The PGA heads to California this week as they tee it up in the Zozo Championship. This event is usually in Japan, but like the CJ Cup, it had to be moved due to COVID-19 complications. Sherwood Country will host the event this year, which is set in Lake Sherwood, California.
Sherwood Country Club is a Jack Nicklaus design and is a Par 72 course that is approximately 7100 yards in length. The greens are a combination of bent and poa grass. This course is unique in the fact that it has five par 5’s and five par 3’s.
Previous winners at events held here include Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk, and ….Tiger Woods. Tiger has won at this course five times actually. He also won the Zozo last year when it was played over in Japan.
We haven’t seen Tiger since the US Open where he missed the cut. He lost strokes off the tee (OTT) but gained on approach (APP) there. He actually has gained an APP in seven straight events. He comes in at a $9000 price tag and makes an interesting play depending on his ownership.
The field once again is 78 players and there is no cut. No Bryson Dechambeau, but other top players in the world will be in attendance. Including, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, and Dustin Johnson (if he is cleared to play due to a positive COVID test).
Jon Rahm: $11,000
Rahm is actually getting a price decrease after his 17th place finishes at the CJ Cup. He did most of his damage on APP in the first round but still gained slightly for the tourney. As always he gained a ton of OTT at 4.7 strokes and should be able to attack these par 5’s with his outstanding play there.
He struggled on the greens, but he definitely has a preference for poa and bent over Bermuda which is what these are, so that should help him get back on track with the putting. Xander Schauffele is the highest-priced player in the field and is coming in red hot. His ownership early in the week is coming in less than 13% and if it stays like that he may be the pivot.
Mid Range Play(s):
Webb Simpson: $9,700
After finishing 13th at the Shriners event two weeks ago, we did not see Simpson at the CJ Cup. Simpson is rarely talked about as one of the best players in the world, but probably should be. He is an elite iron player and an outstanding putter. His length OTT should not be an issue here based on previous winners and Simpson is the best player in the field in strokes gained on Par 3’s in the last 24 rounds, which there are five of here. Simpson is right next to Collin Morikawa as well, who should soak up a lot of the ownership.
Bubba Watson: $8,700
Watson gets a huge price bump this week, and rightfully so. He finished 7th at the CJ Cup and continues to strike the ball outstandingly. He gained 3.1 OTT and 5.5 APP last week and that makes five consecutive events where he has gained off both. He is likely going to be chalky because of this, but I am willing to eat it. I played him last week and it worked out well and there is no reason to not go back to him. Especially since they are on Poa greens and that is his preferred surface.
Russell Henley: $8100
Another player I liked last week, Henley continues on his ball-striking tear. He gained 3.8 OTT and 3.4 APP at the CJ Cup and that was good enough to get him a third-place finish. He also gained 9 strokes putting which is rare for him; and if Jason Kokrak (who I also really liked last week) didn’t play so well, Henley may have been able to get the win. His price tag makes him one of the best values on the board.
Low End Play(s):
Sebastian Munoz: $7,200
In the last two months, Munoz has quietly been really good. He has three top 10’s and two top 30’s at that time. He has gained OTT and APP in three consecutive events which include him gaining 1.7 OTT and 1.5 on APP at the CJ Cup which carded him a 9th place finish. His putting generally holds him back, but if he can gain slightly he could be in line for another top 10 finish.
Lanto Griffin: $7,000
Griffin was all irons and putting last week. He gained 5 on APP and 6.7 on the greens. It was good enough for a 7th place finish last week and, like Munoz, if he has a repeat performance good get another top 10 finish this week. Griffin’s only missed cut in the past three months was at the Shriners. He has been playing really solid and has three top 20 finishes in that time. He is a good value at $7,000 and should be a good spot to finish off your lineups.
Rory McIlroy- the greatest weapon is his length OTT and I am not sure if that is going to be a huge factor this week. He also lost almost 4 strokes on APP at the CJ Cup.
Keep an eye on:
Corey Conners- at only $6,500 he could be a nice salary saver. He lost OTT and APP at the CJ Cup, but it was his first time doing so in seven events.
Good luck everyone and let’s hit some green screens!