Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fantasy Golf: Crowne Plaza Invitational Preview

Last week I basically eschewed a preview of the upcoming tournament and it yielded a win by the player at the top of the rankings (don't break your arm patting yourself on the back for picking the best player in the world) and, more importantly, a tie for second and the biggest payday of the season for my one and done pick. So guess what? Fuck it. I'm going with it and taking the rest of the week off to play about five rounds of golf. Maybe I'll mix-in some ocean side yoga* to see if I can come-up with a few inspired ideas to take the Fantasy Golf Report to the next level (just as soon as I figure-out what the next level would be).   
"Maybe I should make-up FGR hats and
give them away . . . or I could start putting
pictures of naked women on the website
. . . or naked women wearing FGR hats." 

The Crowne Plaza Invitational Odds

1. Jordan Spieth - 11/2
2. Zach Johnson - 14/1
3. Jimmy Walker - 18/1
4. Adam Scott - 22/1
5. Ryan Palmer - 25/1
6. Patrick Reed - 25/1
7. Paul Casey - 28/1
8. Ian Poulter - 30/1
9. Chris Kirk - 30/1
10. Kevin Na - 33/1

The FGR Crowne Plaza Invitational Picks

1. Zach Johnson
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Jimmy Walker
4. Chris Kirk
We could be onto something here.
5. Charley Hoffman

One and Done Pick: Zach Johnson

The Sleeper Pick: Kevin Chappell

Last Week's Report Card: B+

1. Rory McIlroy - 1st
2. Jim Furyk - M/C
3. Kevin Kisner - T38th
4. Webb Simpson - T2nd
5. Ryan Moore - T47th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
If only she wore a hat in this picture.
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800

Season Total: $2,402,705

Footnote

* I really want to write something about the Mad Men series finale but I'm still processing it. I don't think I liked it but my objectivity is tainted by the fact that I'm going to miss those degenerates. Especially Roger Sterling. 

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Wells Fargo Preview

(Editor's Note: we're going to devote most of this week's preview to a look back at the Players Championship because we frankly don't have much to say about the Wells Fargo Championship other than it's a fine event played on a great golf course that will either be won by Rory McIlroy or somebody else. You can find all of the requisite odds, picks, etc. at the bottom of the page).

Wow. That had to be the most exciting finish of the preeminent tournament on the PGA Tour and, if you weren't able to find your way to that conclusion on your own, then it's a good thing that you had Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen to guide you there as they took corporate shill announcing to a new level on Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention over the past few years but I could have sworn that NBC and the PGA Tour were getting over the inferiority complex they have about their tournament and the golf course on which it's played thanks to seven impressive winners in the last eight years (sorry Tim Clark, you know I love you and your game but two career wins does not a golf stud make).

Wait, maybe he was just doing
one of his zany "Jake's Takes."
That would certainly explain it.
Apparently I was wrong, however, as there was Jacobsen cranking-up the rhetoric on Saturday by claiming that the Players is the "preeminent" tournament on tour. Is it possible that he was limiting that to just PGA Tour events which would exclude the majors? Yes it's possible except he went on to list the Players right alongside the four majors stopping just inches short of smacking the ridiculous 5th major label on it. Let's get this straight. There is no 5th major just like there is no 5th ocean, 5th Beatle or 5th male member of the Brady family.* Besides, any chance of the Players becoming the 5th major went out the window when they built a golf course that only Sergio Garcia seems to love.**

Then came the Hicks and Miller show late on Sunday afternoon as they proceeded to do exactly what I assume they tell you not to do in Sports Announcing 101. They spent the better part of three hours telling us how exciting the golf tournament was instead of just calling the action and letting it speak for itself. And underlying it all you had the sense that it was being driven by the desire of whomever was pulling the strings to continue artificially propping up the event by strapping a push-up bra on it. Only on Sunday that was completely unnecessary because, to paraphrase Teri Hatcher, "the event was real and it was spectacular." 

When you have a guy take the lead by going six under on his last six holes and then you have another guy quiet the drunken hecklers by draining a bomb to tie for the lead on seventeen and then you have ANOTHER guy graze the hole with a birdie putt to win on eighteen, you don't need to keep telling us that this is the most exciting finish you've ever seen. You only do that if you don't believe the tournament has the inherent magnitude to speak for itself. Just call the shots and let us decide how excited we are. While you're at it, accept the fact that the event is golf's version of a big regular season game along the lines of Seahawks-Niners or Ravens-Steelers. There's no shame in that but no matter how much you hype it, it will never be Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera in a playoff at Augusta or Rory, Phil and Rickie all rolling down the final fairway together at Valhalla gunning for the Wanamaker Trophy so let it go.  

 Footnotes

* Unless you want to count Tiger the dog as a male member of the family but we're not acknowledging the existence of that annoying twerp Oliver even if he did inspire the name for what TV writers call the gimmick of adding a new kid to salvage a dying show . . .  "Cousin Oliver Syndrome." (Where else are you getting that kind of information for life? That's right. Nowhere).     


** After missing the cut, Phil Mickelson said, "I can't believe I've actually won here." I'm sure fellow cut missers Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson (2nd, 6th, 8th and 10th in the WGR) were feeling his pain. I should acknowledge that I've never played Sawgrass. Then again, I don't care if I ever do.    

The Wells Fargo Favorites
In a not so subtle attempt to generate 
Eastern European website traffic, this is  
RICKIE FOWLER'S GIRLFRIEND!!!

1. Rory McIlroy - 3/1
2. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
3. Jim Furyk - 20/1
4. Phil Mickelson - 20/1
5. Hideki Matsuyama - 22/1
6. Bill Haas - 28/1
7. Adam Scott - 30/1
8. Patrick Reed - 30/1
9. J.B. Holmes - 30/1
10. Louis Oostuizen - 35/1

The FGR Wells Fargo Picks

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jim Furyk
3. Kevin Kisner
4. Webb Simpson
5. Ryan Moore

The One and Done Pick: Webb Simpson

The Sleeper Pick: Bo Van Pelt

Last Week's Report Card: C

1. Henrik Stenson - T17th
We were going to double down on Rickie's
girlfriend but we'd be remiss if we didn't
support that Teri Hatcher reference.

2. Jordan Spieth - M/C
3. Sergio Garcia - T2nd
4. Jimmy Walker - M/C
5. Lee Westwood - M/C
6. Jim Furyk - T56th
7. Zach Johnson - T13th
8. Matt Kuchar - M/C
9. Sean O'Hair - M/C

10. Hideki Matsuyama - T17th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667

Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857

Season Total: $1,777,905

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Players Championship Preview

First things first. We're ditching the "new layout" because it has brought us nothing but heartache and pain in 2015. You can only laugh-off a slump for so long before it starts to eat away at you like a seagull going to town on a dead decaying disgusting fish head (the FGR is currently the fish head which could not be more appropriate because our picks, in a word, "stink"). Maybe burying the picks at the bottom of the page like we used to will teach them a lesson.

Second things second, we're going to get a bit more involved with our work by entering some week to week fantasy golf contests. For now, we're going to start with www.FantasyHub.com because (a) they have a charitable component which means that if I'm going to keep losing money, at least it will go to a good cause and (b) they reached-out to me about advertising on the Fantasy Golf Report which makes them my new best friend. Up to this point, I hadn't really bothered trying to factor this writing endeavor into my overall income stream because my kids don't like Ramen noodles and let's face it, I couldn't possibly support the lifestyle it takes to inspire the Fantasy Golf Report on the meager cash flow generated by the Fantasy Golf Report. I think that's ironic but I'm not entirely sure. (A paid writer would probably know).


Here is what I do know (AWKWARD SEGUE ALERT!!!). The Players Championship has been on a nice credibility run over the last three years with winners like Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods and Martin Kaymer (turns-out Marty's somewhat surprising win at Sawgrass was just the ghost of Christmas yet to come foretelling the most boring U.S. Open ever). Over that same span, we've also had solid runner-ups like Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson. Those are what we in the business like to call "Ryder Cuppers" and they are the ones you want winning your golf tournaments when you're trying to move beer and Buicks.  


"You're never going to
be a real major."
That kind of quality winner's circle plus time is enough for me to stop harping on the stretch from '02 - '06 when three of the winners were Craig Perks, Stephen Ames and Fred Funk.* I think it was soon after that that they stopped calling it the "5th Major," a decision that probably had something to do with the names being etched on the trophy and the fact that someone finally realized that the other majors were just pretending to be their friends while mocking them behind their back with comments like, "ooh look at me, I'm the 5th major" and "I have a green that's also an island" and "my dad drives a Dodge Stratus and works at the mall."**

Now that it appears the Players Championship has gotten comfortable in its own skin and is producing quality winners, I'm actually really looking forward to it. It doesn't hurt that the talent pool is ridiculously deep and we have a burgeoning multi-year duel for best player in the world between Messrs. Spieth and McIlroy that could yield a Sunday showdown at any one of seven or eight high profile events inlcuding the Players (note: that was just the nicest thing I ever said about the Players . . . you're welcome). Unfortunately, I think we're going to see at most half of the new dynamic duo in top form because Rory has to be fried from winning on the West Coast last week. Not to mention, there are a handful of other top players who get special credit on their pre-tournament grades because, for whatever reason, they like playing TPC Sawgrass. In no particular order, they are:

Sergio Garcia: Win in 2008 plus a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th.

Jim Furyk: Four top five finishes including runner-up last year.
Adam Scott: Three top ten finishes including a win in 2004.
Lee Westwood: Three top tens the last four times he's entered.***

All of those would be fine selections this week but I'm going with the guy I've had slotted here since the start of the season. Henrik Stenson won the Players in 2009 and has three other top tens so he fits the profile. He hasn't been able to close the deal on a win in 2015 but statistically he's having a monsters season ranked 7th in total driving, 2nd in ball striking and 1st in strokes gained putting. I also like the fact that he didn't make it to the weekend at the Match Play meaning he should be relatively fresh as opposed to a guy like Furyk who played 36-36 on Saturday and Sunday. Finally, we've always had a special place in our heart for Henrik who got swindled for about $10M a few years ago by his financial advisor which makes him the Fantasy Golf Report of investing. Seems like the right guy to pull us out of our slump.    


The Players Favorites


1. Rory McIlroy - 7/1

2. Jordan Spieth - 15/2
Hey that's a big check Henrik. Want to
invest in a fantasy golf website?
3. Henrik Stenson - 18/1
4. Justin Rose - 20/1
5. Jason Day - 25/1
6. Jim Furyk - 25/1
7. Sergio Garcia - 28/1
8. Hideki Matsuyama - 30/1
9. Dustin Johnson - 33/1
10. Tiger Woods - 35/1

The Players Picks


1. Henrik Stenson

2. Jordan Spieth
3. Sergio Garcia
4. Jimmy Walker
5. Lee Westwood
6. Jim Furyk
7. Zach Johnson
8. Matt Kuchar
9. Sean O'Hair
10. Hideki Matsuyama

(This is typically where I would put Last Week's Report Card and the One and Done Picks to Date but they were starting to depress me more than the final season of Mad Men so we're leaving them out and making this week all about new beginnings).


Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.


Footnotes


It was the Players Championship's version of the five year stretch of best actor Oscars from 2001 through 2005 when overacting must have been all the rage as Adrien Brody, Russell Crowe and Jamie Foxx* were three of your five winners. It didn't help that Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Hanks were putting-up minimal resistance with weaker efforts like I am Sam (never saw it), Gangs of New York (top five lamest ending of all time) and Castaway. (No one will ever convince me that Castaway didn't suck despite the awesome plane crash scene. Talk about peaking in the first fifteen minutes. I spent the entire second hour rooting for Tom Hanks' character to fall off a cliff, get eaten by a shark or piss-off a poison dart frog).  


** I worked at a mall when I was sixteen. Everyone needs to work at a mall when they're young to learn one of the most important lessons in life which is that you don't want to work at a mall. 

*** Westwood used to periodically skip the Players Championship. Why? Because he's Lee Fucking Westwood that's why. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fantasy Golf: WGC-Cadillac Match Play Preview

The Match Play Favorites

1. Rory McIlroy - 9/1
2. Jordan Spieth - 9/1
We're looking at a mostly European
final four. (Trust me, she's French).
3. Jason Day - 16/1
4. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
5. Justin Rose - 20/1
6. Dustin Johnson - 20/1
7. Adam Scott - 22/1
8. Bubba Watson - 25/1
9. Patrick Reed - 25/1
10. Jim Furyk - 25/1

The FGR Match Play Picks

1. Graeme McDowell
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Brandt Snedeker
4. Ian Poulter
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Paul Casey
7. Jim Furyk
8. Brendon Todd
9. Jason Day
10. Louis Oosthuizen

The One and Done Pick: Graeme McDowell

The Sleeper Pick: Brendon Todd

Match play events are hard enough to handicap even when you're not mired in a miserable life sucking slump that is genuinely affecting your mood on the weekends. Even with the new format that gives the higher ranked players a better chance of reaching the sweet sixteen by allowing them to exploit their talent edge over three matches instead of just one, it's still match play so it's still a crapshoot. (As for the new format, to paraphrase Colonel Jessup, I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain it here but I will sum it up in one word: better. Click on the link provided if you want to check it out or just sit ten feet from me at a country club bar and wildly speculate about it until my fucking head explodes . . . I don't give a damn).
"No you ignorant ass clown they are
not playing nine hole matches and they
are most certainly not using those big
cups that you saw in Golf Digest!!!"

Let's start trying to figure this thing out by looking at the golf course. Here is what we know about Harding Park which hosted the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship and the 2009 Presidents Cup. Good players play well there (that was helpful). Tiger Woods won in 2005 with Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Vijay Singh all landing in the top six. At the Presidents Cup, the leading point winners were Woods and Phil Mickelson for the Americans along with Singh and Ernie Els for the Internationals. (The Americans won 19.5 to 14.5 which made everyone happy because Greg Norman's team lost).  

Ok so the course is a bit of a dead end . . . what else do we know? Well we know that certain players excel at match play and those that do tend to fall into at least one of three categories: (1) they're passionate (Ian Poulter, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed), (2) they're cool (Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson); and (3) they're European (see five of the eight previously listed players along with Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose). Therefore, chances are that our winner this year is going to be a fiery or cool European.

Now that we have our winner's profile and some confidence that the course isn't going to quirk-out the good players, we can look at the bracket and determine who is going to go deep and have a shot to win it all. (It does not look like they named the brackets this year so we'll just refer to each one by its top seed). The first thing that jumps-out is that the Spieth Bracket is the bracket of death with the Masters champ, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson. Good luck running that gauntlet and we're going with Sergio purely on a hunch and to stick with our European profile.

At the other end of the spectrum we have the Watson Bracket which seems a little light at the top once you get past Bubba as Jim Furyk, J.B. Holmes and Rickie Fowler are the next three highest seeds. Fowler is slumping, Furyk is Furyk and the two mad bombers probably don't have the attention span it's going to take to advance so we're going for a grinder in Graeme McDowell.

"Where's the rest of this moose?"
The McIlroy and Stenson Brackets are both solid and McIlroy is going to have to get past Brandt Snedeker and Billy Horschel while Stenson will have to deal with Bill Haas and Brendon Todd. My gut tells me that Spieth is the only top seed who will advance out of the Group Stage so we're going with Snedeker to clip McIlroy and advance to the final four while Todd takes-out Stenson before losing to Ian Poulter in the greatest contrast of personalities since Arthur met with his future father in-law.

From there, McDowell stares down Snedeker and Sergio simply ball strikes his way past Poulter setting-up a final between two European Ryder Cup studs that no one on this side of the Atlantic other than the geekiest golf geeks will watch (and I'll be one of them). It will be all smiles and backslaps on the first tee before McDowell stops chatting somewhere around the 5th hole as Sergio wonders why they're not friends anymore. The next thing he knows, McDowell will be offering to buy the first round when they shake hands on the 16th green as Sergio cashes another second place check and wonders why he didn't win . . . again.           

Last Week's Report Card: D

1. Dustin Johnson - T43rd
Did someone say 
"fiery European?"
2. Rickie Fowler - M/C
3. Sean O'Hair - T12th
4. Steve Stricker - M/C
5. Brendan Steele - M/C

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C

Season Total: $1,597,663

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Zurich Classic Preview

The Zurich Classic Favorites
This week's FGR jinx . . . er . . . pick is
dating "bikini model" Alexis Randock.

1. Jason Day - 7/1
2. Dustin Johnson - 8/1
3. Justin Rose - 9/1
4. Rickie Fowler - 14/1
5. Keegan Bradley - 18/1
6. Harris English - 25/1
7. Billy Horschel - 25/1
8. Steve Stricker - 33/1
9. Brendan Steele - 35/1
10. Jamie Donaldson - 35/1

The FGR Zurich Classic Picks

1. Dustin Johnson
2. Rickie Fowler
3. Sean O'Hair
4. Steve Stricker
5. Brendan Steele

The One and Done Pick: Rickie Fowler

The Sleeper Pick: Troy Merritt

Just when I thought this year couldn't get any worse, last week happened. But the failure really dates back to early January because before each season starts, I generally do a quick run through the tournaments and slot as many players as possible based on repeated success at certain events. The primary purpose of this is to make sure I don't get to the Tour Championship with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson all sitting on my bench because the fact that I have the attention span of a four year old means I forgot to play them. 

The other purpose is to link players and events without getting swayed by current form because we know from experience how quickly that can change. It sounds good in theory until you get off to a bad start and then lose your composure by making rash decisions like yanking Jim Furyk out of the RBC Heritage slot and putting him in the Valspar slot. Turns-out that was a $1M mistake give or take a few thousand but hey, who's counting? (Other than the people to whom I will be handing money in October). Combine that with the kick in the man zone I got when the guy I actually did pick missed his first cut since last year's British Open, and you have the rock bottom point of the Fantasy Golf Report's 2015 (I hope). 

"I ain't feeling so good
about the picks this week."
My current state of mind combined with the fact that we have one of the tour's less anticipated events on deck enticed me to take this week off and get my head right but then I remembered the inspiring pep talk that Opal Fleener gave to coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers* . . . "the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day but mister, you ain't seen a ray of light since you got here." And then I remembered how Coach persevered, how he helped get Shooter clean and how his fortunes changed by sticking to what he knew was the righteous path. I'm going to do the same. 

If only I'd come up with this idea sooner, I would have gotten myself thrown out of the game for a week and then found an old shaky drunk guy to put on a suit and write the preview but I didn't so I guess I'll just have to play the part of the old shaky drunk guy too. (I know it's a stretch but work with me). We're going with Rickie Fowler because (a) he found something at the Masters, (b) he's entered the Zurich Classic the last five years so he must like the course even if he doesn't play it that well and (c) the guy I picked back in January, Graham DeLaet, isn't playing. I guess he doesn't want to miss five cuts in two months and yes I'm bitter about drafting him in the fourth round two months ago over J.B. Holmes. So there's your fantasy golf version of running the old picket fence at them. (We'll conveniently ignore where the stroy went for Shooter from there).      

Last Week's Report Card: D-
Apparently Alexis also dabbles as a
"sweater model." Well you know what the
Australians like to say . . . vive la difference.

1. Patrick Reed - M/C
2. Webb Simpson - T51st
3. Ben Martin - T37th
4. Matt Kuchar - 5th
5. Brandt Snedeker - T26th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C

Season Total: $1,597,663

Footnote

* Speaking of Hoosiers, in a case of rare political commentary by the FGR that is certain to offend some (and I don't care), I would like to express the following sentiment to Indiana Governor Mike Pence and those of his constituents who supported the original version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: "fuck you." We now return to the inanity of our regular subject matter.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Heritage Preview/Masters Hangover

The RBC Heritage Favorites
"Excuse me stewardess . . . is this
the RBC Heritage Preview?"

1. Jordan Spieth - 11/2
2. Zach Johnson - 16/1
3. Jim Furyk - 18/1
4. Matt Kuchar - 20/1
5. Patrick Reed - 20/1
6. Ian Poulter - 22/1
7. Webb Simpson - 28/1
8. Louis Oosthuizen - 28/1
9. Luke Donald - 28/1
10. Brandt Snedeker - 30/1

The FGR RBC Heritage Picks

1. Patrick Reed
2. Webb Simpson
3. Ben Martin
4. Matt Kuchar
5. Brandt Snedeker

The One and Done Pick: Patrick Reed

The Sleeper Pick: Boo Weekley

Stripes is to the funniest movie ever debate what The Who are to the greatest rock band of all-time debate. No one would argue with any great conviction that either of them is number one but, at the same time, no one is going to scoff at you for throwing Stripes into the discussion with Caddyshack, Animal House, Airplane and Blazing Saddles in the same way that no one would laugh at you for recognizing The Who as being within range of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.* There may not be a more subjective debate than funniest movie of all-time but those I just listed would be my top five in some order followed by a second five that would include This Is Spinal TapStep BrothersThere's Something About MaryTrading Places and The Blues Brothers.** 

At some point, this needs to be it's own FGR piece where we lay down some ground rules. For example, movies made before 1964 (when Dr. Strangelove was released) do not count. I really tried to watch Some Like it Hot which is regarded as one of the greatest comedies of all-time but couldn't even sit through it much less laugh at it. Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers were geniuses but please don't look at me with a straight face and tell me you laughed more watching The Gold Rush than you did watching Blazing Saddles. And if you did, please God let me get eaten by a shark before spending more than twenty minutes alone with you in a lifeboat. 


"Well that hurts reader and I don't think I want
to take your abuse. And I know that I don't
want to write about your golf tournament."
(Speaking of lifeboats, will the tides be carrying us anywhere near the freakin' game of golf before this is over?) Well as you know, the plot of Stripes revolves around Bill Murray's character, John Winger, joining the Army as an act of total desperation because he got fired from his job and his girlfriend just dumped him. Now watch this scene and tell me that the point when he slumps to the floor after getting the door slammed in his face doesn't perfectly capture how felt when the Masters coverage ended ("and then depression set in").

If you want to stretch the analogy a bit further, then the moment Winger desperately looks into his girlfriend's eyes and says "I need you" (1:35 mark) is the movie's painful equivalent of the Butler Cabin lobotomy we sit through every year because we're not yet ready to accept the fact that we won't get to see a real live meaningful shot on the 12th hole for what seems like an eternal 360 days. We just can't let go so every year we voluntarily watch Jim Nantz conduct interviews so awkward that they make Frost/Nixon look like Fallon/Timberlake.*** 

And then it's over. All of the international players split along with Phil, Tiger and Bubba like they have jobs and families while we have nothing better to do but drink until dawn and then (riding this Stripes theme into the ground) go join the Army to turn our lives around. That's what the RBC Heritage feels like. It's a fine golf tournament and there is no shame in watching it just as there is certainly no shame in serving your country but, when it's your last resort, it kind of takes a bit of the patriotism out of it. We just need to remember that good things are on the horizon because, in just a couple of months, we'll be razzle dazzling them on the parade ground (U.S. Open), rescuing our platoon from a Czechoslovakian military base (British Open) and then returning to a hero's welcome with a martini in our hand (PGA Championship). 

And then, before we know it, we'll be bathing in the splendor of the Par 3 Contest again with past champions chunking shots into the ponds and five year old kids dragging putters across greens that we'd give one of our cojones to play. Hey you know what? I'm feeling better already. Thanks sarcasm. You're always there when I need you. Oh yeah, we're picking Patrick Reed because he's the best player in the field not named "Jordan Spieth" and unfortunately that's all the time we have this week.             

Last Week's Report Card: B+
Grown Ups 2 serves two vital functions for the FGR:
(1) It is the gold standard for awful sell-out movies
and (2) Selma Hayek was one of the sell-outs.

1. Rory McIlroy - 4th
2. Jordan Spieth - 1st
3. Bubba Watson - T38th
4. Jason Day - T28th
5. Jimmy Walker - T38th
6. Victor Dubuisson - M/C
7. Brandt Snedeker - M/C
8. Phil Mickelson - T2nd
9. Matt Kuchar - T46th

10. Dustin Johnson - T6th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000

Season Total: $1,597,663

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Footnotes


* Considering the thoroughly self-serving nature of the Fantasy Golf Report, it should come as no surprise that Stripes is my favorite comedy and The Who is my favorite band. If you don't like it, go watch the Golf Channel. I think Brandel Chamblee's favorites are Grown Ups 2 and Nickelback.

** A long honorable mention list would include Old School, Sixteen Candles, Little Miss Sunshine, The Jerk, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, History of the World: Part 1, Get Him to the Greek, Napolean Dynamite, The Other Guys, I Love You Man, The Naked Gun, Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me, Office Space and Superbad. This list by collegehumor.com isn't bad if you just look at it as a compilation and ignore the order because putting Animal House and Caddyshack behind Zoolander and Happy Gilmore is a travesty of comedic justice.

*** I originally had Johnny Carson and Steve Martin in that spot but then it occurred to me that I might want to drag this column out of 1978 and into the 21st century.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Masters Preview - Part 2

The Masters Favorites

Rory McIlroy - 5/1
We kind of got away from our
roots in Part 1 so let's re-center
and work the green jacket theme.
Jordan Spieth - 10/1
Bubba Watson - 10/1
Jason Day - 12/1
Dustin Johnson - 16/1
Adam Scott - 18/1
Henrik Stenson - 22/1
Phil Mickelson - 22/1
Jimmy Walker - 25/1
Rickie Fowler - 30/1

The FGR Masters Picks

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Bubba Watson
4. Jason Day
5. Jimmy Walker
6. Victor Dubuisson
7. Brandt Snedeker
8. Phil Mickelson
9. Matt Kuchar
10. Dustin Johnson

The One and Done Pick: Rory McIlroy

The Sleeper Pick: Russell Henley

I have been accused on more than one occasion of over-thinking things so let's try not to fall into that trap on this, the most important day on the Fantasy Golf Report calendar. I'm picking Rory McIlroy this week and here's why:

1. He's the best player in the world and it's not even close. I have no idea how they compute the World Golf Rankings but if you compare the numbers they use, Rory has 11.07 and the next three guys have 7.66, 7.45 and 7.32. Between no other players do you find a disparity of more than 1.0 much less the 3.41 that currently separates McIlroy from Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth;

2. He won the last two majors of 2014;

3. He played two tournaments before coming to the U.S. this season and he finished first and second beating fields that included the likes of Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia;

4. He was 12 under through three rounds of the 2011 Masters. Sure he had an epic meltdown with an 80 on Sunday but let's cut him some slack considering he was only 21 and it was the first time he had contended at Augusta. Last year he shot -3 with a 77 on Friday and lost by five so he's basically been one decent round from winning twice in four years;

5. This year he's coming in as no bigger than the third or fourth biggest story behind (1) Tiger's return, (2) Bubba's repeat and possibly (3) Spieth trying to win his first major. Rory's a pretty laid back dude but he's also a competitive SOB so I bet he grits his teeth on a few backswings and hisses "I won the last two majors mutherf-ckers" and then uncorks 350 yard drives around the corners on holes like 9 and 13.   

Keep in mind that I already picked Bubba this year so he was not available but I wouldn't have gone with him anyway because I don't see him going back to back (we covered this in Part 1 yesterday). The other players I was most tempted by were Jordan Spieth for obvious reasons, Jason Day because, next to Rory, he's probably the player most due to win a green jacket and Phil Mickelson because if he actually pulled it off, how great would it be for an egotistical prick like me to be able to say, "I had that"? . . . (pretty great). I also like Victor Dubuisson because well, I like Victor Dubuisson. He has that Seve like ability to will the ball into the hole and that quality is going to win him at least one major. Just not this one.   

I've had Rory pegged for this Masters since he shot 71-69 on the weekend last year. It felt like he exercised some demons in those two rounds and he appeared to enjoy playing the course for the first time since it ate him alive in 2011. The fact that he'll be paired with Phil and Ryan Moore the first two days means that he'll get to play in a relaxed group even if they have to stop between holes and put a mirror under Moore's nose to make sure he's still alive. So many times this year the correct pick has stared me right in the face but I've decided to hide behind the chain saws instead of jumping into the running car. Not this week.  
     
Last Week's Report Card: B+

1. Jordan Spieth - T2nd
Come on Rory. It's ass kicking time.
2. Matt Kuchar - 70th
3. Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
4. J.B. Holmes - 1st
5. Sergio Garcia - T37th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729

Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C

Season Total - $1,117,663

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com