Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The Tour Championship Preview

As we wind-down another stellar season of fantasy golf prognostication, let's review some of our highlight picks from 2017 that have left us with no chance of winning despite the fact that we have Justin Thomas on deck this weekend. 2017 was really an all-out pursuit of mediocrity as I was consistently able to identify the select weeks when the best players in the world didn't feel like bringing their "A" games and in some cases even their "D" games to the table. A quick rundown of the top ten in the world and the tournaments where I decided to waste them should provide a fairly clear post mortem.

1. Dustin Johnson - The Memorial: DJ had already won three times this year and was coming-off another three solid finishes as he prepared to play a tournament where he'd had a fair amount of past success including a 3rd place finish in 2016. So what does the best player in the world do? He shoots 78-74 and never even makes eye contact with the cut line. 

2. Jordan Spieth - The Masters: After a rocky start on Thursday, Spieth righted the ship and, by the end of the third round, he was tied for 4th and only two shots out of the lead. Then he started drifting backwards on the Sunday front nine before stomping on the gas with what is now becoming his trademark bogey+ on the twelfth hole. He ended-up finishing T11th in a year when he's made the top ten half the time.     

. . . I am an idiot.
3. Hideki Matsuyama - None: So not only did I fail to use Hideki at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where, even when he doesn't win as he did again this year, he is virtually a mortal lock to finish top five. Apparently I failed to use him at all as revealed by a quick perusal of this year's picks. This makes me feel even better about mocking a reader last week for leaving himself with DJ, Rahm and Rickie and only two tournaments left to play. The lesson as always . . . 

4. Justin Thomas - Tour Championship: I was this close (holding thumb and forefinger barely apart) to using him at the PGA Championship as we has the last "A" list player I had available. Instead I went with Thomas Pieters which didn't work-out too badly unless you consider that the guy I picked missed the cut while the guy I almost picked won the tournament. Suffice it to say that turned into one of those late Sunday afternoons where I was even more grumpy than normal . . . which is a high bar to clear.  

5. Jon Rahm - Dell Matchplay: This one I actually got right because Rahm finished runner-up to DJ. Of course it was a case of dumb-ass luck as I changed my pick four times and had meant to change it from Rahm to some other schlub who lost in the first round but I forgot to do it. Even the losers get lucky sometimes.  

6. Jason Day - U.S. Open: If the writing for this season wasn't clearly on the wall before the U.S. Open, then Day missing the cut by nine shots pretty much spray painted "YOU'RE SCREWED!" all over it. If only I had had Hideki Matsuyama available at that point . . .

7. Rickie Fowler - The Honda Classic: This would've been the one week you wanted to pay attention to the FGR because the blind squirrel stumbled into the Blue Diamond packing plant and Fowler actually won the tournament.

"I don't see an intelligent, confident
fantasy golf writer. I see a cocky,
scared shitless jackass."
8. Rory McIlroy - The Players: He finished T35th at Sawgrass but the bottom line is that no one got that tournament right (Si Woo Kim and Ian Poulter?) and Rory was so spotty this year that he was like trying to hit a moving target with a defective slingshot. Dr. Sean has assured me that this one was not my fault.

9. Henrik Stenson - Arnold Palmer Invitational: From 2013-16, Stenson's finishes at the Palmer were T8th, T5th, 2nd and T3rd. In 2017, he missed the cut. Seriously, fuck this racket.

10. Sergio Garcia - Genesis Open: Sergio only had one top ten in 2017 and that was his Masters win so there weren't a lot of great places to use him but I of course nailed the week when he finished T49th for his second worst showing of the season. The other lesson as always, Sergio is a dick. (Just kidding as we have all forgiven Sergio's past transgressions and love him now . . . or something).         

So with that track record in mind, below are my value picks for what is mercifully the last tournament of the year. I've delayed this post in an effort to limit its exposure to people who might be foolish enough to allow this information to influence them as they wager their kids' lunch money. In the end, all I can say about 2017 is that I scratched, clawed, researched, pondered, guessed, hunched(?) and generally tried my damndest but sometimes the ball hits the lip and goes in and sometimes it ends-up further away than when you started. This year was a case of the latter. To paraphrase the immortal words of Coach Norman Dale, "I was hired to make fantasy golf picks and I did that to the best of my ability . . . I apologize for nothing."    

The One and Done Pick: Justin Thomas
Speaking of research, a really
fun Google search is "Hottest
Woman on the Planet." 

The DraftKings Top Ten Values

Dustin Johnson
Justin Thomas
Justin Rose
Paul Casey
Brooks Koepka
Matt Kuchar
Kevin Chappell
Tony Finau
Jason Dufner
Gary Woodland

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