The unofficial start to the season begins this week at Riviera Country Club, with seven of the top 10 in attendance looking to take this trophy home. Like Majors and WGC events (to an extent), projected DraftKings roster percentage ‘usually’ distributes evenly for a more balanced approach. However, there are still players who will be chalk heading into Thursday. Some past winners here include Adam Scott, J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson (3x), Dustin Johnson and James Hahn. Riviera CC also lends itself to players who’ve done well or have experience here and the top five, in descending order, in SG: Total since 2016 is Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar.
Course history, current form, or your favorite golf tout has pumped up the projected DraftKings ownership for individual golfers throughout the week. This article will look at the projected chalk and pivot in each significant salary range when entering lineups in GPPs on DraftKings.
For a full course preview and who I like in the DraftKings Sportsbook betting market, please refer to DraftKings Preview and the Best Bets articles on DraftKings Playbook. Here are the pivots we should be considering this week on DraftKings.
Projected Popular Golfer: Dustin Johnson ($11,300)
Pivot: Rory McIlroy ($10,500)
To no one’s surprise, DJ is coming in as the most expensive golfer and the DraftKings Sportsbook betting favorite (+550), with Jon Rahm (+1200) being more than double DJ’s odds. Not only is he first in SG: Total here since 2016, his win rate over the past four months has been off the charts, winning the TOUR Championship, the Masters Tournament, and the Saudi International last week. Rostering DJ is not a terrible play, but this field is deep, making it easier to pass up on the chalk and go elsewhere. Johnson’s last win came in 2017, which is impressive, but that’s what he’ll need to do to return value. While he’s fully capable of winning, it’ll be an arduous task coming back from overseas against this field. Rory McIlroy comes into this tournament not playing up to our (and his) standards, but is still top three in SG: Total since 2016. Rory carded a 64 in his final round at TPC Scottsdale and should be feeling very confident at a course he’s done exceptionally well at, gaining an average of 9.1 strokes T2G in his last two events here.
$8,000 to $10,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Xander Schauffele ($9,900)
Pivot: Brooks Koepka ($9,700)
As predicted, Xander is projecting to be the highest rostered player in this entire field, let alone in this range. Xander is a preferred play per the DraftKings Preview article, but it also mentions that his roster percentage tends to inflate as we get closer to the start of the tournament. Like Rory, Adam Scott is another course horse who plays extremely well here and is the defending champion, but his off-the-tee game was atrocious at Torrey Pines. You don’t need to be extremely accurate at Riviera CC, but I’m not sure he can go back-to-back years winning here, which is what we need if we’re pivoting off Xander with how well he’s playing. Like Waste Management, Brooks can beat the best, is coming off a win, and is projected to be single-digits in roster percentage. Koepka’s record at this course reads MC-43rd in his only two starts since 2016, which is not great, Bob. You could fade this range entirely, but you’ll be giving up a ton of win equity. Chasing chalk isn’t always a bad thing, especially if that golfer wins. Still, taking a chance on a confident Brooks Koepka in GPP tournaments could be the leverage we need in this range.
$7,000 to $8,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Carlos Ortiz ($7,800)
Pivot: Talor Gooch ($7,200)
Ortiz has followed up his Houston Open win back in November 2020, gaining an average of 6.74 strokes total from then to now. Most of this has come from a hot putter and his ability to make eagles, ranking seventh in eagles gained over the last 24 rounds. While Ortiz is playing well, this range is ripe with talent, and a golfer we should consider is Talor Gooch at $600 cheaper. Like Ortiz, Gooch is a great poa putter and plays this tournament well, finishing 20th in 2018 and 10th last season in his only two starts. Like Ortiz, Gooch is draining eagles, ranking 19th in eagles gained over the same timeframe. You don’t necessarily have to pivot down this far to Gooch, but staying away from Ortiz, who’s projecting to be one of the highest-rostered players, could be the play that keeps you away if his putter goes cold.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.
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