Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fantasy Golf: Waste Management Phoenix Open

WARNING: MAJOR DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON 3 SPOILER ALERT

Do not continue reading if you have not seen the most recent episode of Downton Abbey unless (a) you don't give a crap about Downton Abbey or (b) you don't know what Downton Abbey is. If that's the case, allow me to provide some background so you understand what in the hell I'm going to be talking about for the next six paragraphs. Downton Abbey is a British primetime soap opera (think Dallas or Dynasty) set in the period of 1912-1921. It follows the life of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants as they basically follow the same routine every day of (1) eating breakfast, (2) reading a freshly ironed newspaper, (3) walking around the grounds wearing wool, (4) having tea while taking highbrow potshots at each other, (5) pooping,** (6) putting on tuxedos, (7) hosting dinner parties and (8) smoking cigars and sipping brandy. (Nice work if you can get it).

"What is a weekend?"*
Periodically they will spice things up by throwing-in the death of a relative who just happened to go down with the Titanic, a cousin being paralyzed during World War I or a foreign diplomat dying while having sex with one of the daughters. But even seemingly major events such as those manage to come across as mere speed bumps in the daily routine and they are generally forgotten by the time Mr. Carson rings the bell for the next dinner party.

At least that was the case until last Sunday when Lady Sybil, the youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, was preparing to give birth to the child conceived by her and the family's former Irish chauffeur (that's a whole other wacky story). With the arrival of the newest Lord or Lady drawing nye, Lord Grantham summoned Sir Phillip Tapsell to Downton to handle the birth as he was apparently the Dr. James Andrews of early 20th century obstetricians. In doing this, however, he pretty much kicked local medicine man Dr. Richard Clarkson to the curb (yet not out of the house) creating a highly combustible Kobe-Shaq situation.

Careful Lady Sybil. Sleeping
with Irish chauffeurs has been
known to cause eclampsia.
Once the contractions started, Dr. Clarkson immediately spotted the symptoms of something called eclampsia which required the evacuation of Lady Sybil to the hospital. Sir Phillip on the other hand saw nothing more than the standard signs of labor (picture any scene from The Exorcist). This dispute led to a classic exchange where Dr. Clarkson asked Sir Phillip if he noticed the swelling of the ankles to which Sir Phillip responded, "maybe she just has thick ankles . . . lots of women do" not realizing that he just inadvertently discovered "cankles."

The grandfather to be, Lord Grantham, of course sides with Sir Phillip (don't worry, we're getting to the golf any minute now) because he can't risk being ostracized at Fancy Camp the following summer. Lady Grantham sides with the local doctor because she is an American (which is another whole other wacky story) and does not recognize the most obvious thing about this whole situation which is that, when one doctor is wearing a tuxedo and the other is not, you go with the guy in the tuxedo. Duh. We as the audience have no idea what to think at this point but, based on Lord Grantham's decision making track record, we do know that if we were standing with the Cliffs of Mohr on our right and a clear path on our left and we asked him which way we should go . . . he would tell us with absolute certainty to turn right. So we're understandably a bit nervous.

"Help . . . police . . . murder."
Anyway, the baby was born without incident and everyone let out a sigh of relief and went to bed. But not so fast. This ain't your daddy's Masterpiece Theatre. Here comes the panicked midwife and, sure enough, Sybil looks like she's trying to quit heroin cold turkey again. As she twists in agony, the two doctors stand away from the bed and do their impressions of Willy Wonka as Augustus gets sucked-up the chocolate river tube because this is apparently a "what's done is done" situation.

One minute later and Lady Sybil is as blue as the blood running through her father's veins. Lord Grantham turns to Sir Phillip and basically asks him in 1920's English, "what the fuck?" and Sir Phillip basically responds in 1920's English, "shit happens." Meanwhile, the jilted and vindicated Dr. Clarkson is wearing an expression that says "don't bother calling me the next time you come down with a case of the gout." Everyone mourns for a few minutes and then it's time for tea.

What if anything does this have to do with golf? Well as you may recall, I am in a one pick per week league that I take rather seriously because: (a) I hate losing and (b) when you write something called the Fantasy Golf Report, you would prefer to achieve success in your own fantasy golf endeavors to maintain some level of credibility.*** So last week I picked Nick Watney in my one and done league, put him at the top of the one and done list on the FGR and felt very comfortable with it.

You couldn't have tweeted that
you had the freakin' flu? You
tweet about everything else!
Now if there is one rule I learned in fantasy golf school, it's that you do not change your pick once it is made. But the next thing you know, here comes Bubba Watson with his tie for 4th at Kapalua and his win at the Farmers in 2011 and, like he was freakin' Sir Phillip in a tuxedo, I went all Lord Grantham and said "ooooh let's pick him." Well we know how that turned-out. Bubba bailed with the flu after the deadline to change my pick had passed while Watney went on to finish 4th and now my one pick team is starting to look like this . . .

So I'm out $268,400 in prize money and I can't use Bubba down the road. Worse than that, I'm rattled. I couldn't bring myself to watch more than a few shots from the weekend and I'm not going anywhere near my league standings because I'm just going to stare at them and calculate where I would be with an extra $268,400. And to top it all off, I can't even devote the season to rooting against Bubba because he was the top pick on one of my two season-long teams. Oh what a tangled sordid web we weave. Anyway, here are this week's picks. I need to get them up on the site before I have time to go back and screw them up.

The Overall Top Five

Sticking with the British theme. Word
to the wise. Google "Rosie Jones."
1. Rickie Fowler
2. Nick Watney
3. Brandt Snedeker****
4. Jason Dufner
5. Bubba Watson

The One and Done Top Five

1. Rickie Fowler
2. Nick Watney
3. Bubba Watson
4. Bo Van Pelt
5. Ben Crane

Last Week's Report Card: B+

1. Nick Watney - T4th
2. Bubba Watson - W/D
3. Brandt Snedeker - T2nd
4. Rickie Fowler - T6th
5. Ben Crane - M/C

I'm taking a pass on the Bubba withdrawal because I've beaten myself up enough over it. I didn't quite earn the "A" as I foolishly put Phil ahead of Tiger on the overall list and I didn't put Snedeker at the top of the One and Done Top Five. Why? Because I suck that's why. But I just keep telling myself that no weapon formed against me shall prosper as I move on to the next week.

Endnotes

* The scene in which the Dowager Countess genuinely asks "what is a weekend" may have been the show's "you had me at hello" moment.

** If Downton Abbey ever finds itself in need of a ratings bump, ten seconds of Lady Mary dropping the kids off at the pool would be its answer to "who shot J.R.?"

*** I'm pretty sure that's the first and hopefully the last time the phrase "you would prefer to achieve success in your own fantasy golf endeavors to maintain some level of credibility" will ever be written.

**** With his solid play so far, Snedeker has been promoted to a spot in a major and is therefore no longer "one and done" eligible. He apparently wept upon hearing the news.