Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The PGA Championship Preview

There's a been a lot of chatter lately about who will be the next player to complete the career Grand Slam (who or whom? whom the fuck knows?). Thanks to his win at Royal Birkdale, Jordan Spieth has put himself in position to do it this week. Standing in his way, however, may be the toughest gauntlet anyone has ever had to run to take down a major. (That's right. I said it. Cue the cries of protest "BUT HAGAN, SARAZEN AND JONES . . . BUT THE BIG THREE . . . BUT TIGER . . . BUT BUT BUT . . ."). But nothing. 

Check-out the current golf landscape. There are seventeen major winners ranked in the top sixty-four who could win another one at any given moment . . . or at least any given moment that coincides with the final day of a major. That number would be eighteen if you included Danny Willett, however, he's currently starring in the Ian Baker-Finch documentary and we're getting to the part where he considers becoming a full time broadcaster. Or at least he should be.

Might be time to slap a
CBS logo on that blazer.
There are also eight or nine players in the top twenty who would surprise absolutely no one if they won their first major this week led by Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm. That means that to win one of these things, you not only have to play crazy great golf, you also have to hope that someone doesn't pull a Henrik Stenson at Muirfield or a Spieth at Royal Birkdale and beat you on your best day. The problem now is that there are about twenty-five guys who can pull that off and that's assuming we don't run into a Shaun Micheel/Rich Beem type situation which would suck considering the top level talent at our disposal.   

The guy getting way too much love this week (the "GGWTMLTW") is Rory McIlroy who has finally started showing signs of life after changing everything but his gender. And he really digs this year's venue to boot. Although Spieth gets the first crack at closing-out the career Grand Slam, current odds would indicate that Rory is going to beat him to it. They'll be playing at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina (hold off on that gender change Rory), the site of the annual Wells Fargo Championship and the last five times Rory has teed it up on this track he's gone, T4th, Win, T8th, T10th and T2nd. Oh yeah, the year he won, he shot a 61 in the third round and then coasted to a seven shot victory. This is why every "respectable" golf ranking resource from PGATour.com to CBS Sports is picking him. Also, because they have no imagination.

Well apparently neither do I because you'd be a fool not to make Rory a key part of your wagering plan. The same goes for Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler, one of whom should be the next first-time major winner now that Matt Kuchar went and got the British Open swiped-out from under him. Beyond those three guys and the man playing arguably the best golf on the planet (Brooks Koepka) there is a bunch of value in the DraftKings $7,000 - $7,500 range. Out of about a dozen viable candidates at that price, I'm going with Thomas Pieters (bomber who can putt), Kevin Kisner (all-around stud), Lucas Glover (dark horse who has won at Quail Hollow), Xander Schauffele (best young player named after a brunch buffet item) and Zach Johnson (because Zach Johnson at $6,800 and $99 flat screen T.V.'s are going to get someone killed in a Black Friday stampede at Walmart). 

And then there's Phil Mickelson. Here's what we learned at last year's British Open. Don't fuck with forgotten Phil and forgotten Phil is the guy who will be teeing it up this week. He hasn't won since the 2013 British Open and he's coming off a missed cut at Royal Birkdale, a DNP at the U.S. Open and a non-factor T22nd at the Masters so you know he's feeling left-out. But here's why you really have to like him to add some flavor on Sunday. He's got five top five finishes at Quail Hollow since 2009. FIVE! And his three other finishes during that stretch are T9th, T11th and T26th. Suffice it to say, he's comfortable with the layout. So keep Phil in the mix this week if for no other reason than he will relish sticking it to you if you don't.         

The One and Done Pick: Thomas Pieters
We've tried everything but a Belgian
this year and Pieters fits with the brunch
theme because you know . . . waffles.


The DraftKings Top Ten Values

Rory McIlroy
$11,800
Rickie Fowler
$10,700
Hideki Matsuyama
$10,500
Brooks Koepka
$9,200
Phil Mickelson
$8,500
Thomas Pieters
$7,500
Kevin Kisner
$7,000
Lucas Glover
$7,000
Xander Schauffele
$7,000
Zach Johnson
$6,800

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com