Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The Hero World Challenge Preview

What better way to inject meaning into an otherwise meaningless golf tournament than by giving it a big old shot of Tiger Woods? Yes he could return to greatness and make this year's Hero World Challenge a compelling Sunday drama saving us from the droll monotony of second rate football that has become the NFL. But let's be honest, he's kind of like a butt implant performed in the back of a cargo van by a doctor with a suspended Nicaraguan medical license. Sure you could end-up with a butt like Fergie but it's infinitely more likely that you'll end-up on an episode of Botched* with your ass resembling a half-eaten wedding cake crying, "WHY???"

Some people are actually optimistic about Tiger's chances this week and beyond. With all due respect to those people, they've lost their fucking minds. Tiger hasn't made a cut since August of 2015 and he hasn't been competitive in a real tournament since 2013. Not only is he rustier than a Chernobyl swing set and more injury prone than Greg Oden, he will now have to compete against arguably the deepest fields in the history of golf. Back in 2013 he only had to deal with a top tier of Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and a lesser version of Dustin Johnson who kept injuring himself in bizarre jet ski moving incidents (ahem). 


Now Tiger has to deal with all of those guys plus an often focused D.J. and a few other random upstarts we like to call Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler along with a second tier that includes Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner, etc. That's a slight improvement over Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner a/k/a three guys who never would've been accused of being the best player never to win a major if they hadn't inexplicably won a major. (That sentence was like a Triple Lutz but Scott Hamilton breathlessly says I landed it).  


I hope Tiger finds himself near the top of the leaderboard this weekend and I really hope that he still has at least one meaningful Sunday at Augusta left in him because Tiger drama has always been its own unique top-shelf brand of sports drama. A comeback twist would make it exponentially better, especially if it involved a duel with one or more of the young guns who some now like to describe as "fearless." Would they be that fearless when faced with the opportunity to beat the ghost of a living legend? Would Tiger crack under the weight of potential redemption? Holy shit the sound of Verne Lundquist's rising voice is almost palpable when you really envision it. Almost makes me believe it could happen . . . like Fergie's butt.                  

              
I might risk van surgery to have Fergie's butt. 
One and Done Pick: Rickie Fowler

Where Tiger Will Finish: 17th

The DraftKings Top Ten


Dustin Johnson
$10,700
Jordan Spieth
$10,500
Rickie Fowler
$9,600
Justin Rose
$8,600
Hideki Matsuyama
$8,200
Patrick Reed
$7,500
Kevin Kisner
$7,100
Matt Kuchar
$7,000
Francesco Molinari
$6,600
Charley Hoffman
$6,200

Footnote

* When not watching home improvement shows, the FGW occasionally likes to watch Botched and Hollywood Medium. I think the message is "do some work on the house you lazy shit and don't you dare ever ask me to get plastic surgery or I will kill you and then harass you for eternity from the land of the living through the creepy annoying lovechild of Macaulay Culkin and Paris Hilton."   

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The RSM Classic Preview

Because I am a self aggrandizing jackass, I feel compelled to mention that I had Patton Kizzire as one of my top ten value picks last week and the son of a bitch actually won by holding-off Rickie Fowler down the stretch (apparently Rickie is already rounding into Luke Donald semi-contention form for the 2018 majors . . . HEYOOOO!!!). And that's it for golf this week because:

(1) It's the middle of November so nobody is watching golf except your dad and your odd friend Barry who smokes cigars, wears matchy outfits and "doesn't really follow football";


(2) There are plenty of other resources like PGATour.com for learning all about who brings their "A" game around Thanksgiving and has three previous top tens at the RSM Classic (Charles Howell, III) so you don't need me to do that sophisticated data crunching; and 


(3) The end of golf season has collided with daylight savings and the onset of seasonal affective disorder meaning that the FGR is literally one left lane clogging self-involved millennial driver on a cell phone away from serving 30 days for a road rage incident. I shouldn't even be interacting with the outside world right now much less broadcasting my thoughts. With that being said, I'm currently working on a hit piece about "soccer people" based on my experience as a coach and parent. It's proving to be very cathartic. Just need to make sure the references to people I know can't be traced back to me. 


Here are this week's picks. Ironically, despite my petulant apathy, I feel pretty good about them and may actually lay-down $4 of my hard earned cash in pursuit of a better life . . .or at least $6.

One and Done Pick: Chesson Hadley
"TURN-OFF THE STOVE BABY . . . 
WE'RE GOING TO CHIPOTLE!!!"


DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks

Chesson Hadley
$10,200
Webb Simpson
$9,800
Charles Howell, III
$9,500
Patton Kizzire
$8,900
Jamie Lovemark
$8,400
Brian Stuard
$7,600
Patrick Rodgers
$7,500
Si Woo Kim
$7,500
J.T. Poston
$7,200
Jonathan Byrd
$7,100

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The OHL Classic Preview

Let's go ahead and get the excuses out of the way for why this week's preview is late and lame:

1. I hate golf right now. Actually "hate" might not be the right word. Loathe, despise and abhor would be more appropriate after I suffered one of the worst beats of my illustrious country club career last Friday. I'm not ready to talk about it in any detail right now but let's just say that I blew the chance to win a tournament that would have made be the envy of like seven people (ok maybe more like three). 

2. I just got a new laptop and there's something weird about the keyboard. It's like the keys are shifted one spot to the left so I'm wearing-out the backspace button making corrections only the backspace button isn't where it's supposed to be so half the time I'm hitting the goddamn number lock button and I'm about to THROW THIS FUCKING THING THROUGH THE WALL!!! (Caps lock is apparently right where it's supposed to be).

3. Tuesday night is when roughly 72% of the FGR writing magic happens and this week I had to spend it drafting my ten year old daughter's rec league basketball team. This is one of those parenting experiences for which nothing prepares you because no matter how mellow you tell yourself you have to be going in, it always gets weird at some point thanks to a combination of three recurring characters: (1) Dad who has actually done advance scouting because winning this league will be the crowning achievement of his adult life; (2) Edgy mom who is convinced that all of the dads in the room are conspiring against her and therefore turns every discussion into a pre-fight trash talk scene from Kill Bill: Vol. 1; and (3) Dad who got talked into doing this because the league needed one more coach and then proceeds to get bitter about being run over by glory dad, tiger mom and frankly the rest of us. You know when I'm one of the calming influences in the room, you've found yourself in a truly toxic environment.

Now let's make some golf picks. As usual with the fall tournaments, these are not guaranteed.

The One and Done Pick: Pat Perez
A search for "Pat Perez wife" makes it
clear that they've got this whole pro
golfer lifestyle pretty well figured-out.


The DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks


Pat Perez
$11,300
Chesson Hadley
$9,900
Charley Hoffman
$9,700
Whee Kim
$8,300
Luke List
$7,900
Kevin Streelman
$7,600
Emiliano Grillo
$7,600
Brian Stuard
$7,400
Patton Kizzire
$7,400
Beau Hossler
$6,900

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The Shriners Hospitals Open Preview

Funny story about me and Shriners Hospitals (holy shit what're the odds?). My father in-law belongs to one or more organizations affiliated with the Shriners and that's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to get on the wrong side of the Illuminati. Anyway, several years ago he invited me to attend a bull roast to benefit the Shriner's Hospitals and who doesn't love a good old fashioned bull roast? (Well, me for one but it was free and going with my father in-law put me in good stead with the FGW for at least five minutes). 

"You guys ever been 
to a steeplechase?"
So I got dressed in the standard FGR uniform for hobnobbing with gritty guys including a pair of jeans that you couldn't buy at Sears or Walmart and a tucked-in checkered button down that almost certainly sported a country club logo of some kind. Suffice it to say I was overdressed and looked like the complete douchebag that I was (and currently am). I then spent three hours trying to get drunk on keg beer and yelling above the din about the Ravens, the Orioles and anything else to keep the subjects away from politics and the fact that I'm a golfing lawyer with a taste for Pinot Grigio who still woefully laments the fact that Downton Abbey is gone and never coming back. 

At the end of the event, there was a 50/50 drawing with a first prize of about $1,600 and everyone was riveted as the master of ceremonies read-off the winning number. And then read it off again . . . and again . . . and again for what was seriously like fifteen minutes as people read and re-read their tickets to make sure they weren't the winner. My father in-law had bought me about a dozen (because God forbid I buy my own) and my numbers weren't even close. After a while, however, I noticed a single unspoken for ticket sitting in the middle of an empty part of the table. I picked it up and it was beer soaked, with a spot of barbecue sauce on it but, most importantly, it was the winner.  

The first thing I tried to do was give the ticket to my father in-law (at least that's how I remember it). He of course refused iso I had to walk to the front of the banquet hall rocking my country club guy trying to fit-in look and claim the prize which was directly funded from the pockets of the roughly one thousand real men glaring at me thinking "who in the fuck brought the florist?" 

Whether it was panic, an impulsive urge to do the right thing or both, when I got to the guy with the microphone I told him that I wanted to donate the money to the hospitals. The son of a bitch then made me repeat it into the microphone at which point the crowd cheered and, for one moment, I was a goddamn hero thanks to my Charlie Bucket stroke of luck and the fact that I had consumed enough fizzy lifting drink to convince me that giving away that chunk of money was a good idea (which it probably wasn't). As I was walking back to our table, I overheard a guy say to no one in particular but intentionally loud enough for me to hear, "must be nice to not need $1,600 . . . fucking idiot." In a rare moment of restraint and awareness for my surroundings, I said nothing and kept walking.

And hey look at that, our story has a something of a relevant point as Charley Hoffman has pledged all of his winnings this week to victims of the Las Vegas shooting. For that, he earns our admiration along with top pick because who else could we root for? As for the rest of the line-up, you may detect some overlap with the PGATour.com Power Rankings but that's completely coincidental. I assure you.  

One and Done Pick: Charley Hoffman
Every nickname Charley Hoffman has
ever had must have started with "Big"
 right? "Big Boy" . . . "Big Dog" . . . etc.


DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks

Webb Simpson
$11,000
Ryan Moore
$9,400
Charley Hoffman
$9,000
Kevin Streelman
$8,400
Luke List
$8,300
Smylie Kaufman
$8,200
Nick Taylor
$7,600
Scott Piercy
$7,400
Patton Kizzire
$7,100
Brian Stuard
$6,900

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The HSBC Champions Preview

I have to apologize for the lack of a preview last week but it wasn't my fault (never is). How was I supposed to know that something called The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in the middle of October was a real golf tournament? I just assumed that it was a nine hole charity event put-on by some international celebrity who I had never heard of with the initials "CJ." (Seriously, that's what I thought it was until the head pro corrected me on Sunday . . . and I still didn't believe him). The name of the event has a goddamn ampersand in it and they played it in the middle of the night for Chrissakes. Honest. I ran out of gas. I . . . I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake . . . 

. . . A terrible flood. Locusts!
IT WASN'T MY FAULT.
I SWEAR TO GOD!
Anyway, I am fully recharged and refocused this week after spending four hours on Sunday morning putting a golf ball thirty-six times to irrevocably taint what would have been an otherwise very enjoyable round. Then I quietly watched a ten year old girls soccer game while everyone around me reenacted the commodities exchange scene from Trading Places. I then followed that with an hour of wandering around and cutting through the walls of a corn maze (but no fucking hayride for this guy). I chose that last activity over watching football which is probably a bad sign for the NFL but more on that in a later episode of the FGR.

This week it's back to golf as we gear-up for one of the more underrated tournaments of the year and I'm not talking about the Sanderson Farms Championship which sounds like it's sponsored by a chicken factory (because it is). Nope. To earn the FGR's attention in October you need to be a big-time WGC event with a world class international field sponsored by a corrupt bank and played in a country where people get paid $2 an hour to make toys for Happy Meals so little Johnny can fondle a plastic Minion while developing early onset arteriosclerosis. (Steps down from soapbox). 

The last four winners of the HSBC are top notch -  Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Russell Knox (three out of four ain't bad) and the final leaderboard regularly includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. Of course those guys aren't playing this year but the line-up is still solid with Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and certain 2018 major winner, Jon Rahm (remember that you heard it here 7,681st). Right behind them you have Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher and Marc Leishman who have combined for two wins and three runner-ups over the past three weeks. It should be a real hootenanny. Here is some advice on how to wager it.

What they don't tell you on television is that there are 57 
iPhone technicians living in those little orange pyramids 
and being charged $175 per month for a water view.
The One and Done Pick: Ross Fisher

The DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks

Hideki Matsuyama
$11,400
Justin Rose
$10,600
Marc Leishman
$9,900
Paul Casey
$9,400
Ross Fisher
$8,400
Daniel Berger
$8,300
Tyrrell Hatton
$8,200
Tony Finau
$7,700
Thor Oleson
$7,300
Adam Hadwin
$7,100

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

     

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hayride to Hell

I had a great idea for a post on why the NFL sucks now and how I predicted it was going to start sucking three years ago but progress on that has been delayed by my inability so far to make it as interesting as I thought it was going to be. Besides, the NFL will suck just as much if not more next week so there's no rush. In the meantime, here's a Halloween themed placeholder for the poor saps still grinding it out with young kids. As always, this is an enhanced version of the original made better by the passage of time and the added layers of angst, irritation and bitterness that go along with it.

Being a parent of young kids presents an ongoing dilemma that causes you to split your time between wishing that the low maintenance versions of them will never grow-up and counting the days when you no longer have to deal with the high maintenance bullshit that goes with the job. First it's diapers which is followed by teething, the terrible twos, car seats, homework, puberty, boyfriends/girlfriends, college applications and finally that awkward conversation that begins with "we're selling the house so you're going to have to find somewhere else to live."* Along the way, you also have the isolated parenting nut-shots like trips to the emergency room, car accidents, arrests, etc. (For the record, I was never technically arrested though I often found myself amongst people who were. The ability to portray innocence when obviously guilty would definitely be my mutant X-Men power).


And then you have the subtle self-inflicted annoyances that we foist upon ourselves in an effort to create Facebook moments. The most obvious example would probably be the attempt to take your toddlers to a sporting event and then spending three hours plying them with food and drinks to keep them interested. (Of course this is a Catch-22 as that means copious amounts of sugar which only serves to make them more distracted which means more food, more distraction, more food, more dist . . . fuck it let's just go). One of the greatest testaments to my own obliviousness and stupidity was thinking that my kids could sit through an entire football game when I can't even sit through an entire football game. Inevitably in that situation, you start rooting for a moving clock more than you root for the home team and every time out feels like an eternity. At least when you take your kids to a baseball game, you can just wait for the end of an inning when the players run off the field and tell them it's over.  

I'm not talking about just any 
bathhouse in Budapest. I'm 
talking about the actual swill
hole you see in this picture.  
But none of those experiences compare to the blunt force trauma to the head that is the Halloween trip to the pumpkin farm. If you have yet to experience this, brace yourself for hell on a hayride and, if you've been through it already, prepare to commiserate. Allow me to paint the picture and I will preface this by saying that, of all the settings this world has to offer, the traditional farm ranks near the bottom for me right next to a few other random venues in which I have found myself like a bathhouse in Budapest and a sightseeing boat in Mexico.**

So how do you get yourself into this predicament? Well, first you find yourself a farm. If you're lucky, you find one owned by a rich stock broker who always wanted to be a farmer but then realized how much work that takes so he keeps the dream alive by bringing in some borderline carnies once a year to run a little Halloween gig. If that's the case, your kids will get to pet farm animals that don't look like they've been on a hunger strike in between being mauled by coyotes and the corn maze might actually be made of real live growing corn. In this scenario, your greatest fears are mad cow disease, impalement on some kind of Chuck Norris style protruding corn stalk/death trap or your wife deciding she wants to decorate the entire goddamn porch with gourds at ten bucks a pop. If we call this Scenario One, let's just say that the worst case version of Scenario One is ten times better than the best case version of Scenario Two. Write that down. 

FUCKING GOURDS!!!
In Scenario Two you find yourself at a farm in the middle of a more populated area. (I'm going to assume these exist anywhere urban sprawl has encroached on what used to be farmland - like the suburbs of Baltimore). Here you'll find a "maze" made of two foot high hay bales and you'll pay three bucks for your kid to make one left turn and then climb over them because hopefully your kid's not an idiot. With the exception of your departure, that will be the highlight of your visit because it's a steady decline from there.

Next you'll wander over to the petting zoo to spend ten minutes waiting for the goat who looks like he's been living off of crabgrass and Marlboro Lights for the last six months to snap your kids left index finger off. After briefly interacting with something that is either a really mangy sheep or a really ugly poodle, you'll take the whole family for a lengthy Purell decontamination shower (if you've seen Silkwood,*** this will seem familiar). By now you've worked-up a healthy thirst so you grab some dixie cups full of apple cider and deep down you hope it's been over fermented enough to get you drunk or, in a perfect world, kill you instantly.   


And finally, just when you're high as a kite on apple moonshine and Halloween spirit, it's time for the main attraction - the hayride. This entails standing in line for half an hour waiting your turn to get towed around by a John Deere tractor because what's more fun than having your spine bounced out of alignment while diesel fumes are pumped into your lungs from three feet away? I'm pretty sure it's called a hayride because "Hey, this sucks!" 

Forty-five minutes later and you're pulling a wagon full of pumpkins and fucking gourds through a checkout line. At the register, you get suckered into buying a $9.00 jug of apple cider that the "farmer" bought at the grocery store that morning for $2.75 because you have no fight left in you at that point. By the time you load the pumpkins and the fucking gourds in the trunk, you are a broken, nauseous, shell of a man. The next day you will be hungover. Not so much from the apple moonshine but from the experience that will have drained you like a night of binge drinking without the benefit of erasing your memory of it. Not to mention, the fucking gourds will be all over the damn house to remind you.    

Depending on how many kids you have and your threshold for misery, this experience can repeat itself anywhere from about five to ten times. Then one day you wake-up on a Sunday in October feeling that familiar sense of dread as you wait for the announcement that it's time to go the pumpkin farm but that announcement never comes and it is at that moment that you know your debt to the pagan gods has been paid in full . . . and you are thankful . . . and you weep with joy.

Footnotes


Looks like I'm taking the bus.
Wait, the bus is free right?
* My personal version of this is slightly different in that it involved my dad waking me up at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday to tell me he was selling "my" car. In a rare moment of twenty-two year old restraint, I did not say what immediately came to mind which was "then how in the hell am I supposed to get to the golf course?" I called his bluff by stretching my unemployment deep into the fall and then it turned-out he wasn't bluffing, just slow-playing because one morning I looked out the window and someone else was driving away in "my" car. All I needed to complete the scene was a pizza and a dress in a dry-cleaning bag.

** This one happened on our honeymoon. Two minutes after we boarded the tour boat, the FGW and I quickly fed the condition of the vessel, the appearance of our fellow passengers and the smell of diesel fuel mixed with dead fish into the Disaster Avoidance Super Computer (the "DASC") and came to the conclusion that we had to abandon ship. Immediately. So we had the FGW fake an illness to get us by the guy guarding the gangplank and made a break for it. To this day, the rule in our house is that you should never lie unless it's to escape a Mexican boat tour. 

*** Silkwood is a movie starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher about people who are contaminated with nuclear stuff. It's actually less uplifting than it sounds. Here is one of the naked shower scenes a/k/a the worst Pornhub clip ever.

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