Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Valspar Championship Preview

The Valspar Favorites
Valspar makes paint. In
case you were wondering.

1. Adam Scott - 12/1
2. Jordan Spieth - 14/1
3. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
4. Jim Furyk - 20/1
5. Matt Kuchar - 22/1
6. Patrick Reed - 25/1
7. Justin Rose - 28/1
8. Luke Donald - 28/1
9. Lee Westwood - 30/1
10. Brandt Snedeker - 30/1

The FGR Valspar Picks

1. Jim Furyk
2. Luke Donald
3. Brandt Snedeker
4. Kevin Na
5. Patrick Reed

The One and Done Pick: Jim Furyk

The Sleeper Pick: Jerry Kelly

Let's look back before we look forward because, despite the fact that the Blue Monster is not everyone's favorite course,* it produced yet another close finish with five of the current top seven players in the world near the top of the leaderboard. This is the point where I have to admit that I'm a sucker for Doral based on our history together. First, there was my 1997 trip to the final round which I attended with a group of like-minded friends armed with full corporate tent perks and a mission to meet every bartender on the property. The following day we played the course from the tips and got our asses handed to us. (For a more detailed account of that story, click here). Then I returned about nine years ago for some business golf and wowed the customers by chucking my 5-iron into the lake next to the 10th hole with about half of the grace and coordination exhibited by Rory McIlroy on Friday (though I think mine went further as my toss was born more out of rage than Rory's which appeared to be a product of utter disgust).**    

Further piquing my interest last week was the fact that I had my one and done pick (Bubba Watson) and my first round draft pick (Dustin Johnson) in the mix down the stretch. I was pulling for Bubba because that $1.5M+ check would have gone a long way towards salvaging the start of my season but as soon as he made the turn on Sunday you could see him slipping into Colin Montgomerie mode and, when a lady started her Prius outside of an Applebee's in Fort Lauderdale, it apparently distracted him on the 14th tee leading to his third bogey. And that was that for Bubba. The crazy part is that we all knew he was done including Bubba himself who just started shrugging-off missed birdie chances like, "well, nothing I can do about it." The fact that he's the #2 ranked player in the world with what appears to be a WWII dogfight going on in his head is a testament to his almost supernatural ability to hit a golf ball.

Bubba's mini collapse opened the door for the guy who walks around like he's got a sorority pillow fight going on in his head and D.J. brought it home with the kind of cool under fire that you probably wouldn't expect from someone coming off a six month voluntary/mandatory sabbatical/suspension for not failing a drug test he may or may not have ever taken in the first place. (Because the PGA Tour ranks transparency right up there with free speech). Lost among all of the turmoil of Johnson's personal life is that he is one of the best players in the world with nine wins since 2008 and at least one top ten finish in a major every year since 2009. And don't forget that he's one stupid club grounding at the PGA Championship in 2010 and one bad swing at the 2011 British Open from winning two majors. Even when he must have known that he was about to get whacked at the end of last summer, he finished T8th at the PGA Championship. Did I mention that I got him with the 10th pick in my draft? Could I be counting my money at the table any louder? Could I stop writing like I'm Chandler from Friends?

And we're back. This week we head across the state for the Valspar Championship which is actually sporting a B+ field as you can see from the list of favorites. Note that I will be just a few hours south of the event visiting my in-laws in Marco Island, Florida (where you can get any table you want after 7:00 p.m.) and we all know what that means . . . next week's post is going to suck as I will almost literally be mailing it in but let's not dwell on that. Let's focus on maintaining the momentum from last week's picks. 

The problem with the Valspar is that for every predictable Jim Furyk (2010) and Luke Donald (2012) win, you have multiple wins by random guys like John Senden (2014), Kevin Streelman (2013), Retief Goosen (2009) and the golfer formerly known as Sean O'hair (2008). So what's a fantasy golf expert to do? Well this self-proclaimed fantasy golf expert is going chalk with Jim Furyk who, in addition to his 2010 win, has a T7th in 2013, a 2nd in 2012 and a T13th in 2011. He also hasn't played a bad tournament yet in 2015 with a T7th, T14th and a T12th last week at a course he had no business competing on considering his length or lack thereof. I thought about saving him for the Heritage because he's had similar success at Harbour Town but it's time to carpe diem because in vino veritas but caveat emptor (I have recently been trying to help my 8th grade son with his Latin homework and have been exposed as a complete moron. He was going to find out sooner or later).            

Last Week's Report Card: A-

1. Bubba Watson - 3rd
Really? We're teeing up
our own pictures now?
2. Dustin Johnson - 1st
3. Rory McIlroy - T9th
4. Jason Day - T31th
5. Jamie Donaldson - T44th

One and Done Total to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix Open: Hunter Mahan - $36,729

Farmers Open: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T Pro-Am: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda Classic: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000

Season Total: $994,863


* My favorite critique of the course came from the caddie for one of the best players in the world who tweeted, "Goodbye Dump International . . . what a terrible golf course!! #Bombersdelight." The tweet has since been taken down and replaced with an apology because I think we can all agree that criticizing another man's arrangement of grass, sand and water really crosses the line. Suffice it to say I have a new favorite caddie. (I didn't identify him because he obviously took some heat for his comment but I will say that he caddies for a guy who's name rhymes with "Slant Rednecker").     

**  I came really close to rinsing another club on 18 during the same round. All of the sand and water on that course really starts messing with your head after a while. They should change the name from the Blue Monster to the Flirty Prudish College Chick.  

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