The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
TOUR JUNKIES AFTER DARK
THE FIELDThe tournament this week is a limited field, no-cut, World Golf Championship event with a field that should round out at 72 players. This event used to be named the WGC Cadillac and was held in South Florida at the famous Doral Course, but was moved to Mexico three years ago for various reasons. Since this is a WGC event, the prize purse is also larger than normal, and the field is mainly limited to only elite PGA/Euro players, and a few special international qualifiers. Some of the top players have decided to skip this week with Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day all skipping for various reasons. The flipside to this is that we’ll also be getting out first look at some bigger international names as Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and Shane Lowry are all set to make their PGA 2020 debuts.
THE COURSEClub de Golf Chapultepec—Mexico City, Mexico
7,300-7400 yards – Par 71
The players will be playing at the Club de Golf Chapultepec (we’ll just call it the CGC form here on out) for the third year in a row. The CGC is an older Mexican course that has undergone some renovations in the past few years and has acted as the host for more modern competitive events held in Mexico City — including the Mexican Open on the PGA Latin America Tour. It can be played as a par 72 but one of the par 5s is converted into a par 4 this week for the pros, so it will play as a par 71 this week with three par 5s. The course features Poa Annua Greens and Kikuyu grass on the fairways and rough, making it somewhat similar in style to Riviera, the course the players saw at The Genesis Open last week. It should also be noted that CGC is located at 8000 feet of elevation, meaning golf balls will fly further than normal this week in the thin air and the course, therefore, plays much shorter than advertised. The field has averaged around 10 yards or so more in average driving distance, compared to other Tour venues in previous years here.
In terms of layout, the CGC is an interesting test. It features some dauntingly long holes, that admittedly won’t play that long at altitude, and some challenging, tight, tee shots. Two of the three par fives play at over 600 yards, and there are also three par 4s which measure in at 480 yards or more. With that being said, there’s also four par 4s which come in at under 400 yards, including the par 4 — first hole which measures in at a mere 315 yards and will likely be a hole players will need to birdie to keep up with the field this week.
This venue presents lots of quirks the players have to adjust to and while it has yielded a lot of low scores, included multiple 62s in a three-year span, it’s also frustrated a lot of the best players at times. Last year it ranked as the 17th hardest venue on Tour and yielded just a 70.861 scoring average, barely under par for the week. Unless they slow the greens or cut the rough down significantly, expect scoring to somewhat tough here again this season.
2020 Weather Outlook: There’s little to nothing to report for the weather forecast this week. The temperatures won’t be as hot here as they have been in past seasons but the highs will still find the low 70’s this week with AM lows sitting in the low 60’s. Cloudy to Sunny skies are forecast with no rain. There is likely to be a little bit of wind on the course the first couple of days with gusts topping out in the 10-12 mph range. It’s possible the very earliest starters will have a slight advantage although remember that the field is smaller and therefore tee times will be tightly bunched. The small amount of wind looks like it will die off on the weekend, making the weather look like a non-event this week.
LAST 5 WINNERS2019—Dustin Johnson -21 (over Rory McIlroy -16)
2018—Phil Mickelson -16 (over Justin Thomas playoff)
2017—Dustin Johnson -14 (over Tommy Fleetwood -13)
2016 – Adam Scott -12 (over Bubba Watson -11)
2015 – Dustin Johnson -9 (over JB Holmes -8)
WINNING TRENDS– Each of the past three winners at WGC Mexico had already recorded a top five or better on the PGA Tour in the year of their win, before securing their win at this event.
|2019: Dustin Johnson
SG: Off the Tee—7th
SG: Tee to Green—2nd
|2018: Phil Mickelson
SG: Off the Tee—19th
SG: Tee to Green—12th
|2017: Dustin Johnson
SG: Off the Tee—27th
SG: Tee to Green—1st
The quick greens here also led to around the green play being a big factor. Three of the top 5 from 2018 year ranked T3 or better in scrambling stats for the week while second and third-place finishers from 2017 (Fleetwood/Rahm) finished first and second in this stat for the week.
It’s been quite clear that this week is a bit of a putting contest. Phil won in 2018 on the back of a hot putter and Dustin beat Rory last year by five strokes even though he actually lost strokes to McIlroy in the Tee to Green category.
FINDING VALUESOdds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
– Louis Oosthuizen +4500 and $8,900– Sergio Garcia +5000 and $8,600
|Brandt Snedeker||+5500||$7,700||– Shane Lowry $7,800 and +6600
– Jordan Spieth $8,000 and +6600– Bubba Watson $8,200 and +6000
Course Horses**This event switched venues back in 2017 to its current location, so we only have three years of data to look at this week.
1. Dustin Johnson (best finishes: win-2017 and 2019): Johnson has won this event in two of the three years it’s been played in Mexico. He lit up the greens here last year and has absolutely dominated this classic venue which plays shorter than advertised due to altitude.
2. Tommy Fleetwood (best finishes: T2-2017): Fleetwood came here in 2017 and nearly pulled off a shock win. He’s played here three times now and never finished worse than T19.
3. Justin Thomas (best finishes: 2nd-2018): Thomas finished second here in 2018, famously holing out for eagle on the final hole to force a playoff. He’s shot 62 at this week’s venue twice now in 12 rounds.
4. Paul Casey (best finishes: T4-2019): Casey has improved his finishing position here every year since 2017, finishing T3 last season on the back of two weekend 65’s.
5. Sergio Garcia (best finishes: T6-2019): Garcia has also improved his finishing position at this week’s event every year he’s attended. He finished T12 here the first time this event was played in Mexico, T7 the following year and T6 last year on the back of four-under-par rounds.
Recent Form1. Adam Scott: Scott has only played twice over the last nine weeks now, but he’s won each of those starts. Coming into this week off his first win on the PGA since 2016, it’s worth noting that the Aussie is playing WGC Mexico for the first time since 2017 this week.
2. Rory McIlroy: Rory stumbled again last Sunday but rallied for a T5 finish at Riviera, his second top-5 finish in two PGA starts this year. He finished runner-up last year at this event.
3. Webb Simpson: Simpson is coming in off a win two weeks ago in Phoenix. He’s not finished outside the top 10 in five straight starts, a run that includes a win and a playoff loss.
4. Jon Rahm: Cooled off a bit last week, finishing “only” T17. The top-20 finish marked the first time in seven starts that Rahm hasn’t finished inside the top-10. He’ll look to start a new streak here.
5. Victor Perez: Perez has played almost strictly on the Euro Tour of late, but he enters having scored two runner-up finishes and a win over his last nine starts. He’s made nine straight cuts overall and will look to make a statement here against stiffer competition.
DFS StrategyCash Games: Rahm’s price-drop worth taking advantage of
Rahm ($10,600) comes into this week off a T17 finish at the Genesis Open, his worst finish in over five starts. The Spaniard has seen his price drop $600 this week over last and does have a T3 finish from 2017 at this week’s venue. Located right under Rahm in salary, Hideki Matsuyama ($10,000) is coming off a big week where he ranked first in SG: Tee to Green and makes for a decent cash target. Other players to consider for this format include Paul Casey ($8,700), Sergio Garcia ($8,600), Shane Lowry ($7,800), Kevin Kisner ($7,200) and Sebastian Munoz ($6,800).
Tournaments: Fleetwood could come in overlooked and under-owned
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200) will be making his first start on the PGA Tour this week but he’s already recorded T11 and T2 finishes on the European Tour in 2020 and is coming in off a great stretch of golf. He finished T2 at this venue in 2017 and could be a nice low-owned pivot in GPPs as he’s sandwiched in between some big PGA names. The same can be said for Louis Oosthuizen ($8,900), who is also coming in off a fantastic stretch of golf on the Euro Tour. Other players to consider for big GPPs on DraftKings this week includes Patrick Reed (see below), Bernd Wiesberger ($7,400), Kurt Kitayama ($7,200), Danny Willett ($7,000), Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6,900) and Mike Lorenzo-Vera ($6,400).
MY PICK: Patrick Reed ($8,400)Reed comes into this week off a mediocre outing at the Genesis where he finished T51. The American has come close to capturing a win already in 2020 though, losing out in a playoff at the TOC event in Hawaii and finishing a surprise T6 at Torrey Pines. Despite the poor finish last week, Reed actually flashed better ball-striking at the Genesis, finishing 22nd for the week in SG: Approaches and he heads into Mexico this week to play a venue where he’s put up progressively better finishes in each of his first three appearances. Reed actually shot a third-round 64 here last season and was near the lead heading into Sunday before a poor final round set him back. The 2018 Masters champion ranked eighth for the week in SG: Putting here last season and 15th in Around the Green play, a good sign that he may have figured out these tough green complexes. Coming in off a decent start to the season, I like Reed here to contend for his second WGC title and, at under $8.5K in DraftKings salary, he looks like a nice upside play this week at an affordable price.
MY SLEEPER: Danny Willett ($7,000)Willett will be making his third career start at this week’s venue. While his T69 back in 2017 looks objectively terrible, his T27 from 2019 may be a good sign that the 2016 Masters Champion could be on the verge of a breakthrough at this event soon. Willet’s shown improved form over the past year or so, which has culminated in him capturing two big European Tour titles now over the past 18 months. The Englishman has admittedly started 2020 slowly, recording a T43 overseas and a missed cut last week at the Genesis in his last two starts. Still, his record at altitude is one of the best in the field as he has recorded wins at both the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Omega European Masters, two International events played at altitude. Thus, while his recent form looks a little off, the no-cut nature of this event could allow him to find some form this weekend and lead to a nice payoff for those willing to chance him on DraftKings. He’s a nice GPP play at just $7K in this eclectic field.
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