a quiet fall season playing in just three events. However, he finished 2nd, 5th and 12th in three starts. Scott has four Top 10 finishes at Doral and his game is well suited for the course. He drives the ball over 300 yards, ranked 10th in greens in regulation last season and 5th in strokes gained tee to green. In 2014, Scott was also 1st in Par 5 scoring. Scott seems to be reaching the peak of his career and we anticipate him being a strong competitor this week. Due to his lighter than normal schedule in recent months, we anticipate slightly lower levels of ownership than normal. We project 10-15% ownership levels for Scott this week.

Honorable Mention – Graeme McDowell missed the cut last week and his price dropped like a rock this week. McDowell has huge value at his price this week. He has placed in the Top 10 in three of the past five years, including a 9th place finish last year. Do not hold the difficult course conditions of last week against him. He plays the Florida courses well so we expect a bounce back this week. Expect 8-10% ownership of McDowell. Patrick Reed He seemed in control last week and it looked like he has the Honda won until a shot into the water on the 15th hole sent him into a tailspin that he could not recover from. He is the defending champion here and has a victory under his belt this season. Reed is affordable and a great play this week.


Jamie Donaldson – We want to start by saying that we believe that Donaldson will be the highest owned player of the week. Given his low price, 2nd place finish here last year and strong play in recent weeks, it all adds up to a player who will probably be owned by close to 30% of the field. His putting has been tremendous so far this season helping him to achieve several strong finishes. We like Donaldson this week, but truth be told, the best way to play this is to fade him in the majority of your lineups. If you are playing tournaments, maybe only include him in 10-15% of your lineups. He played Doral well last year, but was not very good the year before so this should not be the slam dunk that many are predicting. Proceed with caution…

JB Holmes – It is hard to believe that a player like Holmes could be priced this low this week. Considering his strengths and recent play, we think Holmes will compete for a Top 10 spot this week. He has been great in his last three tournaments with 2nd, 10th and 22nd place finishes at some very challenging tournaments. If Holmes can remember to bring his putter with him this week and does not lose strokes on the green, he could be a good pick at the lower end of the price range this week. We anticipate 10-15% ownership of Holmes this week.

Jason Dufner – Can we now officially say that Jason Dufner is back after last week’s quality finish? He started 2015, tripping out of the gate and missing a couple of cuts, but seems to be finding his game. Dufner has been in the Top 30 in all four of his starts at Doral and took 9th last year. He does not drive the ball as far as others, but he is accurate, which keeps him out of trouble at Doral and he is a strong tee to green player. At this price there is a lot of value as Dufner certainly has Top 10 potential. Dufner is also one that could be overlooked. We would anticipate 8-10% ownership of Dufner.

Hunter Mahan – There is nothing particularly flashy about Mahan’s game, but there also is not a lot in terms of weaknesses either. Normally, we are not big fans of Mahan as he seems to lack the killer instinct to match his talent. However, he will never be near this price again and can be a great 5th or 6th player to fill out a roster. He probably will not be the player that puts your team over the top in a tournament, but he is not going to hurt you either. He has been in the Top 25 the last four years and the Top 10 in two of those years. We anticipate his ownership levels will be in the 8% range for the week.

Branden Grace – The South African has been the hottest player on the European Tour this season. He is 9 for 9 making the cut this season with only one finish outside of the Top 25. With two wins in that stretch, Grace has taken some big steps this year in solidifying his status as a top player. The biggest knock on Grace in the daily fantasy world is his lack of success on US soil in big tournaments. While that is certainly true, he has also elevated his game this year to a new level. He is going to be overlooked by most players who do not follow the European Tour that closely or who have only seen Grace struggle previously. Grace will have only be about 3%-5% owned at the most this week.

Charl Schwartzel – Here is another great opportunity to ‘Buy Low’. Schwartzel played miserable at PGA national last weekend driving his price down as his score rose. However, this does present us with an opportunity to get him at a low price and without the worry of him being highly owned. We do not want you to load up on Schwartzel. However, if you own him and he does return to form, he has the potential to be a difference maker for your team. Put him onto one of your tournament rosters this week with one or two other low owned players and you will have a team that is diversified from the field so that if we have another tournament like last week, you may very well see a team like this in contention. Plus, Charl has three straight Top 25 finishes at Doral which also includes three Top 10 finishes.


Shane Lowry – If you like Jamie Donaldson, but do not want to own a player owned by a huge percentage of the field, look no further than Shane Lowry this week. Lowry was great at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach. He is average at driving the ball, but a quality tee to green player. He has no experience at Doral which is obviously a drawback, but he lacked experience at Torrey Pines another long and challenging course and it did not hurt him there. He is cheaper than Donaldson, but should finish this week in a similar range on the leaderboard. Since he has played in only a couple of recent events, we anticipate only about 5-7% of the field will own Lowry this week making him a strong play for tournament formats.

John Senden Senden has a nice history here with three Top 20 finishes in three starts. Senden is solid in Par 5 scoring and one of the better players in greens in regulation. At this price, you can fit him into your lineup with one or two other players at this price level and stack towards the top. With Senden’s tournament history, we anticipate he will be a slightly higher owned sleeper in the 7-8% range.

Stephen Gallacher – One of the cheapest options of the week, Gallacher remains one of the top rated players in our momentum rankings this week even with his 41st place finish last week. Gallacher finished 6th at Doral last year and his form is great right now having made the cut in each tournament he has played this season to include four Top 25 finishes. There should not be a lot of difference between a player like Gallacher and a player like Donaldson…other than that Gallacher will be owned by under 5% of the field.

Joost Luiten – We loved him last week and he paid big dividends for us with an 11th place finish. We know that not many folks took our advice on Joost as he was owned by only about 1% of the field last week. Joost played well at Doral last year with a 13th place finish. Luiten has not made a big charge towards winning any events this season, but his steady play, low levels of ownership and rock bottom price make him a very good sleeper play this week.

Honorable Mention – There are so many players that are interesting options, but we do not want to recommend the entire field just to be able to cherry pick when grading our results at the end of the weekend. However, we would be remiss if we did not mention several names that have been fantastic on the European PGA Tour who will make their first starts this season on the PGA Tour. Take a look at how each of the players have played this season on our Who’s Hot tab on the main menu: Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Warren, Anirban Lahiri and Tommy Aiken. All of these players are compelling sleeper plays this week although only Aiken has any history here where he finished 7th in 2009 and 35th at 2011. It is difficult to say which one or two of these players will excel, but of the players in that bottom range, it would not be a surprise to see one or two of these players make a push for a Top 10 finish.

I hope that everyone appreciated the lengthy analysis today for this week’s tournament. With so many big names in the field, we wanted to make sure that we were thorough in going over a lot of different players and options. If there are things that you would like to see us focus on more, please feel free to write in with questions or comments. We will be happy to incorporate suggestions and ideas into the mix.

Good luck and enjoy the tournament!


Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 28, 2015 03:09

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