DFS Arnold Palmer Invitational

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In this week’s DFS Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) preview I breakdown my DraftKings sleepers, core targets, and thoughts on Eldrick. Additionally, I’ll weave in hot takes on peanut butter, how clothes do make the man, and claim that certain versions of crazy can be a good thing. As always, I’ll start off with sleepers–when I say sleepers I’m referring to players priced in the low 7k, or below range that aren’t completely obvious household names in the golf world. For example, Francesco Molinari isn’t a sleeper–he’s the 25th ranked player in the world. But more on him later. I consider making a cut with these selections a victory. Here’s a look at my results going back to last season:

2017 SLEEPERS
TOURNAMENT MISSED CUT MADE CUT TOP 25 TOP 10 WINS
TOTALS 15 29 11 4 0
2018 SLEEPERS
AT&T PEBBLE BEACH 3 4 1 0 0
GENESIS OPEN 0 7 4 2  0
HONDA CLASSIC 4 3 0 0 0
VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP 1 3 0 0 0
TOTALS 8 17 5 2 0

Onto Bay Hill!

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Yuta Ikeda $6,700  (pronounced YOU-tuh ih-KEY-duh)

The 49th ranked player in the world spends almost all his time wrenching on the Japan Golf Tour where he’s dominated the past two seasons winning six times. He proved last season he’s also capable of placing high on the big tour with his career best finish of T-22 at the Players Championship. At age 32, and not much left to prove on Japan’s tour, Ikeda might be ready to take his game to the next level in PGA events. And, you know a man who wears those pants doesn’t give a fuck where, or who he plays–not scurd!

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

A.J. Mclnerney $6,800

The Nevada native, and Las Vegas shooting survivor, made his PGA Tour debut back in November in his home town with a storybook like T-10 finish. That result earned him a spot in the following week’s PGA event, but the UNLV alum opted for the second stage of Q-school as his preferred route toward the ultimate goal of locking up his tour card. The outcome wasn’t what he hoped, and he now needs to rely on sponsor’s exemptions to play in PGA and Web.com events for the remainder of the season. Golf is full of guys like this who are out there grinding just to get their career on the links going, and achieve the ultimate goal of avoiding the need to get any real jobs. I appreciate them because I too dream of the day where I can just play fake sports for a living. Or, just win enough money so I can move far away from everybody and be left alone would be fine too. Anyway, I also like A.J. because we will both be on the right side of history in the peanut butter debate.

Photo credit: Golf Digest

(Photo credit: Golf Digest)

Matt Every $7,200

This is a long-shot, but anyone offering advice this week should probably mention a guy whose two career PGA Tour wins came in back-back years at Bay Hill in 2014-2015. The two wins have so far proved to be somewhat of an anomaly because since then the 34 year-old veteran hasn’t recorded a top 10, and has openly talked about his struggles off the tee which he described as mentally “blacking out” standing over the ball. After missing 20 cuts, he ended last season on a positive note finishing 13th at the Wyndham Championship that included an opening round 61. Known well for his blunt, forth right personality, the Daytona Beach native doesn’t hide from his struggles, and remains convinced he’ll persevere believing he’s as talented as anyone on tour. Sure. He sounds a bit insane, but it’s a good kind of crazy. And he owns. Who knows? Maybe just crazy enough to contend this week where he’s made six of eight weekends, and played the best golf of his life.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Hudson Swafford $6,900

He was my only sleeper not make the cut last week. I’ll run him back with the “he’s due” theory in a place where he’s finished T-11, T-36, and T-10 his last three outings at Bay Hill.

Core Four

Last week, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. These selections are players that have top 25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. Here’s the results from last week:

2018 CORE FOUR
TOURNAMENT MISSED CUT MADE CUT TOP 25 TOP 10 WINS
VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP 1 3 2 2 0
TOTALS 1 3 2 2 0


1.
Hideki Matsuyama – Projected Winner

  • Regained form this season after a somewhat rough Fed Ex playoffs to end last season. Three top 25s, two top 10s in five events this season.
  • Hasn’t played in over a month due to a nagging thumb injury that caused him to withdraw after one round in Phoenix where he still carded a 69. He should be well rested, and able to play pain free this week.
  • Made three consecutive weekends at Bay Hill including a T-6 finish in 2016.

2. Jason Kokrak

  • My irrational love of Mr. Kokrak has been paying off all year including last week when he netted his third top 10 of the season which puts him one short of his single season career high. As long as he remains priced in his current range, I’ll keep treating him as a core player.
  • Made four consecutive cuts at Bay Hill including two top 10s.

3. Emiliano Grillo

  • Safe floor–in his last 12 events between the European and PGA Tours, the Argentinian hasn’t missed cut.
  • He can be very streaky and his form is white hot right now with back-back top 10s. His price will likely make him a favorite with DFSers, but the high owership percentage isn’t enough to scare me away.
  • His only appearances at the API since the 2010 renovations were a T-17 in 2016, and a T-7 last year.

4. Francesco Molinari

  • Molinari’s price this week is more disrespectful than how TBS executives made the Selection Sunday Show the latest newcomer to the #MeToo movement. It’d be irresponsible of me not to make him a core player where he’s never missed a weekend in five career starts with three resulting in top 10 finishes. Seems like a great place for the 25th ranked player in the world to contend for his first career PGA Tour win.

Projected Lineup

Honestly, the first time I looked at this lineup I think it moved. Aphibarnrat is playing extremely well right now. He followed up an impressive T-5 finish at WGC Mexico with his second international win of the year in an Asian Tour event, and he bought a white Ferrari just to boss up on the people of his homeland. Rounding it out with Fleetwood needs no explanation. Aphibarnrat had T-6 finishes in both career appearances in the API. Tommy’s one appearance last season was a T-10. This lineup is too good to be true. Something has to go wrong.

Player Salary
Hideki Matsuyama  $      9,700
Tommy Fleetwood  $      9,500
Jason Kokrak  $      8,000
Kiradech Aphibarnrat  $      7,900
Emiliano Grillo  $      7,600
Francesco Molinari  $      7,300


Tiger Thoughts

Well, what the fuck!? Fist pumps. Club twirls. Hole outs. Forty-four foot birdie putts. But still, these were not the most significant take aways from last weekend. Just watch this post round interview after Saturday. If you close your eyes, and pay attention just to cadence and tone I promise you’ll think you’re hearing school girl who just had her invitation to Sadie Hawkins accepted by the captain of the football team. He’s actually giddy! Trying everything he can to not openly gush over his game–it’s awesome. The point is–he genuinely believes. My hope is that when the 30 for 30 comes out 20 years from now we’ll learn that this was the rock bottom that was necessary for him ultimately to get things turned around both mentally and physically. And, don’t kid yourself, the mental part comes first and does effect the physical side. Cardinal Lamberto let’s us know this in the Godfather Part III

Another thing, the people are back too! There’s zero sediment left of any villain narrative. The backlash pendulum has swung so far back that everyone is pulling for this guy, and he’s feeding off it just like old times. Even someone like my Dad, who pretty much hates all pro sports other than Nascar, said he wants him back for Christ’s sake! There hasn’t been a better job of image rehabilitation since Kobe erased a summer night in Colorado from the history books. And, maybe the most important factor of all, he got past his “Britany head-shaving phase” getting rid of the bad facial hair. No comeback was ever going to work with that shit going on–it’s just not him. The most surprising thing in all of this? Probably the fact that President Trump hasn’t taken credit for it yet. In a strange, pop culture way he might deserve some. If Tiger is in contention this Sunday, I’m more ALL IN than this guy…

Good luck at Bay Hill! Follow me on twitter @realBobbyAdcock.

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