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 fgr@fantasygolfreport.com


* 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.  

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