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.
This is a tiny 18 man invite only field. The event is sponsored by the Tiger Woods foundation and none of the prize money (first is a million) counts towards the PGA Tour’s money list. The good news for fantasy is that there is not cut, the bad news is that in such a small field there’s really no room for error. You’ll need all your players to finish inside the top 10 to have a shot at winning any GPPs this week and landing the winner will be an absolute must. With lots of prize money and Woods as the title sponsor, there are lots of great players here this week including Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.
Albany Course, Bahamas
Par 72, 7,400 yards
This is the first time this course will have been played for the Hero World Challenge and that is important to note since looking back at course history won’t provide any help. The Albany course is an Ernie Els design and is very exposed and links styled in its design. There’s some serious bunkering on the course too and Els himself described it as a course which mimics some of the classic links venues from Scotland. The course is also quite dissimilar from most PGA tour venues in that it is actually a par 72, but has five par 5’s and five par 3’s (and only eight par 4’s). What is certain is that being in the Bahamas on an exposed course means that the wind will definitely be a factor. Players who hit it long and can handle some expected gusts should have an edge this weekend.
Last 5 winners
Par 5 scoring
Par 3 Scoring
This course is definitely a bit of an unknown in terms of how it will play and so I think being as simple as possible this week when looking at stats is a good idea. With the course set up as very wide open and pretty long I definitely think driving distance will be a factor and would target those with length off the tee when possible. I also think that given the makeup of the course using par 5 scoring and par 3 scoring ranks are both good ideas. Scoring well on the par 5’s will be crucial just because those holes will, for the most part, represent the best birdie chances. Overall I’d suggest targeting players with good length and players who can handle the quirky makeup of this course this week.
**On a non-statistical note I also wouldn’t hesitate to give players with good links records a bit of bump this week either. The course has a lot of links style elements and the players who are comfortable in that type of setting will have an advantage.
The Hot List:
– Patrick Reed has now finished inside the top ten in his last 5 events, this includes finishes of 2nd and 3rd place. He’s playing as well as anyone right now.
– Adam Scott has had a nice end of season run and been playing a lot in the South Pacific. He’s now recorded top ten finishes in 4 of his last 5 events and looks to be adjusting to life with a short putter nicely.
– Jordan Spieth just missed out on the win last week down in Australia and now has a 2nd and 7th place finish in his last two events. Is he ever not in good form?
The Not List:
– Jimmy Walker had a terrible end to his 2015 campaign and hasn’t had a top 10 in over 4 months of play. He’s definitely coming in cold to this event.
– Anirban Lahiri had some nice finishes in 2015 but hasn’t done too much in his last three starts going 34-40-21, he could turn things around this week and has been playing a lot.
– Brooks Koepka had a pretty terrible end to his 2015 season on the PGA and has been on a break for a while now. It’s hard to say how he’ll play this week but his talent could overcome any recent poor form.
This is a tiny field and because of that it makes sense to use some imagination this week if you’re making tournament lineups. Given the caliber of field there’s really not a bad pick, although certain players have definitely been playing more competitive golf of late than others. I’d definitely suggest looking at players who should be comfortable handling the open/links style nature of this course and make sure you have exposure to a couple of the big names who should be in the mix. Nailing the winner will be crucial.
My Pick: Patrick Reed
Reed’s actually been playing a lot lately in Europe and is in good form coming into this event. I really like the fact that Reed has always performed well in these reduced/elite field events as he already has a Tournament of Champions title and WGC title to his credit. Reed took advantage of the par 5’s and handled the winds in Hawaii to start 2015 with a win, I think it’s quite plausible he does the same to end it with one in the Bahamas.
My Sleeper: Brooks Koepka
Koepka has not had a very good end to his year but this course seems well-suited for him. His length will be a huge advantage on the par 5’s this week and having grown up in Florida he’s definitely used to playing in hot, windy conditions. He’s had some success on the Euro tour on similar courses and on Whistling Straights earlier this year too. I think it’s plausible he’s in the hunt this weekend too.