Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The Quicken Loans Preview

Well I got two things right last week and, considering the run I've been on lately, that's two giant steps for FGRkind: (1) I guaranteed that at least one of Paul Casey, Bubba Watson and Marc Leishman would finish top five and Casey finished T5th. On top of that, lo and fucking behold he was actually my one and done pick for the week. And (2) I noted that Charley Hoffman is always a threat on an easy course and he placed T3rd. So long slump be gone right?

Wrong. Welcome to the newly redesigned TPC Avenel or, as it's now known, the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm (just rolls right off the tongue like a pissed-off porcupine doesn't it). Why did they redesign it? Probably because five years ago if you asked someone to start listing the best golf courses within 100 miles of where I am sitting right now, they still wouldn't have gotten to TPC Avenel by the time you were saying, "oh hey I forgot I have to pick my kid up from clarinet practice." I played the course once and the only apparent purpose it served was to ensure that Sawgrass wasn't considered the worst TPC course ever built.  

They've allegedly made it harder for what that's worth but the bottom line is that we have no idea who is going to thrive this week so my overall advice would be to save the $4, $12 or $2,000 you usually wager for another tournament that's not such a crapshoot. If you do decide to throw some money down and want to follow the FGR's approach, I like Brendan "The Animal" Steele (we're doing nicknames this week because they're fun) who tends to succeed on shitty tricked-up courses as evidenced by his T6th at The Players and his T13th at TPC Erin Hills (and no, I still haven't let it go . . . U.S. Open my ass).  

Beyond Steele, I'm looking at guys who are playing well like Patrick "Don't Call Me Pat" Reed and Xander "Chocolate" Schauffele along with good value plays like Jimmy "Sky" Walker, "Kind" Bud Cauley and Adam Hadwin "In March but Sucked Ever Since" (get it?). But really you're kind of on your own because we all know that this will be a week for Zac Blair "Witch Project," C.T. "Scan" Pan or some other longshot so good luck. You're going to need it.   

The One and Done Pick: Brendan Steele
Hey look, it's Bo "Knows How to
Fix an Election" Krsmanovic.

The DraftKings Top Ten Values

Patrick Reed
Brendan Steele
Byeong-Hun An
Xander Schauffele
Danny Lee
Jimmy Walker
Bud Cauley
Daniel Summerhays
Adam Hadwin
Lucas Glover

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fantasy Golf: Travelers Championship Preview

Ah the life of an unpaid blogger cranking-out an overdue golf preview while sitting in my son's orthodontist office as the money I'm not currently earning gets attached to his teeth. Speaking of dental work, how about those U.S. Open picks last week? Am I right? (I'm here all week . . . try the veal). As discussed in my previous post, I'm taking little or no responsibility for whiff-shanking those picks because the intel I was provided on Erin Hills combined with the USGA's decision to set the course up for the Franklin Templeton Shootout made analyzing the event as a U.S. Open the gambling equivalent of trying to fold a fitted sheet.

But the beauty of the PGA Tour is that every week brings a new chance to redeem myself. (Much like my life after a three day member-guest . . . or back to back three day member-guests as the case may be). This week we head to TPC River Highlands for the Travelers Championship which is actually one of the more predictable events of the season. I can virtually guarantee you that at least one of Paul Casey, Marc Leishman and Bubba Watson will finish in the top five. Throw-in a relatively hot Justin Thomas who shot 62 here last year which would've been impressive had Jim Furyk not shot a freakin' 58 (and finished T5th), and you have a pretty solid starting five. 

(Location Update: I'm now at the barbershop listening to a hairdresser describe her son's mediocre at best life talents like she's hoping the guys at the pizza place four doors down can hear her. I swear it's like the spirit of Joe Buck is stalking me).

Then you've got a bunch of value in the low $7,000 range with, among others, the resurgent Bud Cauley, McDonald's character William McGirt and Charley Hoffman who's always a threat on an easy course as he proved last week (let it go). And sooner or later that little scrappy son of a bitch Emiliano Grillo is going to put it together and I'm going to keep picking him until he does or until my account is fully drained, whichever comes first. If you need any other money advice, I'm here for you.  

We've had a flood of requests for
more Jena Sims (and by flood I
mean one but that's enough for me).
The One and Done Pick: Paul Casey

The DraftKings Top Ten

Justin Thomas
Paul Casey
Marc Leishman
Jim Furyk
Bubba Watson
Bud Cauley
Charley Hoffman
Emiliano Grillo
William McGirt
Byeong-Hun An

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Waste Management U.S. Open

Following the field's record shattering performance at the 2017 U.S. Open, there has actually been some argument over how well Erin Hills served as host of a tournament that entered the week with the reputation for being the toughest test in golf. Suffice it to say, I have an opinion on the matter. One of the more annoying adages that lawyers like to bandy about (and there are more than you can possibly imagine) is "when the law isn't on your side, argue the facts and, when the facts aren't on your side, argue the law." In this case, I thought Erin Hills with its 2017 setup failed miserably as a character building U.S. Open track and I'm going to argue the facts to prove it. 

And if you think I'm just bitter because I shot a complete air ball on my picks last week including my one and done Jason Day who missed the cut, you'd be somewhat right. However, I feel like I was defrauded because, based on the previews of the course and the reasonable expectation that the USGA could figure-out how to make it hard, the events that I am about to list below should never have unfolded. We were promised a U.S. Open and what we got was a . . . well, you'll see in a second. We're going bullet point style for extra oomph.
  • Brooks Koepka tied Rory McIlroy's U.S. Open record for most strokes under par at -16 and that's only because he played the 72nd hole in anti-Van De Veldean fashion by making sure to keep the ball short until it went in for a five. Otherwise, he could've easily broken the record with a slightly more aggressive second shot.
  • Justin Thomas shot nine under in the third round which is the lowest round to par in U.S. Open history (Johnny Miller shot his 63 on a par 71). Nine birdies and an eagle in a U.S. Open round?!? Get out of here. (No seriously, we're going to need you to leave . . . now).
  • In the history of the U.S. Open pre 2017, only eleven players had reached a score of -10 or better and only two of them (McIlroy and Tiger Woods) finished the tournament that way. I can still remember the '92 Open when Dr. Gil Morgan became the first player to do it and the announcers nearly climaxed simultaneously on air when the putt went in like he had just discovered fire. In their defense, the tournament had been around for nearly 100 years and no one had ever done it until the nice man from Pearle Vision Center who you never really believed was a doctor pulled it off.    
  • On the other hand, seven players in the 2017 U.S. Open finished -10 or better and a total of nine players reached -10 or better at some point during the tournament. So for the record it took 97 years for the first guy to do it, 24 more years for ten more guys to do it and last week nine guys did it. I call bullshit. 
  • Thirty-one players finished under par at the 2017 U.S. Open.
  • From 2012 through 2016, a total of fifteen players finished under par at the U.S. Open
  • The top three ranked players in the world and eight of the top twelve missed the cut.
  • Every player in the top eleven had his best ever finish in a major except for Brandt Snedeker and Rickie Fowler. This includes Bill Haas who finished tied for 5th but that probably had more to do with him meeting the FGR the week before (he was so impressed with me that he didn't use his last name).   
  • The last three holes on Sunday played under par . . . each of them, not the three combined. Is there another tournament on tour where that's happened? Seriously, I'm asking. Two other holes on the back (11 and 14) also played under par which kinda raises some questions about what in the hell Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler were doing out there.   
  • The 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion was Brooks Koepka with a winning score of -15. (I think I see where you're going with this). 
  • The 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open runner-up was 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Hideki Matsuyama.
  • The 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion was . . . Hideki Matsuyama who shot -14.
  • The 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion was . . . also Hideki Matsuyama who shot -17.
  • The average winning score at the Waste Management Phoenix Open over the last four years was -15.5 which rounds down to -16 . . . Koepka's winning score at Erin Hills.
  • Rickie Fowler finished tied for 5th at the 2017 U.S. Open.
  • Rickie Fowler finished tied for 4th at the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  • After an otherwise uninspiring major career so far, Brendan Steele just had his best U.S. Open finish with a tie for 13th.
  • (Ready to have your mind blown?) Brendan Steele's average finish at the last six Waste Management Phoenix Opens is . . . you guessed it . . . 13th (BOOM).
At least he didn't botch the name
of the girlfriend. Oh right. Never mind.
So it's clear ladies and gentlemen of the jury that what we were sold over the last four days was nothing but an overhyped version of the Waste Management Phoenix Open blasted through the utterly tone deaf and nuance free pie hole of Joe Buck along with his sidekick the nasally stater of the glib and obvious Paul Azinger. It was like listening to Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits performed by every failed first round American Idol contestant. The only thing that would've made it worse would've been having Curtis Strange do the post-round interview with Koepka. (What's that? He did? I must've slipped into a fugue state by then).

The good news is that the British Open with its inherent coolness starts one month from tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be in a hyperbaric chamber listening to nails on a chalkboard in the hopes of chasing Joe Buck's voice out of my skull.         

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The U.S. Open Preview

A friend of mine who's played a few golf courses in his day told me that Erin Hills is the toughest track he's ever encountered. Considering the fact that he was probably higher than a Jason Day 9-iron when he played it, that review was probably more mild than it could've been. What it tells me is that there is probably some validity to all of the typical whining from the Tour players about how this joint is tougher than the free steak I got with my $24.95/night room outside of Las Vegas back in 2001. (I think there's still some stuck between my back right molars). 

Also there is this. Henrik Stenson described Erin Hills as "hay fever heaven" (which I think is an oxymoron) and said he "expects any local pharmacy to sell-out of antihistamines." Oh if only I owned a Walgreen's outside of Milwaukee this week, we'd never have to eat free steak again. That probably means that you can cross Henrik and any other player who hails from a pollen free country off your list (so long Alex Noren). It may also mean that you can cross-off any player who is prone to letting discomfort knock him completely off his game which is making me a tad nervous about my first choice for a one and done pick now that I've wasted Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy elsewhere (though I'm not really keen on any of those three anyway as you'll see from my DraftKings picks - they've all looked kinda shaky and unpredictable lately). More on that below as I try to make my decision while scratching-out these next few of paragraphs.

If I had my pick of any player this week, I'd be taking really hard looks at Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rahm has to be licking his chops at the prospect of a 7,700+ yard U.S. Open course with relatively wide fairways and Rose looks like the single major winner most ready to put another one on the board after his Olympic gold medal and his runner-up at Augusta. Unfortunately, I do not have either of them at my disposal. 

Here are my best available U.S. Open players as I see it: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace, Thomas Pieters and Louis Oosthuizen. I think the run of first time major winners ends this week which rules-out Matsuyama, Grace and Pieters though the young Belgian has to be almost as eager as Rahm for this set-up. Not to mention, he crushed it at the Ryder Cup and tied for 4th at his first Masters so he is clearly not afraid (may be re-thinking that first time winner thing). 

Let us, however, stick to the repeat winner theme and think this through. Oosti is very intriguing because he's long, has great touch around the greens and can get it rolling as well as anyone. He's proven that he can handle high winds and other adverse conditions. Unfortunately, he's also proven that he can miss a cut just as easily as he can post a top five. Not ruling him out, but not feeling him either.

That leaves the two Aussies, Day and Scott and this course would also seem to fit their preferences. Both have proven they can handle U.S. Open pressure and conditions with Day coming-off four straight top tens including a 2nd in 2013 plus another 2nd in 2011 and Scott on a T9th, T4th, T18th run. They've both also been playing well lately which never hurts. Hmmmm. Day or Scott. Fuck it. Go big or go home. Someone get Jason a damn Benadryl and let's do this!      

One last piece of advice if you find yourself drunk dialing-up a few DraftKings teams this week. Lee Westwood is highway robbery at $6,800. He has to have moved past the major pressure phase of his career into the Darren Clarke no fucks left to give phase so you never know. At worst, he's a top ten waiting to happen. 

The One and Done Pick: Jason Day

The DraftKings Top Ten Values
Jason Day
Jon Rahm
Justin Rose
Adam Scott
Thomas Pieters
Kevin Kisner
Louis Oosthuizen
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Charl Schwartzel
Lee Westwood
Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The FedEx Preview

You know I could write a whole bunch of words here about how horrendous my picks have been lately and how I've now burned Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth with almost nothing to show for them but really, what purpose would that serve other than to waste your time and my time (a/k/a "our time")? And I swear that the brevity of this post has nothing to do with the fact that I'm sitting in a hotel room at 5:00 p.m. looking out the window at the restaurant next door inside of which sits a bar with unlimited free drinks so don't even fucking try to hang that tag on me. I won't stand for it. Anyway, gotta go . . . 

One and Done Pick: Billy Horschel
Save me from myself Wonder Woman!

The DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks

Brooks Koepka
Billy Horschel
Kyle Stanley
Steve Stricker
Charl Schwartzel
Kevin Tway
William McGirt
Brian Stuard
Jamie Lovemark
Ryan Blaum

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com