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Risk and Reward - WGC-Cadillac Championship

This week is really going to be defined by whether or not you believe the poor performances last week hold any weight. Both Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are excellent fits for Doral, with their exceptional length off the tee, but DJ in particular put up an awful performance at PGA National. Logically speaking, as the late Mr. Spock is wont to do, one cannot ignore one performance and lend value to another. That is, if you choose to ignore a poor finish, then you must ignore a strong finish at the same tournament. And since I've got about 9 hours of college courses tomorrow, I'm going to stop thinking there and say this - since when is golf a rational and logical game?

If it was, then the statement "If I swing the club, then the ball goes in the hole" would be true since that is the expected and desired outcome. I'm painting in broad strokes here, so try to keep up. I'm sure this paragraph is leading to something.... ah, yes, here it is. Since golf isn't a logical if-then problem, I can apply all the math I want to help figure fantasy golf out and still be wrong much of the time. My formula is more like stock analysis on a much more simplistic scale, that is, it uses past performance to try to predict future gains, but the volatility of the analyzed subject precludes perfection and instead the formula functions to help reduce the instances of extremes. In short, there is no sure bet, but I can help you find the bets that are better than most.

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, while Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here, as opposed to the Power Rankings, where I rely strictly on data. If the idea of Lay-Up may contain players who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.


Jamie Donaldson - TA: 35, CHG: (+1.2) - Last year's runner up is pairing that solid finish with excellent form heading into Doral. Not much else to say here, though he also has two Top 20s and a Top 10 in his previous five starts to the Honda Classic. The Welshman is average at best tee-to-green but he more than makes up for it with the putter, with which he ranks first in strokes-gained.

Jason Dufner - TA: 35.5, CHG: (+1.8) - Called him a Hazard last week and with all (fine... none) of the colorful and flamboyant shenanigans only he's known for, promptly dropped a tie for 17th. That timing works out well because he's a horse for the Blue Monster, finishing 9th last year and 12th the year prior. He's dramatically improved his driving accuracy this season finding nearly 10 percent more than either of the last two years. Good news for Duf fans, because he's still hitting greens at the same pace and he's marginally improved his putting from one-handed monkey to two-handed monkey.

Hideki Matsuyama - TA: 36.83, CHG: (+1.8) - That many of the players here didn't make the Power Rankings is a testament to the depth of a WGC field, and few more so than Matsuyama. When he's on form, its hard to argue that he's not one of the best in game right now. When he's not, well, he's a little like Patrick Reed last year in that he'll contend one week and MC the next. Chalk it up to growing pains, but with no cut this week, you needn't break out the Advil. 


Dustin Johnson - TA: 44.625, CHG: (-17.6) - I'm really punting by placing him here, but I'll pretend I have some reasons that aren't "I'll eat anywhere. No, that doesn't sound good to me". Truthfully though, he's flashed form at two courses he plays really well at and has MC'd at two that he's had less impressive history on. This week, he's got a solid track record again, but going 77-75 to miss the cut by eight doesn't inspire confidence. Flip a coin.

Phil Mickelson - TA: 43.5, CHG: (+12.2) - I was sort of hoping he'd play poorly at the Honda Classic because I had him pegged for this tournament if value was low enough in DFS. No cut means he free to fire away for birdies. Of course, Phil being Phil, he's free to fire away for double bogeys as well. His T17 came with a terrifically bad back nine to fall out of contention, but he found a putting stroke and he's dangerous when his flat stick is working for him instead of against him.

Paul Casey - TA: 38.75, CHG: (+6.8) - The overriding concern here isn't form or history, but how much gas he's got in the tank after contending late the last two weeks. Golfers are more athletic than they've ever been, and Casey is more healthy that he's been in years, but on the mental side, it's got to be hard to maintain - especially after punting away the lead with two bogeys coming down the stretch.


Gary Woodland - TA: 49.86, CHG: (-19.6) - His relatively decent history in his two starts here is certainly tempting, as is his long ball, but he's struggled lately, even on courses that would seemingly favor his skill set. He's missed the cut at Riviera and only managed a 45th place finish at Torrey Pines. Two likely culprits for the poor play are his putting, where he ranks 194th and driving accuracy, where he ranks 180th. He still manages to hit a ton of greens, but its hard to protect from bogeys with a putter that just flat-out isn't working.

Cameron Tringale - TA: 53.125, CHG: (-11.2) - Tringale hasn't shown anything so far this season to lead me to believe he's capable of winning a tournament, much less a WGC. He's never played here, and paired with a pedestrian tee-to-green game and bad putting, there's really no upside when there are other, better low-salary players.

Morgan Hoffmann - TA: 57.625, CHG: (-7.8) - Did you see his hat at the Waste Management Open? I need one, yesterday. Aside from that, there's nothing really to like from him right now. His best finish this year is a T22 at the Northern Trust Open with his next best being a T51 at the Sony Open. Hits the ball a long way, but hitting just 46 percent of fairways and 57 percent of greens is not the way to get it done.

My Picks

PGA Tour - 23rd of 788 - Experts League - 5131 points
  • Bubba Watson
  • Patrick Reed
  • Shane Lowry
  • Jason Dufner 
Yahoo! - 2nd of 50 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 94th percentile, 3468 overall 
  • Bubba Watson (S)
  • Jason Dufner
  • Hideki Matsuyama (S)
  • Hunter Mahan (S)
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Patrick Reed (S)
  • Shane Lowry 
Golf Channel - 11th of 100 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 3445th overall

WGC-Cadillac Championship
  • Bubba Watson
  • Patrick Reed
  • Shane Lowry
  • Jason Dufner
Puerto Rico Open
  • Brendon de Jonge
  • John Peterson
  • Jeff Overton
  • Tommy Gainey

Thanks for reading!

Kyle Donovan