Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The Pebble Beach Preview

Here are three things I can guarantee about the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am: (1) you will see Chris O'Donnell and wonder whatever happened to his movie career (see below),* (2) you will be introduced to a country singer who you have never heard of but the announcers will talk about him like he's Waylon F-ckin' Jennings, and (3) Peter Kostis and Bill Belichik will attempt light banter which will have the rhythm and flow of two blind porcupines screwing in the middle of an earthquake (I'd actually like to see that in slow motion on the Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision).

If history is any guide for the actual tournament, then there is a strong chance that it will be won by a top player who has won it before in the spirit of Mark O'Meara (5), Phil Mickelson (4), Sam Snead (4), Johnny Miller (3) and Jack Nicklaus (3). If you think it's going to play-out that way this year, then you need to take a hard look at Mickelson, Dustin Johnson (2) and last year's winner, Brandt Snedeker. The other possibility based on historical precedent is that it will be won by some random schlub** like D.A. Points (2011), Steve Lowery (2008), Aaron Oberholser (2006) or Matt Gogel (2002). Considering our last two winners were Snedeker and Mickelson, I'm going all-in on the theory that we're due for a first-timer this year which will open-up all kinds of air-time for celebrity shenanigans from the likes of Chris Berman and Ray Romano. (Apparently George Lopez's schtick finally made so many members of the CBS production crew wince that they decided not to invite him back. Gracias a Dios!)

Before you scoff at the picks below, note that Russel Knox, Brendon Todd and Jason Kokrak are all ranked in the top 20 in scoring this year while Matt Jones and Spencer Levin have been playing solid golf and both of them have have at least one previous top ten at Pebble (Levin has two). If you're not saving any of the favorites for later, I'd go with Hunter Mahan followed by Dustin Johnson and then Jason Day. Keep in mind that D.J. plays with his future father in-law and last year that yielded a missed cut which I'm sure did not sit well with the Great One. They're back for more this year so your decision on D.J. needs to be based on whether you think he's going to rise to the occasion or pull a Gaylord Focker. Good luck with that one because I have no idea.

If your season needs a pick me up and
you want to go with Paulina Gretzky's
fiancee, beware of the Great One factor.
The Pebble Beach Favorites

1. Jason Day - 11 to 1
2. Dustin Johnson - 12 to 1
3. Phil Mickelson - 14 to 1
4. Hunter Mahan - 16 to 1
5. Jordan Spieth - 18 to 1

The FGR One and Done Picks

1. Russell Knox
2. Brendon Todd
3. Jason Kokrak
4. Matt Jones
5. Spencer Levin

Last weekend pretty much summed-up my fantasy golf season to date. I was clearly on the right track at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet but I had somehow gotten it into my head that Billy Horschel was going to be the man so he ended-up on the top of my list.*** Then he doubled the 18th hole on Friday to miss the cut by two shots. So good for you if you look to the Fantasy Golf Report for guidance each week but also recognize that I'm in a rut that has my number two and three picks outperforming my number one guy. If you've been playing my picks that way, you're welcome. If not, I'm sorry.

Meanwhile, half way around the world in Southwest Asia, I was nailing my somewhat meaningless Golf Channel picks for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic thanks to Stephen Gallacher (1st), Robert Rock (T5th), Rory McIlroy (T9th) and Hennie Otto (T37th). That combination made me 19th out of 28,136 for the tournament and bumped my season total to $2,846,313 which would put me in 4th place on the Golf Channel's Expert Leaderboard (if they actually let me play) behind only Holly Sonders, Whit Watson and Ryan Lavner. So one of my goals this week is to get past Watson and Lavner so that I'm only staring-up at Sonders.****

Last Week's FGR Grade: B+
Pictures of Watson and Lavner
were mysteriously unavailable.

1. Billy Horschel - M/C
2. Graham DeLaet - T2nd
3. Bubba Watson - T2nd
4. Charley Hoffman - T61st
5. Brendan Steele - T6th

The FGR PUD Report

Hyundai: Gary Woodland - $130,000
Sony: Chris Kirk - $604,800
Humana: Charles Howell, III - $12,198

Farmers: Bill Haas - $20,740
WM Phoenix: Billy Horschel - M/C

Season Total: $767,738

Email the Fantasy Golf Report - fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Footnotes

* The answer is The Bachelor which received a smooth 9% on Rotten Tomatoes with my favorite one sentence review coming from Filmcritic.com's Bradley Null: "You deserve better than this."

** No offense but Lowery and Gogel used to look like a couple of guys you might see playing the local par 3 course in full-length socks and Hawaiian shirts. (Can you preface a follow-up insult with "no offense"?) 

*** I in fact know exactly how I got that idea in my head. I was watching the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open the week before and I saw Horschel stick a wedge on 18 and make birdie and then on Sunday it was noted by one of the announcers that he had made eagle on the same hole. Forget the fact that he finished tied for 23rd. The image of that one shot on Saturday combined with just hearing about his eagle on Sunday convinced me that he was going to at least finish top three the following week. You'll be relieved to know that I don't plan to use the "One Highlight from Saturday" system any more this year.

**** Nothing like writing the District Attorney's opening statement for your own stalking trial.