2017 WGC Bridgestone Invitational – Thursday, August 3rd though Sunday, August 6th
This week we have a World Golf Championship event which means no cut and a field that is around 75 players as opposed to the usual 150 group. The venue is the WGC Bridgestone from Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, which should mean we go back to having the winning score at under -20 to par, but the way guys have been scoring who knows. This is the last tourney before the final major of the year, and there is not much time left for any golfers hoping to make a late charge and finish the year strong.
Firestone Country Club is par 70 measuring out around 7400 yards and should pose a difficult challenge for the top golfers in the world. The fairways and greens are both difficult to hit, so we want accurate players, but having some length to deal with some of these long holes helps as well. Greens are bentgrass and can be speedy so expect to see some three putts this week. Overall, we want solid drivers who gained strokes off the tee and players who can dial it in with the irons. Around the green game I think will correlate well, as even the best will miss some of these greens and being able to get up and down will be key to competing this week.
Since this is a WGC it is a smaller field so we only have half the golfers to choose from. All the elite players are in the field so we will have plenty of talent to choose from and even the cheap options are pretty legit players. This is a non-cut event, so being volatile is not as much risk as usual since we are guaranteed four rounds from all our golfers, unless one of them pulls the Si Woo Kim special and just quits after 20 holes.
RBC Canadian open turned into a scoring fest, which seems like a common theme lately. I really do not like tourneys where scoring gets out of control and streaks and bonuses can really cause placement points to not matter as much. Felt like I should have gotten more out of the week, but overall it was a pretty uneventful showing. DJ sleep walked to a top 10 finish which was not exactly what I was looking for, and Johnny Vegas going nuclear on the greens was the difference Sunday so props to him for going b2b. Kuchar and Cantlay sneaking into the cut also was not ideal and ballooned the 6/6% for the week.
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Rory McIlroy $11.4k DK/$18.5k FDraft – Next week Rory sets up incredibly well as he dominates Quail Hollow, but I will still have some this week as he did show signs after his god-awful start to the Open. With the talent in this field obviously all the elite players are in play so you can comfortably play any of these top tier players. One of the best off the tee which should be important and with so many options to choose from I do not expect ownership to be outrageous, but that is something to monitor as the week progresses.
Ricky Fowler 10.6k DK/$17.1k FDraft – After an uneventful Open where he was the massive chalk hopefully a lot of people jump off Ricky. Elite scrambler, and has been playing great golf the entire year so he sets up well once again. Hideki at a similar price point is intriguing and depending on where the ownership seems to fall between those two will determine how much exposure I have to each, but I think this is a week to buy on Ricky and hope the masses look elsewhere.
Jason Day $9.4k DK/$16.3k FDraft – Ohio hometown narrative, should have won last year before melting down late and letting DJ take it, and a price that is undervalued puts Day squarely in play this week. Hoping his ownership stays somewhat limited as I will be unloading on him if I think I can get him around 10-15% this week. Only question for me this week with Day is how much is too much, probably my favorite play of the week and the person I expect to be holding the trophy come Sunday.
Paul Casey $9k DK/$15.9k FDraft – Obviously recommending Paul Casey since I play him every week. He again at the Open started off with hot fire and then did Paul Casey like things and collapsed, but still breezed thru the cut and finished T11 which is very solid. Casey has not won, but also has rarely if ever burned anyone this year so I will continue to roster him and hope he can keep up these top 15 finishes that he keeps posting. Stats wise he is solid across the board, only knock would be his upside is pretty limited and he has not broken thru to get a W this year.
Justin Thomas $8.2k DK, $15.3k FDraft – No cut format is a huge bonus to JT as he has massive upside, but can also derail his entire week with a few monster numbers. Still he should be able to outscore his finish with the amount of birdies he makes and the price is appealing.
Marc Leishman $8k DK/$15.4k FDraft – Stats wise checks out as he has been solid OTT and with the irons, and I think his putting is due to positively regress. Has not played too much in the last few months, but two straight top 10s, one of which was at the Open shows he is in form and can compete with the best players.
Thomas Pieters $7.3k DK/$14.6k FDraft – Similar to JT where he benefits from the guaranteed 4 rounds as he is volatile, but has the upside to go super low and outscore his placement points. His season has fizzled a little lately which should keep ownership down, and with a price tag in the low 7’s he can be one of your last players on the roster and a nice GPP play that can differentiate some chalky lineups.
Charl Schwartzel $7.2k DK/$14.4k FDraft – Mostly a price specific play, but at $7200 on DK that’s a lot of upside for not a lot of salary. Solid course history at Firestone, the one worry is that he has been a little erratic off the tee which can get you into a lot of trouble around this place. Definitely GPP only, but someone who can get on a run and smash his salary.
Russell Henley $7.1k DK/$13.9k FDraft – Not sure if this is going to be a sneaky play, but I think Henley sets up well here and may go overlooked. Consistent year from Russell and his off the tee game has been solid along with his fire on the greens which is a deadly combination. Always a little scary to target guys putting really well, but I do not think that’s an unsustainable trend and expect Henley to be in the hunt if he can hit a lot of greens and set himself up for a lot of birdie looks.
Fades & Notes
Brooks Koepka – This is playing with fire as Koepka has been on a tear and I was 100% certain he was going to play bad at the Open and he contended from start to finish so clearly, he is still dialed in. Still I am not paying 11.1k for Brooks when I can pay 11.4 for Rory or take a discount for Hideki or Ricky.
Good luck everyone!
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