Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Northern Trust Open Preview

Would you believe me if I told you that Phil Mickelson was my second choice last week? Maybe it was a blessing that I didn't go that way with the pick because then instead of the mild sense of relief I felt when that putt lipped-out, I would've felt the sting of being that close to hitting the trifecta only to be undone by a Class II Phil screw-up. (Winged Foot is of course the Class V which would then make Jean van de Velde's British Open meltdown* the equivalent of the storm in The Day After Tomorrow).** 

Oh who am I kidding? Picking Jimmy Walker over Mickelson cost me $600,000+. It was a stumble that could prove costly in the end. On the other hand, if you've ridden with the FGR this year, you've only used three of the top twenty players in the world and you've gotten wins out of two of them (you know I'm going to milk those two wins for as long as I reasonably can and then for at least another month after that).       

Now we move down the coast to the Northern Trust Open where we've been alternating "A" List winners with riff-raff since Mickelson went back to back in 2008-09. Since then, the winners have been Steve Stricker, Aaron Baddeley, Bill Haas, John Merrick, Bubba Watson and last year's winner, James Hahn. This means we should be due for a stud performance, especially when you consider that Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are on the guest list. I wouldn't roll the dice on either of them as a one and done pick but I'd certainly factor them into any other semi-legal gambling endeavors I might be undertaking (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). 

As for whom I would pick, it would come down to Jimmy Walker (used him), Hideki Matsuyama (used him too), Dustin Johnson (used him and something seems squirrelly with his game right now), Bubba Watson (plan to use him later), Charl Schwartzel (always disappoints me when I use him), Sergio Garcia (see Charl Schwartzel) and Bill Haas (yawn). As we head to print, I'm going with Haas but that could change to Sergio at the last minute. I switched from Hunter Mahan to Matsuyama late with the best possible results and almost did the same with Walker to Phil last week but I chickened-out. 

Now I'm waffling back and forth between the equally unscientific strategies of (a) going with my first instinct or (b) riding this second guess method. Or maybe I should go with option (c) which I guess would be Schwartzel under the theory that sooner or later he's going to have to come through for me. Or maybe I'm overthinking it (maybe?) and option (d) is the way to go because I'm foolish to save Bubba for later. Holy crap I've turned into Vizzini from The Princess Bride and look how things turned-out for him.*** 

I hope you've found this salient "analysis" helpful. Believe me that just as much irrational thought went into the picks below. Good luck.

The Day After Tomorrow's frigid
plot and setting severely neutralized
some of Emmy Rossum's strengths.
The Northern Trust Odds

Jordan Spieth - 6/1
Rory McIlroy - 6/1
Dustin Johnson - 14/1
Hideki Matsuyama - 16/1
Justin Rose - 16/1
Bubba Watson - 22/1
Sergio Garcia - 25/1
Adam Scott - 28/1
Jimmy Walker - 28/1
J.B. Holmes - 30/1

Ten Guys We Like

Bubba Watson - 22/1
Sergio Garcia - 25/1
Jimmy Walker - 28/1
Bill Haas - 33/1
Charl Schwartzel - 33/1
Freddie Jacobson - 60/1
But maybe they could do a
sequel called The Day After
Tomorrow 2: Havana Nights
Brendan Steele - 66/1
William McGirt - 100/1
James Hahn - 100/1
Bryce Molder - 100/1

The One and Done Pick: Sergio Garcia

The Sleeper Pick: William McGirt


* Check-out the Sportcenter recap of that British Open final round. You couldn't have had a better narrator than Kenny Mayne. And how ironically clutch was Jean van de Velde's ten foot triple bogey putt to force the playoff? He doesn't get much credit for that. Not sure why. (Oh right. The biggest choke-job in the history of golf. Never mind).

** It was so cold in Baltimore last weekend that the penguins at the zoo circulated a petition demanding indoor plumbing. It snowed most of Monday and then turned to freezing rain. Today it's fifty degrees with periods of South Asian monsoon. This weekend it could hit sixty degrees . . . in February. I'm not going to draw any scientific conclusions but I believe the climatological term for what's happening is "nuts."  

*** Editors Note: I bailed on Haas and switched to Garcia at the last minute. This decision could ultimately be the source of a lot of anguish and regret but at least I get to root for Sergio this weekend? 

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

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