The Honda Classic was founded 46 years ago in 1972 and is usually the first of the Florida events in late winter following the West Coast Swing. The PGA Tour has started the Florida Swing here at Palm Beach and the Champion Course at PGA National for the Honda Classic for the last 10 years. Since 2007, the tournament’s main beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, chaired by Barbara Nicklaus, wife of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Our first no-cut event of the 2018 season. The WGC-Mexico Championship is an event is sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours but the prize money is official money on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. During the event's infancy, from 1999 through 2006, it was known as the WGC-American Express Championship. The timing and location of the event has jumped around, in 1999 and 2000 it was held in November, before moving to September/October but since the start of the FedEx Cup in 2007 is has been played in March which seems to fit nicely roughly between the West Coast and Florida swings. That year it also moved to the now Trump National Doral.
Here’s how the golfers earned their way here:
- Top 50 players from the Official World Golf Rankings (one week and two weeks prior to event)
- Top players from member tours’ money lists or orders of merit (from last complete season)
- Top 30 PGA Tour FedEx Cup list (also top 10 from one week prior to event)
- Top 20 European Tour’s Race to Dubai (also top 10 from two weeks prior to event)
- Top 2 each from Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour
- The field consists of approximately 70 eligible players, half that (144 to 156 players) for most regular PGA Tour/Euro Tour events.
Course Preview: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Club de Golf Chapultepec is located in Naucalpan, just northwest of downtown Mexico City. Many golfers will use their recent experience at Riviera, that also features the same unique combination of Kikuyu and Poa annua grass as a ideal warmup for Club de Golf Chapultepec. Therefore we immediately see two potential correlated courses, Riviera (Genesis) and Torrey Pines (Farmers) since Chapultepec also uses Kiyuyu and a combination of Poa/Bent on the greens. However, neither of those courses feature the elevation of 7,382 feet above sea level, as at this course. Because of this, the course will play closer to 6,500 yards in “adjusted yardage” as seen in the below approach yardages. Although many players find the Riviera and Torrey comparisons limited beyond that they do have the same grass types because they are really different styles courses. This course has very narrow alleyways off the tees and require balls to be a lot straighter.
Yardage: 7,300 yards (plays 6,500 with the elevation change)
Greens: Poa annua
Speed: Average speed of 11 feet on the Stimpmeter
Score Card Breakdown:
There are 11 number of par 4s that average roughly 400 yards with the shortest being the first hole a drivable par 4, and the longest a 480-yarder. There are three par 5s that average about 550 yards with the shortest a 523-yarder. There are 4 par 3s that average about 185 yards with the longest just over 200 yards and the shortest just under 160.
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. $100,000 FIRST PLACE FOR THE $33 “DOGLEG” IS BACK THIS WEEK! Let’s look at what else is on the board:
- $1 entry “Short Game” - $25,000 guaranteed - This 20-entry max tournament has a $1,500 first-place prize.
- $4 entry “Mini Mexico Classic” - $325,000 guaranteed - This 20-entry max tournament has a $25,000 first-place prize.
- $400 entry “Mexico Classic” - $700,000 guaranteed - This 58-entry max tournament has a $150,000 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.
- Jon Rahm ($10,600) -- Rahm is rested after taking two weeks off and his results of a top 3 last year should give us reason to believe he can compete again this week. With it being a no cut event we can get more aggressive with a stud in cash. His stats also lineup for the course with his distance off the tee and his Strokes Gained T2G being 7th in the field.
- Xander Schauffele ($7,800) -- Xander is ranked 28th in both SGT2G and SGAPP so we would like those to be a bit higher. Xander finished top 10 at Riviera as well and he has the distance to contend this week. Xander is one of my favorite plays this week as I expect his ownership not to get too chalky.
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.
- Jordan Spieth ($10,500) -- With most of the gamers focusing their attention on DJ/Fleetwood/Rahm, Spieth has the chance to go quite under owned this week. A situation like this where Spieth isn’t in the greatest form but isn’t going to be owned by many gamers creates a unique scenario where he’ll need to come in the top 5 to make this worth it, but if he does, he could help you won’t he big one this week.
- Brian Harman ($8,100) -- Absolutely no one has mentioned or talked about this Georgia bulldog this week. He had an OK week last week at the Honda Classic finishing at 3-over 283 after some bad stretches through the Bear Trap early in the week. We know this guy can compete with the best of em, and we don’t’ have to worry about a missed cut here. Let’s take a long like at Brian Harman for our lineups this week!
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!