After a week with a tepid field, the PGA Tour is back with a handful of top-25 golfers in the world for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba at El Camaleón Golf Course.
Scottie Scheffler's reign as the world number one is over, and his attempt to reclaim the top spot starts this week. Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, and Billy Horschel round out the stud names in the field for this week.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Course Information and Key Stats
Golfers With Great Course History
Daily Fantasy Picks
El Camaleón Golf Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,034 (short: ~300 yards shorter than the average par 71)
Fairway Width: N/A
Average Green Size: N/A
Green Type: Paspalum
Past 5 Winning Scores: -23, -20, -20, -22, -19
Past 5 Cut Lines: -4, -1, -1, -4, -1
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (emphasis on Driving Accuracy), Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better, Adjusted Strokes Gained
Get prepped for a birdie-fest this week. Winning scores have been 20-under or better in four straight years, and a short course keeps a lot of guys in play.
That can lead to volatility in all sorts of ways, although Viktor Hovland is a repeat champion here and will look to make it three straight.
The rare putting surface, paspalum, seems to have leveled the playing field when it comes to the flat stick a bit, too.
There's just nothing so evident here that we should be altering any stats too heavily. We need birdies, and that comes from hitting greens and making putts.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
The best strokes gained averages among golfers with at least two starts in the past five years include:
- Brendon Todd (+2.70: 11th, 8th, win)
- Adam Long (+2.62: 22nd, 3rd, 2nd)
- Viktor Hovland (+2.33: win, win, cut, cut)
- Matt Kuchar (+2.30: 22nd, 14th, win)
- Scottie Scheffler (+2.04: 4th, 18th)
- Danny Lee (+1.86: 7th, 26th, 2nd, 25th)
- Billy Horschel (+1.85: 33rd, 5th, 8th, 21st)
- Aaron Wise (+1.62: 15th, 2nd, cut, 10th, cut)
- Maverick McNealy (+1.62: 11th, 12th, 26th)
- Emiliano Grillo (+1.50: cut, 8th, 41st, 15th, 9th)
- Joel Dahmen (+1.29: 45th, 20th, 6th, 41st, 23rd)
- Russell Knox (+1.20: cut, 23rd, 33rd, 9th)
Past winners in the field include Viktor Hovland (2022 season and 2021), Brendon Todd (2020), Matt Kuchar (2019), Patton Kizzire (2018), Charley Hoffman (2015), Harris English (2014), and John Huh (2012).
Win Simulations for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds this week at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba
There's a pretty clear discrepancy between my model and the odds this week for the most part. It says, more or less, that you can bet Scottie Scheffler at +950. Something that isn't fully factored into my model is a putter change for Scheffler. He putted terribly at THE CJ CUP with it. I'll be starting elsewhere, but he's viable if you want to get there.
Otherwise, the model is finding most of the favorites overvalued rather substantially. That includes Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Aaron Wise, Maverick McNealy, Tom Hoge, and Emiliano Grillo all a full point of expected value or worse than the sportsbook odds imply.
Given the course setup (i.e. a bump to accuracy) and variance increase due to easy scoring conditions, this one should be more open for longer shots. That doesn't mean I'm betting only long shots. Just that it's easy to wind up having the sportsbook favorites as overvalued. That's not the same as saying these guys won't win it.
The outlier within that tier is Collin Morikawa (+1600). It's an accuracy-friendly course, and the paspalum greens are uncommon to most golfers. That could help Morikawa find his peak. I'm starting my card with him.
Mid-range options that are positive values include Brian Harman (+3400), Russell Henley (+4200), and Brendon Todd (+4200) -- all good course fits.
Andrew Putnam (+6000) and Matt Kuchar (+6000) are also viable plays if looking for a bigger return.
The best top-10 values in my model: Putnam (+600), Kuchar (+600), Harman (+420), Todd (+450), J.J. Spaun (+900), Henley (+410), and Sebastian Munoz (+550).
First-round leaders showing very slight value are Francesco Molinari (+8500), Spaun (+7000), Chez Reavie (+12000), Harman (+6000), Munoz (+8000), and Kuchar (+6500).
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba
All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Scottie Scheffler (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | Golf betting odds: +950) - The soft cap of $12,000 on FanDuel really doesn't do Scheffler justice. Last week, Denny McCarthy was the top dog in the field, and his win odds were +1600. Scheffler is roughly twice as likely to get the win this week, and he's available at $12,000. Scheffler isn't an ideal course fit but shouldn't be penalized too heavily at El Camaleón. He finished T18 here in 2020 and 4th last year, and he striped it at THE CJ CUP but had a terrible short game to finish just T45. Scheffler is first in tee-to-green and top-two in both strokes gained: off the tee and approach.
Collin Morikawa ($11,400 | +1600) - My stats-only model prefers Tony Finau ($11,500), yet I have a hard time ignoring Morikawa, who is rating out as the better win bet and course fit. Morikawa is 2nd in strokes gained: approach and 13th and driving accuracy. The putter remains a real question mark (93rd), but we see upside weeks when it's on (T5 at the U.S. Open and T5 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship). It's just hard to gloss over him when he's a virtual lock to gain strokes at a course where he doesn't need to be long and with his approach play because he always does.
Others to Consider:
Tony Finau ($11,600 | +1400) - A great pivot from Scheffler; technically in better form over the past 50 rounds than Scheffler.
Kyoung-Hoon Lee ($10,400 | +4200) - Balanced across the board in all stats; three starts here (T29, cut, T59); solo third at THE CJ CUP.
Brian Harman ($10,200 | +3400) - Really sets up well here; 21st in accuracy, 8th in T2G; two top-25s to start the year.
Russell Henley ($9,900 | +4200) - Henley's putter is constantly holding him back from better finishes. The past two times he was close to neutral, he finished T5 at the Wyndham Championship. Over the past 50 rounds, he has lost an average of 0.48 strokes per round on the greens but gained 1.08 from his tee-to-green play. He's also 10th in accuracy over the past 50 rounds. He's a Morikawa-light type of archetype. With rare paspalum greens, let's hope that putting levels out for most of the field. He's played here four times with modest results (T29, cut, cut, T56) but is in good form.
Sebastian Munoz ($9,300 | +5000) - Want someone who can go low? Look at Sebastian Munoz. Munoz rates out 15th in strokes gained: ball-striking and is 25th in accuracy. A weak short game has kept him outside the top 35 in seven straight starts, yet he has the building blocks for a good showing at El Camaleón given the ball-striking numbers.
Others to Consider:
Aaron Rai ($9,600 | +6500) - Second in accuracy and between 38th and 41st in all four strokes gained: stats; a balanced profile.
Andrew Putnam ($9,500 | +6000) - 17th in accuracy but 123rd in distance with 33rd-ranked irons and 2nd-best short game; great profile for El Camaleón.
Lee Hodges ($9,100 | +8000) - T7 at CJ CUP and T23 at ZOZO with red hot irons.
Matt Kuchar ($9,000 | +6000) - Kuchar is, frankly, surprising to see at a $9,000 salary. He hasn't been flawless, but when projecting the situation for this week, he seems like a great play. Kuchar has started the 2023 season with a T12 at the Fortinet and a T29 at THE CJ CUP. He's still viable at courses where he doesn't need to be super long off the tee (which he isn't), and that means El Camaleón is a good setup for him. He has a win (2019) and two straight top-15s in his past two starts here. He's 23rd in accuracy and 4th in strokes gained: approach through putting, so the form is there, as well.
Davis Riley ($8,900 | +8000) - Riley's sportsbook win odds are a bit longer than I would've thought. He is closer to +7000 in my model. That's a bit nitpicky, but I think it's also indicative of how much finishing positions impact salaries and win odds. Riley missed the cut at the Fortinet Championship and then was T19 at the Sanderson Farms, T67 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, and T52 at THE CJ CUP. However, he gained strokes in three of them (and we don't have ShotLink data at the ZOZO).
Others to Consider:
Mark Hubbard ($8,700 | +8000) - 11th in approach and 23rd in putting; that's a high-upside combo when his lack of distance won't hurt us.
Chris Kirk ($8,600 | +8500) - Is better-than-average for the field in all four strokes gained stats.
Will Gordon ($8,300 | +12000) - 8th in ball-striking and 11th in distance, though 76th in accuracy.