If you are the type of player that likes to bet on the long term talent of a golfer, then this is a good week to bet on Rickie Fowler. The one-time darling of DFS golf has not exactly played his best golf over the last few months. Since the tour’s restart, Fowler is 5 for 10 in made cuts with 0 top ten or better finishes. Looking to turn the tide this week, Fowler is both cheap ( relative to long term talent) and somewhat low owned ( less than 7%). The difficulty of trying to navigate a no-cut event is magnified by the fact that this week’s venue ( Shadow Creek), will host its first tour event. Shadow Creek is a venue created and built by Vegas mogul Steve Wynn. No expense is spared in the building and or upkeep of this course and early reports have the greens being extremely on the fast side. Fowler has always been a historically good putter, and if you feel like there is a strong chance that he will turn it around sooner than later, then this is a good week to take a shot on his long term talent at low ownership.
Limited fields with no cuts are always an interesting riddle to solve. Trying to handicap motivation for players is never an easy thing. For a player like Joel Dahmen, this week should mean more than others. A chance to play in a strong field no-cut event gives Dahmen a chance to improve his standing on tour. In order to fit in some of the top-priced golfers, you will have to look at adding a few cheaper golfers into your player pool for the week. Normally we like guys at a discount to just make the cut, this week however we have to look at trying to target golfers with more upside due to the lack of a cut. Dahmen is an elite ball-striker who has shown flashes of upside over the last twelve months. From a motivation standpoint, this week should mean more to Dahmen than other established players, so there will be a bit more emphasis on grinding out four rounds regardless of where he stands after day one. With a top 10 at this year’s PGA Dahmen has shown he can excel in strong field events and will look to get his 2021 season off to a strong start with a good showing this week.
News broke this afternoon that both Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson are out of this week’s CJ Cup due to COVID-19. Finau tested positive last week but has not yet cleared the testing protocol in order to return. DJ tested positive today and will miss this week. Robby Shelton and J.T. Poston are now both into this week’s field.
When you look at the second half of the 2020 season, it’s really hard to quantify the true form of a golfer. Three times since the restart we saw players win the following week after missing a cut. There is a strong argument to be made that the restart adjustment was harder than most of us would put much stock in. With the tour somewhat back to normal ( minus fans), we should start to see some players settle into some familiar routines. Despite his somewhat lackluster play since the restart ( only one top ten in 8 starts) Cantlay looks to build on a very strong course history at TPC Summerlin. In his 12 rounds at this course, Cantlay has shot 67 or better 8 times. In his three starts at The Shriners Open Cantlay has one win, a third, and lost in a playoff last year to Kevin Na. Cantlay loves this course and is an odds on favorite to play well once again this week.
Prior to last week’s top 20 finish at The Sanderson Farms Championship, Brandt Snedeker had all the signs of a struggling golfer. Since the tour’s restart in June Snedeker had only made 4 of 8 cuts with no top 40 or better finishes. For those willing to dig in and find out a bit more about Snedeker’s struggles, you would have seen that he had recently just switched coaches. Now working with former tour player Bradley Hughes, Snedeker is hopeful to build on a good week. With a change in coach and perhaps some swing philosophy there is always a chance of poor form in the short term, but despite his poor results, you could see flashes of Snedeker finding his game. His missed cuts were often due to a poor start or just a few bad holes. Snedeker is often a streaky golfer and with a price that is still low in comparison to his talent level there is strong merit to adding this short game specialist to your roster builds for the week.
Smylie Kaufman will not play this week and has been replaced by Chase Seiffert. Due to the timing of this move, we should not see Seiffert added to the full week player pools, but he could show up in the round 2 showdown slates.