Hellllooo Quail Hollow! After what seemed to be monsoon season in Louisiana at The Zurich Classic, Charlotte looks to have some perfect weather for The Wells Fargo Championship. AND – unlike the past few weeks – we actually get a look at a relatively star-studded field, as tour members are starting to get warmed up for the might-as-well-be-a-major, Players Championship. The field includes players who survived the weather like Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose, as well as a return to action for Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, J.B. Holmes (2014 champ), and of course, defending champion Rory McIlroy. Even good ‘ol Jim Furyk returns to the fold, which is great, because golf is just better when the Fury is playing. **Insider’s update (AKA visible to anyone who has a Draft Kings account)** Dustin Johnson has pulled out of the field, for undisclosed reasons, so naturally everyone is assuming cocaine bender.
I am currently battling the gambler’s fallacy right now in regard to Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. The past two tournaments I have been all in with the supposed “course horse,” and it has burned me good. Jimmy Walker being cut at the RBC killed most of my lineups, and Justin Rose, also getting cut last week at the Zurich, all but wiped me out. With that said, I want so badly to fade the course horses this week: Phil and Rory. Phil in particular has had “cash game success” here with his last five finishes coming in T4, T11, 3, T26, and T9. He’s never missed a cut here, and so obviously he has to be a cash game play right? Basically what this comes down to for me, is will I be more upset not playing Phil and Rory and seeing them tear it up, or more upset playing them and watching yet another “obvious play” miss the cut. As for me, this is where the gamblers fallacy comes into play – this might seem obvious, but Rory and Phil’s play this week is independent of the course horses in past two weeks (RBC, Zurich). The only reason to not play both Phil and Rory would be because people have been burned on the past two course-horses, which is the fallacy. You should not change your bet even when you’re on a losing streak. Therefore, Phil and Rory will be in a lot of my lineups. Let’s see what lefty can do this week!
Make no mistake about it, Quail Hollow is a course for bombers, with two of the past three winners coming in first in driving distance (Derek Ernst came in 11th in DD during his victory, so not far off). Bombers just get a major advantage at this course, and it’s entirely possible to make a lineup of top-10 bombers with Tony Finau, J.B. Holmes, Jason Kokrak, Jamie Lovemark, Ollie Schniederjans, and Gary Woodland. And actually I probably will enter that lineup in a GPP just for fun.
Out of those six, I like Woodland and Holmes the most. Woodland lines up the best, as he looks to be in a better position to have his putter heat up, but Holmes is also playing really well right now, and has a slight edge in his scrambling ability, not to mention he won this thing only two years ago (which will probably inflate his ownership). I wish Ollie Schniederjan’s ownership percentage would be lower than what I think it will be — I’m sure fantasy guys like Pat Mayo will mention him, and talk about how he’s been tearing it up on the Web.com tour. Players will see the $6,400 price tag and think they will be getting a steal. Bold prediction: Schniederjan’s ownership will be greater than 10%.
Rickie Fowler $10,900 – Eventually I have to get back on the Rickie train. His stats don’t lie. He had a nice tournament last week at the Zurich, and he did earn his first PGA win at this very tournament. With The Players a week a way, I’d look for him to make a big move here, and in fact, a bigger one than he will next week with the pressure of defending Sawgrass (note his ownership % figures to be much higher next week too).
Adam Scott $10,600 – Stay in the flames. Adam has been red hot this year, and everything about this course wreaks of Scott’s play as of late. 13th in distance, 39th in strokes gained putting and 38th in GIR%. He’s had great form, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s actually slightly under-owned this week simply because people have forgotten about him through his lack of starts.
Justin Rose $10,000 – Just like the Jhonny Vegas play last week, a Rose bounce back could be in the air. Rose already goes under-owned typically, and with him burning so many people last week, I like his ownership percentage to be way down this week. He rarely misses back-to-back cuts, which makes him a perfect, and even fairly safe play this week for GPPs and cash games.
J.B. Holmes $9,100 – Mentioned above, Holmes has been playing exceptionally as of late, with 3 top 10s, 7 top 25s, and no missed cuts. With his distance off the tee, scrambling ability, and overall good juju on this course, I’d put him in both cash and GPP lineups.
Charles Howell III $8,100 – “They call me…Mr. Cash” – I’m worried that by writing this, I’m just asking for a Charlie 3-sticks jinx, but the guy has been solid all year with making cuts and finishing high. He’s top-50 in all of the key stats we studied, except strokes gained putting (ranked 60th). He just gets it done. The only thing that worries me is how much he’s been playing, but I’m going to stay on board until he proves I shouldn’t.
Kevin Chappell $7,900 – When Dustin Johnson drops out, you gotta go with DJ-lite. Chappell also fits the mold regarding key stats: bombs it off the tee, and just needs to get the putter going. With Lovemark, Simpson, and Woodland all priced around Chappell, I like him to have low ownership, and high upside.
Gary Woodland $7,800 – Woodland’s got two things going for him: he’s a monster off the tee, and doesn’t miss a lot of greens in regulation. He’s a cut maker having only missed 1 cut all year. He will desperately need to get his putter going in order to make a run, and if he does, then lookout.
Jason Kokrak $7,200 – Kokrak may as well be Gary Woodland Vista – in that he mimics all of Gary Woodland’s stats, he just doesn’t run as smoothly. He’s big off the tee, 9 of 16 cuts made, and can make his pars. Like Woodland, the question will be if he can get the putter going.
Lucas Glover $6,300 – Glover is right around the 300-yard average for driving distance, which is works for Quail Hollow, and he comes into this tournament ranked first in the field in GIR %. He has the ability to go low, and I think he has been slowly improving as the year continues.
Andrew Loupe $5,700 – I’m staying on the Loupe train, even though it might be “Destination-Chernobyl.” I can’t ignore his putter, and I don’t think his past two cuts are indicative of the player that he can be. He continues to be a GPP play.
Jhonattan Vegas $6,400 – I didn’t take my own advice last week. Out of all the 6k range players, Vegas looks to be the most mispriced. He didn’t putt well in his last round of the Zurich, and it took him out of contention. Everything else was working just fine, though. I’m all in on Vegas this week.