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.