The World Golf Championship series kicks off for the 2014-2015 season this weekend in China, at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. The WGC-HSBC Champions event has the biggest purse of the season, and the most prestige, and has therefore drawn the best field of the season to date, by far, which just makes picking your lineup that much more fun, if not any easier. Plus, a field this good lends itself to tons of great daily fantasy action, starting with the $100K Monster Drive, with $15,000 to the winner.
Unlike other sports, the prices for players is incredibly dependent on what other players are in the field. So, with a field this deep, it can seem easier, in a way, because you still kind of like some of the less expensive options. However, you know have to pick and choose which players you like most at every level, instead of knowing immediately which players were the clear cream of the crop and just using them as an easy starting point.
To help you sort through that mess, here are a couple of options to target at each price level, expensive, mid-range, and bargain basement:
Sergio Garcia ($11,500) He’s not the most expensive option, but he’s up there. In his first action of the year, he finished T2 with a -14 at the CIMB Classic. But here’s the best thing about Sergio he is one of the few golfers who you think can finish with the most fantasy points in a week without winning the tournament, because he has so many holes under par. Birdie-bogie might not be any better than par-par out on the course, but it certainly is in your fantasy lineup. He won this tournament in 2008, finished fourth last year, and has made the top ten in each of his last three starts. He’s as close as you’re going to get to a lock for good fantasy numbers this weekend.
Rickie Fowler ($9,700): The tenth-ranked golfer in the world, last season Fowler came up big in loaded fields, with a T5 at August, a T2 at both the US and British Opens, a T3 at the PGA and an 8th place finish at the Tour Championship to close out the season. You will notice, a lot of those came near the end of the year, all of which leads you to realize that he has finished inside the top 10 in eight out of his last nine starts around the globe.
Gary Woodland ($8,200): Woodland finished last season strong, with a top-30 finish in each of his last four, including top-10’s at The Barlcays and the Tour Championship. Then, he kicked this season off right with a T2 last weekend, and looked good doing it, shooting a -6 and a -5 on Saturday and Sunday to rocket up a leaderboard that featured some quality players.
Ryan Palmer ($8,000): Another guy who ended last season playing great golf, his price tag could be a lot higher in another field, on another weekend. He is someone who has always been somewhat streaky, and that lack of consistency is what will keep his price suppressed, but he seems to be on one of his hot streaks right now, so you might as well take advantage while it lasts.
Lee Westwood ($7,200): That just seems cheap. This is a guy who has been racking up top-20 performances, and who has played well on this course in the past, with a couple of second-place finishes.
Alexander Levy ($6,900): A French golfer born in California, Levy played his first full season on the European Tour last year, and has never played in this event. However, he finished second at the BMW Masters last weekend after blowing a big lead with a +6 on Sunday. That +6, though, came with some really tough wind the players were forced to contend with, and he still finished second thanks to the 63 he shot on Saturday (and only ONE bogey through three rounds; he was -22 after 54 holes). You are just going to be hoping he makes the cut, because if he does, the talent is there for him to keep producing solid fantasy points for you throughout the tournament.
Marcel Siem ($6,000): You might remember this name from his T12 at the US Open last year, but more recently, he has top-25 finishes in each of his last three, including a win at the BMW Masters last weekend. There is definitely risk involved here with another player new to the course and contending with a deeper field than he is used to, but the talent is there for him to make a run at the top 30, at least, while still leaving you the salary cap room to roster some top talent.