The elites of golf are ramping up their schedule as they turn their attention toward Riviera Country Club this week.
In its first year as an invite-only event, the field is as loaded as it comes this week, for a non-major event.
Looking at the logistics, we will see 120 golfers peg it with the top 65 and ties advancing to the weekend.
For DFS purposes, that means a higher-than-usual cuts-made percentage. Even if the cut fell right on the number at 65, it would be 54% of the field getting through the cutline. That's a big boost over a full-field event (154 golfers) where the cut would allow just 42% of golfers through if it fell right on the number. It's not a week to get too overly excited about getting 6-of-6 through the cut line.
Let's have a look at the weather, see who is rounding into form, and then check out some golfers that might enjoy the poa annua greens at Riviera Country Club.
Thursday (R1): Partly Sunny with a high of 70 degrees. Winds around 7 MPH.
Friday (R2): A mix of sun and clouds with winds relatively calm around 8 MPH.
It's beautiful weather on the docket this week. There is no precipitation or heavy winds to worry about. The course should play firm and fast compared to some of the previous editions that have been hit by poor weather.
I am going to focus on some recent results in this section to highlight what golfers may be trending in the right direction.
Jon Rahm -- His run of stellar form dates back to last summer really. He's finished inside the top 15 in 15 of his last 16 worldwide events. As for his recent play, he's gained strokes over the field in 11 of his last 12 rounds, lapping the field by 2 or more shots in six of those rounds. The Spaniard has just one trip to Riv (T9 last year) but he's playing some great golf which keeps him in Tier 1 this week of top contenders.
Abraham Ancer -- Finished T38 and runner-up in the States before going to the Middle East and recording a top 10 at the Saudi International. Jet lag would be a slight concern, even with an extra week of rest. As for his play, Ancer has gained strokes in 10 of his 12 rounds played over those three events, including 2.5+ strokes gained in half of them!
Staying on poa annua greens this week at Riviera Country Club, let's see who likes this grass type.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in rounds played on poa annua greens 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 on poa annua (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Koepka doesn't spend a lot of time on the West Coast Swing but his poa annua numbers are good, mostly based on major championship events that use the grass up in the Northeast.
Matt Kuchar: He's not going to wow you on Shot Tracker but he generally gets the job done. That holds true at Riviera, as well, where he's posted finishes of T28 or better in four straight appearances. Kuchar arrives off a T38 at Pebble Beach, T16 at the Phoenix Open, and a win in Singapore, over his last three starts. His skillset puts him as a top-20 talent in this field but we're getting him at less than the average price per golfer allowed based on salary caps across the DFS industry.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!