Fantasy PGA Preview: Northern Trust

Take two!

I was in the middle of writing my article this week when I had to stop myself. It started on a negative tone, which was hard to shake off. Then DraftKings decided to drop a bomb. This allowed me to regroup and start over. Their bomb? The $1,000,000 first-place prize for The Masters. I won’t lie, I literally went to bed dreaming of millions. It is fun to do, right?

The forum comments are a mixed bag on this. Some for and some against. I am more on the positive side. It will bring a lot more attention to fantasy golf over the next seven or so weeks. I know that I will be throwing a few shots into this tournament (you have to be in it to win it). Hopefully DraftKings can back this up for the US Open. Out of all the majors, The Masters does have the smallest field. Hopefully the online coverage of The Masters can keep up with the influx of DFS players coming their way. It would be a shame if their site got bogged down.

AT&T Pebble Beach Recap

As a fantasy golf player and writer, I always have the day after the AT&T Pebble Beach marked. Why you might ask? Well, it is because the circus has packed up and has hit the road. Now we can get to the business of PGA golf. Full fields, one course, two day cut lines and no more amateurs. After reading three years of my own recaps of the Humana and AT&T Pro Ams, there is one common tone that sticks out: disdain. I can not put into words how much I am glad those events are done for the year.

The event itself was what we thought it would be: live coverage of celebrities bashing balls around, making the crowds laugh and doing live interviews. With shot tracker only on for a third of the field each of the first three days, it really was a snooze fest from a fantasy golf perspective.

Brandt Snedeker got himself back into the winner’s circle again. This was good to see, because a combination of injury and lack of confidence in his putting stroke dropped the former fourth-ranked player in the world down to 66th. Just be careful in rostering Snedeker this week at the Northern Trust. His history after winning a tournament is five wins, two missed cuts, one 33rd (at a 70 man no cut event) and an 11th. Use with caution.

Edit – Sneds withdrew from the Pro Am today with flu like symptoms. He’s still in the field though.

Northern Trust Open

This week the PGA travels south to Los Angeles, home of the Riviera Country Club, just a stone throw from Beverly Hills. The course is a par 71 track that runs 7,349 yards long, and the best thing is that this tourney is played on the same course the entire time. The Poa annua greens will make putting a bit tricky for golfers, especially later in the rounds.

A new thing I have been doing this year is adding PGA locations to my weather app on my phone. It sounds very basic, but it has helped me monitor how the weather has been leading up to each event. For the last few weeks, the weather has been great, and this week should be more of the same.


Defending champion Bubba Watson is back and is the most expensive player. It is interesting to me his record at this event the last five years (Win, MC, 13th, WD and MC). His course history for this event is a 50% made cut rate at eight starts and four made cuts. I will be staying away from Bubba this week, as I don’t want to roster the most expensive player that has a history of boom or bust at this event.

And, be careful with Bill Haas. With the nature of golf news, or lack of compared to the other sports, one thing we know? Bill Haas is expecting a child. When? Who knows? A few weeks ago I read it was going to be in a few weeks. This makes Bill Haas a risky play if his wife goes into labour. As a former winning of this event in 2012, he makes a great play. If you roll him out, I would do it in a GPP.

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Charl Schwartzel
DraftKings $9,300
Victiv $9,800
DraftDay $19,250
Charl has a short but great history at this event. In fact, in this field he owns the best average finishing position of fourth. Yes, in two trips to the Northern Trust he has picked up back-to-back top 5 finishes. Charl is coming off a missed cut at Qatar, which might lead people away from rostering him. As I mentioned after the Honda Classic last season, Charl has great talent in bouncing back from a missed cut. In fact, in his last 50 events he has not placed worse that 25th after missing a cut. He has not picked up back-to-back missed cuts since 2012.
Last Three Events
Qatar Abu Dhabi SA Open
MC 9th 2nd
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Harris English
DraftKings $9,000
Victiv $9,200
DraftDay $19,650
After a period of inconsistency, Harris English is getting himself back into form. In his last five events, he has two top 5 finishes. He placed 10th at the Northern Trust last season after finishing in the top 10 the event prior. English placed second in his last event. He has a 100% cut made rate in two starts. He has great length and great shot shape to dominate this course.
Last Three Events
Farmers Waste Humana
2nd 40th 30th
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Marc Leishman
DraftKings $7,500
Victiv $9,200
DraftDay $16,750
Aussie homer alert! Leishman made my short list this week because I like his trend of finishes. 37th at the Sony and 27th at the Farmers. I am hoping Leishman can sneak a top 10 finish in this week, and momentum is on his side. His history at this event is a career 80% made cut rate, and all of those have come in the last five years. One thing that caught my eye is his price on Victiv compared to Harris English. Victiv has been much tighter in their pricing and he and English are priced the same. On DraftDay and DraftKings, Leishman is considerably cheaper, making him a decent value play at this price of 7.5K.
Last Three Events
Farmers Sony Aussie PGA
27th 37th 11th
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Robert Streb
DraftKings $7,400
Victiv $8,400
DraftDay $15,950
Now here is a guy that takes after my own heart. He took the Humana off, took the Farmers off and took the AT&T Pro Am off. He gets it! This man comes to play, and play he has this season! His worst finish in eight starts this season is a 37th at Mayakoba. Five top 10s in eight starts and he is only priced at 7.4K? Lock that in for me in cash games. He missed his lone start here in 2013, but it’s 2015 now he’s playing great.
Last Three Events
Waste Sony TOC
10th 17th 8th
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KJ Choi
DraftKings $6,500
Victiv $6,300
DraftDay $13,650
I like Choi as a value play at this price. He has not done anything spectacular, but he has been consistent in his trudging along. He is three for three in making the cut this year and has made the cut at the Northern Trust 14 of 14 times. In his last five starts here, his worst finish has been 33rd and his best has been seventh. He is almost in sleeper range.
Last Three Events
Farmers Waste Sony
53rd 22nd 44th
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James Hahn
Draftkings $5,400
Victiv $3,400
DraftDay $11,500
I am combining my DraftKings sleeper play and my Victiv punt play. Hahn has shown no reason this season not to be rostered on at least one GPP team. Five starts this calender year and five cuts made. Three of those finishes have been in the 20s. He has made the cut in both starts at the Northern Trust, with 29th last season being the better of the two finishes. His finishes are trending in the right direction too.
Last Three Events
AT&T Farmers Waste
29th 41st 59th
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So there you have it folks, my picks for the Northern Trust Open.

Good luck to all.



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.


  • Frolik67

    Good article! I think you made a typing error with saying use Snedeker with caution, since if his record after a win includes 5 wins, i’d definitely want him on my team haha. I had Haas over Charl but will have to look into the baby thing, also the way Charl bounces back from a missed cut is very interesting as well, and after 3 years of doing so seems hard to believe its just a coincidence.

  • 10Beers

    word is Haas’ wife is due 1 week from Friday, anything can happen however. She encouraged him to play and not worry about it.

  • leafs93

    This will either be one of those things i just wish i had never seen cause i had alot of hass but now i think i might make the smart moved and pivot in most places

  • bonuscash

    • 2019 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • x2

      2014 FAFC Finalist

    Its their 2nd kid and 2nds tend to pop out before the due date. If he makes the cut and she goes in labor/ he’s not in position to really win it then I could see him packing up.

    He’s a great play but I don’t want to sweat someone’s water breaking.

    I feel like every week I have to deal with when a baby is going to be due in PGA.

  • leafs93

    @bonuscash said...

    I feel like every week I have to deal with when a baby is going to be due in PGA.

    Mahan curse, I wasnt around back then so i didnt burn me but im sure it screwed a few guys, I wouldnt dout if some dudes would have stayed and golfed in mahans position but is it really worth the risk.

  • bono6699

    not bad only 2 golfers didn’t make the cut

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