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

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