When filling out a DraftKings lineup (use the promo code SGP), picking among the favorites is a fairly safe proposition. It’s when you have to choose between a pool of golfers down the line is where you make or break your chance to win big.
Here’s the critical decisions you’ll face as you fill out your lineup for the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic (values courtesy of DraftKings).
Golfers Valued $8,000-$8,900
- Emiliano Grillo – $8,900
- Kevin Kisner – $8,800
- Cameron Champ – $8,700
- Keegan Bradley – $8,600
- Chez Reavie – $8,500
- Denny McCarthy – $8,400
- Danny Lee – $8,300
- J.T. Poston – $8,200
- Pat Perez – $8,100
- Dylan Frittelli – $8,000
- Harris English – $8,000
I don’t have a whole lot of data that supports using Kevin Kisner this week. None of his baseline strokes gained stats popped out when comparing to his performance at places like less-than-driver courses, slow paced greens, easy fields, etc. And he didn’t really do a whole lot on the recent Asian Swing. But I like him this week purely as a gut call because of a sense of urgency for him. Many people thought he was a snub as a Captain’s Pick for the President’s Cup (I don’t happen to be one of them, but I respect the argument). But there’s a very good chance a spot is going to open up if and when Dustin Johnson and/or Brooke Koepka withdraw. A good performance this week is going to make it really difficult for Tiger to ignore him and pick someone else to fill the spot on the roster. On a golf course that, theoretically, should suit his game, I think he plays with a chip on his shoulder and shows well at Mayakoba.
Like Kisner, Chez Reavie also had a very mediocre performance over in Asia, and without the aid of the strokes gained data we can’t really tell of a reason why. When looking back over the last few months, however, it seems as though it’s been his putter that’s been causing him problems in his game. We have no reason either way to know how his form is on the greens, but we do know that he typically has excelled on similar golf courses to El Camaleon, especially places that feature short yardages on the scorecard and aren’t driver-heavy. Take a leap of faith and throw him in a DFS lineup this week.
Denny McCarthy struggled mightily with his ball striking throughout the 2018-2019 PGA Tour season and was saved mostly by his putter. But during the fall schedule while the strokes gained statistics don’t look all that impressive, it’s a huge improvement from where it had been. Where McCarthy has improved has been his accuracy off the tee and he has hit greens in regulation at a much higher clip than he did in 2019. This improvement is reflected on the leaderboard with four consecutive Top 20 finishes, as he’s better able to take advantage of how well he putts with more birdie opportunities. Accuracy is key at Mayakoba, and if he continues to show that off the tee and with his irons then he can post his fifth consecutive solid performance.
Golfers Valued $7,500 – $7,900
- Brian Gay – $7,900
- Harold Varner III – $7,900
- Rory Sabbatini – $7,800
- Graeme McDowell – $7,800
- Sebastian Munoz – $7,700
- Brian Harman – $7,700
- Carlos Ortiz – $7,700
- Brice Garnett – $7,600
- Beau Hossler – $7,600
- Scott Piercy – $7,600
- Zach Johnson – $7,500
- Harry Higgs – $7,500
- Kevin Streelman – $7,500
- Russell Henley – $7,500
This is a rather large tier in this price range this week, and there’s a lot of good options and values to be found here. Here’s a handful that I like:
Brian Harman is a player I’ve touted several times this fall, and this week I’m once again going to the mat for him. While the missed cut in Houston was disappointing, he’s posted far better ball striking numbers this fall than he did during most of 2019. He’s had about a month off since the poor performance in Houston, but if that’s in the rear view window his ceiling is pretty high at Mayakoba.
Since the move to PXG, Zach Johnson’s career has been in a free fall. He’s fallen all the way to 174th in the world rankings, mainly due to poor putting. That’s surprising because that had been an area of strength of his throughout his career. Theoretically, Mayakoba is a good golf course for ZJ, as it’s a short, less than driver track where his accurate ball striking (which still is pretty good) can stand out. Mayakoba also has been a place where careers have been reclaimed and slumps have been busted, and my gut tells me Zach is primed for a good week in Mexico.
Like Zach Johnson, Russell Henley is a player whose career has hit the skids. Once considered a promising and talented young gun on the PGA Tour, injuries has taken a bit of a toll on his career. Throughout his career, however, Henley has feasted on short, less than driver golf courses like El Camaleon presents to him this week. He’s another player I expect to have a good week on a track that should suit his game.
Honorable Mention: Harold Varner III, Graeme McDowell, Brice Garnett
Bottom of the Barrel (Golfers <$7,500)
Xinjun Zhang – $7,300: Zhang has been excellent in his return to the PGA Tour this fall. Both the ball striking and putting numbers look great and he shows a lot of the attributes I’m looking for to stack DFS lineups this week. He’ll likely be a pretty chalky option, but that doesn’t scare me away from using him once again.
Nick Taylor – $7,200: It’s been a pretty solid start to the year for Taylor, who has three Top 30 finishes in his first four starts this fall. Taylor has improved his accuracy and precision both off the tee and with his approach shots this fall, and that’s been a big contributor for him to rack up quality starts. More of that this week should lead to another good finish in Mexico.
Austin Cook – $6,700: Austin Cook has cost me some money this fall, but it’s because my doubts in him have been misguided. I’ve had enough of fading him and I’m making the dangerous decision to back him this week (because jumping on the bandwagon after getting hammered fading a guy never goes poorly, right?). Cook is notoriously accurate off the tee and has struck his irons well this fall, and he has a good track record on shorter, less-than-driver golf courses in his career. Hopefully my new found faith in him this week will actually lead to some profits.
Honorable Mention: Doc Redman ($7,100), Joel Dahmen ($6,800), Hank Lebioda ($6,600), Adam Long ($6,600), C.T. Pan ($6,500), Robby Shelton ($6,300)