World Wide Technology Championship DFS picks 2023: Is Akshay Bhatia the new resort king?
The PGA Tour heads to Mexico to play the 17th edition of the World Wide Technology Championship. This will be the first time that they play El Cardonal, a Tiger Woods-designed course in Cabo San Lucas.
I don’t think Woods had a PGA Tour event in mind when he designed this course because it appears to be resort golf at its finest. Wide fairways with (technically) no rough on the property. The greens are a generous 8,000 square feet on average, which should turn this week into a scoring bonanza.
Here are all the players who have my interest—and those who certainly don’t—this week at the 2023 World Wide Technology Championship:
Golfers I'm Definitely Playing
Ludvig Aberg ($11,200 DraftKings)
It’s possible that Aberg is the best player in this field, and he possesses all the required firepower to take down El Cardonal. Over the past 36 rounds, Aberg has piled up 4.93 birdies per round, the most in this field per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He nearly won in Jackson (T-2) and impressed in Las Vegas (T-13)–it’s just a matter of time before he hoists a trophy on the PGA Tour.
Akshay Bhatia ($9,200 DraftKings)
Bhatia has earned three top-25 finishes in his past seven starts, including a win at the Barracuda Championship in late July. He also might have a knack for “tropical resort golf” as five of his best seven finishes have come in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico or Mexico. He has immense upside if you’re looking to fill that void in your lineup. Viktor Hovland was viewed as the king of resort golf—until his end-of-the-year run in which he won at Muirfield Village, Olympia Fields and East Lake. Maybe Akshay is the new resort king!
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Taylor Pendrith ($8,000 DraftKings)
The skill-set of Pendrith should be well-suited for El Cardonal—the ability to bomb it off the tee and not worry so much about the direction it goes. Pendrith caught fire in Las Vegas, finishing T-3 while only gaining two strokes with the putter.
Vince Whaley ($7,500 DraftKings)
The fall has been kind to Whaley, who has posted a top-28 finish in each of his three starts. He’s been well-rounded, leaning on his ball-striking but providing significant gains with his short game, too. His distance off the tee and stellar form should be a perfect match for El Cardonal.
Ryo Ishikawa ($6,700 DraftKings)
Ishikawa punched his ticket to this event with a T-4 finish at the ZOZO Championship. That continues a stretch of solid golf across the globe, including a runner-up finish at the Japan Open Golf Championship and seven top-20 finishes over his past nine events globally.
Golfers I Might Play
Cameron Young ($10,900 DraftKings)
It’s been over two months since we’ve seen Young tee it up on tour, finishing T-15 at the BMW Championship in his most recent start. He struggled at the end of the year with his approach play, losing in each of his last three starts. Now with plenty of time to rest and get dialed-in, few have the firepower of Young to get deep under par, which will seemingly be required this week.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,700 DraftKings)
Grillo is a giant question mark, but his T-10 at the ZOZO Championship might be enough to break him out of a slump that dates back to the BMW Championship. Historically, Grillo has played his best golf on paspalum greens, which is exactly what he’ll get this week in Cabo.
Matt Kuchar ($8,700 DraftKings)
Kuchar is quietly playing well recently, gaining at least two strokes from tee-to-green in four of his past five starts. He notched a T-7 in Napa and a T-19 at the Andalucia Masters in his two most recent starts. This will be a new course for him, but Kuchar has thrived in Mexico—earning five top-27 finishes in his six trips, including a win.
Callum Tarren ($7,600 DraftKings)
Tarren should receive the benefit of wide fairways off the tee this week, he’s one of the longest hitters in the price range, but also one of the most inaccurate. Assuming he can keep it in the short grass, he will be able to rely on his approach play where he’s gained strokes putting in five straight, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Kelly Kraft ($6,800 DraftKings)
We are seeing a little resurgence from Kraft, who has piled up four top-33 finishes in a row, including three this fall. He’s being led by solid ball-striking numbers, gaining 16.8 strokes to the field in his past 16 rounds. He’ll look to continue that success this week in Cabo.
Golfers I'm Fading
Lucas Glover ($10,100 DraftKings)
Jason Allen/ISI Photos
The last time we saw Glover was the Tour Championship, over two months ago. Even despite the prolonged time away, I worry about his putter. The flatstick has lost him strokes in four of his last six events after carrying him during his hot run last season. If he can’t make putts this week, it’ll be impossible to make enough birdies to contend.
JJ Spaun ($9,400 DraftKings)
The short but accurate skill-set for Spaun will be put to the test this week on a course that measures over 7,400 yards and has some of the widest fairways in the world. That will put more pressure on his second hot, which has been stellar, and his putter, which has been miserable. If you can’t putt, you can’t score and if you can’t score at this course, you can’t contend.
Chris Gotterup ($8,200 DraftKings)
Gotterup has been an exciting talent for the past few years, and he has been playing well on the Korn Ferry Tour. I’m just worried about a price tag that should be reserved for a more proven PGA Tour player. The skill-set is strong, but Taylor Pendrith offers the same skill-set at a cheaper price. It’s simply an awkward salary for a golfer with lots of question marks.
Maverick McNealy ($7,500 DraftKings)
This is McNealy’s first start since the Canadian Open in June, missing time with a shoulder injury that didn’t require surgery but did require extensive rehab including “physical therapy, regenerative stem-cell treatments and golf swing changes.” It’s good to have McNealy back, but I’ll need to see how he plays before investing again.
Adam Long ($6,900 DraftKings)
Adam will long for El Camaleon Golf Club, where he earned three top-22 finishes in his past four trips. Now he’ll need to tackle a new course that will minimize his strengths off the tee and demand precision ball-striking—not something that Long has generally provided.
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Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.