The PGA Tour heads back to the mainland this week for the Desert Classic (or whatever they’ve changed the name to this time). Honestly, this event is one of my least favorite events of the year for various reasons. The event is held across three different courses: LaQuinta CC, Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Stadium Course. The first three days are a pro-am format spread across the three courses, so we don’t get to see all the golfers and there is often a lot of non-golf talk on the TV coverage. With this being a pro-am, we also see very easy pin locations near the middle of the greens, which do no challenge the pros. We also don’t see a cut until 54 holes. On top of that, the field is very weak since the PGA Tour schedule over the next few months is packed with solid events, starting with Torrey Pines next week. Besides Jon Rahm and Justin Rose at the top, the field lacks any strength. Let this sink in: Luke List has the 8th best odds to win this week. Enough said.
But let’s be honest, just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean I won’t be playing DraftKings. I will be reducing my amount in play though. Here are some thoughts for this week:
Adam Hadwin $10,000
Hadwin will be a very good leverage play in large-field tournaments this week. He is priced between popular plays like Cantlay, Howell, Putnam and Mickelson. Many people will balk when they see Hadwin at this price point. However, Hadwin has finished 3rd, 2nd and 6th in his last three appearances here.
Aaron Wise $9,400
Wise is a very good play this week on DraftKings. Wise has a very high birdie rate, which should pay dividends in an expected shootout. Wise, who grew up in California, has had success here, finishing 17th and 34th.
Hudson Swafford $8,300
Swafford will be one of the more popular options this week. While working with his instructor to fix some swing flaws (specifically weight shift) during the offseason, he has seemed to regain his form from when he won this event in 2017. Swafford feels very comfortable in this area having spent some time here each winter prepping and enjoying some family time.
Choosing Rahm is a bit risky but will most likely be my choice for the week. Rahm is playing in a weak field on courses that he is very comfortable with. He won this event last year and has commented on how these courses are similar to those he has played in Arizona. I don’t envision picking Rahm in any major event this year, so I’m not sure if there is a better spot (next week at Torrey would be a good spot but has a major-like strength of field).
If you don’t want to burn Rahm, Reavie is a very good option. He contended last week at the Sony Open and has had a lot of success on desert courses, such as his playoff loss at the WM Phoenix Open last year. He has finished 36th, 12th and 17th in his last three appearances here.