Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Memorial Preview

Whatever perceived good karma was flowing from my half-assing of the golf analysis wore-off last week as not even the autopilot move of putting Jordan Spieth in the to spot worked. The good news is that we have a tournament worth caring about on the horizon and, like the first ten minutes of the first class on the first day of school, I swear I'm ready to pay attention. 

What's not to love about the Memorial? It features an all-star field every year, is played on a great golf course and produces quality repeat winners including Tiger Woods (5), Jack Nicklaus (2), Tom Watson (2), Greg Norman (2) and Hale Irwin (2).* Throw-in other recent champs like Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker and Justin Rose and it's enough to help you get past all of the slurping the announcers do about the course and the history of the event when Lord Nicklaus is in the booth (which is now almost the whole damn tournament since he doesn't play anymore). Basically, it's what the Players Championship wants to be but without feeling the need to act like a five year old kid on a jungle gym saying "hey mommy look at me" every ten seconds.

This year's field is typically loaded. It includes 12 of the top 20 players in the world along with the aforementioned five time champ Mr. Woods who won this thing as recently as 2012. And that was before he learned to reset displaced bones in his own wrist as he did at this year's Masters so who knows what he's capable of now? Maybe he could even smile and make you believe he's not faking it. 

As appealing as Tiger looks as a 28 to 1 shot (smirk), we're going to remove him from the equation this week and focus on the big name players we still have at our disposal. The only upside to the FGR's dismal one and done pick start (see below) is that we still have studs like Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Jason Day available. Our desperation for a win means that we're going to pull a player from that pool while throwing a look Billy Horschel's way.** Let's break it down:

Spieth: A solid bet every week but could be suffering from a bit of burnout. At this point, we're strongly considering him for the Tour Championship where he'll be a lock to pocket $10M of FedEx Cup cash with a win.

Rose: Won this thing in 2010, finished 2nd in 2008 and had back to back 8th place showings in 2012 and 2013 but he's also missed the cut a few times so it's all or nothing with him. Sounds like an FGR pick already.

Day: He's apparently suffering from undiagnosed dizzy spells and lethargy.*** Considering Day's propensity for bailing on tournaments under the most benign adverse conditions, dizzy spells and lethargy might as well be that disease from Game of Thrones that turns you into a gray lizard person. Of course I had him penciled in at the U.S. Open

Horschel: At some point this summer young Billy is going to wake-up and go, "THAT'S IT!" and then rip-off a three week stretch of something like 3rd, 1st, 2nd. Unfortunately, it's like trying to predict the three week stretch every season when Antonio Gates will accumulate half his fantasy points. Impossible. 

I'm really tempted to roll the dice on Horschel this week but I'm going with Rose. My ultimate rationale is that (a) I haven't used him yet, (b) I have to use him at some point this season and (c) I don't see any tournaments left on the schedule where I want to use him. If that's not some vintage FGR analysis, I don't know what is.           
   
Let's play six degrees of Billy Horschel who of
course looks exactly like Christian Bale . . .
 
The Memorial Favorites

1. Jordan Spieth - 7/1
2. Dustin Johnson - 12/1
3. Hideki Matsuyama - 16/1
4. Justin Rose - 18/1
5. Jim Furyk - 20/1
6. Matt Kuchar - 20/1
7. Rickie Fowler - 22/1
8. Jason Day - 25/1
9. Phil Mickelson - 25/1
10. Tiger Woods - 28/1

The FGR Memorial Picks

1. Justin Rose
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Jordan Spieth
4. Rickie Fowler
5. Hideki Matsuyama

. . . who was in American Hustle
with Amy Adams . . .
The One and Done Pick: Justin Rose

The Sleeper Pick: Rory Sabbatini****

Last Week's Report Card: D

1. Jordan Spieth - T30th
2. Gary Woodland - T60th
3. Matt Kuchar - T39th
4. Jason Day - W/D
5. Dustin Johnson - T8th

The One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
 . . . who was in Big Eyes with
Krysten Ritter. (Well that was fun).
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800
Colonial: Zach Johnson - $78,780
Byron Nelson: Gary Woodland - $15,407

Season Total: $2,496,892

Footnotes

* Since 1993, the only two players to win the Memorial who have not played on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team are Bart Bryant and Carl Pettersson. I don't think there is another tour event that can say that. Of course we'll never know for sure unless someone out there feels up for some research.

** I've already used Matsuyama, Furyk, D.J. and Fowler. If I had those four available, I'd probably pick D.J. and hope he doesn't go all unfrozen caveman golfer on us with a quadruple bogey like he did last Sunday.

*** If he was a 46 year old man with three kids, I could diagnose what Day has off of those symptoms in about three seconds. It's called "Tuesday Morning After a Big Weekend."

**** Rory Sabbatini has shown signs that he could pull-off another win out of nowhere which would be great for the Tour's recent douche shortage in the wake of big wins by likeable players like Spieth, Rory and Rickie.

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