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BlogAT&T Byron Nelson Preview and Picks

AT&T Byron Nelson

May 17th – 20th, 2018

TPC Las Colinas

Irving, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,380

Purse: $7.7 million

with $1,386,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Billy Horschel

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 19 of the top 100 and 7 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with two players from the top-ten; #3 Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama. The other top 50 players are  #14 Sergio Garcia, #16 Marc Leishman, #22 Matt Kuchar, #29 Satoshi Kodaira and #36 Branden Grace.

Last year there were 14 top-50 players in the field

The field includes no players in the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Last year there were 7.  The highest ranked player on the FedExCup Point list is #28, Scott Piercy.

The field includes eight past champions: Billy Horschel (2017), Sergio Garcia (2016 & ’04), Steven Bowditch (2015), Brendon Todd (2014), Sangmoon Bae (2013),  Rory Sabbatini (2009), Adam Scott (2008) and Ernie Els (1995).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the AT&T Byron Nelson field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the AT&T Byron Nelson in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the AT&T Byron Nelson.  For our fantasy golf players looking to pick six players, check out our GOLFstats IQ section for the Byron Nelson, it will help you make those Draft Kings picks.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic
Jimmy Walker
(281.33 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T25
(25)
4
(53.33)
DNP T20
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
T28
(7.33)
DNP T33
(5.67)
Billy Horschel
(204.17 pts)
T37
(19.5)
DNP Win
(132)
T11
(26)
T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jordan Spieth
(184.67 pts)
T41
(13.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 3
(120)
T3
(30)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T14
(18)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(161.33 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP T28
(22)
T51
(0)
T23
(18)
T28
(29.33)
T8
(16.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
T58
(0)
DNP
Scott Piercy
(149.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
Charles Howell III
(123.67 pts)
T17
(49.5)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP T14
(12)
T40
(3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Adam Scott
(102.5 pts)
T11
(58.5)
T76
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T13
(12.33)
Satoshi Kodaira
(99 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T28
(29.33)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 54
(0)
DNP
Aaron Wise
(98 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
T68
(0)
DNP T33
(5.67)
Rory Sabbatini
(97.67 pts)
T30
(30)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T17
(11)
Martin Laird
(97.67 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP T7
(55)
T11
(26)
T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Andrew Putnam
(91 pts)
DNP T82
(0)
T15
(35)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Marc Leishman
(78.17 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
9
(60)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T37
(6.5)
DNP
Branden Grace
(77.83 pts)
T46
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(34.67)
DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T30
(10)
DNP
Joel Dahmen
(77 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
T25
(25)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP T76
(0)
DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
Beau Hossler
(74.67 pts)
T46
(6)
T34
(16)
DNP T51
(0)
T16
(22.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(73 pts)
DNP T27
(23)
T10
(40)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Keith Mitchell
(72 pts)
T77
(0)
T34
(16)
CUT
(-10)
T26
(16)
T55
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Richy Werenski
(69.83 pts)
T23
(40.5)
CUT
(-10)
T25
(25)
T11
(26)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T85
(0)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Uihlein
(69.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(16.5)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP T37
(6.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
Grayson Murray
(63.33 pts)
T30
(30)
T59
(0)
DNP T16
(22.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Troy Merritt
(61.67 pts)
DNP T42
(8)
T10
(40)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T49
(0.33)
Denny McCarthy
(60.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T25
(25)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Greg Chalmers
(60 pts)
DNP T21
(29)
T10
(40)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T17
(11)
Adam Schenk
(57 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP T29
(7)
Graeme McDowell
(57 pts)
DNP T27
(23)
T22
(28)
T51
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
T40
(3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Daniel Summerhays
(56.67 pts)
DNP DNP 6
(60)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
David Hearn
(56.33 pts)
DNP DNP T10
(40)
T16
(22.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(55.67 pts)
66
(0)
T82
(0)
T19
(31)
CUT
(-6.67)
T23
(18)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP 72
(0)
T28
(7.33)
DNP T68
(0)
Sergio Garcia
(52.33 pts)
70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
T7
(27.5)
T33
(5.67)
J.J. Henry
(49.33 pts)
T67
(0)
T84
(0)
T10
(40)
CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP T74
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ben Crane
(49 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(19)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
Johnson Wagner
(47 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyler Duncan
(47 pts)
DNP T84
(0)
T7
(55)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T24
(8.67)
Russell Knox
(44.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T7
(55)
CUT
(-6.67)
T40
(6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T73
(0)
T16
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic
Hudson Swafford
(-45 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T75
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T64
(0)
Smylie Kaufman
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Derek Fathauer
(-36 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T13
(12.33)
Geoff Ogilvy
(-35.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Billy Hurley III
(-33.33 pts)
DNP 81
(0)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Taylor
(-33.33 pts)
T79
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Stephan Jaeger
(-33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Anirban Lahiri
(-31.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T58
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
Robert Streb
(-30.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
T42
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Thompson
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Since Tiger ran into the fire hydrant back in 2009 golf has gone through some peaks and valleys.  2016 was a great year for golf and the PGA Tour as interest hit new heights with the advent of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson.  They proved to be popular players in which people flocked to events watching them play and television ratings increased.  Golf seemed to be gaining in popularity.  I felt that with DraftKings and fantasy Golf not only gaining popularity but it’s acceptance and being legal in 41 of the 50 states would help grow golf even more.

It did gain popularity, look at the increase of television ratings in 2017, but frankly the gains have been small.  The most significant problem in talking with many people about DraftKings and FanDuel is that the games are pretty much the same week in and week out, making it sometimes dull.  I also think in talking with many people that a problem is the limited payouts in Draftkings and the fact that only the top 20% get paid, that has made it less appealing.  After spending the last two years playing DraftKings games, I see how hard and competitive it’s gotten to see any return.  One thing that I have changed my mind on is the number of teams that I enter.  In the beginning, I would do just one team, with the understanding that frankly your playing against yourself if you pick more than one.  But I have since changed that philosophy because I now see you have to enter multiple teams to win.  An example of that was the Masters, in it, ‘s $1 million game the winner Drew Mathews submitted 20 different lineups in the $20 game.  Yes, that was a significant investment, but it proved to be substantial.  His winning ticket included winner Patrick Reed, along with Rickie Fowler (T-2nd), Jordan Spieth (T-2nd), Bubba Watson (T-5th), Charley Hoffman (T-12th) and Russell Henley (T-15th).  Even with Reed on his ticket which only 9% of the players in the game picked, it took Charley Hoffman’s hole in one on 16 in the final round to seal the deal for Mathews.

Draftkings along with FanDuel have been a good start, but for its popularity to grow, more ways of gambling have to be developed.  The ability to bet on individual players like you can in England will be popular, along with player to player match-ups.  I use to spend a lot of time in Las Vegas in the 90s and back then the only booking house that did golf was the Imperial Palace.  I use to love all of the games they offered, from betting on pairings to betting what the winning score would be.  Pairings were my favorite because the person that made the odds wasn’t as savvy in knowing golf, so I had a significant advantage.  Today there are several sports books in Vegas that do golf, and I will tell you that they are very good at laying odds and winning is a lot tougher.

The point of all this with Monday’s Supreme Court action striking down a federal law that banned sports betting will now open up gambling over the internet, and you know that golf will be a part of it. Already the PGA Tour has done its homework and working with the MBA, and MLB is ready to allow gambling and realize how gaming can grow the fan base of golf.

So what does this mean?  Look for more gambling in golf with a lot of entertaining ways to place bets which will create more interest and ratings for the game and it will be interesting to see this happen.  It’s not going to happen this week or next, but we may see some exciting gambling options for the U.S. Open and don’t be surprised in the future to find ways at a golf tournament to place a bet on your favorite player.

Webb Simpson

When he won the U.S. Open in 2012, the future seemed very bright for Simpson.  He was always a good player as an amateur, but when he went to a long putter, his game was improved, especially after he won the 2012 U.S. Open.  He joined a list of others, Keegan Bradley was the first at the 2011 PGA Championship, and then Ernie Els won the British Open and then Adam Scott won the Masters, all with broomstick putters.  This brought action from the USGA and R&A that banned putting by anchoring it to your body.  Since anchoring the putter, Simpson ranked between 15th and 53rd in the yearly strokes gained putting stat. But this all went away in 2015 when he started trying to figure out how to putt without anchoring the club to his body.  In 2014 Simpson ranked 34th in strokes gained-putting, but when he decided to change in 2015, he ranked 174th.  Things weren’t better in 2016 as he was 177th and had the same problem in 2016.  Going into the 2017 Players, he was 186th in this stat and the reality that his game may never achieve the same level as when he won the U.S. Open was a becoming a problem.  But a chance meeting at the Players with Tim Clark turned things around for Simpson.  Clark, who won the Players in 2010 with a long putter had the same problem when the ban went into effect.  He started playing with a new grip, a modified claw grip, and found success.  He showed Simpson how to utilize it and Simpson worked hard with the new grip and gained confidence.  In his next start at Colonial Simpson finished 5th and for the rest of the year was inside the top-25 in seven of his 13 starts.  He finished T-13th at the Tour Championship and saw his FedExCup rankings go from 38th going into the Players to ending the year 17th.  But remember he was 186th going into the Players in strokes gained-putting, after the Tour Championship he finished the year 88th in the same stat.

His good play has continued in 2018; he is 5th in strokes gained-putting and in 14 starts he had five top-ten finishes and is 8th in the FedEx Cup race.  The good play is also a wake-up call for fantasy golf players that he is a person to reckon with the rest of the year and now he may also have helped his cause in making the Ryder Cup team as he is 9th on the list, climbing from 23.

Nelson event still struggles to get marquee players:

The Byron Nelson is a very complicated event.  Of all the tournaments on the PGA Tour, it’s always the top in giving money away, the Salesmanship Club which runs things does a first class job.  Every year it raises more money than any other tournament, in 2017 it raised $6.8 million as the tournament saw 280,000 attend. Since the Salesmanship Club’s inception, more than $155 million has gone to charities.  With its sponsor AT&T, they have donated millions of dollars in technology to the Momentous Institute as part of its new partnership, so the event will keep its spot as giving away more money to their charity than any other events on the PGA Tour. Another plus, the tournament has been embraced by the local Dallas community and is always well attended.

But the dirty little secret on the tournament, despite the perfect location of TPC Four Seasons Resort and the ability to give a lot of folks good vantage points to all of the actions the players didn’t like the course.  Each year it was voted one of the most unpopular courses in polls run by Golfweek, Golf Digest, and Sports Illustrated.  When Byron Nelson was still alive, out of respect to him they would show up, but since his death in 2006 marquee attendance has been low and the event doesn’t get the stellar fields it used to get.  The one good thing is that since so many tour players live in the Dallas area, there are more marquee players in the field that would be if this course was anyplace else.  This year will be the worst field ever as only 19 top-100 players are in the field with only 7 top-50.  In 2005 there were 28 top-50 players, and nine of the top-ten were at the event.

One of the reasons for the bad attendance is the new venue; Trinity Forest is a brand new course and players realize the problems playing on new courses.  Tournament sponsors and the PGA Tour believe that over the years Trinity Forest will grow on the players and better fields will be in the future, but for now, the Byron Nelson is a tournament that most players are skipping.

For years changes made to TPC Four Season never did the job of appealing to players.   So with a new course, that will be tailor-made with this event in mind, it will become the sweetheart of the PGA Tour. So will this change things?  Good question, guess we will have to wait another year but one thing is for sure, the design team of Crenshaw and Coore are the best, and if anyone can build a course that players will like, this is the team to do it.  For now, this will be a celebration for those that didn’t like TPC Four Seasons as the PGA Tour bids it a goodbye.

Things you need to know about the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic:
  • This will be the 65th edition of the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, which was formerly called the Dallas Open. The TPC at Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas had been the primary site of the tournament since 1986.
  • The inaugural Dallas Open in 1944 was won by Byron Nelson by a whopping 12 strokes.  Three annual tournaments were staged with Nelson winning the first, then Snead winning the next followed by Hogan winning in 1946.  After that, the city couldn’t find a sponsor for the tournament, and after a lapse of 10 years, James Ling sponsored the event beginning in 1956.  The tournament has been played every year since then except for 1963 when the PGA Championship was played in Dallas and 1965 when the tournament was switched from September to the spring.  In 1967 the Salesmanship club took over sponsorship and the following year the tournament was renamed after Byron Nelson, who was born just outside of Dallas and had a 630-acre ranch in Roanoke, Texas.  The tournament is the 9th oldest active event on the PGA Tour and along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational is the only event named after former players.
  • So this is a drastic change for fans of this event, they enjoyed everything about TPC Four Seasons, and they had one of the most prominent party pavilions on tour.  But tournament organizers have done a great job to make sure that Trinity Forest will be even bigger and better for the fans.
Course information:
  • Trinity Forest Golf Club
  • Dallas, Texas
  • 7,380 yards     Par 36-35–71

Change is coming this year:

The AT&T Byron Nelson has moved to a new course called Trinity Forest Golf Club.  It is on the other side of Dallas from TPC Four Seasons.  The course may have “forest” in its name, but the course isn’t in a forest, in fact, there is not a tree on the whole course.  The course was built by the Coore & Crenshaw design firm and is on an old landfill along Loop 12, east of Interstate 45.  The golf course deal was conceived by top AT&T officials in conjunction with Southern Methodist University and the First Tee of Dallas. SMU has built a facility at the course for its golf teams, and First Tee will have the use of a small nine-hole course on the north end of the site.  The city of Dallas is mandating that 25 percent of rounds at the course be available for public play. But most of these will be through charitable tournaments or similarly organized events instead of individual daily-fee tee times.

Many will see the course looking like a British Open links or courses that held the U.S. Open Erin Hills and Chambers Bay.  The course will be susceptible to the elements and wind as it looks like it’s on dunes with prairie grass around it.  As TPC Four Seasons was a course that players flew irons into the greens, players will need to bump and run shots into the greens, the course has undulating turf and is fast.

The greens are gigantic, one green that holes 3 and 11 are on is 35,000 square feet which is the size of a football field and is the most massive green in the United States, probably even North America.  Many at first will think the course is like Erin Hills and Chamber Bay, but course designer Ben Crenshaw feels that it’s got the same characteristics as Pinehurst #4 which held the 2014 U.S. Open.

The one thing that many agree on is that the winner will have to use a lot of imagination to get around the course.  The course is a par 71 and will play at 7,380.  There is four par 3s, three par 5s and of the 11 par 4s, only 4 are over 450 yards, and one, the 5th which is 315 yards are under 400 yards.  Three of the four par 3s are over 200 yards and of the three par 5s, two are reachable, but the 14th at 630 yards is not reachable.

So what will it take to play well at Trinity Forest?

Weather, that will be the key.

It’s going to be very warm and perfect.  Humidity is going to be low, so the 90 degrees plus will not be that bad.  But what could prove to make the course hard is wind, Thursday is low at 8 mph, but on Friday and Saturday, it’s supposed to blow at 15 with gusts of 20 mph.  Sunday will be like Thursday with low wind.

So what does the weather mean?

That this could be a bombers paradise, the fairways are firm, and they are pretty wide.  I see long hitters having a significant advantage.  One thing that I can’t believe is that Dustin Johnson isn’t here, this place sounds perfect for him.  He plays well at Kapalua, which is a bit like this course other than the elevation change.  If you are going to pick courses that are like this, go to the U.S. Open results from 2017 (Erin Hills), 2015 (Chamber Bays), 2014 Pinehurst #4 (2014) and also the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  I will be that the winner this week, has been in the top-five in one of the events above.

I think the most important stats for the week will be Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, (which Jordan Spieth is 2nd, Scott Piercy is 10th).  Also like Strokes Gained-Approach-the-Green (Scott Piercy leads, Sergio Garcia is 4th, and Jordan Spieth is 9th).  Scrambling will be significant (Jordan Spieth is 1st, Johnson Wagner is 8th) and as you see, Jordan Spieth’s name comes up a lot.

An essential key for the winner:

Trinity Forest is a strategic, thinking man’s type of course. The course has very little rough, no trees or water but those that think well will be favorites.

Experience doesn’t mean much in the event that nobody has played the course.  So look for anyone to have a chance to win.

DraftKings Picks

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Jordan Spieth – $11,900
  • Matt Kuchar – $10,700
  • Sergio Garcia – $10,100
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,900
  • Billy Horschel – $9,700
  • Jimmy Walker – $9,500
  • Branden Grace – $9,400
  • Adam Scott – $9,200
  • Marc Leishman – $9,100
  • Beau Hossler – $9,000
  • Brandt Snedeker – $8,900

I love Jordan Spieth at $11,900, but that is a lot of money and leaves you with very little flexibility.  But he is the perfect favorite, and there is a good reason he has such a high price tag.  What makes Spieth perfect along with playing a lot at Trinity Forest is his stats, this is a course that he will do well on and will be in contention.  Matt Kuchar at $10,700 is also a fair choice, again his price is high but gives excellent value.  Plays well on Links courses, was runner-up to Spieth in the British Open last year, also finished T-16th at Erin Hills, was T-12th at Chambers Bay in 2015 and Pinehurst during the U.S. Open.  On top of that, he has four top-tens at Kapalua out of six starts, so he has an excellent track record on courses like Forest Trinity.  Same with Sergio Garcia at $9,900, he has won at Kapalua, plays well in the British Open, was T-21st at Erin Hills, T-18th at Chambers Bay and T-35th at Pinehurst.  So anyone of these three will be good picks.  As for Hideki Matsuyama at $9,900 he can play well on any course, and I look for a good week from him.  Billy Horschel at $9,700 is someone to pass on. First, he is defending his title which is hard, to begin with, but he also doesn’t play well on Links courses.  Jimmy Walker at $9,500 is an excellent choice due to his good play over the last month.  His game is sharp again after suffering from Lime disease and he plays well at Kapalua and in 2014 was T-9th at Pinehurst during the U.S. Open.  Branden Grace at $9,400 is probably not a good buy, yes he has played every type of course, and I think he could play well, but he just hasn’t proven to be worth $9,200.  I can say the same about Adam Scott at $9,200, he was T-11th last week at the Players, but I don’t think he is consistent enough to warrant the high price.  Marc Leishman can be good at $9,100, he has played well on links courses and back in January was T-7th at Kapalua. Generally, if Beau Hossler were in the $7,500 to $8,000 range, I would say he is a good buy, but at $9,000 he is way too high.  Last but not least Brandt Snedeker at $8,900 is an interesting proposition, but he is still in the midst of trying to find some consistency, so it’s best to pass on him this week.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Because of the lack of top players in the field, this range is hard to find players.  There is no rhyme or reason and to be frank, just like Webb Simpson winning at the Players, the winner from the Nelson will be hard to spot.  So about the only thing that we can do is find players that are long off the tee hit lot’s of greens and can scramble well.  The person I like the most in this price range is Scott Piercy at $8,400.  He won at Zurich a couple of weeks back and had all of the essential stats to do well.  He is especially useful on firm courses, remember he is the same person that finished T-2nd at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, a treeless course that many said played like a links course.  Peter Uihlein at $8,500 is an excellent choice, remember his U.S. Amateur win om 2010 was at Chambers Bay, his last start he finished T-5th.  Russell Knox at $8,000 could be right, he plays well on firm courses and can make lots of birdies.  Only problem his inconsistency this year, in 17 starts he has missed five cuts with three of those coming in his last five starts.  Joaquin Niemann at $7,800 is a good buy, this is his third start as a professional, and after finishing 6th in his debut at the Valero Texas Open, he missed the cut at the Wells Fargo.  I like him because he is creative and plays well on firm courses.  Another good pick is Ryan Palmer at $7,800.  After missing three cuts in four starts, he opened up with a 74 at the Players and then shot rounds of 67-69-69 to finish T-23rd.  Just like the way he finished and believe that it could carry over to this week

Are there any bargains out there?

Boy this is hard to find, yes Sam Saunders at $7,400 could be right, he likes firm courses and finished T-9th at the Wells Fargo.  Like that he was T-8th at the CareerBuilder, in some ways PGA West has some tough holes with the same characteristics of Trinity Forest.  Alex Cejka at $7,400 could be good; he does play well on links courses and in the wind.  Vaughn Taylor at $7,300 could be good, again plays well in firm conditions and in the wind.  In looking at the rest of those under $7,500, there is a lot of players that don’t stick out but don’t be surprised if a couple of these guys to surprise us all this week.

Who to watch for at the AT&T Byron Nelson

Best Bets:

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T18 T30 T37 T68 T32 T16

Has a lot going for him, has played the course a lot and it suits his game perfectly. Will have a lot of people rooting for him this week.

Jimmy Walker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T24 T2 T37 T27 T29 CUT T53 T23 T35 T73

Watch him, has come back from Lime disease. His game has steadily improved, just look at his performances the last month or so.

Matt Kuchar

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 3 T39 T7 T33 T15 T6 T39 T42 T39

Has a knack of playing well on links courses, look for him to enjoy this week.

Best of the rest:

Sergio Garcia

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T20 Win T20 T19 70 CUT

On paper this course should be good for him, but he has had some issues of late and looking to break out of those problems.

Marc Leishman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T13 CUT CUT T3 T12 T3 CUT T12 T8

Course will suit his game, plays well on firm courses.

Peter Uihlein

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

His game has come around in the last month, could be a very good course for his game.

Scott Piercy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T20 CUT WD T5 T15 26 CUT

His length should help, he also is great from tee to green.

Solid contenders

Hideki Matsuyama

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Can never count him out, great off the tee and has a sharp iron game which will prove to benefit him.

Adam Scott

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT Win T3

His game has gotten better the last couple of weeks, is good on firm courses with wind.

Brandt Snedeker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T6 CUT T60

Another that plays well on firm courses, the game is still inconsistent but getting better.

Charles Howell III

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 CUT T3 T17 T41 T20 T45 CUT T34

This is the type of guy that will surprise you on a new course.

Long shots that could come through:

Joaquin Niemann

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

A future star that is looking to play well enough to gain a tour card for the rest of the year, he loves firm conditions and will take advantage of that this week.

Aaron Wise

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Was very productive in his last start at Wells Fargo.

Maverick McNealy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Another youngster looking to make a name for himself this week.

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