Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The Players Championship Preview

So here's an idea. If you want your event to be considered top shelf in a sport where the fanbase is overwhelmingly comprised of dudes, then don't schedule your final fucking round on Mother's Day. For those of us fortunate enough to be near a TV late on Sunday afternoon and not stranded out at some failed farm that's been turned into a soon to be failed vineyard having a picnic of assorted overpriced gourmet grocery store crap, it's still going to make for a logistical nightmare as we watch ten DVR'd minutes at a time while pretending to make dinner, plant flowers and yelling at our kids to "MAKE THIS DAY SPECIAL!"

"Can someone pass the
goose shit hummus?"
Seriously, this is the PGA Tour's event so they make the damn schedule and they put the final round on the one day of the year when watching golf at 5:00 p.m. is a borderline sin? It's bad enough when the Master's ends on Easter Sunday but at least by the time the back nine starts, brunch is over, Christ has risen and any eggs that haven't been found ain't gonna be found until they start rotting under the couch (note to new parents: always do Easter egg hunts outside . . . even if it's raining). 

And don't get me started on the thanks for nothing situation that is the U.S. Open on Father's Day. I'm going to watch it whether you put it on "my" day or not but now you've made it weird because the true underlying insidious expectation of Father's Day is that you should spend it celebrating your relationships with your kids by playing a four hour game of catch or building a go-kart out of the leftover wood from the unfinished treehouse. So basically it's supposed to be a more sentimental version of the other 364 days of the year. Fuck that. I'm watching golf and eating a cheeseburger. Everyone else can do whatever makes them think I'm special. End of rant.

The FGR has decided to
conduct an independent
Russian investigation.
It has been well-documented that I think The Players' claim of being the fifth major is beyond soft due to the quality of the golf course (more on that later this week), the caliber of its past champions and the fact that there will never be a "fifth major." However, the tournament has had a good run of late thanks to victories by Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar. It's almost enough to make us forget that Stephen Ames, Fred Funk and Craig Perks took the title in one five year stretch and that Tim Clark made it one of his two career victories in 2010. But it's still the golf tournament equivalent of Matt Ryan walking into a room with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson and asking, "you guys telling Super Bowl stories?"  

The Players does have one redeeming quality - the best field in golf. And what that means from a wagering standpoint is that there is value in the mid to low range from recent winners like Kuchar ($7,900) and Kaymer ($,7300) to major winners like Zach Johnson ($7,200) and Jimmy Walker ($7,200) who have proven that they can negotiate Sawgrass' quirks and idiosyncrasies (that's me trying to be diplomatic like when I describe certain people as being quirky and idiosyncratic when what I mean is that they're more annoying than babies on planes).

The tricky part about picking The Players is at the top because, since 2009, only three guys have finished 5th or better more than once - Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Ben Crane. If you've already used Rickie and Sergio and you're not expecting a career resurrecting experience for Crane, then your next best bets from the upper echelon are Rory McIlroy who has gone  T12, T8, T6 and T8 over the last four years and defending champ Jason Day though who knows where his head is right now (or ever)? 

As of this moment, I'm torn between Rory and Justin Thomas who finished 3rd last year. Both have the length and high ball flight to take advantage of the par fives and shorten other holes where the big hitters can cut corners. I'm leaning towards Rory because it seems like every top player wins this thing once and, if I keep picking him every year, eventually I'm going to be right (said the guy who lost everything at the roulette table). Fuck it. After two consecutive missed cuts, I need to make a splash. Just hope it's not a belly flop.

This could take some time.
One and Done Pick: Rory McIlroy         

Rory McIlroy
$11,200
Sergio Garcia
$10,200
Rickie Fowler
$9,300
Justin Thomas
$8,900
Matt Kuchar
$7,900
Martin Kaymer
$7,300
Jimmy Walker
$7,200
Zach Johnson
$7,200
Shane Lowry
$6,900
Luke Donald
$6,800

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