LIV Golf Andalucia: Team Power Rankings

LIV Golf Andalucia: Team Power Rankings

The LIV Golf League heads to Spain and the Real Club Valderrama for the second straight year. 2023 LIV Golf Individual Champion Talor Gooch will be looking to defend his title after he bested Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka a season ago at LIV Golf Andalucia. Torque GC won in Spain last year and is hoping to notch their first team title of 2024 despite the fact that they sit third in the standings.

Last time out at the inaugural LIV Golf Nashville it was Tyrrell Hatton who picked up his first LIV Golf victory by a whopping six shots over Sam Horsfield. Legion XIII also notched their league-leading third team victory of the season, as they sit in second on the year between Crushers GC and Torque GC, who also joined Legion XIII on the podium in Nashville.

Valderrama is one of the most iconic and challenging courses in Europe. It hosted the Volvo Masters from 1988-96 and 2002-08, the Andalucia Masters from 2010-2011 and 2017-23, the WGC-American Express Championship from 1999-2000, and the Ryder Cup in 1997.

While it's certainly not the longest course on the LIV Golf schedule at around 7,000 yards, Valderrama will test these players to the limit. Last season only 13 players finished the tournament under-par. Those that are in control of their golf ball will be able to shoot some solid scores, but the bogeys will start to pile up for those who are a little off with their swing.

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Here are the team Power Rankings for the 10th event of the LIV Golf League season.

1. Torque GC

The new top dogs of the Power Rankings have arguably been the most consistent team all season, finishing T6 or better in all nine events. They continue to be led by captain Niemann, who collected his seventh top-10 in Nashville. Ortiz and Sebastian Munoz also both are coming off top-10 finishes. Torque GC won by five shots last year at Andalucia putting all four golfers inside the top 15.  

Predicted Order of Finish: Niemann, Ortiz, Munoz, Mito Pereira

 2. Crushers GC

After collecting their fourth podium finish of the season, Crushers GC continue to show the way out front of the LIV Golf team standings. While Charles Howell III's status continues to be up in the air after missing the last two events with a leg injury, John Catlin was right in the mix for a podium place before falling to T7 at Nashville. Catlin also has a win on this golf course back in 2020. DeChambeau was T3 last time out the week after his U.S. Open triumph and finished second by just one shot last year at Andalucia. Crushers GC leads the LIV Golf League in GIR percentage and scrambling, a pretty solid formula for getting around a tough venue like Valderrama. 

Predicted Order of Finish: DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Catlin, Anirban Lahiri

3. Legion XIII

This team has all kinds of momentum after picking up their third team victory of the season, led by Tyrrell Hatton's brilliant performance in Nashville. Captain Rahm was also able to shake off a foot injury and extend his top-10 streak with a T3 finish. Rahm will be motivated playing in his home country of Spain and Valderrama is a course where he has a second place finish back in 2019. Hatton and Rahm can carry this team at a venue like this that naturally creates separation, but they will likely stay behind the Torque GC and Crushers GC on the Power Rankings until Caleb Surratt (37th) and Kieran Vincent (53rd) can give Legion XIII more consistent points. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Rahm, Hatton, Surratt, Vincent

4. Fireballs GC

You can't talk about Valderrama without mentioning Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia. This has been arguably his best course with three wins (2011, 2017-18) and three runner-up's (2004-06). Fireballs GC was at the top of the Power Rankings going into Nashville following back-to-back T2 finishes at Singapore and Houston, but ended up having to settle for 8th at The Grove. They haven't had the same top end success at the top-three teams on the Power Rankings, but they are certainly capable of picking up their first win at Valderrama. Fireballs GC have been one of the most accurate teams off the tee and that will serve them well with the narrow tree-lined fairways this week.  

Predicted Order of Finish: Garcia, David Puig, Abraham Ancer, Eugenio Chacarra

5. Smash GC

When looking at teams that fit the bill of accurate ball-strikers, Smash GC is right up there ranking first in driving accuracy and third in GIR percentage. After adding Talor Gooch in the offseason to the fold, Smash GC features three players that finished in the top-five last year at Valderrama with captain Brooks Koepka third and Jason Kokrak T5. A 12th place showing in Nashville was certainly not what they were hoping, but this is the perfect venue for Smash GC to bounce back and move up from 5th in the team standings. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Gooch, Koepka, Kokrak, Graeme McDowell

6. Cleeks GC

Richard Bland made history by winning his second straight Senior major at the U.S. Senior Open in Rhode Island. He will now be in the field for both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open in 2025. Bland is also coming off a top-10 finish at LIV Nashville and will be hopeful to add another strong showing this week. Cleeks GC captain Martin Kaymer has found plenty of success at Valderrama as well with a runner-up in 2008 and 2020 and a T6 in 2016. Adrian Meronk is the highest Cleeks GC player in the individual standings at 15th and is hopeful to lead his team back to the podium like he did in Houston. Cleeks GC ranks fifth in both driving accuracy and GIR percentage, which should put them in a good place at Valderrama.  

Predicted Order of Finish: Bland, Meronk, Kaymer, Kalle Samooja

7. Stinger GC

After a bit of a skid in Singapore and Houston, Stinger GC got things back on track with a fifth-place finish in Nashville. This team sits sixth in the season standings behind three podium finishes. Stinger GC is built for more difficult golf courses like Valderrama as they rank fourth in GIR percentage and second in scrambling this season among the 13 LIV Golf teams. Burmester and Louis Oosthuizen are both inside the top-five of the individual standings, and Charl Schwartzel has a pair of top-three finishes this season.  

Predicted Order of Finish: Oosthuizen, Burmester, Schwartzel, Branden Grace

8. Ripper GC

There's no doubt that Ripper GC has the upside with two victories in Adelaide and Singapore, but they've also finished outside the top-eight on four occasions. Ripper GC ranks first in putting average and third in scrambling, but 13th in driving accuracy and 11th in GIR percentage. On a course like Valderrama they will need to be more on top of their ball-striking if they are going to avoid another poor result. Captain Cameron Smith was T12 at Andalucia last year with Matt Jones in T14. Expect them to move up in the Power Rankings in the coming weeks, but this kind of course will certainly test them. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Smith, Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert, Jones

9. Majesticks GC

It was so close for Majesticks GC for their first podium finish, but they had to settle for fourth. The good news is that Valderrama is a place that should fit their team even better than Nashville. Majesticks GC rank fourth in driving accuracy and seventh in GIR percentage in 2024. Lee Westwood had a T5 here in 2018 and a T10 in 2020, while Ian Poulter defeated Garcia in a playoff back in 2004. Aside from the veterans on this team, Sam Horsfield seems to be energizing Majesticks GC after his second place showing in Nashville.  

Predicted Order of Finish: Henrik Stenson, Horsfield, Westwood, Poulter

10. 4Aces GC

It has certainly been a fall for the 2022 LIV Golf Team Champions who are looking to get back on track. It was not a great showing in Nashville led by captain Dustin Johnson who was just T51. On the bright side Pat Perez picked up his best finish of the season logging a T14. Valderrama is an excellent course for a gritty player like Patrick Reed who finished T5 a year ago. Johnson also collected a T8 result in 2023. 4Aces GC needs their two best players to show up this week and start moving them up the Power Rankings as the seasons begins to wind down. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Reed, Johnson, Harold Varner III, Perez

11. RangeGoats GC

A 12th and 11th place finish in the last two events have RangeGoats GC scratching their heads. They've shown the firepower to compete with the top teams with podiums at Las Vegas and Miami, but there's just been far too many inconsistent performances. RangeGoats GC were second at Andalucia last year, but a lot of that was Gooch who is now no longer on the team. On paper this isn't the greatest fit for the players on the current roster. They are much more built for an open setup off the tee where distance is more rewarded. Captain Bubba Watson is 50th in the individual standings, but ranks the highest of the quartet in driving accuracy and GIR percentage on the season. He'll need to find his first top-20 since Las Vegas if RangeGoats GC is going to compete with the teams above them. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Thomas Pieters, Watson, Matthew Wolff, Peter Uihlein

12. HyFlyers GC

This team will need to be better in one key area if they are going to score some points at Valderrama. HyFlyers GC are last by a pretty solid margin in scrambling this season and that's something players will be doing a lot of on this difficult golf course. Brendan Steele and Cameron Tringale are the two likely candidates to finish the best this week. Steele finished T14 last time out in Nashville and is very strong off the tee. Tringale on the other hand has finished top-15 in two of his last three starts and was T8 last year at Andalucia. HyFlyers GC needs more from 26-year-old Andy Ogletree who has finished outside the top-40 in all but two LIV Golf starts this season. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Tringale, Steele, Phil Mickelson, Ogletree

13. Iron Heads GC

Nashville marked the second straight and third overall last place finish for Iron Heads GC through nine events. There aren't a whole lot of positives looking ahead to Valderrama for a team that ranks last in GIR percentage. Captain Kevin Na has had a decent season finishing top-10 twice and top-25 on seven occasions. His scrambling ability will be very useful around this golf course. Danny Lee is a much better player than this T49-50th-54th stretch he is in the middle of and any hope of Iron Heads GC getting back in the points likely rests with him. 

Predicted Order of Finish: Na, Jinichiro Kozuma, Lee, Scott Vincent

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf, college basketball, and motorsports for RotoWire since 2016. He was nominated for "DFS Writer of the Year" in 2021 and 2023 by the FSWA.
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