Well that sure escalated quickly. The Genesis Open went from a highly anticipated week in LA with all the stars coming out to party, to a shit show of a tournament culminating with Mr. Sloth himself J.B. Holmes slipping slowly into the winners circle. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against J.B., he’s a great player and deserved the win, but damn he’s just so slow. It’s just brutal to watch. Let’s hope for a much better show this week in Mexico as we have another great field and we’ll get 4 rounds with no cut so plenty of star power to watch all four days of the tournament. The course this week is Club de Golf Chapultepec just outside Mexico City and is situated at the extremely high altitude of about 7,800 yards. The narrative will most certainly involve playing at high altitudes and the adjustments players will need to make as not many regular events on tour are played on courses like this. My personal narrative though is how jealous I am of high altitude courses because it would be nice to say that I can carry my driver 265 yards as opposed to the normal 235. One can only dream though I guess. Anyway, let’s move on to more palpable matters, like beer, tequila, and Mexican Wine.
I must say, I have been looking forward to this week in the Fantasy Golf Sommelier since the beginning of the year. Why? Because Mexico produces some good alcohol. The cervezas are fantastic and refreshing (Tecate is underrated in my opinion), and then there’s Tequila! Oh yes! That devilish drink that is always a great decision…until it’s not. Where does Mexican wine fit in though? It’s actually become more and more popular over the years and some great ones are being produced. Wine making is tricky in Mexico though, kind of like trying to factor in high altitude when it comes to the pros dialing in their irons this week. It’s tough and takes a little extra work and experience.
As with any wine growing terrain, the further south you get, the harder it is to find good areas in Mexico for vineyards with the traditionally hot climate. This sounds backwards because hell, who cares how high the percentage is, but heat produces too high of an alcohol content in wines (which apparently isn’t ideal for wine, but obviously perfect for Tequila!), so you have to be at either high altitudes where it’s cooler, or on the coast where the ocean breezes keep the climate cool enough for the grapes. As a result of this limited area of growth, Mexican wines have some interesting and unique traits. One of the most prominent though is that they tend to be full bodied, big, and powerful. I imagine that’s like one of my favorite plays this week, Brooks Koepka’s shear power and domination on the course, but in this case, on your palate…wait…does that sound weird? Moving on, the grapes themselves due to the climate tend to be thick skinned resulting in some intense flavors. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I’m pretty sure Jordan Spieth is banned from putting his name on any Mexican wine labels (hearsay, I don’t know this to be a fact). Lastly, because over 90% of Mexican Wines are produced along the Baja peninsula at higher altitudes and close to the sea, they tend to have a slight saline flavor, so basically they have some saltiness, which as far as I’m concerned is a sure sign that Sergio Garcia needs to be at the top of your list of golfers to play this week. He’s clearly in his element.
Now, on to the WGC Mexico Championship plays of the week. As always, we are going to use the classic Wine Spectator 100 point scale for the picks (think of it like a confidence factor):
95-100 Classic: a great wine
90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: a solid well-made wine
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74 Not recommended (or a very shitty wine)
So, here we go, let’s amble our way into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Jon Rahm - $10,700 – 96 Points – Rahm continues to fly under the radar for some reason (around 10% owned last week) despite playing some extremely solid golf with 4 straight top 10 finishes. He’s also played well in Mexico with a 3rd place finish in 2017 and a top 20 last year. This course is extremely tight off the tee and despite being known as a bomber, Rahm is actually pretty accurate as well ranking in the top 15 in the field in Fairways Gained. He’s scoring also ranking 2nd in the field in DraftKings scoring and 8th in Opportunities Gained. Rahm is a top shelf selection for me this week and I expect to have a large percentage of him in my GPP lineups.
Brooks Koepka - $9,800 – 92 Points – DB’s man crush has been gallivanting around the globe lately, taking pictures in thongs with his girlfriend, and lord knows what else, so we haven’t seen all that much lately from him (other than an appearance in Saudi Arabia which pretty much means nothing). I like Brooks though this week on a course he should be able to fare well on with his length, scrambling ability, and ball striking. He’s also projected under 10% owned right now which is great leverage for a stud in tournament lineups. Let’s just hope we don’t get DGAF Koepka this week and he's ready to dominate like he did in big events like he did last year.
Sergio Garcia - $8,000 – 89 Points – Salty Sergio can often be hit or miss every week, but I love to play him in short field, no cut events because he’s rarely a W/D risk when he’s in the field and you never know when he’s going to payoff. I like guys like that especially when there’s no cut and I don’t have to sweat it out on Friday. Garcia has played very solid in Mexico with a T12 his first time around in 2017 and a solo 7th place finish last year. He barely made the cut last week but put together a few solid under par rounds in tough conditions to end up in the top 35 which was respectable after an opening 75. Last year was a disappointing year also for Sergio, but his game has been rounding into form with two top 10 finishes this year in European Tour events. He’s always a fantastic ball striker so if the putter gets hot, Sergio will be in the mix on Sunday and should lead to some green screens this week.
The $10 Wine Special - Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Tyrrell Hatton $7,300 – 88 Points - Tyrrell scared everyone off before this event last year with a viral tweet suggesting he had a strong case of Montezuma’s revenge before teeing off on Thursday. Then he proceeded to play lights out taking the first round lead and finishing the tournament tied for 3rd. He was pretty good the year prior as well with a top 10 finish so this is obviously a place he likes and I love the discounted price of $7,300 on DraftKings. Scrambling is one of my favorite stats this week and Hatton is number 1 in the field heading into the tournament and also ranks highly in Approach and Opportunities Gained. Hatton should be a great play this week as long as he sticks to a few glasses of wine prior to teeing off and avoids drinking the water.
Danny Willett - $6,600 – 86 Points - Old Danny is rounding into form after an abysmal few years following his win at the Masters. He won the season ending European Tour event last fall and has played nicely in the past few tournaments with a top 25 at the Farmers and a T33 last week at Riviera. Playing Studs and Duds is also typically a strategy I like in these no cut events so you will have to dig deep in your lineups to be able to fit the high priced guys in and I think Willett is the perfect player to round out your tournament lineups this week.
Boone’s Farm Vintage Fade of the Week - Boone’s Farm is basically convenience store wine we drank in college and possibly could kill you (not really, but it’s gross).
Jordan Spieth - $8,800 – 74 Points - This really makes me sad because I still think Jordan is going to end up with a great year on tour, but I just can’t play him again until I see four solid rounds. He says his ball striking has actually been pretty good, but the stats don’t back that claim as he is currently 61st out of 72 players in the field in Ball Striking over his last 12 competitive rounds, and also 50th in Strokes Gained Approach. The putter still remains the problem as well as he ranks in the bottom half of the field currently in Strokes Gained Putting. Until further notice, I am going to fade whiney Jordan in my lineups.
*Puerto Rico Open Bonus Content! - The Alternate Event Pick of the Week, Sponsored by Replica Wines (google them, no free ads though)
Dominic Bozzelli - $8,500 - 90 Points - I’m really liking Dominic this week as a core play in both GPP and Cash Lineups for Puerto Rico Open. He has fallen off a little in his last couple events but shined in somewhat weaker fields with a top 5 finish at the Desert Classic, and an 11th place finish at the RSM Classic in November. Players will have to score a ton of birdies this week and Bozzelli ranks in the top 10 in both birdie or better percentage and DraftKings scoring. The negative on him is a missed cut in his first try at the PRO last year but I’m betting that just lowers his ownership some and I can take advantage of that and we ride him all the way to the bank! Bome.