With a little over ten minutes until roster lock, it’s quiet on the news front this morning. Outside of the Ben Martin withdrawal from earlier in the week, there is no news to report ahead of the first round. Good luck this week grinders, as always if any late news breaks we will provide the updates needed. Golf ownership numbers will be up and running within five minutes of roster lock. Make sure to check out Results DB to see how your percentages stack up vs the field.
Just as some of the buzz around one of the tour’s popular young players was starting to wear off, Joaquin Niemann finds himself in a great spot for the last event of the wraparound season. Priced very reasonable across the industry Niemann sits as the over number one pick in our expert rankings for the second pricing tier on DraftKings for the week. While his game logs have not been exactly on fire to start the season it’s hard to find a reason to pay up for players like Lucas Glover or J.J. Spaun instead of the young and talented Niemann. Playing his opening round on the Plantation Course Niemann has a chance to get off to a fast start this week. The Plantation course typically plays almost a shot easier than the SeaSide course, so if you are playing the showdown slate there is some merit to stacking the easier of the two courses. Niemann has shown early in his PGA Tour career that he has what it takes to win on golf’s biggest stage, and in this somewhat weak field, few would be surprised if he held the trophy at weeks end.
Rotogrinders own Chief Meteorologist Kevin Roth has the final weather report for the wrap around season up in the main forum. According to Roth, weather could give a small advantage to the Thursday AM/ Friday PM wave. While the advantage appears to be very small it’s worth noting that golfers in this wave will have softer conditions on Thursday and fewer winds than those golfers in the late Thursday early Friday wave. As always we will keep an eye on the weather up until lock so make sure to check back prior to the start of round one for any last minute news.
Priced up a bit higher than most would like to see, Chris Kirk is still a great option for The RSM Classic. Having lived in the area for over six years Kirk has a ton of experience playing both courses. Evident by his solid track record at this event Kirk feel comfortable playing this tournament. Playing in his ninth RSM classic this week, Kirk is 6 for 8 in cuts made with a win and two top tens. In a week where prices are off due to lack overall talent, it’s important to understand and adjust price based expectations. Trying to justify any play because of what we feel is a good or bad price in terms of past pricing history will be a bit harder this week. Lucas Glover just regained his PGA Tour card via PGA Tour school and is priced way higher than many would expect. From a cash game perspective, Kirk with a solid course history makes sense even if the price feels high. Low projected ownership could even make Kirk a great GPP option at a venue where he tends to play some of his best golf.
Ben Martin withdrew early today from The RSM Championship. At this time there is no injury news associated with his decision not to play. Stuart Appleby will take his place in the field, but will not be available for DFS pricing.
The RSM Classic field leaves a lot to be desired in terms of big-name talent. With players like Lucas Glover and J.J. Spaun sitting inside the top five for pricing on the week it’s very easy to see why Webb Simpson is both the most popular and expensive golfer for the week. No offense to aforementioned Glover and Spaun, both of whom are more likely to fail than succeed in terms of performance vs price this week, but Simpson is clearly the class of this field. The current players champion withdrew from this event last season after two rounds ( tied for 7th) so he could be by the side of his dying father. Simpson both has the game and the course record worthy of the top player in terms of trust for the week. In his 22 rounds at this event, Simpson has only shot over 71 twice. While you certainly don’t have to pay up for anyone in this price range to take down a GPP, Simpson is clearly the best top end spend for the week.
Multiple PGA Tour winner and former Presidents Cup Team member Bill Haas is playing this week’s tour event on a conditional PGA Tour status. Haas fell short of the money needed to gain full status for this season via his medical exemption last year, so he will not have the luxury of setting his schedule at this point in the season. Motivated to play well, Haas enters this week with a very solid course history to build on. In addition to his runner-up finish at the 2010 RSM Classic, Haas has posted top 25 or better finishes in two out of his last four trips to Sea Island. In three fall starts Haas has posted two top 15 or better finishes and appears ready to put the 2018 season behind him as he prepares to battle his way back to the PGA Tour. A motivated Haas at a discount stands out as a great source of value for the last event of the fall swing.
Jason Dufner has always been known as a great ball striker. Throughout his 13 years on tour, success from week to week often depends on Dufner’s ability to manage his often balky putter. This former major champion will play for the second time this year with a bit of a new look when it comes to his putting stroke. Dufner will go to both a new putter and a new stroke for The RSM Championship. Like last week’s winner Matt Kuchar, Dufner will go with a longer putter aligned along his left arm. The hope for Dufner is that this new stroke will remove his tendency to deloft the putter throughout the stroke. While it’s still a bit risky to consider this a permanent fit for Dufner we should keep an eye on him moving forward. Dufner has really struggled to find the form that allowed him to win during the 2017 season, but that could all change if this new putting stroke begins to take place.
Thirty-one-year-old Swedish golfer Henrik Norlander will make his 2018-2019 PGA season debut at this week’s RSM Classic. In the field, via sponsor’s exemption, Norlander will look to carry over his solid play from earlier this year on the Web.com Tour. Norlander went 19 for 24 in cuts made while posting 10 top 25 or better finishes on the Web.com last season. Finishing in the 32nd place on the final Web.com standings, Norlander will need to play well early and often this season if he has any hopes of improving his reshuffle status moving forward. Playing in his fourth RSM Classic, Norlander does have a bit of previous success to build on for this week. Norlander is three for four in cuts made at The RSM Classic including a runner-up finish to Mackinze Hughes two years ago. The combination of his past success and steady play on The Web.com Tour has Norlander trending as a strong player in terms of Pt/$/k in this week’s projections.