Getting a break from the windy weather this week, the TOUR heads to the Coachella Valley for this week's American Express.
It's a three-course rotation this week which means all 156 golfers in the field are guaranteed 54 holes of action, barring a WD. All three courses are set up to allow amateurs to play their way around without too much trouble. That raises the fantasy-scoring floor of everyone in the field. You should certainly account for that fact when making lineups this week.
You can take a few more risks at the bottom, with everyone in the field being able to generate birdie and eagle chances this week. At the same time, you don't need to go completely off the wall. There is still a cutline after 54 holes, with top 65 and ties playing the final round. To win GPPs, you will still want to get as many 6-of-6 lineups through the cut.
Let's have a look at the weather, see who is trending, and then look at some course-fit value.
Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high of 70 degrees. Winds calm at 5 to 8 MPH.
Friday (R2): Sunny with a high of 69 degrees. Winds calm around 5 MPH.
Saturday (R3): Cloudy with a high of 68 degrees. Winds calm around 5 MPH.
It's golf in a dome this week with no weather concerns which is a major relief after two weeks of heavy winds in Hawaii.
I am going to focus on some recent results in this section to highlight what golfers may be trending in the right direction.
Brian Harman -- He's gained 1.7 or more strokes over the field in six of his last eight rounds played. If you go back to the RSM (8 weeks ago) then that numbers jumps to nine of the last 12 rounds. Playing some great golf right now and he never shies away from a birdiefest.
Vaughn Taylor -- It's usually a great sign of form when a golfer contends at a course that has historically been unkind to him. That's what Taylor did last week when he gained 9.6 strokes over the field over the final 54 holes to finish T12. It was just picking up right where he left in the fall as he ended the RSM with a T10 finish, gaining at least 1.5 shots over the field in all four rounds that week.
Henrik Norlander -- Played his way into this section before last week and then doubled down on that form with a T9 at the Sony Open. That is top-10 finishes in each of his last two starts, dating back to the fall at the RSM. He's never pieced together three straight top 40s even, on the PGA TOUR, but he definitely has a chance to change that this week in Palm Springs.
The greens at PGA WEST are listed as bermuda but that grass is dormant at this time of year. Instead of looking at performance on bermuda greens, we can navigate around the issue and see who plays well in the West (Cali, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, etc).
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in rounds played in the West since 2018 (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement in the West (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
I don't know the link for Gay but the other ones jump off the page. We have two ASU alums (Mickelson and Reavie), a Colorado native (Hubbard), and Arizona native (Thompson). Comfort in this part of the country is a big plus this week.
Cameron Tringale: He signed off in the fall with a T20 at the RSM. He was better than the field average in 15 of his last 21 rounds played in the fall. That is some good golf for someone that is priced in the bargain basement this week. He is also a Cali native so he should feel comfortable on this overseeded ryegrass. Will he pick up right where he left off or will there be some holiday rust? Perhaps you should reserve him for large-entry prize pools (GPPs) for that reason, but there is enough upside here to warrant a pick this week.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!