RBC Canadian Open: Thursday, July 27th through Sunday July 30th
Damn, Jordan. I do not know what to make of that dude sometimes. I actually backed a fair amount as I think statistically he’s having a much better year than he ever had (including 2015). Then he goes back to his miss-all-the-fairways-and-save-it-with-miracles approach and pulls off the dramatic win. Not to mention all the talk leading up was about how narrow the fairways were and how bad missing them would be. He didn’t even putt that well overall, but absolutely nailed a pair of 40 footers down the stretch to put away Mr. Consistent, Matt Kuchar.
A strategy I had talked about a bunch leading up to the week was trying to get groups of players teeing off around the same time in hopes that weather would wipe out a wave at some point. Unfortunately this meant most of my Spieth teams were wrapped up in spectacular train wrecks like Louis, Steele, and JT, who just caught some ugly weather. Meanwhile, my solid core on the other side (lots of Kuchar/RCB/Casey/Xander) was largely anchored by Dustin Johnson, who mailed it in on Sunday.
Ultimately after a tough start I had grinded all the way back to even on Sunday (Aaron Baddeley weekend play!), only to have the Spieth closing god run turn it into a pretty tough week overall. Nice work, kid…you &*$# luckbox %^$#… what? Nothing!
OH AND HILLBILLY WON THE FUCKING BARBASOL!!! so I didn’t even get to reap the benefits of that. Sigh.
A quick weekend report, as I was really surprised at how it played out-
Man, was I excited about the late slate. We were looking at a whole new course basically, with veeery little wind on Saturday and Sunday meaning prime scoring conditions, an implication that the skills that had translated to the most success up to that point may not be the same going forward. Meanwhile, DFS players can’t help themselves but to load up the top of the leaderboard. I absolutely jammed sub 10% Rahm/Deej/Finau/Pieters/Charl, and was somewhat shocked none of them (well, Deej had a Saturday) could pile up the birds at all when other players had no problem. I legit think that was the best weekend spot of the year to this point, and I still feel good about the process. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.
This week is back to mediocrity with the Canadian Open (#ourOpen), but it’s our second to last field of stiffs for the year! Seriously, the end is in coming. This week, then WGC Bridgestone into the PGA Championship, the Wyndham (the other stinker), and then a month of playoffs. I actually had one of my best weeks here last year, as I think the community misread “difficult fairways” with “ballstriker’s course”.
People absolutely mash it off the tee here, with seven holes having an average DD over 300 (daaaamn). Driving distance has gone up over the years too, which may have something to do with the crowd it increasingly attracts (most of the big names this week crush) or perhaps the players are realizing this is a great course to let it hang out. Oh, AND we’ve got four par 5s again, something we have not been seeing lately. Sure, you’d rather be in the fairways and it’s not particularly long. But it sure seems like beating the shit out of the ball and having a reasonable game from 150 yards in is the GTO way to get this done.
Length/Fairways: Length and not being an embarrassment around the greens are my priorities this week, and I’ll be way in on some of my old favorites. I see LOTS of approach shots from 100-150, especially for the longer players. PGATOUR.com does keep stats for accuracy from the rough that can be used as a guideline. I’d be careful with too many specific distances though, as the sample sizes are small. Approaches from >100 yards (RGH) is a good starting point.
Greens: These greens are fast-ish, a number of approaches will be coming from the rough, and the wind does pick up from time to time. This should lead to a surprising number of missed greens despite how short the approaches will be. Which means around the green work will be important.
Weather: Wind happens here, nothing to report yet.
On to the golfers:
Pricey (9.0K+ DK):
Dustin Johnson-12.2/19.4: Listen, it’s Tuesday morning and I’m already hearing people talk a ton of trash about playing this dude. Let’s not forget he was 45% owned at a higher price in the fairly similar bomb and wedge competition in Mexico, and that was a WGC event with the world’s top 50 golfers!! Maybe he and the wife are having problems but man, the talent discrepancy hasn’t been this big between the best player and the rest at an event all year, AND the touts aren’t into him? Buy buy buy.
Tony Finau-9.5/16.2: Chalk alert, but for good reason. Guy gains strokes off the tee in every tournament, you can spray it a little here, and the around the green work has been fine. If he gains strokes putting (a coin flip) then a top 10 with upside for A LOT (of eagles) more is a lock.
Bubba Watson-9.4/16.2: Borderline scout take, but I thought Bubba looked good last week. Looked like he knew where the ball was going much more than he generally has this year, and that “shaping” is his biggest strength when he’s on. I mean the math has never given up on him, so I need some other reason if I’m going there. I think the price jump will scare people, but Bubba has always had great wedges and an eye for where to miss off the tee, both major assets here.
Mid-range (7.5-8.9 DK):
J.B. Holmes-8.5/15.4, Gary Woodland-7.9/14.3: Sprays off the tee but still gains strokes, really good short game, get used to hearing that. J.B. and I are back. Oh, did I mention so are a full assembly of par 5s? What do the guys I’ve mentioned so far have in common?
James Hahn-7.6/13.8: The surprise pop for me thus far, Hahn is fine off the tee although not a bomber. He keeps it in the fairway which won’t hurt (easier approaches), and has been really really good around the greens. Someone I will target at a higher rate if the wind looks to be up.
And prob a lil Hillbilly, even though I do worry about him more the shorter his irons are.
If anyone is playing Graham Delaet for the Canadian narrative, I wouldn’t. Greens will be missed and he is truly one of the worst at dealing with that particular pickle.
Cheapies (below 7.4 DK):
Ryan Palmer-6.9/13.4: I know, I know. Trust me, I don’t like it either. But that price is nuts and this course is very different from the grisly scenes of his serial failures up to this point on the season. He’s still good T2G, he just needs to make an extra 7 foot putt once a round for a week. I’m guessing five times as many people will be asking Luke List to do the same.
Jhonny Vegas-7.0/12.7: The defending champ has missed approx. 99.6% of cuts this year, but he also got to play in all the majors with his win here. This, um, isn’t a major. He also has very specific skills that don’t translate to many courses during the height of the season. They do here. Hopefully people are off due to the horrendous form, cause when he’s on he can go looooow.
Harold Varner-6.8/12.1: Horrible short game but oh my, the scoring. Lots of upside, par 5 city, really smushing the wedge game. Another guy with just as much upside as List but I’m willing to bet far less ownership. No more III hopefully means no more triples.
Patrick Rodgers-7.0/14.5: Bad iron player at this point, but this is one of the most forgiving places we’ll see for that particular deficiency. I’m a little worried the hot putter will jack his ownership but I’m also finally interested after laying off lately.
Ollie Scniederjahns-7.2/14.3 seems underpriced, and you know I’ll take a couple shots on Jason Kokrak-6.7/13.4 and J.J. Spaun-6.9/12.1 even though neither lineup up well for different reasons.
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FanDuel is back, with a roster of eight golfers counting for all four rounds. A potential improvement for sure, and duplicate lineups won’t be anything to worry about. However, if we say traditionally 10-15% of lineups get 6/6 through that implies around a 70% hit rate for DFS players. Add two more guys to the roster and you can halve that 10-15% for the number of 8/8 teams. We will be seeing weekend golf there sooner rather than later.
Go and get it everybody.
Find me on Twitter @andrewmbarron or in the FanVice Premium Slack @hotmajik if you wanna talk strat/make jokes/argue