Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fantasy Golf: The Players Preview

This is a major cop-out but the fact is that I said everything I ever wanted to say about The Players Championship in the 2012 Players Championship Preview including the argument that wins my case against it being the fifth major faster than Mike Brady dropping his briefcase in the courtroom* which is that, if Tiger has only won a tournament once and only really been in contention to win it twice, then it should in no way be in the same gene pool discussion with the four majors. With that being said, I'm actually fired-up for this year's Players because we've got so many top-notch guys bringing their "A" games on a regular basis that, anytime we get them all together, we have a chance to witness something epic (i.e. the 2013 Masters).

TIMMYY!!!!!
Handicapping this event is little bit like playing Keno in that you get about 100 choices and any of them can win.** For every Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott caliber champion, you have a Tim Clark, Henrik Stenson and Stephen Ames (and lest we not forget 2002 winner Craig Perks who was golf's version of an Irish team winning an Olympic gold medal in the two-man luge). When you factor-in the Tiger non-factor factor, there would seem to be very little rhyme or reason to the outcomes of this thing. But in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friend. Some careful study of the last fifteen Players Championship leaderboards indicates that there are at least eight currently relevant golfers*** who don't despise playing the TPC at Sawgrass. Check this out:
  • Sergio Garcia has a 2nd and 4th place finish to go along with his 2008 win. 
  • Adam Scott has three top ten finishes including a win in 2004. 
  • Matt Kuchar has three top twenty finishes in addition to his win last year. 
  • Luke Donald has three top six finishes including a tie for 2nd in 2005. 
  • David Toms has three top ten finishes including a playoff loss in 2011. 
  • Bo Van Pelt finished tied for 7th last year, tied for 4th in 2010 and tied for 8th in 2006. 
  • Jim Furyk lives nearby and has three top five finishes. 
  • And finally, Ben Crane tied for 6th in 2008, tied for 5th in 2009 and tied for 4th in 2010.
For the purpose of making this week's top ten list, let's also consider that the last player to win this thing twice was Davis Love, III (in 1992 and 2003) and the only guys to win it in the last fifteen years while being ranked top 3 in the world were Mickelson in 2007, Woods in 2001 and David Duval in 1999. For me that pushes former winners Kuchar and Scott down the list and takes Tiger and Rory out of the equation because they could finish 65th just as easily as they could finish 5th so why risk wasting them. When it's all said and done, I'm going with the players on my "guys who kind of sort of like Sawgrass" list plus Nick Watney because he's actually been trending-up lately and Freddie Jacobson because he just seems like he's got the game for this track and for one other reason that will be explained later in the week.
Remember when Sergio was the guy who used
his golf celebrity for the power of good? The
FGR needs a new player to fill that role.

The Players Top Ten

1. Luke Donald
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Jim Furyk
4. Bo Van Pelt
5. Matt Kuchar
6. Adam Scott
7. Freddie Jacobson
8. Nick Watney
9. David Toms
10. Ben Crane

Last Week's Report Card: D

1. Webb Simpson - T32nd
2. Bill Haas - M/C
3. Rickie Fowler - MDF
4. Lucas Glover - T27th
5. Sergio Garcia - T16th

Not much to say about a tournament where (1) Derek Ernst wins, (2) Bill Haas shoots a first round 79 on a course where he opened with a 64 in 2011 and (c) the greens looked worse than the ones on the course I used to play for $7.00 at twilight when I lived downtown (of the twelve holes, I would describe seven as being "a great place to get rid of a body"). I'm guessing that the superintendent had no problem with the final round not being aired live on Sunday. Then again, he was probably blacked-out on the couch by then anyway.

(Let me know who you like this week - fgr@fantasygolfreport.com).

Endnotes

* For those too young to know this (man I'm getting tired of prefacing everything with that), Mike Brady was the father on the popular series The Brady Bunch which originally aired from 1969-1974 but then gained exponentially greater popularity when it was re-run throughout the late 70's. In one of its many classic episodes, Carol Brady is sued by a scammer after they are involved in a parking lot fender-bender. When the case gets to trial, the scammer pulls the old neck brace trick but Mike Brady turns the tables on him by intentionally dropping his briefcase on the floor causing a loud crack which makes the guy abruptly turn his head, thus costing him the case. Check-out this clip, listen to the sound the briefcase makes when it hits the floor and tell me that Mr. Brady wouldn't have gotten the living crap beaten-out of him by a couple of jumpy bailiffs if he pulled that stunt today.

** I seem to reference Keno a lot for a game that I played once about 20 years ago. Thank God for the advent of fantasy sports. Otherwise I may have ended-up wasting hundreds of hours of my life on a pointless game like Keno.

*** "Currently relevant" excludes Stephen Ames who has one of the more impressive resumes at The Players with a win in 2006, a 2nd in 2002 and a 5th in 2008. Ames' other claim to fame? Losing 9 & 8 to Tiger at the 2006 Match Play after saying before the match that "anything can happen . . . especially where he's hitting the ball." Turns-out he was right.