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Draws and Fades: The Honda Classic

7 Min Read

Draws And Fades

    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    Golf is hard | 'Bear Trap' edition

    What did I tell you? It’s always easiest to win when a new game is introduced.

    PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live launched for The Genesis Invitational.

    With 7,052 coins, “Southpawhrytc” went into the books as the inaugural champion, which paid (and will continue to pay) $2,500. “Scottmhaskins” finished second with 6,917 coins (and $1,000), while “Fishe1ch” took the bronze with 6,758 coins (worth $750).

    To qualify for a cash prize for finishing inside the top five, at least 6,420 coins was required. That was the total amassed by “Jalan.”

    Joaquin Niemann opened at +6000 and went wire-to-wire for the win. Only 11 entries stuck with him at that kickback. This was the most valuable lesson from opening week.

    When I was part of the live-testing for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and WM Phoenix Open, there were about a dozen of us and no one held on to pre-round outrights.

    En route to their victories, Tom Hoge and Scottie Scheffler didn’t emerge until very late in their final rounds, but part of the testing was how to adjust in real time. Meanwhile, part of my education was understanding how to convey strategy for you. Because total coins were low (by comparison) to what you observed at Genesis, my original advice was to have confidence in being able to change the bet all the way to the finish line and still have a chance to compete.

    Wrong. Well, it’s much more harmful than helpful.

    With at least a handful of gamers assured of guessing the winner and sticking with his odds, the correct advice is to plan on the same for The Honda Classic. Unless, say, Jim Herman comes out of nowhere to pick off a win, as he has three times, at least five gamers will sit on favorable pre-tournament odds for the eventual champion.

    Now, Niemann’s opening line of +6000 is mid-range, so its impact is stronger than a board favorite. I connected with C.T. Pan at +850 for a top 20 and finished 38th overall with 1,364 points. (You can follow my progress on the Influencers page.) So, if you reach for that kind of value and hit, and a favorite captures victory, then its contribution will be greater.

    The bottom line is that the possibilities are endless. With multipliers increasing in every round, an early deficit can be erased and reversed the next day. As we continue to learn how to perform well and how to avoid pitfalls, we’ll continue to extend detailed observations to you.

    The other focal point in last week’s opening of Draws and Fades was how the second reorder of the 2021-22 PGA TOUR season would affect the Korn Ferry Tour graduates. Lo and behold, for the first time in the FedExCup era, the entire category gained entry into The Honda Classic on their number.

    This is a bonus for the guys at the bottom who haven’t teed it up since Pebble Beach and wouldn’t have been surprised if their next start was in Puerto Rico next week.

    Instead, the 126-150 category (i.e., conditional status) was subject to the real-time movement on the weekend. If you follow me on Twitter or monitor the ROB BOLTON TWITTERFEED on the FANTASY page of the desktop version of this website, you’d have watched it change with every withdrawal.

    Sure enough, all’s well that end’s well as all of the top nine in the category are in the field (as of Tuesday afternoon). The last three – Bo Van Pelt, Cameron Percy and Bo Hoag – remained alternates. Chase Seiffert was bumped by the reorder, but he then got in when Tyler Duncan withdrew, so effectively two from the 16-man playoff for one spot at the open qualifier gained entry, it’s just that Seiffert was first alternate on his number during the epic cage match.


    Matthew Wolff (+175 for a Top 20) … After a slow start in 2022, he went off for a T6 at the Saudi Invite three weeks ago. The excursions are invaluable peeks for us, but not all of your opponents will have taken notice, so exploit that in sensible situations. That includes as the pre-tournament outright in PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live. The 22-year-old ripped through the fall for two top fives among four top 20s, so he’s found a balance between the personal and the professional. This is his second start at PGA National (T58, 2020), not far from where he lived for a short period of time, so it’s enough of a familiar spot to eliminate that component of his fit.


    Jhonattan Vegas (+180 for a Top 20) … He’d have been one of my Sleepers, but he populated that space in 2020 (and finished T27). I like to adhere to turnover to keep things fresh. However, the endorsement remains just as strong again this year. His tee-to-green game continues to set stages for possibilities on weekends. It’s yielded eight paydays in nine tries at PGA National, and he just had a taste of a top 10 with a T8 at the Saudi Invite.

    Lee Westwood (+300 for a Top 20) … This is just his second PGA TOUR start of the season (MC, Houston), so first and foremost, it’s worth reminding you that he’s a member, which means that he’s eligible for the Playoffs. We expect him to reach 15 starts and put points on the board, beginning at PGA National. He’s 7-for-8 on the course with a pair of fourth-place finishes. He’s also warmed nicely with two top 25s among three paydays in as many starts abroad in 2022.

    Cameron Young (+200 for a Top 20) … Yes, the T2 at Riviera was impressive, obviously, but more impressive was that he didn’t back down from the challenge in a field like that. After a second-round 62 – the lowest of the tournament – he hung up 69 and 70 on the weekend and finished just two back. In other words, he gave a cruising Joaquin Niemann something to consider overnight every night. This is Young’s expectation in the long-term – read my preseason comment on him slotted No. 105 in the Full-Membership Fantasy Ranking – but that it manifested like that was a bonus.

    Stewart Cink (+333 for a Top 20) … Given that he’s 11-for-11 at PGA National and in his 11th consecutive appearance, he deserves the elevated expectation. Snuck inside this window with a T19 here last year, too. Hasn’t been lighting the world on fire of late, but he’s making cuts, so he’s probably close to being close, to steal verbiage from the player textbook.

    Gary Woodland (+275 for a Top 20) … Long-term inconsistency aside, he’s 8-for-8 at PGA National with a T2 (2017) among a trio of top 10s. On a track that is so difficult, you’d expect only a U.S. Open champion to author that kind of successful history. Wink, wink. So, he makes the most sense as insurance in DFS.

    Nicolai Højgaard (+275 for a Top 20) … Ya gotta limp in for at least a penny, right? Attach a little bit of emotion to his experience and carry it forward with you. This is his first PGA TOUR start as a professional (MC, 2018 Open Championship). The 20-year-old from Denmark already is a two-time winner on the DP WORLD Tour. That includes just three weeks ago in the UAE.

    Brian Harman Garrick Higgo Zach Johnson Ryan Palmer Aaron Rai

    Odds sourced on Tuesday, February 22 at 6 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.


    Patrick Reed … It’s been seven years since he last cashed at PGA National, and he’s made only two return trips in the interim. Pure and simple, while he doesn’t have to smack drivers on the par 70 tipping at 7,125 yards, he still will need to perform well with his irons. Short game alone isn’t enough to make noise.

    Rickie Fowler … His co-runner-up here was only three years ago, but that’s a long three years ago. He also prevailed at PGA National in 2017, but he continues to give us no alternative but to restrict him to fractional situations in which his firepower could do damage. Hey, there’s always a place for speculation and contrarianism, but we also can hold our breath for only so long.

    Brendan Steele … Something will give for the 38-year-old for whom his current form trumped positive course history at PGA WEST. Case in point, he’s opened 2022 with four consecutive missed cuts. That opposes a sparkling record at PGA National where a T4 in 2020 and a T3 in 2021 contribute to a 9-for-10 slate with five top 15s.

    Martin Kaymer Russell Knox Ian Poulter Charl Schwartzel Henrik Stenson Hudson Swafford Brendon Todd Danny Willett



    Cameron Tringale … He’s been playing so well all season to sit 14th in the FedExCup, and he had played in 11 consecutive Hondas, but he’s 47th in the Official World Golf Ranking and not yet exempt into the Masters. The checkpoint for the top 50 to gain entry isn’t until after the Match Play on March 28, and his divisor currently is 50 (the maximum is 52), so it’s smart to ration starts and reach for the biggest bang in that context.

    Andrew Landry … He’s missed five consecutive cuts, and seven overall for the season, but he’s 77th in the FedExCup because of a T4 at the Sanderson Farms and a T7 at Mayakoba. With an 0-for-3 record at PGA National, even the most aggressive of DFSers won’t miss him.

    Tyler Duncan … This is a rarity for him. It’s just the second time he’s withdrawn early in what is now his fifth season on the PGA TOUR, and the only other occasion (2018 Barracuda) was a reward of sorts because he had just finished T17 at the RBC Canadian Open at the time to secure his sophomore card. No such connection to that now as he’s fully exempt through 2022-23, but this is his first decision not to play the Honda, and he’s 141st in the FedExCup.

    Davis Love III … The 57-year-old Life Member is 1-for-3 this season with a solo 68th at The RSM Classic that he hosts.


    POWER RANKINGSPower Ranking Golfer Result1 Patrick Cantlay T33 2 Jon Rahm T21 3 Justin Thomas 6th 4 Xander Schauffele T13 5 Viktor Hovland T4 6 Hideki Matsuyama T39 7 Rory McIlroy T10 8 Cameron Smith T33 9 Dustin Johnson MC 10 Collin Morikawa T2 11 Max Homa T10 12 Bubba Watson MC 13 Francesco Molinari T55 14 Matt Fitzpatrick DNP 15 Will Zalatoris T26 Wild Card Adam Scott T4

    GOLFBETBet ResultJ.T. Poston – Top 40 (+300) MC