THE WEEKLY WEDGE: 2018 WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

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What’s up Playmakers! Welcome back to another weekend of PGA golf brought to you by theDPA. This week we’ll be going over the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and some tips that might be able to help you navigate the odd tournament format here at Firestone Country Club.

Last week at the RBC Canadian Open we saw DJ hang around over the first couple of days, and eventually take over to win over the weekend by firing an amazing 23-under. As fun as it was to see some serious scoring last weekend at Glen Abbey, it probably won’t be like that on a difficult course like Firestone. The big difference between this week and last week is that instead of being able to score as much as you possibly can, it’s going to be more of seeing who can avoid losing strokes to some of the challenges the South Course has to offer.

Playing at 7,400 yards and having a par of 70, this leg of the World Golf Classic championships is going to be all about length and accuracy. Although it’s not a pure bombers track, players are going to have to take some shots with their longer irons while still being accurate and staying away from the hazards that can really cost you here. Both of the Par 5 holes here are definitely no cake-walk – one of them being 650 or so yards – so you won’t see a lot of the longer hitters really taking advantage by being able to hit the green in two simple shots. There definitely will be some opportunities at eagle, I would be foolish to think there wouldn’t be, but the length and difficulty will ensure that shorter players aren’t losing too much on the par 5’s. Aside from the Par 5’s, there are seven Par 4 holes that are playing at 450+ yards; so again, accuracy with the longer irons is going to be extremely pivotal at a course as long as this one.

Players will be dealing with Bentgrass fairways and greens out there this weekend – which play very fast – so there will also have to be a decent amount of control involved if you’re going to play well here. Even though I don’t think it’s going to be the most important thing in the world, I will definitely be taking a look at SG: Putting on Bentgrass when trying to tip the scale on a few of my decisions.

In terms of strategy, this is almost guaranteed to be one of the more interesting tournaments on tour this year. With only 75 players participating and no cuts being made after Friday, you’re not going to have to worry about one of your players missing the cut and ruining your chances at cash and possibly a GPP takedown. But with that being said, other entrants will have the same advantage so you’re going to have to pick the winner if you want to finish high up in a large-field tournament.

There are some weather concerns this weekend, with rain looking like it’s going to play a part pretty much all weekend long. But as always, check the weather right up until lock to make sure you can gain any advantage on the field that is possible.

Key Stats

  • Course History – a player’s performance history on a particular course
  • SG: Off-the-Tee – the amount of strokes gained on the field generated from hitting the fairway off the tee
  • Driving Accuracy Percentage – the amount of time a drive, regardless of club, ends resting in the fairway
  • SG: Approach – measures the amount of strokes gained from shots not off the tee and more than 30 yards out
  • Bogey Avoidancethe percentage of time a player makes a bogie

$10,000 and Above | Tiger Woods | $10,800

With Tiger heating up as of late and playing at arguably his favorite course this week, he will be one of the course horses and is a near lock to make a run at 1st place come Sunday afternoon. Although some of his ranks in relevant categories might not show strengths here at Firestone, a lot of that was just him still getting used to golf competition towards the beginning of the season. Ranking 2nd in the field in SG: approach, Tiger can absolutely still stick greens with the best of them and his form has definitely started to come around over his last couple of starts. Since changing his putter out after the US Open, he has been in the top-10 twice in a row and he is now back at the course where he claimed his last victory back in 2013. Although he will most definitely be THE chalk of the tournament; his course history, recent form, and just being Tiger Woods makes him an excellent play in all formats this weekend as he makes a run at his 9th win here at Firestone.

Pivots: Rory McIlroy ($11,300) | Rickie Fowler ($10,000)

$9,900 – $9,000 | Tommy Fleetwood | $9,200

This is a guy who’s just got to win one by the end of the year with the way he’s been playing literally all season long. Over the course of this year, Fleetwood has made 22/24 cuts and has been in the top-10 an outstanding 10 times during that same time span. Aside from his play this entire season, he’s finished in the top-12 in each of his last two starts so he’s coming into the weekend on fire and definitely hungry to win a big tournament like the Bridgestone Invitational. He ranks 9th in the field in SG: tee-to-green, 5th in SG: off the tee, and 7th in overall Draftkings scoring. He’s a great overall player and ball striker who is more than ready for his first win on tour this season, and I wouldn’t doubt it at all if he found himself inside the top-10 once again come the end of the weekend.

Pivots: Jason Day ($9,800) | John Rahm ($9,600)

$8,900 – $,800 | Zach Johnson | $8,100

Another course horse here at Firestone, ZJ is priced criminally-low this week despite also having an excellent season and showing some good recent form. Since 2013, Johnson has finished T4-T23-T33-T10-2, respectively. He ranks in the top-20 in bogey avoidance on the year, 10th in the field in SG: putting on Bentgrass, and is a fantastic ball striker who has an excellent overall game. With his course history and low price point I’m sure he will also carry a fair amount of ownership, but his solid play and salary relief makes him a near lock in both cash and GPP formats this weekend.

Pivots: Bubba Watson ($8,500) | Patrick Cantlay ($8,200)

$7,900 – $7,500 | Adam Scott | $7,500

Another guy who has historically played well here, Adam Scott definitely has the experience and skills necessary to play well here. He ranks 15th in the field in SG: off the tee, 10th in SG: tee-to-green, and 8th in SG: approach. Despite only being the top-10 once this year, Scott has finished in the top-15 four out of the last five years here and his T17 finish a couple weeks ago at the Open will definitely give him some confidence going into the weekend. He might not be the player he once was, but his course history and salary relief makes him a fine play at this price and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he made a top-10 run here.

Pivots: Matt Kuchar ($7,700) | Thorbjorn Olesen ($7,500)

$7,400 and Below | Ian Poulter | $7,300

Poults is fighting for a spot on the European Ryder Cup team and you know his competitiveness is going to carry over into this weekend, as well. Last week after shooting a 6-under opening round at the RBC Canadian Open, he said in an interview that he knows he’s on the cusp of making the Ryder Cup and wants to make sure he does everything he can to secure a spot for the international battle in France this year. He backed up that comment by carding a -5 on Sunday to put himself in the top-12 for the tournament, and I don’t see this weekend being much different. Poults is great on the approach and also plays very well on Bentgrass, which should definitely work to his advantage this weekend. Look for him to continue fighting for that last Ryder Cup spot and play to the best of his ability at a surprisingly-low price compared to where he’s been the last few weeks.

Pivots: Charl Schwartzel ($7,100) | Austin Cook ($7,000)

Anthony is the DailyPlayAction’s resident DraftKings PGA expert, and shares his thoughts and opinions at his own discretion. Anthony plays DraftKings himself, and although he shares his opinions, he is free to implement other players in his rosters without notice. Anthony nor the DailyPlayAction are responsible for losses accrued by using DPA rosters.