A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier

Well hello Grinders! It has been a long time between articles. The last time I wrote anything about professional golf was the 2017 Australian Open. In DFS years that feels like a century ago. Back then, Jordan Spieth was ranked number two in the world, Prince Henry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement and Antonio Bryant was yet to be known as bat shit crazy!

In the time I was gone, Tiger Woods made a comeback, won a major and appears to be falling apart again. Matt Kuchar has had a heel turn and Bryson DeChambeau is still trying to line up a putt from the 2017 Northern Trust.

A lot has changed as well, I mean it is week one of the new season and we are talking Greenbrier? In September? It sounds just as weird as the WGC St Jude. RIP WGC Bridgestone, that and Doral were my two favourite WGC events.

Speaking of weird sounding things, the Web.com Tour is now the Korn Ferry Tour? Seriously? Korn Ferry? It sounds like a boat full of late 90’s alternative metal musicians.

But I digress

A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier

As I mentioned we are starting the new season not in the wine country of Napa California, but in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The course is the The Old White TPC. It runs 7,292 yards long and plays to a Par 70. In years past, the Stimpmeter had the greens rolling at 10.5 (pretty slow), but, as I am looking at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) fact sheet it has them rolling at a much quicker 12 on the Stimp. A different time of year could be meaning quicker greens here. Speaking of greens, they are V-8 Bentgrass and the rough is at 3 inches.

The weather for this week’s event should be okay for the precut section of the tournament. After that mother nature could be bringing the thunder. As it stands I’m seeing a late thunderstorm Friday with some wind. Same goes for Saturday, but minus the wind. A few models have Sunday with afternoon thunderstorms. So it might come down to an earlier start Sunday or a Monday finish.

Golfers

Bubba Watson

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 25th
DraftKings Price: $10,000
Course History: 5 events, 5 made cuts
Last Event: MC (Northern Trust)

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Analysis:
Back in 2015, if you wanted to play Bubba Watson here you had to shell out 13K to get him. Now he is only 10K. Bubba is a community member here at White Sulphur Springs, and has played the event each of the last five times. In 20 rounds here at The Old White, Bubba has shot under Par 17 times.

The only poor finish he has had here was in 2017. One year after the event was canceled due to the historic flooding at this venue. If you remember back then he was at the forefront of relief efforts at that time, golf wasn’t his top priority.

In recent times Bubba has been spotty at best. With more missed cuts (five) than top ten finishes (three) in 2019. He has never finished in the top ten for this event. Though, if he would have finished with a Par 70 in the final round of 2018 that would have happened. He missed the cut at the Northern Trust in his last event so hopefully that will keep his ownership down a little.

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Joaquin Niemann

Nationality: Chile
Official World Rank: 84th
DraftKings Price: $9,700
Course History: 2 events, 2 made cuts
Last Event: 31st (BMW Championship)

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Analysis:

Next up is youngster Joaquin Niemann. He played 28 events last season and only missed three cuts while picking up four top ten finishes. The strength of his game is from Tee to Green, placing 23rd on Tour in that stat. Though what makes him so good from Tee to Green is his approach shots where he finished 23rd on Tour last season. He also was in the top ten (8th) in Par 4 scoring, which is handy on a Par 70 course.

He has played at The Greenbrier twice in his career. Making the cut both times and finishing fifth the last time he was here.

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Byeong Hun An

Nationality: South Korea
Official World Rank: 48th
DraftKings Price: $9,500
Course History: None
Last Event: 28th (BMW Championship)

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Analysis:
Rounding out the above 9K players is Byeong Hun An. A premier Tee to Green player (ranked 7th) he finished the year up solid last season. In 2019 Hun An played 21 events and only missed 4 cuts. His last five events he has finished no worse than 38th.

In his last event (BMW Championship), he was ninth in Strokes Gained Tee to Green as usual, but what was unusual was he was ranked 18th in putts inside 10 feet. If he can continue that play with the flat stick then he should be a solid play at this price.

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Tom Lewis

Nationality: England
Official World Rank: 61st
DraftKings Price: $7,900
Course History: None
Last Event: 1st (Korn Ferry Championship)

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Analysis:
Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the captain of the Korn Ferry. Mr Tom Lewis. Coming fresh off a win at the Korn Ferry Championship, the Englishman’s confidence must be sky high. You have to go back to 2015 for the last Web.com Championship winner to make a cut in their next PGA Tour start. That man? Emiliano Grillo. Oh yeah, he was also the last foreign born player to win the Web.com Championship event.

Besides that, Tom Lewis is no slouch either. He recently finished 11th at The Open. He has only missed 9 cuts out of 43 worldwide starts since the start of 2018.

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Bill Haas

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 349th
DraftKings Price: $7,500
Course History:7 events played, 5 made cuts
Last Event: 53rd (Wyndham Championship)

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Analysis:
As I right about Bill Haas it is hard for me to look at his name and process his world ranking. Haas use to known as a solid cut maker on Tour. A horrendous 2018 where he almost missed the cut in half of his events he might be turning it around a little by a little. Finishing last season with five straight made cuts.

You have to go back to 2011 to find the last time Bill Haas missed a cut to start a new season. That was a 42nd and the HSBC. For those who have not read my articles before, I could not finishing in the top half of a 70 man event as a missed cut.

This of course would be a GPP play. I am hoping Haas can turn back the clock a little which saw him as a course horse at The Greenbrier.

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Fabian Gomez

Nationality: Argentina
Official World Rank: 248th
DraftKings Price: $7,200
Course History: None
Last Event: 2nd (Korn Ferry Championship)

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Analysis:
From here on I will be continue with the GPP plays. Fabian Gomez could be a decent play for the price. Gomez is coming off a solid Korn Ferry playoff series, he had a runner up in his last finish and a seventh a few weeks prior.

Like Haas, Gomez has a knack for opening up the season in strong fashion. Though he did finish off his 2019 PGA Tour season with nine straight rounds under par. Couple that with his Korn Ferry play and this might be a sleeper for a top ten finish.

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Lanto Griffin

Nationality: USA
Official World Rank: 235th
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Course History: 2 events, one missed cut
Last Event: 7th (Korn Ferry Championship)

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Analysis:
I will admit I know little about Lanto Griffin coming into this event. He did have a win on the Korn Ferry Tour last season which is nice to see. He is coming off a seventh place finish at Korn Ferry Championship event. In that event he was fifth in All Around Ranking and fourth in putts per green in regulation. With these greens being on the bigger side, I am hoping that will favour him.

The final thing about Griffin? He lives an hour and a half away in Blacksburg West Virginia. He has played this event twice, missing the cut in 2011, but placing 26th in 2018. He should be a very low owned player.

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Cameron Davis

Nationality: Australia
Official World Rank: 241st
DraftKings Price: $6,800
Course History: None
Last Event: 13th (Korn Ferry Championship)

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Analysis:
To round out the list is Cameron Davis. A cheap Australian. If you are looking for a punt play he might be your guy. Like Fabian Gomez he had to play the Korn Ferry playoff series to keep his card. To finish off the PGA season he is currently tied third (behind Roberto Castro and Vikor Hovland) for consecutive sub Par rounds (15). He is also only behind Viktor Hovland for consecutive rounds in the 60’s (8).

He has no course history here at The Old White TPC, but could be a sneaky play and great cap relief.

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There are some of my picks for the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier this week.

Good luck to all.

Cheers,
Gibb

About the Author

  • Gibb Pollard (gibbathy)

  • Gibb Pollard has been a member of RotoGrinders since 2012. He is an example of the power of the RotoGrinders blog section, taking a little weekly PGA blog in 2012 and turning it into a two-time FSWA nominated column. In 2014 he took down the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year award. Originally hailing from Australia, he is a regular on our PGA GrindersLive shows, giving our cast of hosts some international flavor.

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