The Honda Classic tees off Thursday morning from Florida. A handful of the best golfers in the world will descend on PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, giving you plenty of tough decisions to make at every price point, up and down your roster. Here are a few names to consider as you work through your process.
Rickie Fowler ($11,700) – He opened the Phoenix Open that paved the way to a solo-second finish in which a win was clearly within range right to the bitter end. But it’s not as if he exactly blew up on Sunday, either, shooting a 67 to cap off his fourth top-five finish in his last five starts if you count his win in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago (and why wouldn’t you?).
Adam Scott ($11,000) – He has some good history here, but more importantly, he’s playing some of his best golf in a while recently, capped off by the T2 last weekend at the Northern Trust Open. This is a player who was in the mix to be the top-ranked golfer in the world not more than a couple of years ago, so when you see that after five PGA events this season he is 4th in the all-around ranking, that is a number you can trust.
Patrick Reed ($10,600) – The last time we saw him he was shooting a -12 at Pebble Beach to finish T6, which was a good sign after he’d slipped up a bit at the CareerBuilder and the Farmers. After a T56 and a MC, we wanted him to go back to looking more like the guy who had been inside the top ten for the first four events of the 2016 season, and that’s exactly what he did. He has repeatedly shown that when he is on top of his game he can compete with anyone in the world, to the point that if he IS playing as well as he knows how again, $10,600 is a value.
Brooks Koepka ($10,500) – He has had top-ten finishes twice in his last three attempts, at the Hyundai Challenge and at Pebble Beach. He has never finished even really close to the top-25 here before, but that was at a point in his career where he just wasn’t finishing well this consistently anywhere. And he did flash his potential here last year, shooting a 64 on Friday, on a par-70 course that was average more than a stroke over par for the weekend.
Russell Knox ($9,700) – He is a risky play for the price considering he’s missed his last two cuts, and $9,700 is a lot to pay for something like 40 fantasy points. I might not want to trot him out there in very many of my cash game lineups, but in a GPP, the upside is there. He has finished inside of the top-3 here in each of the past two years, and I am sure he’s looking at this weekend as a chance to get his season heading in the direction he wants.
Sergio Garcia ($9,300) – Sergio has always been somewhat hit or miss, perhaps even more so at this point in his career than when he was younger (which is saying something). But something else he’s always been is the type of player who could score more fantasy points than players finishing ahead of him on the leaderboard. When his game is going well enough to keep him in contention, it’s typically because he is just hitting a ton of beautiful shots, draining birdies in bunches. He usually balances them off to a degree with a few bad holes mixed in, but we all know that’s a better route to fantasy value than a bunch of pars.
Fredrik Jacobson ($8,200) – Jacobson is the definition of “converging trends” at a mid-priced level. He has five top-25 finishes here in his career, and just had back-to-back T4 showings in La Jolla and Monterey. He had a misstep, missing the cut at the Northern Trust after shooting 71-72, but neither of those two rounds showed any glaring holes in his game. It’s easy to imagine him looking more like the player he did two weeks ago, avoiding any of the really bad holes that can ruin a round at PGA National, and just making it into the top-25 probably makes him a solid value at this price.
Daniel Berger ($8,100) – With a top-five finish here on his resume`, he is another golfer who is probably looking forward to this weekend with high hopes. He managed 80 fantasy points while finishing T42 at the Sony Open; he had 12 birdies balanced off by 14 bogeys at the Phoenix Open. He can – and has been – hitting the shots that he needs to score you fantasy points. If he can avoid a big number early in the weekend, he should be able to accumulate plenty of value for this price over the entire weekend.
Jason Kokrak ($7,800) – A 64 in his second round at the Northern Trust last weekend went a long way towards propelling him to his T2 finish. That bumped his price up a little for this weekend, but in three of his last four, he still would have provided plenty of value at this price. He was inside the top 30 at the Farmers Insurance and Pebble Beach before last week, averaging just over 16 birdies per outing in those three.
Billy Horschel ($7,300) – A solid ball-striker, he has the kind of consistent GIR numbers that make him easy to trust on one of the Tour’s more difficult courses. And we have seen him play with the best of the best when he is also holing putts. A Florida native, he is a solid cash-game consideration – one of my favorite in the whole field – who has the upside to be considered in any size tournament.
Jamie Donaldson ($7,200) – I wanted to recommend him so that I could tell this story, in case you missed it: this guy from Wales was golfing in a tournament in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, when he had to withdraw because he cut his hand… with a chainsaw. What was he doing with a chainsaw? In the desert?! So many questions. But he answered a bunch of them returning to action last weekend and finishing at even par. It wasn’t spectacular, but his hand held up and he is in the field again this weekend, looking to regain the form he had to close out 2015 on the European Tour (he closed with five straight made cuts, including two top-25’s).
Jamie Lovemark ($7,200) – This course is interesting, because there are chances to score, but plenty of chances to stumble. So on the one hand, you need to take advantage when you have the opportunity, but you also need to make sure those stumbling blocks don’t derail the whole weekend – I mean, the 15th-17th holes here are nicknamed “The Bear Trap.” And bogey avoidance is Lovemark’s speciality, if he has one. He should be able to, at the very least, stay alive and scoring you fantasy points all weekend long, which makes him an option I will look at very closely for my cash game lineups.