As we move to South Carolina for the RBC Heritage, it’s going to be hard to live up to The Masters, which didn’t let us down in terms of excitement last week. With a few of the world’s top golfers sprinkled amongst some golfers of lesser skill it’s going to be necessary to carefully select golfers for your PGA lineups this week. Below is a list of golfers I love, like, and hate at different salary ranges to help in your selections during lineup building.
Golfers I Love
Bradnt Snedeker ($10,600) – You may have missed it, but Brandt Snedeker is not the same golfer we knew during the 2015 season, and it’s gone largely under the radar. Many have talked about his added driving distance (which is also true), but did you know he has jumped 48 spots in GIR percentage, 55 spots in Stokes Gained: Tee to Green, 19 spots in Strokes Gained: Total, and 38 spots in birdie average through 2016 compared to his rank in those same stats in 2015? I love Snedeker this week on a difficult to navigate course, not because of his added length, but his improved ability tee to green.
Kevin Kisner ($9,700) – Kevin Kisner is the type of player who does well on this course, which favors stats like approaches, accuracy, scrambling and putting over distance metrics. Through 2016, Kisner averages 1.71 putts per green in regulation, which is bested by only Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker (neither of which are in this field) and has impeccable accuracy metrics as well. Despite some recent struggles, I think this course plays to Kisner’s strengths in ways that most recent courses on Tour have not.
Kevin Na ($8,700) – By now you will probably have gotten the theme that this course favors players with accuracy and putting, and Kevin Na also fits that mold. With his 3 top 10s at this event, I feel comfortable saying that Kevin Na has winning potential and should make a good cash game play at a discounted price of under $9k.
Ben Martin ($7,200) – I’m surprised that the PGA community hasn’t latched onto Ben Martin more than it has already. His 2 missed cuts in his last 8 showings may be part of what’s keeping people off him, but the two courses he missed cuts at did not suit his game well at all. In fact those courses favored golfers who were long off the tee as opposed to Martin’s strengths, which includes his approach game from various distances, best of which is his approach from 150-175 yards metric (a key distance this week) which was bested by only one golfer in 2015.
Michael Kim ($5,700) – As a really deep value GPP pick there is no golfer I like better than Michael Kim at under $6k salary. In 2015 he was ranked #1 in all-around ranking which includes a litany of various stats. Kim is a golfer with a variety of talents including putting and approaching, which should serve him well as a possible low cost high upside golfer.
Golfers I Like
Jason Day ($12,500) – Despite this being one of the highest prices we’ve seen for Jason Day all year, he is easily the most skilled golfer in the field and should be the heavy favorite to win here, and for good reason. With only a single missed cut in the last 14 weeks on Tour, he has 2 wins, 2 top 10s, an 11th and 23rd place finish which means Jason Day is in a very different category than any other golfer in the field this week. My concern with Day is that he is probably going to be popular this week, although I’m hoping his high price will keep his ownership deflated a bit.
Bill Haas ($9,100) – Haas has an extremely rocky history at this event including 5 missed cuts. However, he has strengths that fit this course like a golf glove and is coming into this event red hot with 3 top 25s in three events and a 2nd place finish at the Valspar 5 weeks ago. While it isn’t a guarantee by any means I think there is a chance that Haas finds a way to break through for a top finish this year.
Russell Knox ($8,200) – Russel knox has had two starts at this event and never finished outside of the top 20, and he projects well for this course in my statistical model. The fact that he is in the same price range as Luke Donald who is going to be a popular option this week and his recent missed cut he should be extremely low owned which makes me like him even more.
Webb Simpson ($7,900) – Webb Simpson is well known as a golfer with a poor putting game; however, his tee to green game is immaculate, and as such, I think he makes his way into fewer lineups than he typically should. It is fairly well known that putting is a stat that comes and goes, and if Webb Simpson can make some putts down the stretch, his tee to green game will keep him in contention.
Rory Sabbatini ($6,200) – Rory Sabattini is not a golfer who will make his way into my cash lineup by a long shot, but is a golfer who has finished in the top 20 in 5 of his last 6 appearances at this event, his missed cut last year doesn’t concern me much. His 2016 projection is nearly 20 points higher than his 2015 projection in my model, which takes into account hundreds of performance related statistics. I won’t be getting too crazy with Sabbatini in my lineups, but he is inexpensive and has shown the ability to finish inside the top 10.
Golfers I Hate
Paul Casey ($10,800) – Paul Casey has been really good through 2016, including a strong 4th place finish at the Masters last week. That being said, I don’t like the idea of rostering him after his ownership nearly reached 20% last week. I fully expect it to have a chance to grow even higher this week. At nearly $11k and high ownership I’m not interested in Casey with some of the other golfers at lower prices who could go overlooked.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,500) – Fitzpatrick is going to be a popular pick this week after his 7th place finish at the Masters, and that is a big part of why I won’t be on him this week. There is no question he is a talented golfer and may have the skills to do well on Tour long term, but his popularity should peak this week, and I am not sure if he is capable if meeting value at his price.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,000) – It is really hard for me to write up Bryson DeChambeau in my hate article this week because I am going to love rostering him throughout the course of the year, and I may have a small share of him this week despite my concerns. This will be Bryson’s first event after declaring professional status following his high amateur finish at the Masters last week. I expect DeChambeau to do well this week, but after a long and grueling four rounds at the Masters, I don’t expect him to follow up with a high finish here.
Tony Finau ($7,700) – This is the type of course that requires finesse, accuracy, and game management, most of which are not Finau’s strengths. Finau is well known as a golfer who is long of the tee, but I don’t think he has the necessary skills to perform well on a course that doesn’t play to his strengths.
Francesco Molinari ($7,500) – Francesco Molinari on paper doesn’t look terribly suited for this course; however, he projects very poorly in my model largely due to him being ranked 183rd in GIR percentage and 129th in scrambling, both of which will be critical to success this week.
Do you have questions about golfers who aren’t in this article? Get more weekly analysis and answers to any of your questions by following me on Twitter @BradMessersmith