After an exciting week of golf ending in a playoff, the PGA Tour is off to the last stop on the Florida swing at Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In an event that features some of the top talent in the world, it will be important to fill your lineups with the right players, and avoid some potential land mines. Below you will find the golfers I Love, Like, and Hate this week to help you as you’re building your lineups.
Golfers I Love
Henrik Stenson ($11,100) – Henrik Stenson kept his streak alive last week and still has made every single cut for the last 12 months of golf. On top of that, Stenson was given a $400 decrease in salary this week, despite finishing T11 last week and his 3 top 10 finishes in his last 3 showings at this event. With only about 15% ownership last week, Stenson feels like a great option for both cash and GPPs this week.
Justin Rose ($10,500) – Justin Rose comes in at number 3 in my projections this week based on his 2015 stats, but so far through 2016 he ranks 10th in Strokes Gained Tee to Green and is 4th in 200-225 yards which should serve him well on a course that has par 3s that generally all fall into that range.
“During that stretch he has 4 finishes inside the top 10, and his game should continue to suit this course well”
Zach Johnson ($8,300) – At only $8,300 Zach Johnson feels like a freebie having missed only 1 cut at this event in 12 showings dating back to 2004. During that stretch he has 4 finishes inside the top 10 and his game should continue to suit this course well. While I don’t typically advocate Zach Johnson in cash games, he shouldn’t be overlooked this week in any format.
William McGirt ($7,700) – McGirt has very quietly had a pretty incredible set of showings in 2016 having finished top 25 in 4 events in the last 9 weeks. While I wouldn’t advocate having him in your cash lineup based on his volatile performance week to week, he has finally shown me some significant upside with a T8 finish last week, and, as a result, he will be making his way into my GPP lineups.
Hunter Mahan ($6,600) – Shockingly enough, Hunter Mahan comes in as the 4th ranked golfer in my projections for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. With his enticing sub $7k salary this week I suspect he will draw some attention but hopefully his 3 consecutive missed cuts on tour will keep his ownership down enough for it to be profitable rostering him in GPPs.
Golfers I Like
Adam Scott ($11,700) – It’s finally time for me to admit to myself that Adam Scott is not the same golfer he was in 2015 even with the change to standard length putter. That being said, his projections are not anything to write home about. My projections are based heavily on 2015 stats, so I am going to throw caution to the wind and get on the Adam Scott bandwagon this week given that he is the hottest golfer on tour.
Jason Day ($10,800) – Jason day has somehow made his way to sub $11k salary this week, and I am not going to hesitate to take advantage. Despite his mediocre results the last month or so, coupled with his tournament history, which doesn’t include a single top 10, I believe Jason Day is going to be severely overlooked in terms of ownership percentage and is one of the best golfers in the world. At some point he is going to hit his stride, and if he does this week, it’s the perfect time to own him.
Brendan Steele ($7,700) – I can’t help but get the sneaking impression that Brendan Steele is going to be making my Love/Hate article frequently this year. His price at only $7,700 doesn’t concern me too much with him frequently making cuts. On top of that, Steele comes in at 5th in All Around Ranking in 2016, which is a stat that takes into account Scoring Leaders, Putting Leaders, Eagle Leaders, Birdie Leaders, Sand Saves, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance, and Driving Accuracy. Based on this stat, he is one of the top overall golfers on tour statistically, and we can get him at under $8k.
Harris English ($8,400) – Harris English is the highest projected golfer in my model under the $9k range and as such, I will own a significant percentage of him. He is coming off his first missed cut in over two months and as a result, his ownership should be deflated. Most people will have forgotten that he has 2 top 10 finishes in his last 4 starts and his game sets up well for this course.
Spencer Levin ($5,900) – I’ll start with a warning that Levin is a sheer value play at only $5,900 and should not be a golfer that you have high ownership of. He is projected really well at this course in my model and finished 6th at this event back in 2011 but represents a GPP play only. As an event that has a recent history of being winnable by lower salary players, I like Levin as a value play at his price.
Golfers I Hate
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,100) – It’s worth mentioning that most of the golfers in the higher salary range have a shot at winning nearly every week whether they are on my love or hate list. However, Hideki feels like an exception. At over $10k, he seems like the golfer who has by far the worst likelihood of winning this event and at his price range, you are really looking for a golfer who is going to win the event.
Marc Leishman ($8,500) – Marc Leishman doesn’t feel like an $8,500 golfer when he is next to Graeme McDowell, Harris English, and Zach Johnson in price. He was sub-par in both Strokes Gained Tee to Green and Strokes Gained Putting through 2015 and, as such, will be a fade in my book on this course.
K.J. Choi ($7,700) – Despite having a really solid 2016 season thus far, K.J. Choi is not a $7,700 golfer and does not have the course history to back up his price. He projects extremely poorly on this course, and as a short hitter he doesn’t have the distance needed to compete here on a consistent basis.
“Despite his success here, he will likely not make it into a single lineup of mine”
Matt Every ($7,500) – Matt Every is a two-time returning champion, having won this event in 2014, and 2015, so it might surprise you to see him on my hate list. Despite his success here, he will likely not make it into a single lineup of mine. You can expect his ownership to be incredibly high, and Matt Every is overpriced having missed 3 of his last 4 cuts. His upside doesn’t seem worth it to me knowing how highly owned he will be this week, and if he does miss the cut, you will see an immediate advantage on a high percentage of lineups.
Angel Cabrera ($6,400) – Angel is commonly a very popular golfer because of his name recognition but don’t be tempted by his low price. Angel comes in at nearly the bottom of the list in my projections, has missed the cut at Bay Hill in 4 straight showings, and hasn’t made a cut for 6 weeks.
Do you have questions about golfers who didn’t make my list? Get more weekly analysis and answers to your questions by following me on twitter @BradMessersmith