LIV Golf has partnered with RotoWire to provide expert advice on LIV Golf’s Fantasy game. Here is a preview of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. To sign up for LIV Golf Fantasy, click here.
The 2023 LIV Golf League individual champion will be crowned on Sunday at the stunning Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. Since 2019, Dave Sampson’s facility has hosted PIF Saudi International, powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, in February each year. It also hosts the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and Aramco Team Series-Jeddah competitions.
Three players still have a shot at the LIV Golf individual title this season. Cameron Smith is in pole position with 170 points, with Talor Gooch just eight points behind thanks to his three individual league victories in 2023. Bryson DeChambeau, who won the last tournament at LIV Golf Chicago for his second victory of the season, has an outside chance to stealing an individual championship. However, he is 24 points behind Smith and needs help from the first two.
There is still a lot to lose for other players who will fight for victory. Players who finish in the top 24 of the general classification will retain their position in the LIV Golf League for next season, while players who finish in the Open Zone (positions 25-44) may face replacement or release by their teams. Jason Kokrak is currently 24th in the table, leading Matthew Wolff by just two points.
Even more pressure is on those in the Drop Zone who rank 45th and lower. Non-captain players who fail to finish in the league’s top 44 will be relegated and will have to regain their place for the 2024 season in the league’s promotion tournament.
The line in Jeddah will also host the seeding of teams for the Team Championships, which will be held next week in Miami. 4Aces GC leads the way with 188 points, closely followed by Crushers GC and Torque GC with 178 and 171 points respectively.
With all the stakes settled, let’s take a look at some of the best plays in LIV Golf Fantasy this week.
Johnson has as much experience at Royal Greens as anyone in the field. He scored victories here at the Saudi International in 2019 and 2021, and also finished in the top five at the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah last year. Johnson leads the LIV Golf League in birdies per round with 4.92 and ranks second in GIR percentage with 73.15%. The 2022 LIV Golf individual champion has a chance to get back on the podium thanks to another victory in this field and the help of those before him.
The Torque GC captain has his team in third place in the team standings this week, with Niemann performing brilliantly in this category individually. After finishing in the bottom half of the field in three of the first four events, Niemann did so only once in the next eight events. He loves the Royal Greens team. He finished in the top 10 at the Saudi International in February and finished just one stroke shy of the playoffs at the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah last year, behind a final round score of 5-under 65. The wind always puts you in a good mood. Red Sea and Niemann’s patented low ball flight will be a big advantage.
Ancer recorded two season-best results in his last two events, finishing on the podium in Bedminster and finishing eighth in Chicago. Ancer now heads to a place he clearly enjoys, having won the Saudi International by two strokes in February and had a top-10 finish at LIV last year. Like Niemann, Ancer plays the ball low, rarely affected by the wind. He also rarely loses ground, ranking second this season in terms of driving accuracy.
This list is taking on a Latin American feel. Pereira has been one of the best strikers this season, leading the league in GIR percentage at 74.07% and ranking in the top eight in distance and accuracy. Pereira will be looking for his sixth top-six finish of the season, which would be the most such a finish of any league player in 2023.
After starting the season with five straight top-11 finishes, Uihlein didn’t score another goal until his final, impressive fifth-place finish at LIV Golf Chicago. After returning to form, Uihlein will be looking to claim his first LIV Golf League victory, avenging last year’s playoff loss to Brooks Koepka. Royal Greens have really rewarded impact players over the years, and Uihlein is nearly six yards clear of the next closest competitor in terms of driving distance.
Lahiri is now in great form after scoring her third podium of the season at LIV Chicago and her second in a row, including a second place finish at Bedminster. Lahiri has proven that the Royal Greens is a strong course for him, recording a top-10 finish at LIV Golf Jeddah last year and a T12 at the Saudi International in February. His short game has been impressive this season, as he has ranked in the top five in both average and slugging.
Leishman did not finish in the top 15 in the first eight events of 2023, but he has earned three top-eight finishes in the last four events, including two podium finishes. The Aussie standout came close to his first league victory at LIV Golf Chicago, but ultimately had to settle for second place in the leaderboard, behind DeChambeau. Leishman is a very crafty player and should perform well in windy conditions. He ranks fifth in birdie average this season and finished T6 at Royal Greens in February.
Torque GC is the only LIV Golf League team to have more than two wins in team events this season, and has won four of them. There is a clear advantage to this composition; they just weren’t as consistent in the rankings as some of the other players around them. Royal Greens is the perfect place for this team. I’ve already mentioned how much I like Niemann and Pereira’s chances, and Sebastián Muñoz is another strong striker who should do well. Meanwhile, David Puig finished in the top 15 four times in a row on the Asian tour, culminating in Sunday’s victory in the International Series Singapore, his first career win.
Captain DeChambeau was energized by his Ryder Cup defeat and is now playing some of the best golf in the world. He, along with Lahiri, led Crushers GC to three straight top-two finishes, including the team’s final victory at LIV Golf Chicago. Veteran Paul Casey is healthy again and heads to the Royal Greens, where he finished in the top five at the Saudi International last year and in February. Charles Howell III has proven to excel in windy conditions over the years, ranking 11th in GIR percentage and fifth in mix in 2023.
In any fantasy game, one of the biggest separators is the value that can be found in sleepers. These are players we expect to have low ownership and have the potential to significantly outperform their current position in the LIV Golf League rankings.
Here are some potential substitutes you might want to consider adding to your LIV Golf Jeddah lineup.
- Tomasz Pieters – The power hitter was in the top twenty for the fifth time this season; two career top ten finishers at Saudi International
- Charles Schwartzel – He has finished in the top 12 in his last two trips to the Royal Greens; second best finish to the season last time in Chicago
- Phil Mickelson – Played in four of the five Saudi Internationals with the Royal Greens and finished T3 in 2020
- Bubba Watson – Second place at Saudi International 2022 and a bomber who ranks in the top 5 in GIR percentage
Ryan Andrade has been covering golf, college basketball and motorsports for RotoWire since 2016. In 2021, he was nominated for DFS Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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