Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The PGA Championship Preview

Well we need to own-up for last week's dumpster fire before we get to the joy of previewing a major. Arguably one of the best week's in FGR history was followed by inarguably one of the worst. Of my ten recommendations for the AT&T Byron Nelson, three made the cut and that three did not include pick of the week Sam Burns, secondary pick Talor Gooch or sleeper pick Doc Redman. In fantasy golf parlance, that's referred to as the "FGR Triangle." 

And that's not even the worst of it. On the topic of 2021 champion K.H. Lee, I actually wrote the following, "we don't expect the king of the middle of the pack to replicate anything close to that anomalous effort." We were correct only to the extent that his winning score in 2021 was -25 and his winning score this year was -26. Truly anomalous.    

Oh and while I was on a roll, I went ahead and picked Georgetown to win the NCAA lacrosse championship. For those who don't track such things, they entered as the #2 overall seed and departed after a first round loss to Delaware. DELAWARE!!! Who loses to Delaware? That’s like losing to Lichtenstein. Or Kabukistan. 

Anyway, I aim to redeem myself this week (and most other weeks for that matter). 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Hey look, you never know when you're going to wake-up in a panic and suddenly need to put on a pair of sweatpants, a mock turtleneck, two different color socks and a cardigan. 

GOLF ANALYSIS

Southern Hills hasn't hosted many majors but it's produced quality winners when it has including Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Nick Price* and Raymond Floyd. A deeper dive into the final leaderboards from the 2001 U.S Open (Mark Brooks (2nd), Rocco Mediate (4th), and Tom Kite (T5)) and the 2007 PGA Championship (Woody Austin (2nd), Aaron Obherholser (T4), Kevin Sutherland (T9) and Scott Verplank (T9)) reveals an abundance of short straight hitters so that will be factored into this week's equation.

You'd be proud of me. My first run through the picks had me taking the contrarian position on Scottie Scheffler again. Then I took a beat, partially came to my senses and thought "hmmm" (that's the sound of me thinking) . . . "the hottest player in recent memory grew-up in Texas and you're not going to pick him to win in Oklahoma? Instead you were going to pick Justin Thomas just because you can't get past your conjured-up notion that he's really the best player in the world? Seriously?" (That's the sound of me ridiculing myself).

From there it gets very tricky as the upper echelon of this field goes eighteen deep - stopping just short of Bryson DeChambeau. I'm going to allow myself three more from that group and go with Rory McIlroy (edging Collin Morikawa), Hideki Matsuyama (edging Xander Schauffele) and Shane Lowry (edging Joaquin Niemann). And even then no one could fault you for taking Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka over all of them. 

Somewhat lost in the Scheffler blowout was the fact that Rory had a runner-up at The Masters which he followed with a 5th place finish at the Wells Fargo. Hideki finished T3 last week and Lowry has finished T3 in his last two starts. Also, it's supposed to be windy with rain Friday night followed by a temperature drop on Saturday. Those are portly Irish guy conditions and Lowry is suddenly giving-off a very "Two-Time Major Winner" kind of vibe.

The next wave of Corey Conners, Matt Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young might finish higher than any three-man combination of players I've already named, and yes, I recognize that's a lot of fucking combinations. Young and Conners rank top five in strokes gained off the tee and Fitzpatrick ain't too shabby at 14th (MOM!!! . . . the FGR is quoting stats again!!!). This fits nicely into my Kevin Sutherland/Scott Verplank theory.  

Harold Varner, III has come into his own this year and most recently finished T3 at the RBC Heritage after a T23 at Augusta. Our co-sleeper Christian Bezuidenhout, who I never pick because his name is too damn long and practically unspellable, has made the cut in six straight majors. He's not much to look at but he'll get you where you need to go, much like the car Rip built for Mark Watney in School Ties.**   
 
"Who picked me? No I heard you. I
just have no idea who that is."
One and Done Pick: Scottie Scheffler

Sleeper Pick: Harold Varner, III

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Scottie Scheffler

$11,400

Rory McIlroy

$10,000

Hideki Matsuyama

$9,200

Shane Lowry

$8,700

Corey Conners

$8,000

Matt Fitzpatrick

$7,900

Cameron Young

$7,600

Billy Horschel

$7,400

Harold Varner, III

$7,000

C. Bezuidenhout

$7,000


Footnote

* During one of the all-time great golf heat checks, Nick Price won six tournaments over a span of six months in 1994 including the British Open and the PGA Championship. The latter he won by six shots over likely the greatest major leaderboard ever: Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson, John Cook, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Steve Elkington, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Loren Roberts, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam. That's eleven major winners in the top ten for those scoring at home or for those just reading alone (HEYOOO!!!).

** If you get that, we would be best friends immediately upon introduction. 

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The AT&T Byron Nelson Preview

Just when you thought the Fantasy Golf Report was only worth reading for the spiritual growth, along comes a week when we* pick the winner along with two of the three runner-ups and two other guys who finished in the top ten. And this without the benefit of our much loved historical performance chart. It's almost as if we tend to put too much weight on how players have performed at the same course in past years and don't rely enough on how they're playing now. 

Maybe this is a sign that we should change our approach. Focus more on the present than the past. Pay more attention to statistics like greens in regulation and strokes gained putting while not taking the lazy approach of putting a bunch of stock in how a guy played a certain golf course four years ago. This is going to take some work but it could be really good for us (insert thoughtful emoji) . . . nah . . . we'll just keep doing what we've been doing.    

TWEET OF THE WEEK

When I read this tweet I didn't know whether to feel comfort in the knowledge that others shared my latent fear of being walled-in and not having enough room to make a golf swing or utter terror that others share my latent fear of being walled-in and not having enough room to make a golf swing. 


GOLF ANALYSIS

This week the Tour returns to TPC Craig Ranch which last year inspired what was probably a top five FGR post for 2021 (a low bar I know) as we speculated in jest that the reviews provided by some Craig Ranch homeowners may have indicated that they had been subjected to some light brainwashing. We actually went looking for more material to continue the gag this year but there is none. Like all of the reviews have been wiped clean from the internet. Weird.

Anyway, K.H. Lee won here last year but we don't expect the king of the middle of the pack finish to replicate anything close to that anomalous effort. However, Sam Burns finished second and history has shown that when Burnsy likes a course, he tends to have repeated success (see the Valspar Championship). 

And yes we're ignoring Scottie Scheffler AGAIN despite even our own better judgment but sooner or later this dude has got to chill and we are committed to being the one fantasy golf outlet that gets it right when that finally happens. And also yes we recognize that we are the weirdo at the roulette table of whom the pit bosses say, "I don't know man . . . he just sits there every night betting $10 on number 23 . . .over and over and over again."   

Moving right along. Even if Will Zalatoris' unsightly putting means he'll only win half the tournaments he should, he's still a top ten machine and fun to watch. He also finds himself in that undervalued category with the likes of Max Homa, Corey Conners and Talor Gooch, all of whom are FGR regulars who would be making us a ton of dough if only we wouldn't be so stubborn about picking the favorites (insert wide-eye emoji here).  

A few other notes this week:
  • You have to factor Jhonattan Vegas into your plans. He's on one of his rolls and he finished tied 9th here last year (and we're back to our losing formula). 
  • Matthew Wolff is showing signs that one can visit golf's quantum realm and make it back. This topic deserves way more than a bullet point but I'll just say that as someone who is also trying to rediscover the love of the game because it's supposed to be fucking fun, I hope he's rewarded with success. 
  • Dick Vitale whining on Twitter about Notre Dame being left-out of the men's NCAA lacrosse tournament and basing his complaint on the fact that they beat Duke twice is the most Dick Vitale/Notre Dame/Duke thing ever and it brings us immense joy.  

One and Done Pick: Sam Burns
"Let the fools have their
Scottie Scheffler."

Other Guy I'd Pick: Talor Gooch

Sleeper Pick: Doc Redman

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Justin Thomas

$10,600

Sam Burns

$9,500

Will Zalatoris

$9,400

Talor Gooch

$8,600

Jhonattan Vegas

$8,400

Cameron Champ

$8,000

Brian Harman

$7,600

Kurt Kitayama

$7,400

Matthew Wolff

$7,200

Doc Redman

$6,800


Footnote

* You may have noticed that sometimes the FGR is written from the plural first-person as if I have a collaborator or a team working with me. Rest assured that this remains a one man wolfpack but sometimes the other voices in there get a bit more assertive about getting some credit for their input (insert crazy face emoji).    

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The Wells Fargo Championship Preview

I reverted to my losing ways last week by failing to seize the opportunity that is Jon Rahm against a second rate field and instead I scored a T33 from Cameron Tringale which is about the Tringalest finishing position there is so I got what I deserved. In my defense, I've been busy lately with something of a Sherman's March through college campuses of the south. One of these days I’ll actually publish the FGR's Guide to College Visits that I started writing in 2019. Today, however, is not that day.   

TWEET OF THE WEEK

For those not familiar with the genius of the dearly departed Mitch Hedberg, below is a sample and, if you want to take a deeper dive, click here.


GOLF ANALYSIS

The PGA Tour has been using TPC Potomac (formerly Avenel) like a third string backup putter since it was a regular stop for the Kemper Open/Bill Glasson Invitational many many years ago. This year it stands-in for Quail Hollow which is set to host the upcoming President's Cup evoking the memory of the time my college lacrosse coach put me in out of nowhere and, as I was running onto the field I heard him yell, "change your damn cleats and then get back in there for Ronny!"

The last time they stopped by was in 2018 when Francesco Molinari lapped the field beating runner-up Ryan Armour by eight shots. The course appears to favor the straight hitters as winners since the 2007 redesign* also include David Lingmerth (Web.com event with a name too long to fit in this blog post) and Mark O'Meara (Senior Players Championship). 

With that barely tested theory in mind, we're going to pass on the obvious pick again this week (Rory McIlroy) to focus our attention on the somewhat more consistent Matthew Fitzpatrick and Corey Conners. I'll be honest, the rest of the picks are mainly guys I like along with the aforementioned Ryan Armour (who I have no reason not to like . . . we just haven't spent much time together). 

Hopefully, I will make my way down there so you get the benefit of more scintillating on-course commentary like you kind of got when I was on the scene in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. Our prospects would be greatly enhanced if anyone in the D.C. area is currently reading this and has an extra Capitol Club ticket floating around, you know, just sayin' . . . 

One and Done Pick: Matthew Fitzpatrick
The Glasson flow was
positively prodigious.

Other Guy I'd Pick: Corey Conners 

Sleeper Pick: Ryan Armour 

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Corey Conners

$10,100

Matthew Fitzpatrick

$10,000

Russell Henley

$9,300

Max Homa

$8,600

Seamus Power

$8,300

Cameron Young

$8,000

Brian Harman

$7,700

Anirban Lahiri

$7,400

Lucas Glover

$7,200

Ryan Armour

$6,800


Footnote

* The original design was so reviled that Wikipedia describes the old 6th hole as a "weak copy of the 13th hole at Augusta National" and Greg Norman recommended that the 9th hole be "blown-up with dynamite." By 2006 when it was hosting the Booz Allen Classic, the field had deteriorated to the point where the headliners were Ben Curtis and Padraig Harrington so they took Norman's advice and blowed it up.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The Mexico Open Preview

I had the pleasure of attending the Zurich Classic on Saturday morning before the yahoos rolled-in and I have to say it was a pleasant reminder of what an awesome experience live golf can be when you stumble into a randomly loaded field situation. Of the seventy-eight players on the course that day, I counted twenty-three guys who've played in the Ryder Cup and/or the President's Cup. There were ten major winners and at least three more guys who will eventually win one. (I'm looking at you Viktor Hovland and Cameron Smith but not so much at you anymore Xander Schauffele). 

Oh yeah, Max Homa was also there.

A few random notes and observations:
  • At 10:00 a.m. I spotted about as many beers as waters (not that I was counting). By noon the crowd was building and so was the booze buzz. I wasn't even drinking* and even I started having the urge to yell shit like . . . "YOU'RE MY PICK THIS WEEK BILLY!!!" . . . and "I'VE COME FULL CIRCLE AND NOW I ROOT FOR YOU AFTER YOU OPENED-UP ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES BUBBA!!!"
  • Scottie Scheffler appears to be very methodical. I won't go so far as to say "Langeresque" but I've stood in MVA lines for less time than it took him to hit his birdie putt on the 7th hole.
  • Ian Poulter is a lot bigger than he looks on TV. In fact most of the players are. Except for Will Zalatoris. On the 4th hole, a squirrel picked him up and started running away with him until the marshals intervened. I'm joking of course. The marshals were all sound asleep in their folding chairs. So Tyrrell Hatton had to save Zalatoris by snapping his 8-iron in half and impaling the squirrel with it which he did with an ease that indicated it was not his first time. 
  • At one point, Collin Morikawa and his caddie were asking people behind me to stand still and instead they all started scurrying like someone just started playing The Benny Hill Show theme song. So they again asked everyone to "JUST STAND STILL" at which point Collin and I made eye contact and shook our heads in agreement that these people were in fact morons. It was a moment that I'm sure neither one of us will ever forget. 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Well Twitter and the FGR had a good run together. Won't be long now until Elon Musk turns it into a cesspool of human expression (oh right . . . never mind). In the meantime, here is the cutest dog tweet in the history of this godforsaken social media dumpster fire.  


GOLF ANALYSIS OF A VERY LIMITED NATURE 

I don't really have much to offer this week and I would go so far as to suggest that, if you wager heavily on this golf tournament, you might have a problem (it's only your friends who will tell you). This is the first year the Mexico Open has been a PGA Tour event which seems long overdue considering they've been traipsing up to Canada for over a hundred years. 

Usually these new tournaments yield one of three results: (1) A longtime tour grinder finally gets his first win (Cameron Tringale); (2) A young upstart gets HIS first win (Dylan Riley), or (3) Some old coot that we kind of forgot about finds a hot putter and gets something like this third or fourth win a/k/a the Sunday afternoon ratings doomsday scenario (Vaughn Taylor)

I'm going with Tringale to complete his rise from inspiration for the "Tringale Rule" just over a year ago to PGA Tour winner. Then it will be time to pass the torch of above averageness to someone like Wyndham Clark, Doc Redman or Kramer Hickock. We are still accepting applications.   

One and Done Pick: Cameron Tringale
This is our week you beautiful
Nautica wearing son of a gun.

Other Guy I'd Pick: Brendon Todd 

Sleeper Pick: Vaughn Taylor

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Abraham Ancer

$10,300

Cameron Tringale

$9,700

Brendon Todd

$9,300

Dylan Riley

$8,500

Mark Hubbard

$8,000

Anirban Lahiri

$7,900

Adam Long

$7,800

Wyndham Clark

$7,600

Greyson Sigg

$7,300

Vaughn Taylor

$6,900


Footnote

* I was in New Orleans for my son's 21st birthday which had started with a shot of Fireball at midnight the night before and was due to pick back up that evening. In an effort to avoid being "that dad" later, I committed to pacing myself throughout the day though the siren's call of the Bud Light was quite seductive and loud. 

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