Friday, March 28, 2014

The Fantasy Swimming Report: Introduction

Welcome to the FSR. As part of my ongoing effort to distract myself from my chosen fake profession* of fantasy golf writer (and inspired by the fact that it's been the shittiest spring for golf in the Mid-Atlantic since I began caring about playing golf in the spring in the Mid-Atlantic), I've decided to search-out something new to write about in the hopes that a change of subject scenery will help shake me out of this golf forecasting funk. So in addition to my weekly attempts to pick the winner of an event that has between 144 and 156 participants competing on a venue that can include wind, water, sand, rain and even extreme temperatures (it's kind of like The Hunger Games with douche bags yelling "Mashed Potatoes" every time a kid gets killed), I'm going to try to mix-in a few other recurring topics and this is going to be one of them.

I was looking for a sport where
you don't have to buy anything,
sell anything or process anything.
What exactly is the topic you ask? Well it's a sport that's sweeping the nation. No, not jousting**. . . it's open water swimming where you go find yourself a suitable body of water such as a river, a lake or even an ocean and then you either (a) swim from one side to the other or (b) swim around some buoys until you end-up right back where you started. It kind of falls into the Tough Mudder/Spartan race category where if you give it a name and make it sound like you're challenging people's manhood or womanhood, some of those people will be dumb enough to take the bait and do it. And I am one of those people.

My chosen event this year is the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim (a/k/a the GCBS). I assume that the founder decided to put the "Great" in front of the name for the same reason that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles Dickens did because no one would want to swim in something just called the Chesapeake Bay Swim just like no one would have read books called "Gatsby" or "Expectations." But you throw the word "Great" into the equation and BOOM . . . sign me up. (Or maybe the founder just really thinks the Chesapeake Bay itself is "great" and the word "great" is not meant to embellish the swim . . . but I digress). The GCBS is ten weeks from this Sunday and over that time I intend to drop-in a bit of writing here and there covering why I'm doing it and how I plan to do it. At this point, I'm not entirely convinced by my answer to either question so maybe writing about it will get me there. Then again, maybe it won't and I'll just spend three hours on June 8th trying not to drowned for no discernible reason. For now, let's start with the basics of the swim itself and why I decided to write about it.

I just shit myself a little.
The GCBS begins on a beach near one end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a dual-span bridge that connects Maryland's Eastern Shore (the redneck side) with its Western Shore (the snooty side). After entering the water, swimmers cut into the area between the two spans which form the boundaries for the 4.4 mile swim to the other side. If you're trying to get a sense of what a 4.4 mile swim is, go to a 25 yard lap pool and swim from one end to the other. OK, now do that about 309 more times and you're there. (God help me).***

I had no intention of writing about this before I attempted it but then I was talking to a friend of mine about the swim in between Irish Car Bombs**** while watching the NFC Championship Game in January and he suggested that I should because it would be a great motivator. My first reaction to the idea was that it was utterly preposterous because what if I fail miserably and have to be fished-out of the Bay and driven back to shore in what I would imagine is referred to as the "Vessel of Shame." But then I remembered one of the great lessons I learned during law school which is that there is no greater motivator than the fear of public humiliation. So at this point, my rallying cry is "Don't Fuck This Up or You'll Look Like Jerk!" It's a work in progress.

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* I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the definition of the word "profession" there is a reference to payment. Yup, there it is right in the second word - "a paid occupation." So far, this is not that.

** Funny story (yeah, we'll see). In the early 90's I was in the store manager training program for Herman's Sporting Goods. (This was back in the days before the FGW made it clear that she was not going to marry a guy who ate at Sbarro everyday and worked in between the Jordan Kitts piano store and Chess King). During one part of the training, we had to do a presentation on a new product line that Herman's should start carrying and why. At the time, jousting was the official sport of the State of Maryland (that made the words "forward thinking" pop into your head didn't it?) so I thought it would be humorous to propose that we ride the jousting spirit (get it?) by carrying a full line of lances, armour, saddles, etc. Suffice it to say, it killed with my fellow trainees but not so much with the guy running the show. Fortunately, it was not exactly a bunch of cut-throat Fortune 500 executed wannabes I was up against so I don't think it impacted my standing with the company. Herman's would be run out of business by Dick's and Sports Authority two years later but I was safely in law school by then honing my wise-ass skills into revenue generating tools that would ultimately make me a worthy suitor.

Ok ok but I'm just doing one. Really.
*** I am taking the position that this would only constitute bragging if I had completed the swim already. If I do finish it, I will inevitably describe it in great detail at which point that will be bragging.

**** In a related story, my decision to give-up drinking while I train has given way to what I hope is a more realistic goal of giving-up Irish Car Bombs. The over/under on when I break that pact with myself is April 13th when the final round of the Masters will surely be my Waterloo.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The Valero Texas Open Preview

"We're so damned lost. Where the hell is Innsbruck, Austria?" - John Winger, Stripes

That about sums it up for the Fantasy Golf Report's season to date. Or maybe a more appropriate quote would be, "Do you know what's going on here? Can't you see what's happened? I've become George!" - Elaine Benes, Seinfeld. (This is where you're supposed to respond with "don't say that"). In the five tournaments since the Northern Trust, my picks have accumulated $263,540 in earnings. While you might say that's not THAT bad, you would be ignoring the fact that two of those tournaments were WGC events where everyone gets paid so, for those, you mathematically would have had a better chance at success had you just assigned a golfer to every tree in your backyard and then gone with the first two your dog pissed on.

The latest debacle was Justin Rose's missed cut last weekend when he backed-up a relatively solid opening 71 with a slap happy 79 on Friday. I should have know I was in trouble when Rose posted this video of himself on Instagram hitting balls on the range Thursday afternoon because there is no speedier route to a missed cut than releasing footage of yourself hitting range balls while your adoring fans scramble for the Jergens and Kleenex. I mean good lord look at some of those comments. "Such good balance and rhythm." "Going low tomorrow." And my personal favorite, "Wooow" from the most easily impressed man in the world - what does he do when Rose hits a great shot on the actual course . . . jump out of his Barcalounger and start singing You Are So Beautiful in his Joe Cocker voice? Get a life people (wrote the unpaid fantasy golf blogger).      

Now to make matters worse I have absolutely no feel for who to pick at Augusta in a few weeks. In the preseason I had Tiger (back), then switched to Jason Day (thumb), then I mulled Bubba (flake) and finally I figured I could go with the old standby of Adam Scott but he coughed-up a hairball of a round on Sunday with some very suspect putting and handed the Arnold Palmer Invitational to Matt Every. 
That leaves Rory (head), Phil (judgment) and Dustin Johnson (psycho fiancee) as the next best options. Yikes. I guess there's always Angel Cabrera.

To bust out of this funk I'm pulling a mild Costanza for the next two weeks. Instead of posting the previews on Tuesdays, I'm doing them on Mondays WITH NO PICKS FROM THE LIST OF FAVORITES!!!. And no analysis, footnotes or any of that other crap that's gotten me nowhere. Just a list of five players with names I can picture on the leaderboard when I close my eyes and almost fall backwards in my chair (now if I can just make that a visual of the Sunday leaderboard instead of the Thursday leaderboard). The only thing I'm not changing is the pictures. I mean, I'm not dead inside. Yet.      

The Texas Open Favorites
It's kind of a no-brainer
for the Texas Open.

1. Zach Johnson - 16 to 1
2. Phil Mickelson - 16 to 1
3. Matt Kuchar - 16 to 1
4. Jordan Spieth - 18 to 1
5. Jimmy Walker - 18 to 1
6. Ryan Palmer - 22 to 1 
7. Jim Furyk - 25 to 1
8. Fred Jacobson - 25 to 1

The FGR One and Done Picks

1. Kevin Chappell
2. Billy Horschel
3. Jason Kokrak
4. Brendan Steele
5. Chris Stroud 

Last Week's FGR Report Card: D

1. Justin Rose - M/C
2. Graeme McDowell - T10th
3. Hunter Mahan - W/D
4. Henrik Stenson - T5th
5. Zach Johnson - T43rd 

The FGR PUD Report

Hyundai: Gary Woodland - $130,000
Sony: Chris Kirk - $604,800
Humana: Charles Howell, III - $12,198
Farmers: Bill Haas - $20,740
WM Phoenix: Billy Horschel - M/C
Pebble Beach: Russell Knox - $46,860
Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson - $723,600
Match Play: Hunter Mahan - $148,000
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell - $15,600
WGC-Cadillac: Rory McIlroy - $76,000
Valspar: Harris English - $23,940
Palmer: Justin Rose - M/C

Season Total: $1,801,738

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at . . . or don't. Your call.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The Arnold Palmer Preview

Two movies come quickly to mind this week. The first is the highly underrated The Other Guys with Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg and the scene in which Chistinith's husband Hal enters the room with a tray of Arnold Palmers while making siren sounds followed by "Arnold Palmer Alert" . . . "Arnold Palmer Alert" . . . "who wants some Arney Palmeys?"* (The FGW loves it when I re-enact that scene for people we barely know). The second and less obvious is the original Lethal Weapon** in which Mel Gibson and Danny Glover pursue a lead that they both agree is "thin" to a house that explodes Hollywood style meaning that it has the force to blow them off their feet while failing to so much as graze them with a flying shingle. The exploding house leads them to the conclusion that their theory of the case may not be so "thin" after all. (As lame as that sounds kids, Lethal Weapon is actually one of those 80's action movies worth watching . . . now get off of my lawn).

Unfortunately, there will be no exploding house in this week's Fantasy Golf Report so this one is going to be a bit "thin" but that's to be expected from a guy who seems to be falling deeper and deeper into a pit of gambling despair. The fact that no one playing fantasy golf made a big move last week in a tournament that featured a win-place-show trio of John Senden, Kevin Na and Scott Langley is of little consolation. When your two picks (Harris English and Matt Kuchar) both finish tied for 38th, it's hard not to think that the 2014 season is looking at you like "are you still here?"     

In the old days, if you really wanted to break-out of a funk at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, you'd just dial-up Tiger, put $1M+ on the board and move-on but who knows what you're going to get from him this week?*** His last three final rounds have been a 78, a 79 and 13 holes at the Honda when he was hitting it all over the place before he bailed. I think it's time to look elsewhere until further notice. 

I'm going to keep going with the (previously) successful formula of picking top ranked players who are in good form and have had success on the upcoming course. This week that's Justin Rose who finished T8th last week and came in 2nd at the Palmer in 2013 to go with a tie for 3rd in 2011. I will continue to follow this strategy until one of these MFer's wins or I'm found trembling in my bathtub clutching a bottle of vodka and Gatorade in one hand and a Top Shots: 2007 Women of Professional Golf Calendar in the other while reciting quotes from Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way video in his creepy high pitched voice that sounds like a cross between Andy Rooney and Chucky.****        

The Favorites
Whether it's true or not, it pleases me to
think that the younger players call Tiger
"Pops" and "Grampy" behind his back.

1. Bubba Watson - 12 to 1
2. Justin Rose - 12 to 1
3. Adam Scott - 14 to 1
4. Graeme Mcdowell - 16 to 1
5. Hunter Mahan - 20 to 1
6. Zach Johnson - 20 to 1
7. Henrik Stenson - 25 to 1
8. Keegan Bradley - 25 to 1
9. Harris English - 28 to 1
10. Patrick Reed - 28 to 1

The FGR One and Done Picks

1. Justin Rose
2. Graeme McDowell
3. Hunter Mahan
4. Henrik Stenson
5. Zach Johnson

The Valspar Championship Recap

To compound the misery of a Sunday leaderboard that featured no star power (and that concludes our recap of the Valspar Championship), the FGW conned me into watching The Great Gatsby this weekend. I know it's probably been about 30 years since I read the Cliff Notes for it, but I honestly don't remember that story being such a long drawn-out suckfest. When I agreed to embark on the two hour and twenty-two minute viewing experience, I figured that I was at least getting Leo and two guys from Zero Dark Thirty (Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke) directed by Baz Luhrmann who usually gets points for being original. However, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday summed it up best when she wrote, "[b]y no means is The Great Gatsby a disaster . . . [b]ut neither is it necessary." 

With about twenty minutes remaining and the story building toward its climax, I started experiencing a very distinct sensation and it took me a second to figure-out what it was because I had been somewhat duped by all of the cinematic hijinx that Lurhmann likes to throw onto the screen. But then it dawned on me. I was bored out of my fucking mind and I'm not sure there is a harsher criticism for a movie . . . especially one that endeavored to be such a wowzer. My advice? Save the 2:22 of your life that you'll never get back and go rent Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet instead. You'll be less likely to walk away from that one before it's over while telling your wife, "ehhhh . . . I know how it ends anyway."      

Last Week's FGR Report Card: C-
The best thing in the whole damn movie
was Isla Fisher and they went and ran
her over with a freakin' Duesenberg.

1. Harris English - T38th
2. Matt Kuchar - T38th
3. Jordan Spieth - T20th
4. Jason Dufner - T14th
5. Russell Knox - T25th

The FGR PUD Report

Hyundai: Gary Woodland - $130,000
Sony: Chris Kirk - $604,800
Humana: Charles Howell, III - $12,198
Farmers: Bill Haas - $20,740
WM Phoenix: Billy Horschel - M/C
Pebble Beach: Russell Knox - $46,860
Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson - $723,600
Match Play: Hunter Mahan - $148,000
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell - $15,600
WGC-Cadillac: Rory McIlroy - $76,000
Valspar: Harris English - $23,940

Season Total: $1,801,738

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at


* I'm not sure where they went wrong with the marketing of The Other Guys which I think is my favorite Will Ferrell movie of all-time. (Maybe it's the title). I've seen it at least a half dozen times and every scene in the first hour still cracks me up. For example, here is a clip of the aforementioned "Arney Palmey" scene - it gets me every time . . . "Arnold Palmer Alert."

** It might be time for me to broaden my movie viewing horizons beyond buddy cop flicks and gangster movies.

*** As I was writing this, word came-out that Tiger had withdrawn this week but I had already committed to this path with the picture, the caption, etc. so I went with it. Just didn't want you to think this was a Germans bombing Pearl Harbor type situation.

**** If you forgot how terrifying that little bastard is, check-out this scene. There is now a 100% chance I'll be checking under my bed for a possessed Murray Wiggle doll tonight.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The FGR Rankings Update: March 13, 2014

Quick, who's the best golfer in the world? If you go by the Official World Golf Rankings ("OWGR"), it's Tiger Woods followed by Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson. However, if we based it on the first two and half months of 2014, Day would be the only one of those players worthy of a position on that list because, in addition to being the only one with a win in the first ten tournaments, he's also the only one with a top five finish. And that is the kind of climate that allows Patrick Reed to declare himself one of the five best players in the world and pretty much get away with it despite the fact that HE'S NEVER EVEN PLAYED IN A MAJOR!

Always remember to check
the gas lines on your kiln.
I suggest we use this time we have after the first two WGC events and a little less than a month before the Masters to gain some perspective. Let's start by laying down a few rules that we can apply when trying to determine who the best player in the world is. Rule No. 1: Nothing that happens in golf between the Tour Championship and the Masters really matters. The Tour Championship matters because it's inevitably worth $10M to the winner but also because the players are still in prime form as opposed to almost four months later (and longer in some cases) when they hit Hawaii looking like the Deltas the morning after their exploitation of Fawn Liebowitz' untimely demise. Rule No. 2: You don't get to be part of the conversation until you at least contend in a major.

As noted above, Patrick Reed's resume is a little thin but at least he has the marquee win from last week. That makes his resume look like Thomas Edison's compared to what Jimmy Walker (the other guy everyone seems to be confusing with Tom Watson) brings to the table including (a) three major appearances in the last eleven years that have yielded a tie for 21st and two missed cuts, (b) two WGC events where he finished tied for 17th and tied for 25th, and (c) never having qualified for the Tour Championship. So let's just dial-back the Reed and Walker chatter a bit until we've seen them accomplish something on the big stage. (And yes, I'm talking to you Patrick Reed).

Let's get back to the original question. Who is the best golfer in the world? Well, Sonja Henie's out* but fortunately the Fantasy Golf Report came-up with a scientific way to answer this question several years ago when the original formula for the FGR Rankings ("FGRR") was devised. The formula is just simple enough for me to understand but a bit too complicated to explain here. The basic tenets are these: (1) Majors won in the last twelve months earn lots of points followed by majors won the year before that, (2) coming in second in a major is worth almost as much as winning a WGC event, and (3) the regular tournaments that are won just as often by guys like Derek Ernst as they are by guys like Phil Mickelson ain't worth much. To put it in perspective, Mickelson earned 50 FGR points for winning the 2013 British Open and 2 FGR points for winning the 2013 Scottish Open because the last time I checked, they don't replay classic Scottish Opens on the Golf Channel.

What that means is that a guy like 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner who is ranked 17th in the OWGR is ranked 3rd in FGRR. If you have an issue with that, ask yourself whether Henrik Stenson, who is ranked 3rd in the OWGR, would trade his wins at the Tour Championship and the DP World Championship for Dufner's Wanamaker Trophy. I think he would (though the fact that it would probably cost him close to $20M might make him think twice about it). An even better question would be whether Tiger would trade his 2013 wins at the WGC-Cadillac, The Players and the Bridgestone for Adam Scott's green jacket and the answer to that one is not debatable.** In my mind, neither is the best player in the world right now because the numbers never lie (especially when I'm the one who made-up the numbers).    

The FGR Rankings Top Fifteen

1. Adam Scott - 114
2. Tiger Woods - 102
3. Jason Dufner - 100
4. Phil Mickelson - 97
5. Justin Rose - 88
6. Henrik Stenson - 74
7. Ernie Els - 73
8. Jason Day - 71
9. Rory McIlroy - 69
10. Ian Poulter - 67
11. Graeme McDowell - 62
12. Bubba Watson - 62
13. Matt Kuchar - 53
14. Webb Simpson - 48
15. Jim Furyk - 47

So that's the lens through which I see golf greatness and I'm pretty sure I have history on my side because no one cares that Tiger is on the verge of catching Sam Snead for most PGA Tour wins of all-time. The only historical golf scoreboard that matters currently reads: Jack Nicklaus - 18 . . . Tiger Woods - 14 and that is as it should be.

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In much the same way that Mila Kunis and
Elisha Cuthbert are successful Hollywood
actresses . . . in case you were confused.
* If you've ever wondered what in the hell Chevy Chase was talking about when he ruled-out Sonja Henie as a replacement for Al Czervik, here is your answer. Sonja Henie was a three time Olympic figure skating champion (1928, 1932 and 1936) who went on to become a successful Hollywood actress and the reason she could not play that day at Bushwood was because she had been dead for eleven years. So there you go.

** And what do you know, those three tournaments are worth 50 points combined or the same amount as last year's Masters. I love it when stuff like that happens.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The Valspar Preview

Let's start by answering the question on every golf fan's mind this week. Who or what in the hell* is Valspar? I'm glad you asked. Valspar is an international manufacturer of paint and coatings based in Minneapolis, Minnesota with nearly 10,000 employees in 25 countries (I have no idea which ones but I'm guessing it's the United States, Andorra and 23 others). The name "Valspar" comes from the first ever clear varnish that was developed by L. Valentine Pulsifer who came dancing out of the lab wreaking of varnish fumes joyously screeching "I'm Valspar the Enchanted, please come to my princess party." It immediately became the first known case of "huffing" and the inspiration for the name of a multinational corporation.

No no no, I'm not talking
about that Tampa tradition. 
Now the name Valspar (it's really cool when you say it fast) is the latest to adorn the event annually played near Tampa which has previously gone by The Tampa Bay Championship (a body of water), the Transitions Championship (cheesy sunglasses) and the PODS Championship (storage containers that have become the bane of the existence of every enforcer of homeowners' association bylaws in America). So it is a storied if not proud tradition that Valspar carries-on outside of Tampa this week.

But hold on just one second there FGR, Valspar is indeed a fun word that sounds like a cross between a Harry Potter character and the name of a rich white guy's yacht, but isn't this also a pretty solid tournament? Yes, actually it is with a list of recent winners that includes Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Gary Woodland and Luke Donald (it's one of the five PGA tournaments Luke Donald actually found a way to win during his career - that's right, only five). And this year we have a well-stocked field with twenty-two major winners ranging from the highly relevant (Jason Dufner, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els to the somewhat relevant (Louis Oostuizen, David Toms, Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard) to the no longer relevant (Davis Love, III, Mike Weir and Lucas Glover) to the man we all wish would become relevant again . . . even if it was just for a few weeks (John Daly).  

But I digress. Probably because I've been in a rut for almost a month 
despite going the marquee route over the last three weeks with Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy. Maybe the answer is not picking a guy who's last name starts with "M." Sometime it's just that simple. I had it narrowed down to Matt Kuchar and Harris English anyway. Sorry Kuch but I'm taking the letter "M" completely out of the equation this week and going with one of the favorites.       

The Favorites
Would you still call them cheesy if I told you my name 
was Julian and that I'm reading a nautical chart?

1. Harris English - 16 to 1
2. Jordan Spieth - 16 to 1
3. Matt Kuchar - 20 to 1
4. Luke Donald - 20 to 1
5. Jason Dufner - 20 to 1
6. Justin Rose - 22 to 1
6. Bill Haas - 22 to 1

The One and Done Picks

1. Harris English
2. Matt Kuchar
3. Jordan Spieth
4. Jason Dufner
5. Russell Knox

So last week I picked Rory McIlroy in one league and Dustin Johnson in another, the top two picks in my season long draft were Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan and here is what the leaderboard looked like after the brutal second round that separated the wheat from the chaff:
#PlayerCountryScoreTo par
T1Dustin Johnson United States69-74=143−1
Matt Kuchar United States69-74=143
Hunter Mahan United States69-74=143
Patrick Reed United States68-75=143
T5Jamie Donaldson Wales74-70=144E
Graeme McDowell Northern Ireland73-71=144
Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland70-74=144
Suffice it to say that someone was feeling pretty chesty on Saturday morning as he walked around the house telling four people (who could have cared less) what a great weekend of golf we had ahead of us while coughing-up various things that looked like something you might find on the floor of the kitchen at an Arthur Treacher's (having the flu is neat). Obviously it went south from there as those four guys combined to shoot 13 over on the weekend capped-off by D.J.'s double on the 72nd hole that dropped him from solo 4th into a tie for 4th. His rope hooked tee shot into the water that he could have easily carried literally caused me to look at the ceiling and ask "really?" (I can't prove it, but I thought I heard a voice from above answer "yup").

In the end it was all Patrick Reed who played brilliantly and capped it off with a performance on the 72nd hole that made Phil Mickelson go "ohhhh . . . that's how you do that." In his post-round interview, Reed said that he is one of the five best players in the world and, with his third win since August along with the lack of anyone else other than Jimmy Walker doing anything special lately, maybe he's right. Hmmm, a debate about who the top five players in the world are eh? You know what that means? Time to fire-up the spreadsheet and uncork a FGR Rankings Update. I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it. Let's meet back here on Thursday to discuss.     

Last Week's FGR Report Card: C+
Programming Note: If you're not watching
The Americans on FX, you should be.

1. Rory McIlroy - T25th
2. Dustin Johnson - T4th
3. Matt Kuchar - T13th
4. Jordan Spieth - T34th
5. Jason Day - W/D

The FGR PUD Report

Hyundai: Gary Woodland - $130,000
Sony: Chris Kirk - $604,800
Humana: Charles Howell, III - $12,198
Farmers: Bill Haas - $20,740
WM Phoenix: Billy Horschel - M/C
Pebble Beach: Russell Knox - $46,860
Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson - $723,600
Match Play: Hunter Mahan - $148,000
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell - $15,600
WGC-Cadillac: Rory McIlroy - $76,000

Season Total: $1,777,798

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at


* There has been a long-running debate in the offices of the Fantasy Golf Report (also known as the inside of my head) over whether or not the use of profanity is appropriate in this forum. So far we've been all over the road depending on the mood of the editor that week. For instance, the fact that the Valspar question would have been funnier had it been written, "who or what in the fuck is Valspar?" is not debatable. However, it seems crass to have the word "fuck" right there in the second sentence and if I used something like "f*ck" instead, you would still read it as "fuck" and it would be only slightly less crass. So in this case, I substituted the word "hell" and buried the debate over whether or not I should have used the word "fuck" down here in a footnote. That way I avoided offending the sensibilities of a potential new reader right out of the gate unless he or she did what you're supposed to do with a footnote and immediately left the main text to read it in which case that reader probably now thinks I'm a fucking idiot. And if that's the case, welcome to the Fantasy Golf Report . . . fucker.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The WGC-Cadillac Preview

Since the WGC - Cadillac moved to Doral in 2007, it's been won by six different players who were all in the game's top tier at the time (Tiger Woods in 2007 and 2013, Justin Rose in 2012, Nick Watney in 2011, Ernie Els in 2010, Phil Mickelson in 2009 and Geoff Ogivly in 2008). And if that doesn't convince you that the leaderboard is going to be stacked on Sunday, check-out this list of players who have finished in the top five since 2007, and how many times they've done it: Woods (3), Mickelson (2), Sergio Garcia (2), Watney (2), Charl Schwartzel (2), Matt Kuchar (2), Jim Furyk (2), Rose, Els, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer. (Note: I only referenced the players that you should consider picking this year so, for example, no Vijay Singh or Brett Wetterich).*

If you're scoring at home (or even if you're alone . . . BOOM), that's 26 out of the last 40 major winners. So who do you pick this year? Tiger would be the obvious choice unless you've seen him play lately plus the fact that he appears to have your uncle Lou's back issues.** Graeme McDowell has a nice track record at Doral but I'm off G-Mac (see below). Justin Rose isn't healthy, Mickelson's game is all over the place and Keegan Bradley seems to be having trouble breathing out of one of his eyelids.

The history of this event tells us that if you're going to go with the chalk pick, this is the place to do it. Rory McIlroy finished tied for 8th at Doral last year, 3rd the year before and he was awesome through 60 holes last week. (We'll just conveniently ignore the fact that he appeared to play the last twelve holes with his early 2013 golf swing). Adam Scott is always a solid option but he's achieved "majors only" status. Truth be told (and that's what we strive for here at the FGR), I'd start Dustin Johnson if I hadn't used him at the Northern Trust. D.J.'s in one of those grooves that makes you wonder "why isn't he the best player in the world again?" until he inevitably does something to remind you why he isn't the best player in the world.

Multiple aspects of Trump's course design were
reportedly inspired by Ivanka's "course design."
The Favorites

1. Rory McIlroy - 15 to 2
2. Adam Scott - 12 to 1
3. Tiger Woods - 14 to 1
4. Dustin Johnson - 16 to 1
5. Jason Day - 18 to 1
6. Sergio Garcia - 20 to 1
7. Jordan Spieth - 25 to 1
8. Bubba Watson - 25 to 1
9. Matt Kuchar - 28 to 1
10. Phil Mickelson - 28 to 1

The FGR One and Done Picks***

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Matt Kuchar
4. Jordan Spieth
5. Jason Day

I may be out of the G-Mac picking business for good. First, he barely even shows-up for the U.S. Open at Merion last year, missing the cut by a mile on a course that appeared to be tailored to his supposedly gritty game. Then he pulls a win over my Match Play pick, Hunter Mahan, completely out of his dumpy Irish ass convincing me that he's on a roll (the tie for 7th at Pebble Beach didn't hurt) only to follow-up those performances with a sleepwalking tie for 46th last weekend. That one sent me sliding further down the standings of what I would consider my "A" one and done league. In my "B" league, I went big with Rory McIlroy**** and it should have paid a correspondingly big dividend but, if there is one absolute truth we have learned from Alec Baldwin over the years (that doesn't have anything to do with recorded cell phone calls or airline technology policy), it's that coffee's for guys who don't try to hit 180+ yard shots out of fairway bunkers over water when clinging to a one shot lead.

Last Week's FGR Report Card: C-

"You wanna see
second prize Rory?"
1. Graeme McDowell - T46th
2. Sergio Garcia - T8th
3. Rory McIlroy - T2nd
4. Henrik Stenson - M/C
5. Hideki Matsuyama - W/D

The FGR PUD Report

Hyundai: Gary Woodland - $130,000
Sony: Chris Kirk - $604,800
Humana: Charles Howell, III - $12,198
Farmers: Bill Haas - $20,740
WM Phoenix: Billy Horschel - M/C
Pebble Beach: Russell Knox - $46,860
Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson - $723,600
Match Play: Hunter Mahan - $148,000
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell - $15,600

Season Total: $1,701,798

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at


* Fantasy golf historians may remember that Brett Wetterich was actually on the 2006 Ryder Cup team. If I told you that the other members of that U.S. team included J.J. Henry, Vaughn Taylor and Scott Verplank, would you be surprised to learn that Europe won the Cup by the blowout score of 18.5 to 9.5? That one was over before our team got off the bus. They should have named Bill Murray captain and had everyone simultaneously yank down the pants of his European opponent during the singles matches on Sunday and then haul-ass for the private jet (and not tell Tiger about the plan).    

** Oh just humor me and pretend you have an uncle Lou with back issues for Chrissake.

*** My Puerto Rico Open picks are (in some order) Chris Stroud and Brian Stuard. Sorry, but I'm walking pretty much lockstep with's Rob Bolton on everything this week.

"I'm really starting to like Jason Day's chances
at the Masters. By the way, you may want
to get a little more fiber in your diet."
**** Just so you know I have some skin in the game, my two personal picks for the week will always be on my top five one and done list. It's up to you to figure-out which ones they are so you can follow my lead or avoid them like the plague depending on how you feel about me as an expert in the field of golf prognosticology. (Suffice it to say that I'll be at Staples tomorrow buying "Golf Prognosticologist" business cards).