Coop’s Genesis Open Preview

This week we are headed to Riviera Country Club for what is the final tournament as part of the West coast swing. This is one of the more prestigious tournaments on the PGA tour minus the majors and we have a fantastic field to support as it is just as deep as what we saw in Pheonix if not deeper. Dustin Johnson is your defending champion as he ran away from the field posting a five stroke victory while Bubba Watson and James Hahn were your winners the previous two years. Winning score is around -15 but weather can play a factor as when James Hahn won he posted a -6. Don’t expect this to be a birdie fest as very few players post score of -10 or better with the majority of the field finishing in the -2 to -5 range. Looking at previous leaderboards there tends to be a rather high number of in tourney WD’s after round one as we saw six last year and two in each of the two previous years tournament.

RIVIERA CC
RCC is the most challenging track that the PGA tour has played on so far this year. RCC is a par 71 course that plays around 7350 yards. RCC features small poa annua greens which measure roughly 5,000 sq feet with the tour average being 6500 square feet. The greens will putt fast this week, typically over 12 on the stimpmeter. These are usually some of the hardest greens to hit on tour and part of that reason is because the fairways are one of the toughest to hit on tour. RCC features eleven par 4 holes with six of them playing over 450 yds while the remaining par 4 holes all play over 400 yards minus the 10th hole which is only 332 yards. Over the last two years only two par 4 holes have played under par for the tournament, that being hole 3 and 10. It’s imperative this week that you play the three par 5’s under par as they are the only consistent scoring holes as they all played under par the last two years. Hole number one is a short par 5 that provides the players with there only legitimate eagle opportunity on the course as the other two par 5’s play close to 600 yards. The par 3’s this week offer a variety of length playing from 166 yards to 234 yards and don’t provide many birdies although at hole 16 you will see the occasional hole in one.

STATS
This week I feel the biggest stats to look at will be SG Approach as you will need to hit irons of all lengths to succeed at this tough course. Due to the length of the course I will be using three key distances to see who is hitting there approach shot closest to the pin, 150-175, 175-200 and 200+. I will use the first two lengths for the big hitters and the final two lengths for everyone else. As mentioned earlier the fairways and greens are difficult to hit which will lead to needing a solid short game so I will be targeting scrambling proximity. Finally you have to be solid in all aspects of your game to succeed at RCC and what better stats to use for this than SG T2G. The stats that are listed below are for the numbers of tournaments played since the Tournament of Champions and were the player ranks within the field.

BIG PLAYERS UP TOP THIS WEEK
Last week we said Dustin Johnson had the best course history at Pebble Beach, well it is starting to sound like a broken record as he checks in once again with the best course history as he has made 8/10 cuts while finishing 1st, 4th, 2nd and 2nd the last four years to go with another 4th, 3rd and 10th in his younger years. Everyone gave DJ the victory heading into round four at Pebble Beach last week as there was no way Ted Potter Jr was going to take down DJ. DJ came out in round four and didn’t play his best golf but wasn’t horrible at the same time while Potter played very good golf. This just goes to show how hard it is to win a golf tournament on the PGA tour in today’s game. I am sure DJ will be one of the highest owned players but I don’t think he will approach the 30% ownership we saw last week as I feel people will be heading toward a more balanced approach. I will probably be underweight on DJ if he approaches 30% plus as there are just to many very good players this week.
Tournaments Played 2
SG T2G 6th
SG Approach 54th
Proximity 150-175 109th
Proximity 175-200 23rd
Proximity 200+ 70th
Scrambling proximity 19th

Rory McIlroy made his 2018 debut on the PGA tour and left with a missed cut. McIlroy was just to inconsistent as he made to many bogeys to offset all the birdies he made. I faded McIlroy last week but will be playing him this week as I feel RCC sets up much better for him this week. I am hoping McIlroy stays around 15% as I don’t want to go to deep. Unlike Pebble Beach McIlroy has played RCC once finishing 20th. McIlroy hit his irons well but his putting was very bad. If McIlroy can get the putter going then he could win or finish T5 but just remember many people have been saying the same about the next player.
Tournaments Played 1
Proximity 150-175 1st
Proximity 175-200 34th
Proximity 200+ 5th
SG T2G 22nd
SG Approach 11th
Scrambling Proximity 36th

Jordan Spieth played better golf last week but the result ended up the same with a mediocre finish. Spieth still struggled only breaking 70 once on courses that are easier than what he will be facing at RCC. Spieth is 3/5 cuts made at RCC with fourth place being his best finish. I am cautious this week on Spieth as he has to produce a great result to pay off his price in a deep field. Unless Spieth goes massively underowned I will be passing on him as I feel you need to be playing very good golf to compete at RCC. If I see Spieth at around 10% I will grab enough shares to be slightly overweight as he is Jordan Spieth and can come alive at any time.
Tournaments Played 4
Proximity 150-175 16th
Proximity 175-200 72nd
Proximity 200+ 50th
SG T2G 16th
SG Approach 26th
Scrambling proximity 44th

Edit….added Tiger this week as I needed another player in that price range, same for Finau. Also like the low projected ownership on them. Fading Reavie due to the high ownership.

LOOKING FOR THAT BIG WIN
As I mentioned in the stats section we need ball strikers this week and Paul Casey is one of the best. Casey is 5/5 at RCC with only one T10 but he is coming off back to back T10’s in his last two tournaments. In those two tournaments Casey has been striking the ball extremely well. Casey has the rap of solid rounds to go with solid results who hasn’t been able to finish and win more often as he has the tendency to struggle in the fourth round. Casey is carrying a hefty price tag this week checking in at over 10k. It will be interesting to see how the DFS community reacts to the price tag on Casey as he has never been this expensive in a deep field. I for one hope the price tag on Casey keeps his ownership at a lower number.
Tournaments Played 2
Proximity 150-175 24th
Proximity 175-200 2nd
Proximity 200+ 2nd
SG T2G 1st
SG Approach 1st
Scrambling Proximity 28th

Chez Reavie continues to play golf at a high level as he has now made 20 consecutive cuts while posting back to back second place finishes. During Reavie’s run of 20 consecutive cuts he has 3 top 5’s, 4 top 10’s and 12 T20’s. If you look at his 2018 season Reavie has 7/9 T20’s with a 24th and 38th, all that is missing for Reavie is a win. Reavie has not played well at RCC only making 2/7 cuts while he did finish 7th two years ago but then again Reavie didn’t have good course history at Pheonix. I am hoping people overthink on Reavie this week looking at his course history and he comes in at a lower ownership in a field that is stacked with brand names much bigger than Reavie.
Tournaments Played 4
Proximity 150-175 22nd
Proximity 175-200 8th
Proximity 200+ 21st
SG T2G 5th
SG Approach 10th
Scrambling proximity 1st

Alex Noren has finally started to play consistent golf very well in the United States as he has struggled playing here before. Noren is putting the ball very good which is making up for some struggles he is having with his long irons. I am hoping Noren goes low owned this week so I can feel comfortable playing him as I do have some concerns with his iron play. This being a deep field means it will be difficult for Noren to win but I would be happy with a T10 while pairing him with other players who I feel could win.
Tournaments Played 2
SG T2G 9th
SG Approach 4th
Proximity 150-175 57th
Proximity 175-200 80th
Proximity 200+ 101st
Scrambling proximity 41st

Ollie Schniederjans played RCC last year and finished 8th while so far in 2018 he has two top 10’s and a missed cut. Ollie is priced within a strong group of players this week and I hope he goes underowned once again this week. Schniederjans is playing well and it feels as if a win is closing in for him. I have been on Ollie for several tournaments and I am not jumping off right now.
Tournaments Played 3
SG T2G 10th
SG Approach 12th
Proximity 150-175 15th
Proximity 175-200 106th
Proximity 200+ 42nd
Scrambling Proximity 67th

THE BEATLES ARE COMING
That is what it has felt like last week and this week on the PGA Tour as he have seen several big name Euro stars making there 2018 debut. Last week the big three were McIlroy, Adam Scott and Paul Casey while two missed the cut and Casey finished T10. In addition we had Rafa Bello and Branden Grace who both played solid finishing 26th and 20th respectively. Overall we didn’t know what to expect as they had little course history to go on and Euro stats are hard to find but 3/5 finished well. This week we have Tommy Fleetwood, Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer in addition to the five previously mentioned. The three this week will be in the same position as the players last week. I expect them to go underowned for this reason plus we now have a little bit of data on the players who played last week and people will feel more comfortable playing them. Fleetwood is the biggest name of the three and he has been on a heater finishing 6th, 1st, 3rd and 6th in his last four tournaments. I do have my concerns with Fleetwood as I don’t know what to expect from him on kikuyu but at the same time his game fits the course well. Pieters who is also a big time hitter finished 2nd last year at RCC even though it was his debut at this tournament. Pieters did enter last year with experience at RCC as he had competed there while in college. Pieters has been playing solid finishing 32nd and 5th in his last two tournaments but he has been known to be erratic with his golf game. Kaymer is the biggest name of the three and he is making his debut at the RCC this week. Kaymer has also been playing solid golf finishing finishing 19th and 27th in his last two tournaments. I didn’t even mention such Euro players as Mark Leishman, Charles Schwartzel, and Fransisco Molinari. In case I haven’t mentioned it already this is a deep field loaded with stars and the Euro players have really added to that depth. Minus McIlroy and Casey my favorite plays within this section are Grace and Pieters and if Scott comes in with low ownership projections I will take a couple flyers on him.

THIS WEEKS FADES
Tony Fianu has struggled at RCC over his career missing two of three cuts with a 56th place finish. For the last couple years the knock on Finau has been his putting but Finau has worked extremely hard on his putting and the results have shown as he continues to gain strokes on all types of grasses. Finau’s golf game is on the brink of getting to that next level and I feel all he needs is that big win to provide him with that needed confidence. For Finau I think that win needs to happen soon as he is in a critical part of his career were if he doesn’t get that big breakthrough win the pressure is only going to intensify and get more difficult which could cause some regression in his game. Finau is not striking the ball well as you will see below and I don’t feel this is the week he gets it together.
Tournaments Played 3
Proximity 150-175 100th
Proximity 175-200 110th

It’s not that I don’t like Patrick Cantlay as I have written him up in my blogs as a fade so far this season because I feel the winning scores as long as the scores required to T10 have been to high for the game he plays. Cantlay has played RCC twice and missed the cut both times while he is coming off finishes of 35th and 51st. Cantlay simply isn’t striking the ball well right now and I don’t think RCC is a course that will allow you to regain ball striking. Cantlay is priced cheap this week compared to previous weeks so I expect his ownership to still stay relatively high.
Tournaments Played 3
Proximity 150-175 106th
Proximity 175-200 74th
Scrambling Proximity 66th

In case you missed it Tiger Woods is playing this week at RCC. This will be Tiger’s second tournament this year and I faded him at the Farmers Insurance Open were he back doored a 23rd place finish. I faded Tiger for the sole reason as I didn’t know what to expect on a tougher course as the course he played in the Hero Challenge was easy. I must say I came away impressed with Tiger as he showed exceptional play around the green and on the green. Tiger struggled with driving accuracy but this was never a strong part of his game as he often hit bad drives to only hit terrific second shots. Tiger came in around 15% ownership a few weeks ago but I would not be surprised to see that number higher this week as he proved many doubters wrong. This is not a course that Tiger has played often over his career and it will be a very good test for his game. If Tiger can make the cut this week I will be a believer.

Matt Kuchar has great history at RCC making 9/10 cuts with one T10 but he comes in this week not playing great golf. Kuchar finished 62nd last week and has a 5th and 32nd in his previous two tournaments this year. What I don’t like this week about Kuchar is his ball striking.
Tournaments Played 2
SG T2G 99th
SG Approach 90th
Proximity 150-175 102nd
Proximity 175-200 97th
Proximity 200+ 95th

One of the hottest players on tour is Phil Mickelson as he has back to back T5 finishes. Mickelson has made his last eight cuts at RCC while winning two times to go along with two 2nd place finishes although this happened several years ago. The main reason I am fading Mickelson this week is he is riding a very hot putter. Once this putter disappears Mickelson will struggle to make cuts as the rest of his game currently is not statistically well rounded. Typically players can ride a hot putter for two weeks as it is very difficult to maintain at longer periods of time due to how much variance there is in putting.

OTHER PLAYERS I LIKE
JB Holmes titled the DFS community last week as he double bogeyed his final hole to drop from -4 to -2 and miss the cut. I felt that tilt as I owned 20% of JB last week but I will have no problem going back to JB this week as many will be off him dragging his ownership way down plus we have a deep field. JB has made 11/12 cuts at RCC with four T10’s. He fits the mold of big hitters who have played well at RCC and I see no reason why this would change.
Tournaments Played 3
Proximity 175-200 39th
Proximity 200+ 10th

I am hoping that the sting from the Farmers Insurance Open is still in many peoples mind for Jhonattan Vegas as he was high owned and missed the cut. Vegas has made 4/5 cuts at RCC and this course sets up well for the big bomber. Vegas has made 4/5 cuts this year and has two top ten finishes and comes to RCC well rested. What I like most about Vegas this week is his putting as he has done well with the short stick at RCC previously and he is currently ranked 23rd within the field making putts 5’ or less and 7th 5’-10’. He is one of few players that rank high in both of those stats this week and if you have not heard more putts from 10’ or less is missed at this tournament than any other on tour.
Tournaments Played 3
SG T2G 30th
SG Approach 25th
Scrambling Proximity 10th
Proximity 200+ 40th

I initially was excited to play Brendan Steele this week as he has made 6/7 cuts at RCC while he has made his last four cuts this year. I know Steele will be a very popular play this week due to his results at this course but I am wondering just how high owned he will be. Steele is grouped in that popular price range of 7.9k-7.5k and if he can stay at 15% or less I will probably play him but I am not sure about a chalky Steele this week. What has me concerned is his ball striking stats not to mention all his other key stats are just average. Playing Steele will most likely come down to his projected ownership.
Tournaments Played 4
Proximity 150-175 87th
Proximity 175-200 116th
Proximity 200+ 55th
SG Approach 40th
SG T2G 24th

THREE LOW OWNED GPP PLAYS
Jamie Lovemark is someone that is going to get lost this week in a deep field. Nobody is talking about him but he is a big time hitter who has made 2/3 cuts at RCC. Nobody is on Lovemark as he has missed two of his three previous cuts this year and only finished 52nd in his made cut. Lovemark isn’t playing great statistical golf currently but heads to RCC were he has putted well and he is currently putting well. I am willing to take a couple flyers who is min price this week who fits the course well and has played well here the last two years in order to get more high dollar players on my roster.
Tournaments Played 3
Proximity 175-200 35th

Peter Malnati has missed 4/5 cuts this year and the majority of you probably have never heard of him. Malnati did make the cut last week finishing 35th so he is headed in the right direction. So why will I throw Malnati in a couple gpp’s this week? There is always that one player that comes from nowhere and people say why would you pick him. I am hoping Malnati is that player this week. As you can see from his stats below they are not horrible, he is hitting irons solid and scrambling well. What I like the best about Malnati is his putting. Malnati is ranked number one in the field at making putts 5’ and less and 5’-10’. Malnati will save me salary and I know he will be less than .50% owned so if he can put it all together this week while making the cut he may pay off.
Tournaments Played 5
Proximity 150-175 50th
Proximity 175-200 38th
Proximity 200+ 35th
Scrambling Proximity 10th

What would be a blog without one JJ Spaun. I have been on Spaun every week during the West coast swing and I will not give up on him this week. When we last saw Spaun he was a WD at Pheonix and after searching the Internet nobody knows why. I was not alone in the DFS community being on Spaun but I feel the majority will not go back in on him as they don’t know why he WD. If you recall Spaun was hitting the ball well, especially his irons but his putting was horrendous. This week the poa should help even out putting so hopefully Spaun can come back rested and put everything together. I fully expect Spaun to be less than 2% owned this week and I am hoping it pays off as I will be off Spaun after this week for the most part as I feel he is a much better West coast player than Florida.
Tournaments Played 3
SG Approach 5th
Proximity 150-175 5th
Proximity 200+ 9th

IT MUST BE KOREAN WEEK
In DFS you are always looking for angles to try to gain that edge over the field. Last week I focused on the Australian players and there proficiency at Pebble Beach over the years due to the wind. Unfortunately it was not windy and they were not needed. This week the angle belongs to the Korean players and there performance at RCC. RCC has kikuyu grass which is often seen on golf courses in Japan and Korea and I can guarantee you the grass will not disappear this week at RCC like the wind did at Pebble last week. This means that the Korean players have much more experience playing on the turf at RCC which has benefited them over the years. With that said let me introduce to you a few players I have high hopes for this week.

I wrote Sang Moon Bae up a few weeks ago in my blog at the Farmers Insurance Open as he had decent course history and I was wanting to get on him before he performed well and others jumped on him. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as Bae missed the cut and he had his break through performance last week finishing 15th. Bae has some great course history at RCC finishing 8th, 12th and 8th as he enjoys playing on poa greens and has said he loves everything about RCC. In case you missed my previous blog on Bae he left golf to complete his military duty in South Korea. When Bae left he was playing very good golf in 2015 finishing in the T10 five times including a win. Bae has missed 5/6 cuts in 2018 and I am hoping people will just think last week was a fluke for him. I still have hopes that Bae will go under 1% owned but I feel confident he won’t be more than 3-5%.
Tournaments Played 5
Proximity 150-175 18th
Proximity 200+ 28th

After DJ the best course history belongs to one K.J. Choi, yes that is correct. Choi has made 12 consecutive cuts at RCC posting four T10’s with his worse finish being 33rd. Choi has only made 3/7 cuts in 2018 but he did finish 26th at Pebble Beach last week. You can go back and look at the most recent years Choi has played on the PGA tour and you will see he has missed several cuts and when he does make the cut he usually finishes 50th or worse. One thing is consistent in all those years, his performance at RCC. I am sure Choi will be low owned as he is after all K.J. Choi but I will have no problem clicking his name and going overweight on him.

Sung Kang is 3/3 cuts made at RCC finishing 22nd last year with an 8th the year before. Kang isn’t entering this weeks tournament in great form but neither was he when he posted solid finish over the last two years. Kang is probably the Korean golfer that most people are familiar with which will probably make his ownership the highest but I still don’t expect it to be more than 3-5%.
Tournaments Played 3
Proximity 175-200 3rd
Proximity 200+ 33rd
SG T2G 116th
SG Approach 124th

My last Korean golfer is Si Woo Kim, after all how could you leave out the Korean player who has the most talent and highest upside. Si Woo has quietly become a very consistent golfer making 8/9 cuts in 2018 as he appears to be at full health. Si Woo has played at RCC missing the cut both times as he has played one good round each year shooting a 68 and 70 coupled with a bad round of 74 and 75. I feel the consistency that is needed is now in his game and this could be a very good week for Si Woo.
Tournaments Played 4
SG Approach 36th
SG T2G 20th
Proximity 175-200 41st
Proximity 200+ 51st

That is all for this week, I wish everyone the best of luck. Next week I will not be posting a blog as I will be in Washington DC helping my daughter move into her new apartment and doing some sight seeing. I will leave you with my weekly Masters update.

Currently we have 82 players qualified for the Masters as we added one with the win from Ted Potter Jr last week.

We have 7 tournaments left were if you win you qualify for the Masters.

Players who need to stay in the world ranking top 50 to qualify for the Masters.
Satoshi Kodaira 40th, fell three spots last week
Chez Reavie 43rd and is new to the list as he was 61st last week
Dylan Fritelli 49th, fell two spots last week

Players who are playing this week who are outside the top 50 and need to get inside the top 50 to qualify for the Masters.
Cam Smith 58th
Peter Uihlen 59th
James Hahn 61st
Charles Howell 63rd
Keegan Bradley 64th
Bill Haas 67th
Shane Lowry 69th

About the Author

Comments

  • wilke7425

    Some great stuff Coop. The first golf blog I have actually read. I’m a golfer but don’t really follow all of the stats like you have provided. I am in a golf suey and a one and done so I appreciate any insight you have for those. Cheers.

  • Cooper08

    • Blogger of the Month

    Appreciate it, thanks! Not sure what a golf suey is? For one and done I don’t think it’s a week to get cute with the deep field. Up top I like DJ and Casey. If you are looking to be safe and get a solid finish I would go with CH3.

  • nicholasmarsh

    Excellent! I’m in line with just about everything that you mentioned. You have also made me reconsider Finau so I hope that works out for us all.

  • Phil9Mil

    Lots of good work put in here. Really appreciate it. Good Luck Coop

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