Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Honda Classic Preview

The Honda Classic Favorites
I'm pretty sure that is (or at least
was) a Florida Gators shirt.

1. Rory McIlroy - 7/2
2. Dustin Johnson - 16/1
3. Hideki Matsuyama - 22/1
4. Justin Rose - 22/1
5. Sergio Garcia - 25/1
6. Martin Kaymer - 25/1
7. Keegan Bradley - 28/1
8. Rickie Fowler - 28/1
9. Brooks Koepka - 30/1
10. Graeme McDowell - 30/1

The FGR's Honda Classic Top Five

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Keegan Bradley
3. Justin Rose
4. Brooks Koepka
5. Russell Knox

The One and Done Pick: Keegan Bradley

The Sleeper Pick: Will Mackenzie

The PGA Tour's move to the east coast for the start of the Florida swing always reminds me of two things: (1) Larry Miller's brilliant "Five Levels of Drinking" routine when he gets to Level 5 (which would be right about the time when Robert Allenby gets tossed-out of the strip club and into the rising sun) when one of his friends stands-up and screams, "WE'RE DRIVING TO FLORIDA!!! . . . and then passes-out"; and (2) Cliff Clavin's all-consuming obsession with the Sunshine State and his endless supply of Florida related facts to justify it.* 

Cliff had one thing right about Florida, at least as it applies to the tour. It represents a better life due to the instant upgrade to the quality of the fields now that guys like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are involved. More importantly, it draws us one week closer to the first big time event of the season (the WGC-Cadillac) and, even more importantly than that, it pulls us to within six weeks of the Masters (cue the angelic ahhhhhhh sound). I'm sure there is some east coast bias in this opinion but what can I say? I am the consummate bitter/salty east coast guy so you get what you get. If you don't like it, then go read someone else's rambling golf tournament previews that almost never actually preview golf tournaments.** 

We will, however, make an exception this week because frankly, this one ain't that hard to figure-out. Rory is playing well and dominates on this course with a T2nd last year and a win in 2013 so he will be in the mix on Sunday and it just comes down to whether you want to burn the best player in the world at a lower tier tournament. If not, there are a slew of other solid players with commendable track records at PGA National including Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and defending champ, Russell Henley. 

I'm going to eschew those options, however, and go with Keegan Bradley who tends to get hot in spurts and is coming off a T4th last week. His last three results at the Honda are T12th, T4th and T12th but more importantly, Keegan has a habit of raising his game every time he starts slipping into the not quite primetime category and that's where he is right now. Do you hear that Keegan? I'm calling you out you big mick. Let's do this.      

Last Week's Report Card: C+
And because we believe in equal time.

1. Bubba Watson - T14th
2. Jimmy Walker - T41
3. Dustin Johnson - T2nd
4. Charl Schwartzel - T41
5. Nick Watney - T22

One and Done Picks to Date

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

Farmers Open: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T Pro-Am: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120

Season Total: $454,863

Footnote

* Cliff: "I was just about to tell Normie here that Florida is a pollution-free state. You know how they treat solid waste?"

Carla: "You said they treated you quite well." BOOM!!!

** You know I don't really mean that. Don't go. We can make this work. After a couple years the saltiness starts to grow on you and you get used to it (or at least numb to it). Just ask the FGW. She lived it for seven years before signing a long term deal and she's only demanded a trade like three times.  

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The 2015 Live Draft Results

"You are looking live at a
lot of middle-aged guys
wearing pleated pants!"
Welcome to the inaugural Fantasy Golf Report draft night webcast coming to you live from the Greene Turtle in Towson, MD. For the next hour, we will have between ten and twelve of the keenest fantasy golf minds in the vicinity of the 21204 zip code (depending on who shows-up and whether you include me in that description) picking six players* each to compete for the remainder of the 2015 PGA Tour season. Total combined prize money determines the overall winner with bonuses for majors, WGC events and the Players. This will be the 19th season for a league that would barely eek out BronyCon in a coolness contest which is why we do it in a bar where nobody knows who we are (no offense to the Greene Turtle . . . it's just that our days of 64 oz cocktails called the Hell in the Shell have passed us by).

So without further ado (my picks are noted). . . .


1. Rory McIlroy
Hey great concept but . . .

2. Jordan Spieth
3. Jason Day
4. Bubba Watson
5. Adam Scott
6. Matt Kuchar
7. Jimmy Walker
8. Justin Rose
9. Rickie Fowler
10. Dustin Johnson (FGR)
11. Jim Furyk
12. Sergio Garcia
13. Brandt Snedeker (FGR)
14. Billy Horschel
15. Zach Johnson
16. Patrick Reed
17. Keegan Bradley
18. Henrik Stenson
19. Phil Mickelson
20. Hideki Matsuyama
21. Brooks Koepka
22. Webb Simpson
. . . what are you going to do with . . .
23. Harris English
24. Nick Watney (FGR)
25. Bill Haas    
26. Hunter Mahan 
27. Martin Kaymer
28. Chris Kirk
29. TIGER WOODS
30. Graeme McDowell
31. Ryan Palmer
32. Charl Schwartzel
33. Kevin Na
34. J.B. Holmes
35. Russell Henley
36. Ryan Moore
37. Gary Woodland
38. Marc Leishman
39. Brian Harman
40. Brendon Todd
41. Luke Donald
42. Jason Dufner
43. Graham DeLaet (FGR)
44. Charley Hoffman
. . . all of that empty space on the right?
45. Chesson Hadley
46. Russell Knox (FGR)
47. Justin Thomas
48. John Senden
49. Robert Streb
50. Kevin Streelman
51. Lee Westwood
52. Matt Jones
53. Martin Laird
54. Ian Poulter
55. Jamie Donaldson
56. Erik Compton
57. Francesco Molinari
58. Cameron Tringale
59. Pat Perez
60. Brendan Steele
61. Jason Kokrak
62. Jhonattan Vegas
63. Shawn Stefani
64. Charles Howell, III
65. Ben Martin (FGR)
66. Sang Moon Bae

Footnote


* We do a modified snake draft where the guy who picks last gets the first pick in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th rounds. This takes some of the sting out of not getting Rory.


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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Northern Trust Preview

The Northern Trust Favorites
The last California stop of 2015.
(As if the FGR wasn't getting
enough hits from Germany).

1. Bubba Watson - 11/1
2. Dustin Johnson - 12/1
3. Jordan Spieth - 12/1
4. Jimmy Walker - 16/1
5. Brandt Snedeker - 25/1
6. Hideki Matsuyama - 25/1
7. Sergio Garcia - 25/1
8. Jim Furyk - 28/1
9. Bill Haas - 28/1
10. Harris English - 30/1

The FGR Northern Trust Picks

1. Bubba Watson
2. Jimmy Walker
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Charl Schwartzel
5. Nick Watney

The One and Done Pick: Jimmy Walker

The Sleeper Pick: Alex Prugh


We were delivered a sign of hope in the form of Dustin Johnson's T4th at Pebble Beach along with the fact that we decided to gamble on Brandt Snedeker's seemingly improved health and stellar west coast record to put him in our top five. It's probably no coincidence that this promising week of prognosticating occurred alongside my decision to rekindle the season long fantasy golf league that I co-founded back in 1997. I had initially decided to abandon it for reasons I could never really articulate beyond "I'm not feelin' it this year." Suffice it to say, my tune changed pretty quickly after watching the first five tournaments of 2015 with nothing on the line but a string of one and done picks who seemed destined to flirt with mediocrity every week. It was like going to the track without betting and seriously, what's the point of that? 


So now we have the renewed focus of a draft this Thursday night and to celebrate that, we're taking the plastic off the couch and putting Jimmy Walker in the line-up. My season needs a kick in the ass and it's time to stop saving the "A" listers for a special occasion. Not to mention, the talent pool is so freakin' deep right now, it's not as if we're going to hit the Tour Championship with the needle on empty. The European Ryder Cup team alone can cover the majors, the WGC events and the Players which leaves a slew of elite Americans like Walker, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk to start on their favorite regular tour stop courses. 


If you're thinking to yourself, "this clown has a new strategy every week," you're right but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results so we're going to keep tinkering with this formula until we get it right dammit. And besides, the real definition of insanity is trying to write with your kids home from school while a hair dryer pointed at the frozen pipe in your dishwasher whines and hums and screams and WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TURN THAT F*CKING THING OFF!!!! (I'm ok).           

Last Week's Report Card: A-
"Nurse . . . Bring me that stethoscope!
This season may actually have a pulse!"


1. Jordan Spieth - T7th
2. Jimmy Walker - T21st
3. Dustin Johnson - T4th
4. Brandt Snedeker - 1st
5. Chris Kirk - M/C

One and Done Picks to Date


Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix Open: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers Open: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T Pro-Am: Dustin Johnson - $281,067

Season Total: $430,743

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The AT&T Pebble Beach Preview

The Pebble Beach Favorites
Stiff competition for the queen of
vintage 80's hotness but the FGR
winner is Ms. De Mornay . . . .

1. Jimmy Walker - 8/1
2. Jason Day - 8/1
3. Jordan Spieth - 12/1
4. Patrick Reed - 16/1
5. Dustin Johnson - 16/1
6. Brandt Snedeker - 20/1
7. Hunter Mahan - 22/1
8. Jim Furyk - 25/1
9. Ryan Palmer - 25/1
10. Chris Kirk - 30/1

The FGR Pebble Beach Picks

1. Jordan Spieth
2. Jimmy Walker
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Brandt Snedeker
5. Chris Kirk

One and Done Pick: Dustin Johnson

Sleeper Pick: Spencer Levin

In this opening scene of Ghostbusters, Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) conducts an electroshock experiment on two college students, one male and one female, to determine if either possesses paranormal abilities. The male student is played by Steve Tash and his Jewfro (the Urban Dictionary's word not mine) and the female student is played by vintage 80's hottie Jennifer Runyon.* Suffice it to say that Steve Tash's character gets lit-up like a Christmas tree because even when he's right, Venkman throws the switch on him as part of his plan to woo Ms. Runyon's character. Based on our 2015 performance to date, the FGR is the poor schmuck sitting next to Ms. Runyon in the Paranormal Studies Lab.

We were sooooo close last week as the one and done pick came down to Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day with Matsuyama drawing the top spot and Day getting slotted for a major down the road. But, to quote another 80's movie icon, "remember boys, no points for second place." So here we sit after five tournaments with an average weekly total that would barely get your kid through his first year at Salisbury University in Maryland and that's if he borrowed his roommate's books and ate out of the dumpster behind the dining hall (a/k/a the "Bronze Meal Plan").**               

We were very tempted to deviate from our original plan of saving Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker for other events and putting one of them in the one and done line-up but the variables in play this week (three different courses, weather and schticky celebrities) make it a very unpredictable tournament and the thought of missing the cut with one of those studs is just more than we can handle at this low-point. The one thing that has been predictable about the AT&T lately, however, is that Dustin Johnson is going to play well as he posted a 2nd last year, a T5th in 2012 and wins in 2009 and 2010. Yes he's had some issues lately but so has the FGR so we're a perfect match. (You kind of lost me a little on the D.J. pick with that bit of logic). Screw it. I smell redemption story on Sunday. 

Speaking of perfect matches, anytime we can legitimately put our favorite scrappy, scowling, 5'10", 155 lb., butt-ripping, hat kicking*** player into the Sleeper Pick spot, we're doing it. Spencer Levin is coming off an 11th place finish last week and, before he injured his thumb (presumably by punching a cigarette vending machine), he finished 9th at Pebble in 2012 and 4th in 2011. If you play the Golf Channel's fantasy game and you don't have Spencer in your Group 3 spot, well then I'm just not sure this is going to work-out between us.      

Last Week's Report Card: C+  
. . . . by the slightest
margin over Phoebe Cates.

1. Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
2. Jason Day - 1st
3. Brandt Snedeker - T19th
4. Jimmy Walker - T7th
5. Justin Thomas - M/C

One and Done Picks to Date

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

WTF?!?! Season Total: $149,676

Footnotes

* Jennifer Runyon put together a solid acting career from 1980 - 1993 but she probably peaked in 1984 (didn't many of us) with her appearance in Ghostbusters, her recurring spots on Charles in Charge and her starring role in Up the Creek which was the product of a Hollywood producer wondering aloud in a meeting, "what if we got the actors who never made it big from Animal House, the guy from Porkys, a Farrah Fawcett rip-off and we put them in a movie with a lot of water ergo a lot of bikinis? That would make some money wouldn't it?" The next thing you know, Tim Matheson (Otter), Stephen Furst (Flounder), Dan Monahan (Pee Wee) and the lovely Ms. Runyon were in a college rafting race and hilarity/80's nudity ensued. But don't get me started on 80's frontal nudity or we'll be here all day talking about Blame it on Rio, Private School, Hardbodies and Zapped. Besides, someone beat me to the punch with this compilation.    

** Riding the shit out of the 80's theme at this point with a little old school Division III lacrosse rival chatter. We kid because we love . . . and it's funny because it's true.

*** That six second video has not gotten and will never get old.        

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Farmers Insurance Open Preview

The Farmers Insurance Open Favorites
Where would this great nation
be without its farmers?

1. Jimmy Walker - 12/1
2. Jordan Spieth - 12/1
3. Jason Day - 12/1
4. Hideki Matsuyama - 18/1
5. Justin Rose - 22/1
6. Rickie Fowler - 22/1
7. Brooks Koepka - 25/1
8. Brandt Snedeker - 25/1
9. Dustin Johnson - 28/1
10. Graham DeLeat - 28/1

The Farmers Insurance Open Picks

1. Hideki Matsuyama
2. Jason Day
3. Brandt Snedeker
4. Jimmy Walker
5. Justin Thomas

The One and Done Pick: Hideki Matsuyama

Sleeper Pick: Justin Thomas*

We all know by now that I am an idiot because that has been proven time and again but every once in a while we get a new piece of evidence that really drives the point home. Take the start of the 2015 fantasy golf season for example. We kicked it off with something called The 2015 Fantasy Golf Preview (seemed logical) in which we predicted what the FedEx Cup top 30 would look like at the end of the regular season. Now I'm not going to say that the same level of research went into that as may have gone into let's say what play the Seahawks might run on second and goal from the one yard line down by four with about thirty seconds left (too soon?), but I will say that I put a lot more time into that list than I put into these weekly blurbs that are usually written with one foot out the office door on Tuesday night. (I have to keep the day job going as the FGR is currently generating only slightly more cash flow than Enron). 


"Hold it . . . Chuck, I got it!!!"
So here we sit every week and in our left hand we have a somewhat thought-out list of thirty golfers whom we expect to win or at least place a few times in 2015 and in our right hand we have the objective of trying to pick one golfer per week over the course of about thirty-six weeks whom we expect to win or at least place. Hmmmmm. If only there was a way to transfer the information from the list in our left hand to the picks we need to be making with our right. (Thinking . . . give me a minute . . . stroking my chin pensively . . . almost there . . .). 

What if we used the list in our left hand to help make the picks with our right? It's a concept so brilliantly and obviously simple that it has all but eluded me until this week as I've only picked two players from the preview (Hunter Mahan and Chris Kirk) while every 2015 winner is right there on that list along with five players who have already finished second this year (Bubba Watson, Ryan Palmer, Hideki Matsuyama, Jimmy Walker and Matt Kuchar). The result of this ill-fated strategy is a total through four tournaments of $149,676 which is so low that you'd almost have to be trying to fail to achieve it. (Trust me, I am not trying fail . . . at least not knowingly). Well that's going to change this week because, for the rest of the year, we're going strictly off the preseason list with the exception of some longer shots for the smaller crapshoot tournaments** (we have more events than available golfers).  

That leads us to this week's pick which is Hideki Matsuyama who was ranked 16th in the season preview, finished a respectable T16th at the Farmers last year and has been on fire lately with a T3rd at the Hyundai and a T2nd last week. We like this new direction already. It's logical, defensible and most importantly, it can't be any worse than what we've been doing. Right?      

Last Week's Report Card: B+
I really like your chicken.


1. Bubba Watson - T2nd
2. Jordan Spieth - T7th
3. Phil Mickelson - M/C
4. Hunter Mahan - T30th
5. Brendan Steele - T26th

One and Done Picks to Date

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

Anemic Season Total - $149,676


Footnotes

* A reader named Buzz from parts unknown proved yet again why it's worth your time to send suggestions as his idea for a weekly sleeper pick was selected from a pool that included literally no other entries and will heretofore be incorporated as part of the weekly tournament previews. Justin Thomas is the pick this week because he's rolling and he finished tied for 10th at the Farmers last year when even fewer people knew who in the hell he was.

** Said crapshoot tournaments would include the Valspar Championship, the Zurich Classic and the FedEx St. Jude because no one has any clue who's winning those. And we're not even counting the Puerto Rico Open, the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship because tournaments that don't air on network television are like the Unicorn Zone on the Hot-Crazy Matrix. We're pretty sure they don't exist.        

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com