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BlogFortinet Champ. Preview and Picks

Fortinet Championship

September 16th – 19th, 2021

Silverado C.C. (North)

Napa,, CA

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,188,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Stewart Cink

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 23 of the top 100 and 9 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Here is a look at the players in the top 100:  #1 Jon Rahm, #17 Hideki Matsuyama, #22 Webb Simpson, #25 Kevin Na, #31 Will Zalatoris, #33 Phil Mickelson, #41 Marc Leishman, #44 Max Homa, #50 Siwoo Kim, #51 Lucas Herbert, #62 Charley Hoffman, #66 Sebastian Munoz, #69 Cameron Champ, #72 Cameron Tringale, #74 Emiliano Grillo, #77 Talor Gooch, #80 Harold Varner III, #81 Brendon Todd, #83 Matt Kuchar, #86 Dylan Frittelli, #93 Lanto Griffin, #94 Aaron Rai and #97 Troy Merritt

Last year there were 15 of the top 100 players and 5 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 11 players from the top-50 of the FedEx Point standings for 2021:, #2 Jon Rahm, #3 Kevin Na, #26 Hideki Matsuyama, #32 Charley Hoffman, #34.Si Woo Kim, #35 Max Homa, #36 Hudson Swafford, #40 Webb Simpson, #42 Marc Leishman, #43 Cameron Tringale and #44 Harold Varner III.

The field includes 5 past champions: Cameron Champ (2020), Kevin Tway (2019), Brendan Steele (2017 & ’18), Emiliano Grillo (2016) and Jonas Blixt (2012)

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Fortinet Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at Fortinet Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Fortinet Championship.

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 Fortinet Championship

Player BMW PGA Tour Champ. Korn Ferry Tour Champ. BMW Champ. Nationwide Children’s Northern Trust Boise Open Wyndham Champ. Pinnacle Bank WGC St. Jude Classic Barracuda Champ. Utah Champ. Price Cutter
Jon Rahm
(307.5 pts)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(301.17 pts)
DNP 3
(135)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Stephan Jaeger
(216 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
42
(5.33)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(214.33 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T20
(20)
T37
(8.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Hayden Buckley
(189.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
T69
(0)
Joseph Bramlett
(188.33 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP T20
(20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP
Joshua Creel
(175 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
T39
(3.67)
Adam Svensson
(174.33 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
Chad Ramey
(171.33 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
T19
(10.33)
Vincent Whaley
(139 pts)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T10
(26.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP
Sahith Theegala
(137.33 pts)
DNP DNP 6
(60)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP
Aaron Rai
(134.67 pts)
T14
(54)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Alex Smalley
(130.33 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T48
(1.33)
T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Greyson Sigg
(127.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T60
(0)
David Skinns
(124.67 pts)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
T16
(11.33)
Callum Tarren
(123 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
T19
(10.33)
Trey Mullinax
(122.67 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Harold Varner III
(119.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(57)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP T51
(0)
T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP
John Huh
(110 pts)
DNP DNP 7
(55)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(18)
DNP DNP
Dawie Van der walt
(109.67 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
T32
(6)
Peter Uihlein
(107 pts)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T43
(2.33)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Lee Hodges
(104.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T51
(0)
Bronson Burgoon
(102 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T32
(12)
T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Taylor Pendrith
(100.33 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
Hudson Swafford
(97.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Roger Sloan
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP 6
(40)
DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(57)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Putnam
(93.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Taylor Moore
(93.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
Si Woo Kim
(88.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(81.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
3
(60)
DNP DNP
Austin Cook
(77.67 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T32
(12)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(20)
T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP
Scott Gutschewski
(75.33 pts)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Harry Higgs
(75.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(18)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sebastian Munoz
(74.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Paul Barjon
(70 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Max McGreevy
(69 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
T19
(10.33)
David Lipsky
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dylan Wu
(66.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(44)
Andrew Novak
(65.67 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Tom Hoge
(64.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(1.5)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Michael Gligic
(63.33 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(63 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T20
(20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP
Adam Schenk
(62.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
4
(53.33)
DNP DNP
Austin Smotherman
(60.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 57
(0)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
T4
(26.67)
Ben Kohles
(60.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Lucas Herbert
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP T45
(5)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Justin Lower
(52.67 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
T28
(7.33)
Seth Reeves
(49.67 pts)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T11
(13)
Pat Perez
(47.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP
Bo Van Pelt
(47.33 pts)
DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(47 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(18)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(45 pts)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP T48
(1.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
T23
(18)
DNP DNP
Maverick McNealy
(44.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP
Kelly Kraft
(43.67 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP 66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Fortinet Championship

Player BMW PGA Tour Champ. Korn Ferry Tour Champ. BMW Champ. Nationwide Children’s Northern Trust Boise Open Wyndham Champ. Pinnacle Bank WGC St. Jude Classic Barracuda Champ. Utah Champ. Price Cutter
Scott Brown
(-43.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
D.J. Trahan
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Beau Hossler
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T61
(0)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Ted Potter, Jr.
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T61
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Knous
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Wyndham Clark
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Chase Seiffert
(-18.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
DNP DNP
Adam Long
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hank Lebioda
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

A shame that defending champion Stewart Cink won’t be here to defending his title.  Last year was a great surprise to see Stewart win, but it was nice to see him rolled through the season winning again at the Heritage and playing in the Tour Championship.  A big reason for Cink’s newfound game was having his son Reagan on the bag as his caddy.  What was supposed to be a one-off deal turned into a year-old commitment. He caddied for Dad most of the year.  During that time, he got married and as a Georgia Tech graduate, he was looking forward to a normal job and an everyday life with his wife.  Cink finished the year with Reagan on the bag for what they called the last time at the Tour Championship.  Cink finished T-26th and said he was taking some time off.  First is his other son’s Conner wedding this week (preventing him from defending), and after that, he needs a bit of rest and time to figure out who his next caddie will be.  Despite wanting another life, Reagan may change his mind and work for Dad. Who knows, maybe his other son Conner could caddie.  But as of right now, he is only 18 months away from the Champions Tour, and since his game is excellent, he is healthy, and he still enjoys the rigors of traveling the country, the future looks bright for Cink.  As for betting him in future DraftKings games for the year, he has been a low-cost alternative that makes cuts and earns many DraftKings points.

About the Fortinet Championship:

This event was first called the Fry’s.Com Open and started in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2007 and after three years at Grayhawk transferred to CordeValle Golf Club, close to its sponsor’s headquarters in San Jose.  The hope was that CordeValle would be a temporary home as it’s been a dream to hold the event at the Institute Golf Course in Morgan Hill, CA.   But construction problems forced the event not to be played on the ultra-private course that very few had ever seen.  So CordeValle was to be a short-term fix and was until the event moved to Napa for 2015.  At the time, Napa was a short-term solution as the Institute Golf Course would get ready to hold the event. Still, after the success at Silverado and Frys dropping sponsorship, the event signed up Safeway as the title sponsor and, for the foreseeable future, will stay at the Silverado Resort, which is very popular with the players.  Last year Safeway gave up its sponsorship and a company called Fortinet took over.  For anyone wondering what “Fortinet” does, they develop and sell cybersecurity solutions based in Sunnyvale, California.  They had revenue of $2.6 billion in 2020, so we can say they are a very successful company and everyone would agree a good change.

Course information:

Many will not remember, but Silverado was a proud site of the PGA Tour between 1968 to 1980 and then held a senior event, the Transamerica, between 1990 and 2002.  So Silverado had a deep relationship with professional golf.  The resort changed direction because it didn’t need to spend the money to host a professional golf event.  Napa Valley has become an excellent destination for couples over 40, between the great weather and the vineyards. Still, the resort lost some of its lusters over the years and needed some sprucing up. One of the areas that have been improved was the golf courses.  There are two of them, the South and the North. A couple of years ago, Johnny Miller put together an investment group that purchased the courses, and Miller reworked the North Course. What Miller did was revamped all of the greens, put in new bunkering, and realigned the fairways, and trimmed the trees that were too cumbersome.  Of course, because of the golf marketplace’s downturn, Miller didn’t go crazy by changing a lot of the holes, adding lakes and streams.  Still, Miller is happy at work, and he is hopeful of doing the same to the South Course.

So what will the pros find this week?  The greens are one of the things that Miller points out that makes it a better course.  “These greens are as tough as Augusta at high speeds,” Miller said to Golf.com. “I would probably have five three putts a round.”  The course was also increased from 6,900 to 7,166.  Now on the surface, this may be too short for the best pros in the world.  So I can see both the long-distance players having a field day while the shorter hitters were also enjoying shorter approaches to the greens.  One thing that was brought out in the 13 years it was played in the 70s,  the caliber of champions which included players like Billy Casper, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, and Ben Crenshaw among its winners.

Another critical aspect of the Miller redo, to improve playability and aesthetics, turf renovation, which got rid of Kikuyu grass and returned the course to its original mix of rye and Kentucky bluegrass condition.

The course has become a big hit with the players, sponsors, and fans and provided some great theater.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Silverado.

This is based on the most vital stats from Silverado Resort, North course based on data from last year’s Safeway Open and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. Remember this is the first event of the 2021/22 season and there will be a lot of new Korn Ferry grads in the field.
This is the eighth year that the Fortinet Championship is being played at Silverado which has a history of holding PGA Tour events going back to the 60s. So the resort has had a deep relationship with professional golf. A couple of years ago Johnny Miller put together an investment group to buy the Napa resort and its two golf courses which were built in the 1960s. Both courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and were good, but they were never updated with the advent of new equipment. So when Miller came in he wanted to rework the two courses and bring them up to date. He started first on the North Course by revamping all of the greens, put in new bunkering and realigned the fairways, and trimmed the trees that were too cumbersome. The most important item in the change was changing the greens by adding some undulation and making them very fast. Miller also added 300 yards so it will play at a par 72 and at 7,166 yards.
Last year the course played to a 70,21 scoring average, three-quarters of a shot under par. It was the 43rd hardest course on the PGA Tour. In 2020 Silverado played to a 71.24 scoring average, three-quarters of a shot under par. It was the 19th hardest course on the PGA Tour. Both last year and 2020 played about the same as in 2019 when it was the 23rd hardest course with a 71.10 scoring average. Because of the lack of wind, it played a lot easier than in 2018 when it was 71.76 (23rd hardest) and in 2017 when it was 70.83. For the pros, the hardest aspect of the course is hitting fairways, in 2021 51.64% of the fairways were hit as it was the 6th hardest fairways to hit in 2021. Now in 2020, the field hit 50.03% of the fairways as it was the 2nd hardest fairways to hit in 2020. Only Olympia Fields, the site of the BMW Championship were harder to hit. This is the norm for Silverado in 2019 53.65% of the fairways were hit as it ranked the 4th hardest course to hit in 2019.
Even with the tight fairways, the players hit 71.72% of the greens in 2021 making it the 43rd hardest course to hit in regulation. Now, this was the all-time record for Silverado, in past years it was harder to hit. In 2020 65.73% of the greens were hit making it the 16th hardest course to hit in regulation. Now in 2021 1,891 birdies were made as only two other courses in 2021 saw more birdies made, so hitting fairways and greens do lead to making a lot of birdies. As for the greens, they were the 3rd hardest greens to score on as the players’ made68 feet and 9 inches of putts per round.

So a combination of hitting it far and straight is important and that is why our first category is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In looking at last year’s champion Stewart Cink he was 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green as he was 17th in driving distance and was T-51st in driving accuracy. The previous year, Cameron Champ was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-green, as he led in driving distance and was T-21st in driving accuracy. In 2019 Kevin Tway won and he was T-40th in Driving Accuracy and T-14th in driving distance so he was 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Comparing this with Brendan Steele who won back to back in 2018 and 2017, Steele was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-green in 2018 and 11th in 2017 so we can see the importance of this stat.
Our second most important category is Strokes Gained Around-the-Green. That is because last year the course ranked 43rd in greens hit. Now it was drastically different than in 2020 when the course ranked 16th in greens hit. So for those that missed the green they had to get it up and down to score well. Last year the players got it up and down from off the green 61.99% making it the 36th course in scrambling. The previous year it was 60.89% making it the 28th course in scrambling in 2020. As for bunkering the 18 greens have 36 bunkers around them so many players will have to get up and down from sand, last year the course ranked 35th in Sand Save percentage while in 2020 it ranked 25th. As for the champions, last year Stewart Cink was 8th in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green as he was 2nd in Scrambling and T-68th in Sand Save Percentage. In 2020 the winner Cameron Champ was 19th in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green as he was 1st in scrambling and 11th in Sand Save percentage. In 2019 Kevin Tway was 7th in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green as he also was first in scrambling.
Our third category was Strokes Gained Putting. The greens are a combination of Poa annua and Bent so we all know it takes a special person to be able to putt well on Poa annua greens. Last year Stewart Cink ranked 16th in strokes Gained Putting. In 2020, Cameron Champ ranked 28th in Strokes Gained putting, while 2019 champion Kevin Tway was 18th, 2018 winner Brendan Steele was 29th and in 2017 he was 6th.
Our last category is Par Breakers because to win you have to make a lot of birdies, along with some eagles. Last year Silverado was 43rd in Par Breakers as Stewart Cink was T-6th as he made 23 birdies which he finished T-5th. In 2020 the course played a lot harder as it was 15th in Par Breakers as Cameron Champ was T-4th as he made 21 birdies which also finished T-4th. In 2019 Kevin Tway was T-10th making 19 birdies. Brendan Steele was 5th in Par Breakers in 2018 and T-1st in 2017 when he made 24 birdies.

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Looks at the combination of length off the tee and accuracy, then getting the ball on the green so it determines who is best at all of these items.

*Strokes Gained Around-the-Green: Looks at the combination of gaining strokes by getting up and down after missing a green.

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

*Par Breakers: Combination of birdies and eagles made to show under par scoring.

Of the 156 players in the field, 99 have stats on the PGA Tour for 2021:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to all 99 player stats.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Jon Rahm – $12,100
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $11,000
  • Webb Simpson – $10,800
  • Will Zalatoris – $10,500
  • Kevin Na – $10,000
  • Cameron Tringale – $9,700
  • Marc Leishman – $9,500
  • Si Woo Kim – $9,300
  • Sebastian Munoz – $9,200
  • Harold Varner III – $9,100
  • Cameron Champ – $9,000

So this is a very strange week since only 9 top-50 ranked players are in the field.  So DraftKings has populated the top with most of the regular guys that we all know.  But this event is about the new blood that has just gotten their PGA Tour cards for 2022. Of the 50 that got their cards, 48 are playing this week.  There was so much room in the field that 14 Korn Ferry Tour players are at Napa this week.  So we have to dig down and find the 48 best players and make them part of our six players.  So I am going to not take many of the top players on the DraftKings list, instead of using a dozen or so of those recent Korn Ferry grads

I do believe that Joh Rahm will win this week, but taking Jon Rahm at $12,100 is a leap of faith.  It’s so much money that it doesn’t leave us much more for other names so I am not taking Rahm.  Yes I know how many top-tens he had in 2021, I would say he is a sure thing for a top-ten this week, but it makes the rest of your picks hard.  As for Hideki Matsuyama at $11,000, that is a sure-fire I will not take him.  The same with Webb Simpson at $10,800, he just hasn’t played great enough to warrant that price, especially when you see that in five Silverado starts he hasn’t broken the top-ten.  Now many will like Will Zalatoris at $10,500, he was last year’s rookie of the year, but there are two things I don’t like about him.  First has never played in this event and he had some back problems after the British Open.  Yes, he is a person to think about, but he hasn’t played in five weeks.  Who knows maybe that will help him, but I am passing on Will.  My first comfortable pick is Kevin Na at $10,000.  He is playing great and has two top-tens at Silverado including a 2nd in 2016 so I think he is the right pick. I will say no to Cameron Tringale at $9,700, he is too much money and in ten starts in this event still doesn’t have a top-ten.  Marc Leishman at $9,500 is an intriguing possibility, yes he didn’t play well at the end of last year.  But he was 3rd at Silverado in 2020, this is also the start of a new year and Leishman always seems to do well in the fall events.  I can’t find any redeeming value with Si Woo Kim at $9,300 other than he was T-2nd at Wyndham.  In three Silverado starts he hasn’t been very impressive so can’t see any reason to spend all that money on him.  Same story on Sebastian Munoz at $9,200, nothing gives me confidence that he will do well.  Harold Varner III at $9,100 is a thought, he finished great in his last two events of 2021, plus he has made five of five cuts at Silverado so maybe he is worth it.  Cameron Champ at $9,000 is also a thought, the last time he played at Silverado he won and his game got better at the end of 2021.  Still I think there are better values in other places.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Emiliano Grillo at $8,900 is a possibility, he won the event in 2016 and has been steady since.  But he didn’t finish strong at the end of the 2021 season so he is a no.  Many will think that Charley Hoffman is a good choice at $8,700 but he has never played well at Silverado.  I do like Maverick McNealy at $8,600, yes he hasn’t been great at Silverado, but I think he is going to have a great year and he can start it off on the right foot.  Now Chez Reavie at $8,500 is a savvy pick, he was T-3rd last year and always makes the cut at Silverado.  Now my first Korn Ferry grad (other than Will Zalatoris) is Stephan Jaeger at $8,200.  His last three starts at the end of the Korn Ferry Tour were T-2nd, T-4th and T-4th so think he is on a roll.  Mito Pereira at $8,000 is worth the price, yes he has never played in this event, but had a great summer so think he is a great pick.  Adam Hadwin at $7,800 is also worth the price, in his last start at Silverado was 2nd in 2020 and he finished ok on the PGA Tour.  Lucas Herbert at $7,700 is also a good pick, yes never played at Silverado but he had a great 2021 on both the European and Korns Ferry Tours.

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the Fortinet Championship

Yes, lot’s of bargains from the Korn Ferry grads, first up is Taylor Pendrith at $7,400 he was solid all last year on the Korn Ferry Tour.  Kiradech Aphibarnrat at $7,300 is also worth looking at he was T-2nd last week at the BMW PGA Championship in London and finished ok on the Korn Ferry Tour.  Doc Redman at $7,200 is worth it, was T-3rd at Silverado last year.  Another Korn Ferry grad is Adam Svensson at $7,200 I like him for one reason.  He won last month at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on a course a lot like Silverado.  Greyson Sigg at $7,100 has not played at Silverado but won in Boise last month on a course similar to Silverado.  Chad Ramey at $7,000 is another to think about, he finished strong on the Korn Ferry Tour and should keep it up this week.  Hayden Buckley at $6,800 is another that has never played at Silverado but played great in his last five events on the Korn Ferry Tour including a T-2nd at the Utah Championship.  Also, like Joshua Creel at $6,700 he finished great on the Korn Ferry Tour with a win at the Utah Championship.  The list continues, David Lipsky at $6,800 is another first-timer at Silverado but comes in with a lot of momentum.  One last player is Kurt Kitayama at $6,300, yes he missed the cut last week in London but played great on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Fortinet Open:

The Key stat for the winner:
  • In all seven years of being played at Silverado, hitting fairways and putting became the keys to playing well.  Silverado had the 2nd hardest fairways to hit in 2020 so hitting it straight is essential.  Also putting was important, on putting average it ranked T-28th out of 51 courses meaning that lot’s of putts were made.  So look for that trait in a possible winner this week.
Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:
  • Since the course is still new for a good share of the players, the experience will play a minimal role.  Traditionally tournaments on the PGA Tour that hold events for the first, second and third year, are won by journeymen and players with minimum experience winning.  The last seven winners Stewart Cink, Cameron Champ, Kevin Tway, Sangmoon Bae, Emiliano Grillo, and Brendan Steele fit that bill so expect the unexpected for this week.
  • Johnny Miller says the greens are perfect and fast, so good putters should have a field day.
  • Scrambling is also very important because it’s not that demanding around the greens at Silverado.  Last year it ranked 36th hardest, so to win you have to get up and down on those greens you miss.
  • Lastly, the trend is for a journeyman pro to win, think that will be broken this week as a marquee name wins..
  • The weather is going to be picture-perfect but the players are going to hate the winds which will average 15 mph each day with Sunday having the highest.  So look for higher scores.

 

Who to watch for at the Fortinet Championship

Best Bets:

Jon Rahm

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T15

He is in Napa for two reasons, first to get ready for the Ryder Cup and two to enjoy some great wine and have dinner at the French Laundry like all of the bigwigs. He is the best player right now, has not been over par in the last 15 rounds going back to the first round of the British Open, over those 15 rounds is 60 under par. Played once at Silverado, T-15th in 2016.

Kevin Na

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T37 7 2 T3 T15

This guy has been on a great run, in his last four starts has had a 2nd (Wyndham), 3rd (Tour Championship) and T-8th at the Northern Trust. In his last 16 rounds is 57 under. Yes he missed the cut last year at Silverado but was 2nd in 2016 and 7th in 2017.

Marc Leishman

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
3 T46 CUT T36

Always seems to win when you least expect it like when he was 3rd at Silverado in 2020. Was solid all summer, was 3rd at Travelers a course a lot like Silverado

 

The obvious, those everyone will think of:

Will Zalatoris

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

He was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2021 and wasn’t considered a full-time member. So this week is his “debut” as a PGA Tour card holder. Playing for the first time at Silverado, he has enjoyed the last four weeks off and the back is back to normal again.

Cameron Champ

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T25 CUT

Winner at Silverado in 2020, Game got better at the end of the year, was T-7th at Wyndham and T-12th at BMW Championship.

Brendan Steele

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T29 T60 T53 Win Win T17 T21 CUT CUT T7

Has a great record at Silverado including wins in 2016 & ‘17. Has had a good rest after a hard end to his season, batteries should be completely recharged. Key to his good play is how much he loves playing at Silverado.

Webb Simpson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T17 CUT CUT T44 T13

Was T-17th the last time he played at Silverado in 2018. His game got better at the end of the year, won 3M Open

Sebastian Munoz

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T33 CUT

Was solid in his summer including 4th place finishes at John Deere and the Olympics. T-33rd at Fortinet in 2020.

Adam Hadwin

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
2 CUT CUT T41 T53 T7

In his last start at Silverado was 2nd in 2020 and he finished ok on the PGA Tour.

Those that aren’t obvious, those that are the future of the PGA Tour

Stephan Jaeger

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T30

Has been on fire in his last three Korn Ferry starts, T-2nd Nationwide Children’s, T-4th at Albertson Boise and Pinnacle Bank. Did finish T-30th at Silverado in 2018.

Taylor Moore

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Has played well in his last five events, winning Memorial Health and 2nd at Price Cutter. Never played at Silverado, but course is right up his alley.

Chad Ramey

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Since winning in Maine at the end of June, has only been out of the top-20 once. Never played at Silverado, game is key for the course. Great stats for 2021 on Korn Ferry, 3rd in Greens in Regulation, 4th in Driving Accuracy, T-12th in Putting average and 7th in Birdie average.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT

Has been playing much better golf over the last two months, was T-2nd at the BMW PGA last week in London, just a shot back of winner Billy Horschel. In his last four events, have shot in the 60s ten of the 16 rounds. Yes he missed the cut last year at Silverado, but look for him to be a lot better this year.

Joshua Creel

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Finished great on the Korn Ferry Tour with a win at the Utah Championship.

Other players you just don’t realize can win this week:

Lucas Herbert

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Has been a star in Europe and will be one on this tour, has never played in this event.

Mito Pereira

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

He has never played in this event, but had a great summer so think he is a great pick. Did play on the PGA Tour this summer.

Adam Svensson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T41

He won last month at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on a course a lot like Silverado, which he has never played at.

Greyson Sigg

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Has not played at Silverado, but won in Boise last month on a course similar to Silverado.

Hayden Buckley

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Another that has never played at Silverado but played great in his last five events on the Korn Ferry Tour including a T-2nd at the Utah Championship.

Kurt Kitayama

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT

Yes he missed the cut last week in London but played great on the Korn Ferry Tour and European in 2021.

Wonder why they are even trying:

Hideki Matsuyama

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T17 T3 T3

Why he picked this week to play is strange, who knows maybe he just wants to enjoy the wine country and have some good food at French Laundry. Has played twice at Silverado, missed cut in 2020, and T-17th in 2016. His game has foundered in his last four starts, was T-26th at the Tour Championship.

 

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