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Playing the Tips

Expert Picks: WGC-Match Play

Updated On: March 26, 2019, 8:03 pm ET

Each week, Dave Tindall and Matt Cooper will give their picks for the two main European Tour options – DraftKings and the official season-long 2019 Fantasy Race to Dubai game run by europeantour.com.

The latter is no-salary. Simply select a team of six golfers and nominate a captain whose points are doubled. Points are based on official Race to Dubai points earned by your players.

The DraftKings lineups will be entered into a large-entry Guaranteed Prize Pool. That means we need to take a risk or two, in order to separate ourselves from the field.

The idea is to provide you a list of names to consider. We would not recommend copying these teams, golfer for golfer. Duplicate teams are no fun and don't help anyone.

 

Dave Tindall's DraftKings Picks

@DaveTindallGolf

Jon Rahm ($10,600) – Rahm has DJ in his quarter and could face Rory in the semis but the Spanish bull can demolish all before him this week. Runner-up here in 2017 and hot form.

Francesco Molinari ($9,300) – In the easier half of the draw and a first go at match play since he went 5-for-5 at Le Golf National. Still having enough gas in the tank to win his Ryder Cup singles shows he can keep intensity high through to the finish.

Bubba Watson ($8,900) – Last year’s winner and no menu to deflect his attention. Bubba loves the creative angles at Austin CC and is rounding into some nice form.

​​​​​​Ian Poulter ($7,700) – A Match Play stud who made the quarter-finals here last year. Lots of good form in 2019 and draw could open up for him.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($6,700) – Dangerous sleeper. Loves the format, made the last eight in 2018 and was top three at the WGC-Mexico.

Lucas Bjerregaard ($6,200) – If JT isn’t quite on it, Day and Tiger get injured and Rory loses focus while dreaming of a green jacket, the Dane could easily win his quarter. Hmmm. In another scenario, the big guns fire blanks and Lucas (T12 Honda, T30 Sawgrass) has the form to cash in.   

 

Total salary: $49,600

On the cusp: Rory McIlroy ($11,700), Jason Day ($9,800), Tony Finau ($9,000), Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,500), Alex Noren ($7,000), Luke List ($6,800).

 

 

2019 Fantasy Race to Dubai – European Tour

Last week: A nothing sort of week as skipper Pieters completely folded (and started club throwing) on the weekend after leading at halfway. Very minor gain.

Position: 2,654th

Jon Rahm (captain): Taking down Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup singles could be the added mental edge to an already extremely strong case for the Spaniard.

Ian PoulterThe only decision with Poulter in this game is not whether to include him but if he should be captain. He came very close.

Francesco Molinari: Said here last year that he maybe wasn’t cut-throat enough or had the putting prowess to be good at match play. Then he won The Open and won all five matches in the Ryder Cup. I like that upgrade.

Tommy Fleetwood: I want the other half of Moliwood too for very obvious reasons, including great current form. Change in format could help a player who can get in his own way in strokeplay.

Sergio Garcia: Tough side of the draw and could face Rahm in an all-Spanish quarter-final. But…. went 3-0 in the group last year and this course, like most in Texas, suits Sergio.

Justin Rose: Have my doubts about Rose this week and it’s a bit of a cover bet as most will pick him. Vulnerable early but fresher than most which could aid him if he goes deep.

 

Matt Cooper's DraftKings Picks

@MattCooperGolf

Jon Rahm ($10,600) – Contrasting fortunes at the course (second and failed to get out the group), but finished T12 and T6 in the last two weeks and looks primed.

Paul Casey ($9,100) – Winner of the old Wentworth World Match Play and twice a runner-up in this event, full of confidence after last week’s win.

Francesco Molinari ($9,300) – Really struggled with match play and admitted as much at last year’s event, but we all saw what happened at the Ryder Cup (5-for-5).

Ian Poulter ($7,700) – Loves the format, a quarter-finalist last year and has four top six finishes in 2019.

Si Woo Kim ($6,500) – Taking the Pete Dye route for this pick: winner at TPC Sawgrass, second at Harbour Town, two top four finishes a few weeks ago.

Lucas Bjerregaard ($6,200) – The course is supposed to the be links inspired and whilst the winners don’t shout that, the semi-finalists do a little. The Dane won the Dunhill Links and hits it far enough to take advantage of the risk/reward holes here if on his game.

Total salary: $49,400

On the cusp: Jason Day ($9,800), Xander Schauffele ($9,400), Matt Kuchar ($8,100), Tyrrell Hatton ($7,600), Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($7,500), Shane Lowry ($7,300)

 

2019 Fantasy Race to Dubai – European Tour

Last week: Another week stuck in the Doldrums, but I believe I have discovered how and why someone selected Guido Migliozzi as captain in Kenya – they forget to post their team and got him in the automatic draw. Surely?

Position: 2,722nd

Jon Rahm (captain): Further to the reasons given above, I like the words he is using at the moment. His career might be forever on the knife edge of over-doing the aggression, but currently he seems nicely set.

Ian Poulter: There has been a little drop-off in form since the top sixes mentioned above, but a week away ought to have revived the batteries.

Paul CaseyHe was always deemed cocky on the European Tour and yet I always sense it is more a social awkwardness. He clearly relished last week and can ride that wave.

Tony FinauUsing the old pick-an-American-when-you-can option. Finau has gone off the boil a little but I like the format change as a prompt to alter that.

Bryson DeChambeauA second American and whilst I’m not convinced the format is perfect for his mentality, he’s still a driven competitor.

Sergio GarciaLoves Texas and has 19 top ten finishes in the WGC events. 

 

Josh Culp's DraftKings Picks

@futureoffantasy

Dustin Johnson ($11,400) – He's a past champ at Austin CC and he's quick to forgot about a bad round. In fact, he's probably already forgot that he posted a birdie-free Sunday round at the Valspar. 

Rory McIlroy ($11,700) –The hottest golfer on the planet right now. He's won this event before, although not at Austin CC. It's risky to load up at the top like this but I can now forget about the left side of the bracket and take some shots in the value range. 

Abraham Ancer ($6,400) – He doesn't make a lot of mistakes which will make him tough to beat if his game shows up. The hope is that Paul Casey arrives in a bit of a winner's hangover and lets Ancer through the door. 

Billy Horschel ($7,300) – Group 15 has the defending champ (Bubba) and the Golden Child (Spieth) but Horschel has the tools to sneak by them. He's 4-4-0 at this event but three of those losses have come against elite match play performers (J Day, Rory, and Koepka). 

Byeong Hun An ($6,300) – Nothing to get excited about here, this is a pure price play. I wanted to get the best of the bunch with the given salary remaining but also avoid any potential Round of 16 matchups with my previous picks. The goal is to get six guys into the elite 8 so in GPPs you want to avoid those early matchups. 

HaoTong Li ($6,800) – A similar story as An above. Li is just a price play here. In his favor, he has an out-of-form Noren and Tom Lewis who is making his WGC-Match Play debut. The biggest obstacle will be Brooks Koepka but even Koepka has less-than-stellar form in 2019, outside of a strong finish at the Honda. It's a long shot but I like Li as a potential sleeper to slide through in Group 3. 

Total salary: $49,900

On the cusp: Jason Day  ($9,800), Jon Rahm ($10,600), Ian Poulter ($7,700), Louis Oosthuizen ($7,500), Gary Woodland ($7,800), Bryson DeChambeau ($9,500)

 

PGATOUR.com's Bracket Contest

Josh Culp's Bracket
@futureoffantasy

Elite 8
Dustin Johnson over Jon Rahm
Jason Day over Rory McIlroy
Billy Horschel over Webb Simpson
Ian Poulter over Louis Oosthuizen

Final Four
Dustin Johnson over Jason Day
Billy Horschel over Ian Poulter

Winner
Dustin Johnson over Billy Horschel

 

Mo Yoshimoto's Bracket
@Bears3423

Elite 8
Dustin Johnson over Jon Rahm
Justin Thomas over Tiger Woods
Justin Rose over Francesco Molinari
Ian Poulter over Tommy Fleetwood

Final Four
Dustin Johnson over Justin Thomas
Justin Rose over Ian Poulter

Winner
Dustin Johnson over Justin Rose

 

 

One-and-Done

Each week I will think out loud about my process in determining my One-and-Done selection. If you are new to the One-and-Done format, it is like an NFL survivor league. You pick one golfer per week, but you can't use them again all year. 

To start things off we will look at my match play rankings which look at head-to-head performance worldwide over the last 10 years and accounts for strength of opponents along the way. Number in paranthesis is their record over that time frame: 

Alex Noren (18-6-0)
Brooks Koepka (9-5-1)
Jason Day (23-10-0)
Jon Rahm (7-3-1)
Ian Poulter (27-12-3)
Bubba Watson (20-13-4)
Louis Oosthuizen (20-12-2)
Tony Finau (3-1-0)
Paul Casey (21-15-3)
Phil Mickelson (17-9-1)
Billy Horschel (4-4-0)
Dustin Johnson (16-13-1)
Rory McIlroy (28-16-3)
Patrick Reed (14-9-2)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (14-7-1)

After history, we can look at baseline performance over the last year. This will give us a good feel for who should pop regardless of past course results: 

Dustin Johnson
Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods
Bryson DeChambeau
Jason Day
Tony Finau
Jon Rahm
Brooks Koepka
Webb Simpson
Tommy Fleetwood
Patrick Cantlay
Hideki Matsuyama
Francesco Molinari

Looking for an overlap list we see a few names pop up: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka

When I grade out the ease of their Group Stage opponents then they rank as follows (in order or easiest to toughest): Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Jason Day

Starting with the easiest, Koepka is 6-3-0 at Austin Country Club. His only losses came against Jason Day, Alex Noren, and Danny Willett. I'm not sure about Willett but Noren and Day are two of the toughest head-to-head opponents.

I will go with Brooks Koepka as my One-and-Done pick this week. 

 

 


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