The 72 hours of prep from Monday to Wednesday in a Major week always feel like multiple weeks by the time pencils go down on Wednesday night. By the end of the day on Monday, I thought I knew everything about this field with all my firm stances. Then Tuesday I listened around the industry and started questioning everything. But Wednesday I started reading quotes from the players and it felt like validation to all my initial leans. So in the end, I’m glad we only have to wait one more night before the action kicks off so I can’t change anything else around. Before I change my mind any further, let’s dive in to the final card!
This is as tight as a 9 player outright card can possibly feel. That’s because two bets (Leishman and Molinari) were placed last November, and two more (Ancer and Scott) were free promo bets. So the way I think about it, it really only feels as if I put money on 5 guys this week (Hovland, Berger, Keegan, Charl, Hoffman).
From a strategic standpoint, I wanted to avoid concentrating my units on any one player, because a couple unlucky swirls of wind can make a world of difference. So while I pondered going big on DJ all week, I ultimately decided to leave my top-of-the-board exposure to my two favorite plays of the week in Viktor Hovland and Daniel Berger. I’d like to contest that that these bets were placed during the AT&T Byron Nelson action, so I was not aware at the time that these would become some of the chalkiest bets of the week. In any case, I always like to say a chalk bet is more a reflection of a miss-price from the books than anything else. If Xander Schauffele were in the 35-41/1 range, he’d be a chalk pick too, right?
The rest of my card is a bunch of high upside fliers in the 100/1+ range who I’ve gotten familiar betting in the 30/1 range in decent fields recently, so I’m all for spreading out my exposures this week on the low risk, high reward spectrum. As I like to say, I’m only asking for a Sunday Sweat, and this week I think I have 9 proven gamers who can work their way up into contention come Sunday.
- Emiliano Grillo +410
- Joel Dahmen +800
It’s a big field this week with over 150 contestants, but a chunk of those are Local Pros and older past champions who you can write off write away. Beyond that, the cut line is Top 70 and ties, versus the usual 65, so it just feels like you have a better chance to sweat a T20 on the weekend this week than most. Emiliano Grillo is a perfect T20 play this week to me, because he’s finished T20 at all the comp courses recently, whether it’s on Paspalam, Long Coastal Windy Courses, or Pete Dye. He hits it long and straight, can flight down the golf ball around wind, and for whatever reason, the putter seems to never let him down on this grass type. I don’t think he has the polished game to win, but I love him to hang around all week. Speaking of win equity on Coastal, Windy, Paspalam courses, that’s about all it took for me to bet the defending Corales Champion to place T20 at 8/1 odds in Joel Dahmen. He’s not a bomber, but that didn’t stop him from finishing T20 at Quail Hollow in his last start, and he seems to be confident in his game based on what I’ve seen in the media this week.
First Round Leader
- Emiliano Grillo +8000
- Gary Woodland +8000
- Charley Hoffman +9000
- Harold Varner III +12500
- Sebastian Munoz +12500
This would be the most random Sebastian Munoz FRL cash of my life. There’s honestly not anything I can point to in his game that sets him up for success here, but tradition is tradition, and we are blindly following it at 125/1. The Gary Woodland FRL is an homage to the last Major Champion I cashed on, and it’s also an emotional hedge for not getting any outrights on him this week. Grillo, Hoffman, and Varner are three staple FRL guys that consistently seem to come out hot, so I love that they’re all posted here at 80/1 or higher.
One And Done
- Rory McIlroy
Going the ultra conservative route this week. Rory is not a conviction play for me and he’s not my favorite guy at the top of the board, but having already used DJ, JT, Xander, Bryson, Hovland, and Berger, I thought it’d be best not to over think this one. I’m in a decent standing right now in the Mayo Cup, and I just don’t see a better place to place Rory in OAD than right here right now, so let’s see how this goes.
- Viktor Hovland ($9,600)
- Keegan Bradley ($7,300)
- Emiliano Grillo ($7,000)
This is a chalk core no doubt, but I’m not going for mass GPPs this week, so I’m playing a bit more conservative with the guys that popped most in my model to hit fairways and contend in difficult, windy conditions. Hovland may be the highest owned player this week, but I’m sold on the ceiling and floor. If the around the green game is the only area people can poke holes in, I’m feeling pretty confident that we can work around it. Keegan Bradley could not stack up any better this week. He has been one of the best T2G players on Tour for pretty much all of 2021 and the putting has slowly started to come around over the last month. I think a trip to Paspalam will be just what the doctor ordered for Keegan, but if he crashes and burns as a chalk play this week, I only have myself to blame. Grillo at least comes in a bit under-owned right under 10%, and he checks all the boxes that make me believe he’s a conservative T20 play.
With this core, I’m definitely looking to round out my lineups with some leverage players to differentiate, and Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott are my two favorite low-owned guys in my consideration set this week.