Welcome to the new PGA season! Oh – did you think that last week’s Ryder Cup, or the Tour Championship from a couple weeks ago, signified the end of golf for the year? Hardly. Only a week after Team USA’s humiliating, comprehensive defeat last week in France, the new PGA season kicks off in Napa wine country in California for the Safeway Open.
After weeks of playing no-cut championship PGA, the Safeway allows us to enjoy a good old-fashioned West Coast, Par 72 course with a cut line. With 150 golfers in the field, getting your field through to the weekend will be critical to success.
For these early events I tend to look at course history and general fall form when I’m looking at golfers. Recent form tends to be meaningless in my mind – with one notable exception, as you’ll see below.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,600 – DraftKings, $11,900 – FanDuel)
He’s the favorite, but he’s also a local favorite from California that really stands tall above most of this field. He’s a five-tool golfer that seems like he could take this course in his sleep.
Phil Mickelson ($10,900 – DraftKings, $11,400 – FanDuel)
I love everything about Phil this week. I love the fact he had a rotten Ryder Cup. I love the fact that he will be poison to many thanks to recency bias. I love the fact that he’s priced just a bit too high. I feel like at this course, a course he’s done great at consistently, Phil is primed for a big bounce back possibility. I think the fact he played last week, too, works to his advantage.
Brendan Steele ($9,000 – DraftKings, $10,000 – FanDuel)
Especially in cash, you could do a lot worse than picking 1) the defending champion at this event looking to make it 3 in a row, 2) a guy who has been proven to be a great match for the course, 3) a guy who needs to keep doing well here to stay on the PGA Tour, and 4) getting all this for only 9k.
Sangmoon Bae ($8,400 – DraftKings, $7,100 – FanDuel)
In FanDuel, Bae, an absolute steal at that price, is exactly the type of golfer you can and should build around, a guy who is very comfortable around this course’s Poa greens and who actually won here back in 2014. Solid mid-tier value in DK; plug and play in FD.
Patrick Rodgers ($7,300 – DraftKings, $9,000 – FanDuel)
In years past Rodgers has been a guy who has lit up these early fall events in California, and finished 6th here in 2015 as well. At this price he could be a solid pick that could be contending well into Sunday.
Scott Piercy ($7,300 – DraftKings, $8,800 – FanDuel)
Piercy is another one of these California guys who seem to flourish in the fall no matter how he did in the summer. “Resort Course Pierce” should be contending as well.