Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Fantasy Golf: The U.S. Open Preview

For the sake of transparency I should start by saying that I've had Dustin Johnson locked into this spot from day one this year and I don't see any reason to change that. The only time I wavered on was Tuesday morning when I woke-up from a vivid dream that Jon Rahm beat Phil Mickelson and some random guy like Joel Dahmen or Chez Reavie in a playoff. At one point, the random guy missed a putt to keep going but left his ball mark on the green and Mickelson called him a jerk. I remember thinking that was funny. The fact that I'm dreaming about golf should be viewed favorably as supreme dedication to my craft and not the sad night conjurings of a man who really needs to find better things to occupy his mind.

Why am I picking D.J. over some of the trendier options like Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day not to mention the sentimental favorite Tiger and the super sentimental favorite Phil? Well let's see. He's finished 2nd in the last two majors and he was 3rd at the last U.S. Open. He won the WGC-Mexico Championship, finished T5th at The Players and 3rd at the Tour Championship. His game is peaking in big games. Oh yeah. He loves Pebble Beach as evidenced by his two wins and two runner-up at the AT&T Pro-Am. Sure he blew-up in the final round here at the U.S. Open but that was freakin' 2010 and he still finished tied for 8th despite a final round 82. That was nine years ago and he was just starting to screw-up majors at that point. Now he's won a U.S. Open and finished T4th or better at four of the last five.  

And I'll tell you another thing. Jordan Spieth is back and he digs Pebble too with a win there in 2017. After a rocky stretch, he's strung together three top tens including a T3rd at Bethpage. His drop all the way down to 28th in the world should be a strong motivator to shut-up the haters of which there appear to be more than a few. I originally had Jason Day rounding-out my three man top tier but I'm just not feeling him this week despite his ridiculous track record at the AT&T. Instead I'm going with Francesco Molinari who's coming-in with a chip on his shoulder after his Masters meltdown. 

I could offer a host of reasons for not picking Koepka or Tiger but I don't really have any. I just don't see a repeat major winner this year. I do, however, have valid reasons for not picking Rory. Pebble Beach does not seem to be his happy place (considering he never plays there) and, for that matter, neither does the U.S. Open. Since 2012, he only has one top ten to go with four missed cuts including a current streak of three in a row. As brilliant as he can be, he isn't a grinder. That doesn't make him a bad person . . . just a  typical millennial. GET. OFF. OF. MY. LAWN!!! 

Hey nice course. What are greens fees running
these days? $40? $50? Shit you got a twilight rate?
At the next level you could make a good case for about eight players. I'm eliminating Phil right-off the bat because the hype is too much and we're not topping Tiger at Augusta. Instead let's go with a guy who is trending-up like say Xander Schauffele who finished T5th and T6th at the last two U.S. Opens. It's not a matter of if anymore but when. For Paul Casey, it's not a matter of if he'll win but where else he'll finish in the top ten. That's good enough for me. If you want to put Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar in these spots, I will not stand in your way. 

Webb Simpson is getting much love this week and I'm on board. He has a sneaky top twenty world ranking and just finished T5th at the Masters where he had never fared better than a T20th. I'm also buying-in on Shane Lowry as everyone who cares about me just shakes their heads in disbelief as they've seen me go down this road time and time and time again with the same dismal results. "When will he learn?" they ask. "Maybe next week" I answer. (Then again, maybe not).

Hey how about some sleepers. Very begrudgingly I will offer-up Graeme McDowell who I do not like and yes it's because I still haven't forgotten the cardigan sweaters. However, he has been playing well lately and he did win the last U.S. Open played here. Those facts are inescapable. Don't even try. They're way too fast. I'm also going with last week's FGR pick Scott Piercy who missed the cut in Canada so you fucking owe me Piercy!!!

And finally we have Nick Taylor who was on his way to be the first Canadian to win his country's national championship since 1954 until he ran into a couple of obstacles we like to call round three and round four. He tumbled to a tie for 27th but he did play two great rounds which, in Canada, is cause for a parade. He also happens to play pretty well at Pebble Beach so maybe he'll play two good rounds in a real major and they'll name a bridge after him. The Ponce de Nick or some shit like that. 

I'm counting on a lot of blank stares
and understated fist pumps this week.
One and Done Pick: Dustin Johnson

Other Guy I'd Pick: Jordan Spieth


Sleeper Pick: Scott Piercy


DraftKings Top Ten Values


Dustin Johnson
$11,300
Jordan Spieth
$10,300
Francesco Molinari
$9,000
Xander Schauffele
$8,700
Paul Casey
$8,300
Webb Simpson
$7,700
Shane Lowry
$7,500
Graeme McDowell
$7,300
Scott Piercy
$7,000
Nick Taylor
$6,500

You have to be very careful about using past performances at regular tour events when doing pre-majors analysis. It's kind of like trying to eat spaghetti in a white shirt. You wouldn't draw it up that way but you're wearing a white shirt and they're serving spaghetti so what are you supposed to do. That stupid analogy aside, I think there is some value in looking at recent AT&T Pro-Am results because guys like Tiger, Phil and Brandt Snedeker always play it well and all three of them finished top ten the last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble Beach. Speaking of which, I'm probably making a mistake by blowing-off Snedeker this week considering his solid overall U.S. Open record and improved play of late but it really wouldn't be the Fantasy Golf Report without the right answer staring me in the face and me inventing reasons to go the other way.


                                  THE CLINT EASTWOOD TALKING CHAIR
                                     HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE CHART


DK Price
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
Brooks Koepka
$11,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
T8
DNP
Dustin Johnson
$11,300
T45
T2
3rd
T41
T4
Tiger Woods
$10,700
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Rory McIlroy
$10,500
DNP
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
Jordan Spieth
$10,300
T45
T20
1st
T21
T7
Patrick Cantlay
$10,000
DNP
T35
T48
DNP
DNP
Justin Rose
$9,700
DNP
DNP
T39
T6
DNP
Rickie Fowler
$9,500
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
T21
Justin Thomas
$9,300
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Jon Rahm
$9,200
DNP
T26
T5
DNP
DNP
Jason Day
$9,100
T4
T2
T5
T11
T4
Francesco Molinari
$9,000
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
$8,900
T45
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
$8,800
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Xander Schauffele
$8,700
DNP
DNP
T66
DNP
DNP
Adam Scott
$8,600
MC
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
Matt Kuchar
$8,500
T22
T62
MC
DNP
DNP
Tony Finau
$8,400
T38
DNP
T23
DNP
DNP
Paul Casey
$8,300
2nd
T8
DNP
DNP
DNP
Phil Mickelson
$8,200
1st
T2
65th
2nd
DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
$8,100
DNP
T55
MC
DNP
DNP
Gary Woodland
$8,000
DNP
MC
T5
DNP
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
$7,900
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Patrick Reed
$7,900
T22
MC
T23
T6
T29
Marc Leishman
$7,800
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Sergio Garcia
$7,800
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Kevin Na
$7,700
DNP
T20
DNP
MC
MC
Rory Sabbatini
$7,700
MC
72nd
T48
MC
MC
Webb Simpson
$7,700
DNP
DNP
MC
DNP
DNP
Bubba Watson
$7,600
DNP
T35
DNP
T70
DNP
Henrik Stenson
$7,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Matt Wallace
$7,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
$7,500
MC
T20
4th
T35
1st
Ian Poulter
$7,500
DNP
DNP
DNP
MC
MC
Shane Lowry
$7,500
MC
T43
T14
T41
T21
Emiliano Grillo
$7,400
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Kevin Kisner
$7,400
T28
MC
T10
DNP
MC
Martin Kaymer
$7,400
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Matt Fitzpatrick
$7,400
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Cameron Smith
$7,300
DNP
DNP
MC
T11
MC
Graeme McDowell
$7,300
T18
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
J.B. Holmes
$7,300
MC
MC
T23
T11
T10
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
$7,300
T22
T26
DNP
DNP
DNP
Branden Grace
$7,200
T28
T20
DNP
DNP
DNP
Hao-Tong Li
$7,200
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Jim Furyk
$7,200
T14
DNP
T66
DNP
T7
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,200
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Si Woo Kim
$7,100
T4
DNP
MC
T35
T18
Jimmy Walker
$7,000
MC
T8
T55
T11
T21
Keegan Bradley
$7,000
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Lucas Glover
$7,000
T7
DNP
DNP
T11
DNP
Scott Piercy
$7,000
T10
T20
T55
DNP
DNP
Thomas Pieters
$7,000
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Aaron Wise
$6,900
DNP
T15
DNP
DNP
DNP
Chez Reavie
$6,900
T38
T2
MC
T26
MC
Thor Olesen
$6,800
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Matt Jones
$6,700
T53
MC
DNP
T11
T7
Chesson Hadley
$6,600
MC
T35
DNP
MC
T10
Luke Donald
$6,600
DNP
MC
T23
T26
DNP
Nick Taylor
$6,500
T28
MC
T10
T30
MC

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