Monday, July 23, 2018

The British Open Recap

It was a good weekend for the FGR. I know my Zach Johnson pick went from inspired to inept over the weekend but that is just one small division of the Fantasy Golf Report empire. The pride and joy of the parent company is its season long team and the home office was especially proud this week because said team currently includes one Francesco Molinari along with Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson and Charley Hoffman all of whom acquitted themselves quite well in Scotland and made-up for the early departures of team mainstays Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama* who seemed about as comfortable at Carnoustie as Chris Farley at a cocktail party (more on that in a minute). 

As for the prognosticating division of the Fantasy Golf Report, I may have peaked in the bold prediction category much to the chagrin of my small but loyal and often antagonistic social media following (seriously, what'd I ever do to them?). I'm not even going to count the fact that I had Molinari in my DraftKings top ten (I think you just did). Let's take a look at the highlights (warning: it's about to get even more self-aggrandizing** than usual around here . . . if that's even possible).


For starters I got challenged for writing that Jon Rahm is "not a British Open style player" despite his finishes of T44 and T59 the last two years and the fact that he handles bad bounces about as well as I handle bad bounces which is to say not well. Carnoustie is a bad bounce factory so no one should have been surprised by his second round 78 which included two doubles and a triple. Rahm has a ton of talent as evidenced by his five worldwide wins at the age of 23 but, aside from his 4th place finish at Augusta this year, his record in the majors is awful with three missed cuts and a bunch of mediocrity in his other eight starts. If you want a historical comparison, check-out Adam Scott who stumbled around the majors from 2002-2010 before finding his groove and going on a top ten tear from 2011 through 2015. Not saying it's necessarily going to take Rahm eight years to find his groove in the majors. I'm just sayin'.    


Many had Dustin Johnson as the favorite including the algorithmic shysters over at DraftKings and PGATour.com's expert who wrote that he was "poised to unleash . . . a bevy of drivers at Carnoustie." Adding, "with his precision, it could get silly for the World No. 1." It got silly alright. These paint by numbers fantasy golf guys who just reshuffle the World Golf Rankings for every major kill me. How is it possible to look at that golf course and not recognize that Zach is the better Johnson? As for Dustin, my prediction was that he would "blow-up on Saturday" but he had a more aggressive timetable shooting himself out of the tournament with a 76 on Thursday. I think he took a look around the place, sized it up for the bad fit that it was and said "fuck it" . . . if a bunch of drivers don't work, I'm outta here. 

Never. Gets. Old.
That put a bit of a dent in the theory that Bones Mackay (among others) was pushing that the winner would be the bomber who hit it over everything and got some good bounces (nothing like a gambling strategy predicated on luck). It ended-up being grinder city with Rory as the only long ball hitter with a shot at the end. The next best was Tony Finau at T9 and no I'm not counting old course management Tiger in a category reserved for guys like Rory, D.J., Finau, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson who aren't afraid to hit driver anywhere, anytime even if it's a beyond "Mickelson in a Big Yellow Ford Shirt at Winged Foot" stupid place to do it.

Speaking of JT and Bubba, I had them grouped with Jason Day in the "those guys don't have a chance" tier. I got called-out for not recognizing Bubba as a solid bet based on his longish odds despite the fact that he's now missed the cut in half his British Open starts. He bogeyed ten out of thirty-six holes and missed the cut by three. While he was lagging home, Thomas was taking the more aggressive line with three consecutive double bogeys on Friday to shoot 77. Day actually made the cut but started Sunday ten shots out of the lead before finding the top twenty through a backdoor 68 which means that the three of them have now combined for one British Open top ten (Day tied for 4th in 2015). If you don't understand why those guys are going to struggle on a course like Carnoustie, then I can't help you.  

What else was I right about? Glad you asked. I told you to ignore the hype about Terrell Hatton (tied for 51st) and make Stewart Cink your super value deal (tied for 24th). I said that this wouldn't be the British Open Tiger would win (feeling good about that prediction) and that Justin Rose would never win one (that prediction though still accurate . . . maybe not so much). Calling Rickie Fowler's Saturday swoon was almost too easy but I assumed he would do his usual Luke Donald maneuver and find his way back into the top ten on Sunday. Turns-out he decided to take the whole weekend off. If Jon Rahm is threatening to enter Adam Scott territory, then Rickie Fowler has officially wandered deep into the Sergio Garcia jungle and that first major may now be further away than it was back in 2014 when he finished top five in all four. At least he's not about to get married (wait what? . . . uh oh).  

"Bud Light . . . when 
the goal is quantity." 
I was so dialed-in last week that I wrote "maybe take a look at Eddie Pepperell" and even posted a picture of the crazy drunk bastard who finished tied for 6th with his now infamous hungover final round 67. It befuddles me why so many around the game are surprised when alcohol factors into a great round. Either they've never tried it or don't know how to manage it. I can tell you that, as a six handicap who shot a two under round a few weeks ago*** (the details of which are a tad hazy), if they ever ban Bud Light as a performance enhancing drug for country club sports, I'm out.

Footnote

* In a fit of desperation, one of my hapless fantasy golf league pursuers dropped Hideki Matsuyama so he could add Aaron Wise to his roster for the Greenbrier. Wise missed the cut and I am now very much looking forward to Hideki emerging from his mini-slump and winning the PGA Championship

** Self-Aggrandizement: Behavior which is intended to create an appearance of importance.

*** See Footnote #2.

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