TIGER IS BACK AGAIN! In his second tournament back from fusion surgery, Woods heads back to where it all started at Rivera Country Club back when he was 16 years old in 1992. An amazing field, probably the best we’ve had all year! A normal 72-hole event: one course, one cut after 36 holes. Let's dive in!
The Genesis Open is the current tournament name for one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour. It has always resided in southern California and was first played 92 years ago in 1926. Many may know by previous names: Los Angeles Open, Northern Trust Open and the Nissan Open. It often is the conclusion of the tour’s “West Coast Swing” early in the calendar year, before the Tour moves east to Florida. The tournament has been held at Riviera CC since 1973, with Genesis Motors taking over sponsorship in 2017 after nine seasons from Northern Trust Corporation.
It is once again worth noting the philanthropic component of this event, since the tournament’s primary beneficiary is The Tiger Woods Foundation which directing proceeds to the Earl Woods Scholarship Program and other TWF college-access initiatives in Southern California. Woods will finally be on more than just host duties this week, with no more back woes she will play his first Riviera rounds in a decade. Riviera is the only PGA Tour stop he’s played at least five times without winning. Woods has made 11 attempts, including two as an amateur.
Speaking of philanthropic topics and sponsorship, this tournament is notorious for the "The Charlie Sifford Exemption," that is named for the first African-American player to compete on the PGA Tour and is awarded annually to players representing a minority background. This years recipients is Cameron Champ and
China’s Haotong Li.
Course Preview: Riviera Country Club
Yardage: 7,349 yards
Three par 5s with four par 3s make Rivera a par-71. All three par 5s could be reachable in two, depending on the wind, with the first hole giving you your best chance at an eagle.
Now that we’ve set the stage for the tournament, and built a course profile, let’s dive into the field and see what players may be best suited here!
Introduction to DFS golf
If you have not played Daily Fantasy Golf before, then this section will be of utmost importance to you. Some basic DFS info first. Last year alone the two major DFS companies (DraftKings & FanDuel) paid out over $20 million in prizes for golf contests. A sport that has seen significant growth in DFS over the last few years, this is setting up to be the biggest and best year of DFS golf yet.
Now a brief introduction to each of the two Daily Fantasy sites that we will focus our attention on:
DraftKings: The biggest contests can be found here. Some people may think golf is boring to watch, but if you had the chance to win $50,000, it becomes less and less boring. Trust us. The goal is to score as many points as possible by picking six golfers that must fit under a salary cap of $50,000. Each golfer will have an assigned salary, and your team cannot exceed that $50,000 total. The golfers earn you points based on a few different factors:
- Finishing position of the tournament: The better the golfer finishes, the more points he receives.
- Hole-by-hole scoring: This is where the golfers earn most of the points. Each hole a golfer plays and records a score, that score will go to your DK points: 8 points for an eagle, 3 for a birdie, 0.5 for a par, -0.5 for a bogey and -1 for a double bogey or worse.
- Bonuses: DraftKings has some bonus points category that include bogey-free rounds, birdie streaks (a golfer gets 3 or more birdies in a row), all 4 rounds under 60 and a hole-in-one bonus.
FanDuel: Similarly to DraftKings, at FD you pick 6 golfers as well. This time you must stay under the $60,000 salary cap. FanDuel just released golf last year, so their contest sizes are not quite as big as DK yet. Much like with DraftKings, each golfer you choose will receive points based on the criteria:
- Finishing position of the tournament: The better the golfer finishes, the more points he receives.
- Hole-by-hole scoring: This is where the golfers earn most of the points. Each hole a golfer plays and records a score, that score will go to your FD points: 8 7 points for an eagle, 3.1 for a birdie, .05 for a par, -1 for a bogey and -3 for a double bogey or worse.
- Bonuses: FD has their own set of bonus points that include bogey-free rounds, 5 or more birdies in a single round and bounce back (golfer makes a birdie after a bogey).
Golfer salaries are determined by some algorithm each site has created, but basically, is based on odds to win the tournament. The better the odds of the golfer, the higher the salary will be. Now that we have a good knowledge base underway, we can dive a bit more into the process we have at Tour Level when selecting golfers & contests!
DFS golf contest selection: What to enter
Contest selection can be just as important as the golfers you choose to make your lineup. In Daily Fantasy Sports, there are two different types of contests: cash games (50/50) and guaranteed prize pools (GPP). Each contest will have a different strategy in which golfers to choose, and that’s what we at Tour Level make sure to help you with each week!
Cash Games are contests in which 50% of the people win and 50% of the people lose. You can play in a 50/50 contest with 5,000 people (where 2,500 win) or against just one other person. To start, we recommend playing the one with 5,000 people. Contest buy-ins for 50/50 contests range from $1 all the way up to $10,000.
Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) provide the opportunity to win big, but consequently, lose it all as well. Only about 15-20% of the entries cash in a GPP, and contests buy-ins range from $0.25 to $5,300!
As we mentioned earlier, this week we get the big money contests. Let’s look at what else is on the board:
- $1 entry “Short Game” - $40,000 guaranteed - This 20-entry max tournament has a $2,000 first-place prize.
- $4 entry “Fore!” - $275,000 guaranteed - This 20-entry max tournament has a $25,000 first-place prize.
- $44 entry “Club Twirl” - $550,000 guaranteed - This 150-entry max tournament has a $100,000 first-place prize.
- $444 entry “Club Pro” - $300,000 guaranteed - This 22-entry max tournament has a $50,000 first-place prize.
- $12 entry “Albatross” - $50,000 guaranteed – This single-entry max tournament has a $5,000 first-place prize. The reason its great for beginners is that everyone is only allowed one entry, no matter your bankroll. There are at total of 4,967 entrants in this contest, and the top 1290 cash.
For more information on contest selection and strategy see our DFS-focused article titled “Against the Grain.”
DFS golf strategy
With two different contest types, each has their own unique strategy. In GPPs you are trying to beat 80% of the field just to cash, where in cash games you only need to beat 50% of the field. To beat 80% of the field you need to have golfers that nobody else has in their lineup, and those golfers must perform well. With cash games you only need to beat 50% of the field, so you want to be more conservative and choose the “safe” golfers to ensure you have golfers playing the weekend! Below we will highlight our top plays from each type of contest! This week will we focus on just DraftKings players.
Cash Games:The goal is to focus on players that are deemed “safe” and also give you the ability to have plenty of salary flexibility to make sure all of the golfers you choose are of quality.
- Phil Mickelson ($9,900) -- Phil Mickelson is so close right now to capturing a win, and I can’t think of any place better for him to do that than at Riviera, where he has never missed a cut. Phil is 26th in the field in SG:T2G and 2nd in the field in SG:P (which I know is fickle but he looks unstoppable with the flat stick right now). He is inside the top 15 in the field in Par 4 and 5 scoring and we all know he can scramble with the best of them. Fire up Phil with confidence.
- Adam Hadwin ($7,100) -- Hadwin has made all 6 of his cuts this season so far and finished T3 at the Careerbuilder. Adam is a golfer to consider when you see he has positive course history, as he is someone who clearly thrives in his comfort zones. In his three trips to the Genesis Open he has never missed a cut and he has two top-25 finishes. I will be honest, nothing about his stats really jump off the page but he can rack up DK points quickly, and if he gets four rounds in he will definitely exceed his salary!
GPPs:The goal is to hone in on players that not many people will be focusing on this week. To win a GPP against 50,000 other entries, you need to diversify as much as possible and take risks with the golfers you choose.
- Tommy Fleetwood ($9,500) -- Tommy will make his first appearance on the PGA Tour this year. Starting the 2017-2018 season on the European Tour with a bang, winning the Abu Dahbi HSBC Championship against a very strong field, the young man from England will embark on his first couple of tournaments stateside. Since he plays most of his golf on the European Tour, it’s where we generate his statistical baseline. Last year on the Euro Tour he ranked first in GIR, 51st in scrambling 7th in Driving Accuracy and 44th in DD. Tommy should position himself to have a plethora of birdie looks this week.
- Sangmoon Bae ($7,200) -- This young phenom from Korea, turned solider, turned back to golfer, had a massive halt put on his career just over 2 years ago when he had to enter the Korean military for the mandatory service that country requires of their citizens. Bae returned to tour on a “major medical extension” where he finally broke the missed cut streak and had his best finish of the year last week coming in a T15th. When we look at how he accomplished this, it was his approach game that finally started to click as he gained over 2.4 strokes in that category. Ranked 22nd for the year in the “off the tee” category, Sangmoon’s game seems to be trending in the right direction heading to Riviera. Also, just a little icing on the cake, he had three straight top 15’s here in 2013-2015 prior to his military service.
Not keen on Daily Fantasy Golf? Well Tour Level also offers some great betting and hedging strategies! For those strategies and more, visit us at tourlevelfantasy.com!