Above the Cut: World Golf Championships (WGC) – Mexico City, March 2nd – 5th
We are heading south of the border this week to Mexico for the WGC Mexico from Club de Golf Chapultepec which is located right on the outskirts of Mexico City. This is going to be interesting as this event has been previously held at Trump National in Doral from 2007 all the way till last year. We are not going to have course history to rely on and it is also a no cut event to add to the craziness.
The field is only going to be about 75 players this week as opposed to the usual 150 or so that normal events have. The field consists of the top ranked golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings as well as the top leaders from the money lists of each of the main tours around the world. You are going to see some names you have probably never seen before as the top players from the Sunshine Tour, Australasia Tour, and Japan Golf Tour rarely play in PGA events during the year. Personally, I love this as I play a lot of Euro Tour golf and love to target some of the lesser known names that are talented, but primarily play on other tours.
I had to do some digging on this course as Club de Golf Chapultepec is not one I have ever heard of before. The tournament is going to be a par 71 format and the course is listed out at roughly 7,300 yards. However, with the course sitting over 7,000 feet above sea level it should make it play and feel much shorter for the players. We are back to Poa Annua greens which always makes things interesting with the putters and the course seems like one that the players should be able to attack. After glancing over the layout there are several short Par 4s that most players in the field will be able to really get after depending on which way the winds are blowing.
Since this is a non-cut event we want to target those high upside players who make a ton of birdies even more so than usual. They are guaranteed four rounds, so we do not have to worry about them blowing up in round one and missing a cut. Another key stat for me is going to be looking at players who excel with approach shots, specifically short approach shots. Many of these holes are short enough where players are not going to have much distance left after their tee shots and being able to land those shots close to the hole is going to be key this week.
Well Rickie Fowler finally held on to a lead. I really thought he was going to blow it when the weather really started to get bad, but he held it together for a pretty uneventful Sunday. I honestly expected the course to play harder the first three days, and Sunday showed how crazy things can get when the wind picks up. I had just enough Rickie and Woodland to make a week where I really could have taken a beating into basically a break even. For me primarily playing only GPPs half the battle is trying to minimize losses on weeks when your core is not ideal and last week felt like it could have been a total disaster with Russell Knox and Daniel Berger both getting cut. Luckily, besides those two train wrecks I was totally off Brendan Grace and was light on Thomas Pieters and Brooks Koepka which helped to get some solid 6/6 teams thru. Anyways onto this week, I am usually not super excited about non-cut events, but this week should be fun with such an interesting course and field.
Rory McIlroy $10,900 DK / $21,600 FDraft – This is a week where besides Jason Day every single top golfer in the world will be teeing it up, giving you plenty of high end guys to choose from. Obviously when you are dealing with the talent of these guys you can make a case for any one of them to win any week they are in the field. Rory is coming off an injury and has not been playing much golf besides that round with Trump last week which caused some backlash. It would have been must see TV if this was still being played at Trumps course in FL, but hopefully Rory will silence the critics by dominating the field. I am willing to risk that Rory is good to go and I consider him the best golfer in the world when healthy. He makes a ton of birdies, and if he putts even half decent he will be in contention. He is not the safest option up top, but I will take the savings with Rory over DJ and Spieth any week I can.
Henrik Stenson $10,300 DK / $20,500 FDraft – Stenson should have a field day here with the way this course sets up. He should not have to hit driver much and when he can keep it in the fairway he just destroys courses and hits a ton of greens. My biggest concern with him would be motivation which can be a factor at these type of events, but if he gets off to a strong start, which I expect him to do it should not even come into play.
Adam Scott $9,200 DK / $19,100 FDraft – Did not make much noise last week, but still manage to sneak in a top 15 finish. Obviously when you are the highest priced golfer that is not going to get it done, but we get a nice discount on Scott this week and I will have many teams starting with him and Rory up top. Scott tee to green is as good as anyone and he has a history of playing well in these non-cut events. I think he has great value at this price and consider him one of the favorites this week.
Sergio Garcia $8,500 DK / $18,800 FDraft – I know, I am sorry about three weeks straight of recommending you roster this guy only to watch him miss putt after putt. As frustrating as he may be, he is striking the ball great and IF he can correct his putting issues he is going to be in the hunt. With so many talented players in the field you get Sergio at a nice price and he will not have to be your top guy in your lineups. I think this sets up well for him and as I mention often, most people who have been using Sergio should be frustrated after his last two weeks so it may keep ownership somewhat down.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello $7,400 DK / $15,500 FDraft – Was there any doubt that him or Steele would make an appearance in this article. RCB was not at his best last week, but he made the cut and did not wreck your lineups if you used him. I prefer to use him on tracks like last week because he is so consistent, but still do not mind him in this no cut format. He should have no problem attacking this course and giving himself plenty of chances for birdies. I do worry if it is a scoring fest because that does not suite his game, but if this course plays tougher than expected I think that will be a huge bonus to Bello.
Emiliano Grillo $7,300 DK / $15,600 FDraft – Grillo imploded on Sunday, but overall, he played well last week. He now gets to a course with Poa Annua which he prefers, and one where his solid tee to green game should benefit him. He really has not been in the best form this year, but I think last week really showed flashes of firing on all cylinders. With no risk of cut this week it seems like a nice spot to target Grillo, who when on, has huge upside.
Matthew Fitzpatrick $7,300 DK / $14,500 FDraft – Loved him last week and he showed why he is one of the most erratic and risky plays any time he is in the field. He almost missed the cut by hitting into water on the last hole Friday, then in a span of four holes on Saturday went Eagle, Double Bogey, Double Bogey, Double Bogey. I can safely say that we probably will not see too many more Double bogey streaks this year, but with Fitzpatrick you never know. This format really benefits him as he racks up birdies and as you saw last week can have some awful streaks as well. One of my favorite GPP plays, and if we get the good Fitzpatrick he should easily pay off that reasonable price tag.
Alexander Noren $7,200 DK / $15,000 FDraft – Noren is not the most well-known golfer, but right now he sits tenth in the world golf rankings, two spots above Justin Rose just to give you some context. Noren is legit and his game should be a nice fit at a course where clubbing down off the tee is going to be prevalent. Like a lot of the non-PGA tour players his current form is a little questionable, but I just think he is way too talented to be priced in this range.
Bubba Watson $7,000 DK, $15,800 FDraft – Bubba may be hurt, he may just be terrible, but I just cannot get away from him at that price in a no cut event. It has gotten to the point where he has been so awful that having 10-15% exposure to him can put you ahead of the field. Now in this event there is only about 75 guys so ownership is going to be inflated across the board, but I expect a ton of people have blacklisted Bubba until they see him perform. I probably should be on that list because he has killed me this entire year, but if he is going to get it together this seems like a perfect spot. Bubba is not someone I am making a bold stand on this week due to the extreme risk, but I plan to have more exposure to him than the field does.
Ricky Fowler $9,900 DK / $19,600 FDraft – Fowler obviously is playing great since he is coming off a win last week, but he is priced at a premium which makes it tough to play him. To me I would prefer pretty much all the other golfers in his price range and think Fowler really will have a tough time having a top five finish this week which is what his price dictates him needing.
Good luck everyone!
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