Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Byron Nelson Preview

To say that I've been mailing-in the Fantasy Golf Report lately would be an insult to all of those people with too much time on their hands who actually still take the time to write letters, mail checks to creditors and send psychotic political hate mail to elected officials and judges.* (I think you just insulted them anyway). But for whatever reason, it's kind of working as I stumbled onto another winner in my top five last week so my excuse for half-assing a third straight preview will be a winning streak based on a sample size of two tournaments. 

We can also blame it on the long weekend which turned one of my key writing days into a poolside glad-handing fest full of idle conversation and the exchange of semi-sincere pleasantries with non-FGR readers. My world has basically been divided into readers and non-readers because let's be honest, why would I want to hang-out with anyone who doesn't enjoy reading what I write (or at least looking at the pictures)? Put a less douchy sounding way, if you don't like reading my stuff, then we probably don't have that much in common anyway so let's not waste everyone's time (that may have actually sounded more douchy if that's possible).  

Besides, the FGW deftly handles most of that light social lifting which has covered my arrogant sarcastic ass for the nineteen years we've been married so the least I can do is cut the writing short tonight in honor of our anniversary (thank you . . . you're too kind). Especially after I spent three of the days leading up to it playing a golf tournament** and generally conducting myself in full Peter Griffin mode. ("For more about flatulence, you can visit my ass." - P. Griffin).  

But before I go, I'll leave you with the following pithy little FGR post-tournament tale. As I was leaving the pool on Memorial Day, a very classy looking and slightly elderly woman approached me and exclaimed, "YOU'RE THE MOJITO GUY!" As this was my first trip to the pool this year, I assumed I was dealing with a case of mistaken identity which led to the following exchange: 

So if I'm "Mojito Guy" . . .***
FGR: "I'm sorry but you must have me confused with someone else." 

Woman: "No it was you. We met at the tournament this weekend."

FGR: "OK . . . yes . . . now I remember" (not remembering at all).

Woman: "We took a picture with my son."

FGR: "Yes that's right" (still nothing registering).

I then introduced myself and she introduced herself at which point I recognized the name and it all rushed back.

Woman: "I said you were drinking a Mojito out of a copper mug and you told me it was something else."

FGR: "Yes, yes it was a Moscow Mule."

Woman: "That was it!!!"

We then parted ways but only after agreeing to hang-out this summer (not really). So what's the point of this story? Well actually there are two: (1) apparently I do have a modicum of charm even when I've sailed into the memory fog as I had that day; and (2) I fucking hate Mojitos so please don't ever accuse me of drinking one.      

The Byron Nelson Favorites

1. Jordan Spieth - 9/2
. . . can I nominate my
own "Mojito Girl?" . . .
2. Dustin Johnson - 12/1
3. Jason Day - 14/1
4. Matt Kuchar - 28/1
4. Brandt Snedeker - 28/1
4. Ian Poulter - 28/1
4. Keegan Bradley - 28/1
7. Marc Leishman - 30/1
8. Justin Thomas - 33/1
8. Charley Hoffman - 33/1
8. Jimmy Walker - 33/1

The FGR Byron Nelson Picks

1. Jordan Spieth
2. Gary Woodland
3. Matt Kuchar
4. Jason Day
5. Dustin Johnson

The FGR One and Done Pick: Gary Woodland

The Sleeper Pick: Morgan Hoffman 

Last Week's Report Card: B-

1. Zach Johnson - T19th
2. Jordan Spieth - T2nd
3. Jimmy Walker - T65th
. . . or "Mojito Girls."
4. Chris Kirk - 1st
5. Charley Hoffman - T10th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800
Colonial: Zach Johnson - $78,780

Season Total: $2,481,485


* I spent a year working for a judge so I can tell you for a fact that they receive their fair share of mail written in crayon with supporting illustrations and diagrams. I can also tell you that if all of the loons in this country woke-up and decided to reveal themselves to the world on the same day, Mad Max would look like a documentary. 

** How did the tournament go you ask? Well let's just say that when you lose a two day-two man stroke play event by four shots, you spend some time staring at the ceiling that night pondering all of the shots you missed and all of the times you and your partner decided to screw-up the same hole. I'd last about three weeks as a professional golfer before you'd find me shaking in the bathtub like the dad from Say Anything.  

*** If you've ever met me, that picture just made you do a double take.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fantasy Golf: Crowne Plaza Invitational Preview

Last week I basically eschewed a preview of the upcoming tournament and it yielded a win by the player at the top of the rankings (don't break your arm patting yourself on the back for picking the best player in the world) and, more importantly, a tie for second and the biggest payday of the season for my one and done pick. So guess what? Fuck it. I'm going with it and taking the rest of the week off to play about five rounds of golf. Maybe I'll mix-in some ocean side yoga* to see if I can come-up with a few inspired ideas to take the Fantasy Golf Report to the next level (just as soon as I figure-out what the next level would be).   
"Maybe I should make-up FGR hats and
give them away . . . or I could start putting
pictures of naked women on the website
. . . or naked women wearing FGR hats." 

The Crowne Plaza Invitational Odds

1. Jordan Spieth - 11/2
2. Zach Johnson - 14/1
3. Jimmy Walker - 18/1
4. Adam Scott - 22/1
5. Ryan Palmer - 25/1
6. Patrick Reed - 25/1
7. Paul Casey - 28/1
8. Ian Poulter - 30/1
9. Chris Kirk - 30/1
10. Kevin Na - 33/1

The FGR Crowne Plaza Invitational Picks

1. Zach Johnson
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Jimmy Walker
4. Chris Kirk
We could be onto something here.
5. Charley Hoffman

One and Done Pick: Zach Johnson

The Sleeper Pick: Kevin Chappell

Last Week's Report Card: B+

1. Rory McIlroy - 1st
2. Jim Furyk - M/C
3. Kevin Kisner - T38th
4. Webb Simpson - T2nd
5. Ryan Moore - T47th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
If only she wore a hat in this picture.
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800

Season Total: $2,402,705


* I really want to write something about the Mad Men series finale but I'm still processing it. I don't think I liked it but my objectivity is tainted by the fact that I'm going to miss those degenerates. Especially Roger Sterling. 

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Wells Fargo Preview

(Editor's Note: we're going to devote most of this week's preview to a look back at the Players Championship because we frankly don't have much to say about the Wells Fargo Championship other than it's a fine event played on a great golf course that will either be won by Rory McIlroy or somebody else. You can find all of the requisite odds, picks, etc. at the bottom of the page).

Wow. That had to be the most exciting finish of the preeminent tournament on the PGA Tour and, if you weren't able to find your way to that conclusion on your own, then it's a good thing that you had Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller and Peter Jacobsen to guide you there as they took corporate shill announcing to a new level on Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention over the past few years but I could have sworn that NBC and the PGA Tour were getting over the inferiority complex they have about their tournament and the golf course on which it's played thanks to seven impressive winners in the last eight years (sorry Tim Clark, you know I love you and your game but two career wins does not a golf stud make).

Wait, maybe he was just doing
one of his zany "Jake's Takes."
That would certainly explain it.
Apparently I was wrong, however, as there was Jacobsen cranking-up the rhetoric on Saturday by claiming that the Players is the "preeminent" tournament on tour. Is it possible that he was limiting that to just PGA Tour events which would exclude the majors? Yes it's possible except he went on to list the Players right alongside the four majors stopping just inches short of smacking the ridiculous 5th major label on it. Let's get this straight. There is no 5th major just like there is no 5th ocean, 5th Beatle or 5th male member of the Brady family.* Besides, any chance of the Players becoming the 5th major went out the window when they built a golf course that only Sergio Garcia seems to love.**

Then came the Hicks and Miller show late on Sunday afternoon as they proceeded to do exactly what I assume they tell you not to do in Sports Announcing 101. They spent the better part of three hours telling us how exciting the golf tournament was instead of just calling the action and letting it speak for itself. And underlying it all you had the sense that it was being driven by the desire of whomever was pulling the strings to continue artificially propping up the event by strapping a push-up bra on it. Only on Sunday that was completely unnecessary because, to paraphrase Teri Hatcher, "the event was real and it was spectacular." 

When you have a guy take the lead by going six under on his last six holes and then you have another guy quiet the drunken hecklers by draining a bomb to tie for the lead on seventeen and then you have ANOTHER guy graze the hole with a birdie putt to win on eighteen, you don't need to keep telling us that this is the most exciting finish you've ever seen. You only do that if you don't believe the tournament has the inherent magnitude to speak for itself. Just call the shots and let us decide how excited we are. While you're at it, accept the fact that the event is golf's version of a big regular season game along the lines of Seahawks-Niners or Ravens-Steelers. There's no shame in that but no matter how much you hype it, it will never be Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera in a playoff at Augusta or Rory, Phil and Rickie all rolling down the final fairway together at Valhalla gunning for the Wanamaker Trophy so let it go.  


* Unless you want to count Tiger the dog as a male member of the family but we're not acknowledging the existence of that annoying twerp Oliver even if he did inspire the name for what TV writers call the gimmick of adding a new kid to salvage a dying show . . .  "Cousin Oliver Syndrome." (Where else are you getting that kind of information for life? That's right. Nowhere).     

** After missing the cut, Phil Mickelson said, "I can't believe I've actually won here." I'm sure fellow cut missers Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson (2nd, 6th, 8th and 10th in the WGR) were feeling his pain. I should acknowledge that I've never played Sawgrass. Then again, I don't care if I ever do.    

The Wells Fargo Favorites
In a not so subtle attempt to generate 
Eastern European website traffic, this is  

1. Rory McIlroy - 3/1
2. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
3. Jim Furyk - 20/1
4. Phil Mickelson - 20/1
5. Hideki Matsuyama - 22/1
6. Bill Haas - 28/1
7. Adam Scott - 30/1
8. Patrick Reed - 30/1
9. J.B. Holmes - 30/1
10. Louis Oostuizen - 35/1

The FGR Wells Fargo Picks

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jim Furyk
3. Kevin Kisner
4. Webb Simpson
5. Ryan Moore

The One and Done Pick: Webb Simpson

The Sleeper Pick: Bo Van Pelt

Last Week's Report Card: C

1. Henrik Stenson - T17th
We were going to double down on Rickie's
girlfriend but we'd be remiss if we didn't
support that Teri Hatcher reference.

2. Jordan Spieth - M/C
3. Sergio Garcia - T2nd
4. Jimmy Walker - M/C
5. Lee Westwood - M/C
6. Jim Furyk - T56th
7. Zach Johnson - T13th
8. Matt Kuchar - M/C
9. Sean O'Hair - M/C

10. Hideki Matsuyama - T17th

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667

Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857

Season Total: $1,777,905

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Players Championship Preview

First things first. We're ditching the "new layout" because it has brought us nothing but heartache and pain in 2015. You can only laugh-off a slump for so long before it starts to eat away at you like a seagull going to town on a dead decaying disgusting fish head (the FGR is currently the fish head which could not be more appropriate because our picks, in a word, "stink"). Maybe burying the picks at the bottom of the page like we used to will teach them a lesson.

Second things second, we're going to get a bit more involved with our work by entering some week to week fantasy golf contests. For now, we're going to start with www.FantasyHub.com because (a) they have a charitable component which means that if I'm going to keep losing money, at least it will go to a good cause and (b) they reached-out to me about advertising on the Fantasy Golf Report which makes them my new best friend. Up to this point, I hadn't really bothered trying to factor this writing endeavor into my overall income stream because my kids don't like Ramen noodles and let's face it, I couldn't possibly support the lifestyle it takes to inspire the Fantasy Golf Report on the meager cash flow generated by the Fantasy Golf Report. I think that's ironic but I'm not entirely sure. (A paid writer would probably know).

Here is what I do know (AWKWARD SEGUE ALERT!!!). The Players Championship has been on a nice credibility run over the last three years with winners like Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods and Martin Kaymer (turns-out Marty's somewhat surprising win at Sawgrass was just the ghost of Christmas yet to come foretelling the most boring U.S. Open ever). Over that same span, we've also had solid runner-ups like Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson. Those are what we in the business like to call "Ryder Cuppers" and they are the ones you want winning your golf tournaments when you're trying to move beer and Buicks.  

"You're never going to
be a real major."
That kind of quality winner's circle plus time is enough for me to stop harping on the stretch from '02 - '06 when three of the winners were Craig Perks, Stephen Ames and Fred Funk.* I think it was soon after that that they stopped calling it the "5th Major," a decision that probably had something to do with the names being etched on the trophy and the fact that someone finally realized that the other majors were just pretending to be their friends while mocking them behind their back with comments like, "ooh look at me, I'm the 5th major" and "I have a green that's also an island" and "my dad drives a Dodge Stratus and works at the mall."**

Now that it appears the Players Championship has gotten comfortable in its own skin and is producing quality winners, I'm actually really looking forward to it. It doesn't hurt that the talent pool is ridiculously deep and we have a burgeoning multi-year duel for best player in the world between Messrs. Spieth and McIlroy that could yield a Sunday showdown at any one of seven or eight high profile events inlcuding the Players (note: that was just the nicest thing I ever said about the Players . . . you're welcome). Unfortunately, I think we're going to see at most half of the new dynamic duo in top form because Rory has to be fried from winning on the West Coast last week. Not to mention, there are a handful of other top players who get special credit on their pre-tournament grades because, for whatever reason, they like playing TPC Sawgrass. In no particular order, they are:

Sergio Garcia: Win in 2008 plus a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th.

Jim Furyk: Four top five finishes including runner-up last year.
Adam Scott: Three top ten finishes including a win in 2004.
Lee Westwood: Three top tens the last four times he's entered.***

All of those would be fine selections this week but I'm going with the guy I've had slotted here since the start of the season. Henrik Stenson won the Players in 2009 and has three other top tens so he fits the profile. He hasn't been able to close the deal on a win in 2015 but statistically he's having a monsters season ranked 7th in total driving, 2nd in ball striking and 1st in strokes gained putting. I also like the fact that he didn't make it to the weekend at the Match Play meaning he should be relatively fresh as opposed to a guy like Furyk who played 36-36 on Saturday and Sunday. Finally, we've always had a special place in our heart for Henrik who got swindled for about $10M a few years ago by his financial advisor which makes him the Fantasy Golf Report of investing. Seems like the right guy to pull us out of our slump.    

The Players Favorites

1. Rory McIlroy - 7/1

2. Jordan Spieth - 15/2
Hey that's a big check Henrik. Want to
invest in a fantasy golf website?
3. Henrik Stenson - 18/1
4. Justin Rose - 20/1
5. Jason Day - 25/1
6. Jim Furyk - 25/1
7. Sergio Garcia - 28/1
8. Hideki Matsuyama - 30/1
9. Dustin Johnson - 33/1
10. Tiger Woods - 35/1

The Players Picks

1. Henrik Stenson

2. Jordan Spieth
3. Sergio Garcia
4. Jimmy Walker
5. Lee Westwood
6. Jim Furyk
7. Zach Johnson
8. Matt Kuchar
9. Sean O'Hair
10. Hideki Matsuyama

(This is typically where I would put Last Week's Report Card and the One and Done Picks to Date but they were starting to depress me more than the final season of Mad Men so we're leaving them out and making this week all about new beginnings).

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.


It was the Players Championship's version of the five year stretch of best actor Oscars from 2001 through 2005 when overacting must have been all the rage as Adrien Brody, Russell Crowe and Jamie Foxx* were three of your five winners. It didn't help that Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Hanks were putting-up minimal resistance with weaker efforts like I am Sam (never saw it), Gangs of New York (top five lamest ending of all time) and Castaway. (No one will ever convince me that Castaway didn't suck despite the awesome plane crash scene. Talk about peaking in the first fifteen minutes. I spent the entire second hour rooting for Tom Hanks' character to fall off a cliff, get eaten by a shark or piss-off a poison dart frog).  

** I worked at a mall when I was sixteen. Everyone needs to work at a mall when they're young to learn one of the most important lessons in life which is that you don't want to work at a mall. 

*** Westwood used to periodically skip the Players Championship. Why? Because he's Lee Fucking Westwood that's why.