Riviera Country Club — affectionately known as Hogan’s Alley — hosts this week’s Genesis Open. The field is no joke: Eight of the world’s top-10 golfers and 16 of the top-25 will tee it up in Pacific Palisades, California, in hopes of hoisting the same trophy that Bubba Watson ($8,300) has laid claim to in two of the past three years.
Riviera has difficult-to-hit fairways and greens and some very long Par 4 holes. Golfers who hit a lot of Greens in Regulation (GIR) and have good Scrambling (SC) skills and high Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament (Adj Bird Avg) are desirable this week. Golfers who rank highly in Long-Term Driving Distance (LT DD) will get an added bump.
There’s tons of talk on Twitter about DraftKings’ pricing (or lack thereof) this week, but that’s kind of irrelevant. Regardless of pricing, you need to pick six golfers who outscore the six golfers rostered by other people. That’s it. Let’s look at what the data says about these golfers.
The Big Four
Spiething Hot Fiya
In the four tournaments Jordan Spieth ($12,600) has played this year he has finished no worse than ninth, winning once and finishing third twice. He is once again (and for good reason) the most expensive golfer in the field. Jordan has been nothing short of incredible in 2017: Per our Trends tool, he has posted a +36.90 Plus/Minus this year while consistently being the highest-priced golfer in the field. He has scored fewer than 100 DK points only once, averaging 114.88 DK points per tournament (PPT) thus far.
Spieth’s 67.9 LT Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) is tied for second, his 63.9 LT SC percentage ranks fourth, and his 17.3 LT Adj Bird Avg leads the field. His 80.6 percent Recent GIR is tied for second, and his Recent Adj Bird Avg of 23 also leads the field. Jordan missed the cut at Riviera last year but did post a T4 here in 2015 and finish in 12th in 2014. Tee up Spieth with great confidence in all formats.
Spieth currently checks in with a FantasyLabs projected ownership of 21-25 percent in large-field tournaments. Be sure to check out his actual ownership and sweat lineups once contests lock with our amazing new DFS Ownership Dashboard.
Hideki Like Dem Apples?
Since October of last year Hideki Matsuyama ($11,500) has won five tournaments and finished second twice in nine starts. He is on an incredible run.
Matsuyama’s 68.3 LT Adj Rd Score and 16.0 LT Adj Bird Avg both rank fourth in the field. Hideki’s 73.6 percent Recent GIR ranks 20th, his 305.7-yard Recent DD is 18th, and his 68.8 Recent SC percentage is tied for 15th. His 18.5 Recent Adj Bird Avg ranks eighth among golfers with more than one start over the past six weeks.
Mastsuyama has been great at Riviera too: In three career starts he has never finished outside the top 25 and has posted 11th- and fourth-place finishes the past two years.
Play That Song
No, not Young-Han Song, I’m talking about Mr. DJ: Dustin Johnson ($11,400). Johnson has racked up five top-five finishes at Riviera since 2010 and in his three most recent trips has finished fourth once and second twice.
DJ’s 67.9 LT Adj Rd Score, 314.0-yard LT DD, and 16.7 LT Adj Bird Avg all rank second, and his 69.8 percent LT GIR is 12th. Johnson’s 76.4 Recent GIR percentage is good enough for 10th, and his 68.2 Recent Adj Rd Score ranks ninth among golfers with more than one start in the past six weeks.
Johnson is currently the No. 1 golfer in the Colin Davy Player Model.
It’s a Good Day
Jason Day has been on top of the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 51 weeks but his last win was in May of last year at The Players Championship.
Day’s 67.7 LT Adj Rd Score leads the field, his 304.4-yard LT DD is 14th, his 62.8 LT SC percentage is eighth, and his 15.5 LT Adj Bird Avg is tied for seventh. His 75.4 percent Recent GIR ranks 13th overall. After a rough third round last week in which he shot 75, Day came roaring back on Sunday with a 67, finishing fifth while scoring 106.0 DK points.
Day hasn’t been good at Riviera: He finished 62nd in his most recent start and missed the cut in his only two other attempts. He hasn’t played here since 2012, however, and has never played here as the World’s No. 1. With Spieth, Hideki, and DJ getting most of the love, deploying Day in guaranteed prize pools is a sharp move.
The Bump and Run
Choke up and take a narrow stance.
Sergio Garcia ($9,300): Garcia is coming off a victory at the Dubai Desert Classic in which he shot all four rounds under 70 and scored 134.5 DK points. Garcia’s 68.5 LT Adj Rd Score is sixth, his 72.9 percent LT GIR leads the field, and his 16.2 LT Adj Bird Avg is third. Garcia missed the cut here last year but had sandwiched two fourth-place finishes around a 13th in his three previous trips to Riviera. He has made the cut in eight of his 10 events at this track.
Justin Rose ($8,400): Rose was the chalk de la semaine at 45.3 percent ownership in GPPs last week. He finished 39th and scored just 68 DK points so the opportunity to capitalize on recency bias exists. Rose’s 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score is fifth, his 70.5 LT GIR percentage is seventh, and his 302.6-yard LT DD is 21st overall. Rose has made the cut at Riviera in five straight trips, including a 16th-place finish last year.
Jason Kokrak (7,800): The runner-up at Riviera last year, Kokrak is on something of a little hot streak. After an opening round 77 at Pebble Beach last week, Kokrak fired three consecutive rounds of 69 or better. Kokrak’s 73.6 percent Recent GIR is tied for 20th, and his 310.8-yard Recent DD ranks eighth.
Brendan Steele ($7,100): Steele’s 68.1 Recent Adj Rd Score is tied for eighth, his 74.3 percent Recent GIR is 18th, his 70.8 Recent SC percentage is 10th, and his 18.3 Recent Adj Bird Avg ranks 11th in the field. Steele has produced 10th- and 14th-place finishes here since 2014. He finished 39th last year. Steele has generated a massive +33.13 Plus/Minus in 2017 while being priced (on average) $1,175 more than he is this week.
J.B. Holmes ($7,100): Holmes’ 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score is 18th, his 312.4-yard LT DD is third, and his 14.7 LT Adj Bird Avg is tied for 17th. Holmes has posted back-to-back top-25 finishes in the past two weeks while averaging 79.0 DK PPT. He has made nine of 10 cuts at Riviera with six top-15 finishes.
Adam Levitan created a course history model, which I’ve tweaked. K.J. Choi ($6,400) is the adjusted model’s top golfer and this week’s Levitanimal. He’s intriguing in that he has failed to make a cut in his last six starts and hasn’t shot a single round in the 60s since November of last year. That said, Choi’s course history is amazing: He hasn’t finished worse than 33rd in his last 12 starts at Riviera. He has made 16 of 16 cuts, posting five top-10 finishes and a fifth-place finish here last year. His 68.3 Course Adj Rd Score is fourth in the field and the best among those with five or more starts. Choi has averaged a +34.70 Plus/Minus in his last three appearances here.
Did I mention he’s the cheapest golfer in the slate?
Last week’s Levitanimal, Jimmy Walker, made the cut of 60 but finished 55th and scored just 63.5 DK points. [Writer’s Note: #MyEditorThoughtThisSpotWasReservedForHumbleBragging] [Editor’s Note: Only editors get to make notes.]
If I were a skill game proposition guy, I would put my Coors Lite on Adam Scott ($10,300). He won here in 2005 and has been the runner-up at Rivera twice, including last year. Scotty last played at the Australian PGA Championship, where he finished third.
His 68.5 LT Adj Rd Score is sixth, his 71.2 percent LT GIR is fourth, his 15.5 LT Adj Bird Avg is tied for seventh, and his 305.5-yard LT DD is 11th overall.
Be sure to visit our suite of Tools to research all of the golfers. Good luck this week!