Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The HSBC Champions Preview

I have to apologize for the lack of a preview last week but it wasn't my fault (never is). How was I supposed to know that something called The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in the middle of October was a real golf tournament? I just assumed that it was a nine hole charity event put-on by some international celebrity who I had never heard of with the initials "CJ." (Seriously, that's what I thought it was until the head pro corrected me on Sunday . . . and I still didn't believe him). The name of the event has a goddamn ampersand in it and they played it in the middle of the night for Chrissakes. Honest. I ran out of gas. I . . . I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake . . . 

. . . A terrible flood. Locusts!
Anyway, I am fully recharged and refocused this week after spending four hours on Sunday morning putting a golf ball thirty-six times to irrevocably taint what would have been an otherwise very enjoyable round. Then I quietly watched a ten year old girls soccer game while everyone around me reenacted the commodities exchange scene from Trading Places. I then followed that with an hour of wandering around and cutting through the walls of a corn maze (but no fucking hayride for this guy). I chose that last activity over watching football which is probably a bad sign for the NFL but more on that in a later episode of the FGR.

This week it's back to golf as we gear-up for one of the more underrated tournaments of the year and I'm not talking about the Sanderson Farms Championship which sounds like it's sponsored by a chicken factory (because it is). Nope. To earn the FGR's attention in October you need to be a big-time WGC event with a world class international field sponsored by a corrupt bank and played in a country where people get paid $2 an hour to make toys for Happy Meals so little Johnny can fondle a plastic Minion while developing early onset arteriosclerosis. (Steps down from soapbox). 

The last four winners of the HSBC are top notch -  Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Russell Knox (three out of four ain't bad) and the final leaderboard regularly includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. Of course those guys aren't playing this year but the line-up is still solid with Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and certain 2018 major winner, Jon Rahm (remember that you heard it here 7,681st). Right behind them you have Tyrrell Hatton, Ross Fisher and Marc Leishman who have combined for two wins and three runner-ups over the past three weeks. It should be a real hootenanny. Here is some advice on how to wager it.

What they don't tell you on television is that there are 57 
iPhone technicians living in those little orange pyramids 
and being charged $175 per month for a water view.
The One and Done Pick: Ross Fisher

The DraftKings Top Ten Value Picks

Hideki Matsuyama
Justin Rose
Marc Leishman
Paul Casey
Ross Fisher
Daniel Berger
Tyrrell Hatton
Tony Finau
Thor Oleson
Adam Hadwin

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hayride to Hell

Time for the annual writer's block special that falls conveniently during golf's fall season which is like a tree falling in the forest in that it just lays there rotting until it becomes fertilizer for a tree that might actually draw an audience. I recycle this every few years for the poor saps who still have to endure the scene that I am about to describe. As always, this is an enhanced version of the original made better by the passage of time and the added layers of angst, irritation and bitterness that go along with it.

Being a parent of young kids presents an ongoing dilemma that causes you to split your time between wishing that the low maintenance versions of them will never grow-up and counting the days when you no longer have to deal with the high maintenance bullshit that goes with the job. First it's diapers which is followed by teething, the terrible twos, car seats, homework, puberty, boyfriends/girlfriends, college applications and finally that awkward conversation that begins with "we're selling the house so you're going to have to find somewhere else to live."* Along the way, you also have the isolated parenting nut-shots like trips to the emergency room, car accidents, arrests, etc. (For the record, I was never technically arrested though I often found myself amongst people who were. The ability to portray innocence when obviously guilty would definitely be my mutant X-Men power).

And then you have the subtle self-inflicted annoyances that we foist upon ourselves in an effort to create Facebook moments. The most obvious example would probably be the attempt to take your toddlers to a sporting event and then spending three hours plying them with food and drinks to keep them interested. (Of course this is a Catch-22 as that means copious amounts of sugar which only serves to make them more distracted which means more food, more distraction, more food, more dist . . . fuck it let's just go). 

One of the greatest testaments to my own obliviousness and stupidity was thinking that my kids could sit through an entire football game when I can't even sit through an entire football game. Inevitably in that situation, you start rooting for a moving clock more than you root for the home team and every timeout feels like an eternity. At least when you take your kids to a baseball game, you can just wait for the end of an inning when the players run off the field and tell them it's over.  

I'm not talking about just any  bathhouse 
in Budapest. I'm talking about the actual 
swill hole you see in this picture.  
But none of those experiences compare to the blunt force trauma to the head that is the Halloween trip to the pumpkin farm. If you have yet to experience this, brace yourself for hell on a hayride and, if you've been through it already, prepare to commiserate. Allow me to paint the picture and I will preface this by saying that, of all the settings this world has to offer, the traditional farm ranks near the bottom for me right next to a few other random venues in which I have found myself like a bathhouse in Budapest and a sightseeing boat in Mexico.**

So how do you get yourself into this predicament? Well, first you find yourself a farm. If you're lucky, you find one owned by a rich stock broker who always wanted to be a farmer but then realized how much work that takes so he keeps the dream alive by bringing in some borderline carnies once a year to run a little Halloween gig. If that's the case, your kids will get to pet farm animals that don't look like they've been on a hunger strike in between being mauled by coyotes and the corn maze might actually be made of real live growing corn. In this scenario, your greatest fears are mad cow disease, impalement on some kind of Chuck Norris style protruding corn stalk/death trap or your wife deciding she wants to decorate the entire goddamn porch with gourds at ten bucks a pop. If we call this Scenario One, let's just say that the worst case version of Scenario One is ten times better than the best case version of Scenario Two. Write that down. 

In Scenario Two you find yourself at a farm in the middle of a more populated area. (I'm going to assume these exist anywhere urban sprawl has encroached on what used to be farmland - like the suburbs of Baltimore). Here you'll find a "maze" made of two foot high hay bales and you'll pay three bucks for your kid to make one left turn and then climb over them because hopefully your kid's not an idiot. With the exception of your departure, that will be the highlight of your visit because it's a steady decline from there.

Next you'll wander over to the petting zoo to spend ten minutes waiting for the goat who looks like he's been living off of crabgrass and Marlboro Lights for the last six months to snap your kids left index finger off. After briefly interacting with something that is either a really mangy sheep or a really ugly poodle, you'll take the whole family for a lengthy Purell decontamination shower (if you've seen Silkwood,*** this will seem familiar). By now you've worked-up a healthy thirst so you grab some dixie cups full of apple cider and deep down you hope it's been over fermented enough to get you drunk or, in a perfect world, kill you instantly.   

And finally, just when you're high as a kite on apple moonshine and Halloween spirit, it's time for the main attraction - the hayride. This entails standing in line for half an hour waiting your turn to get towed around by a John Deere tractor because what's more fun than having your spine bounced out of alignment while diesel fumes are pumped into your lungs from three feet away? I'm pretty sure it's called a hayride because "Hey, this sucks!" 

Forty-five minutes later and you're pulling a wagon full of pumpkins and fucking gourds through a checkout line. At the register, you get suckered into buying a $9.00 jug of apple cider that the "farmer" bought at the grocery store that morning for $2.75 because you have no fight left in you at that point. By the time you load the pumpkins and the fucking gourds in the trunk, you are a broken, nauseous, shell of a man. The next day you will be hungover. Not so much from the apple moonshine but from the experience that will have drained you like a night of binge drinking without the benefit of erasing your memory of it. Not to mention, the fucking gourds will be all over the damn house to remind you.    

Depending on how many kids you have and your threshold for misery, this experience can repeat itself anywhere from about five to ten times. Then one day you wake-up on a Sunday in October feeling that familiar sense of dread as you wait for the announcement that it's time to go the pumpkin farm but that announcement never comes and it is at that moment that you know your debt to the pagan gods has been paid in full . . . and you are thankful . . . and you weep with joy.


Looks like I'm taking the bus.
Wait, the bus is free right?
* My personal version of this is slightly different in that it involved my dad waking me up at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday to tell me he was selling "my" car. In a rare moment of twenty-two year old restraint, I did not say what immediately came to mind which was "then how in the hell am I supposed to get to the golf course?" I called his bluff by stretching my unemployment deep into the fall and then it turned-out he wasn't bluffing, just slow-playing because one morning I looked out the window and someone else was driving away in "my" car. All I needed to complete the scene was a pizza and a dress in a dry-cleaning bag.

** Boarded that sucker for all of 30 seconds before saying "nope" and abandoning ship right back down the gangplank. 

*** Silkwood is a movie starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher about people who are contaminated with nuclear stuff. It's actually less uplifting than it sounds. Here is one of the naked shower scenes a/k/a the worst Pornhub clip ever.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Country Club Libtard

We skipped the Safeway Open preview last week because the guy who recently changed his Twitter name to "Country Club Libtard" doesn't cover golf tournaments sponsored by grocery stores that would dare sell Cheese Whiz, Miracle Whip and non-bug friendly bug repellent.* The Trader Joe's Open maybe. The Wholefoods Open yes. The Weird Co-Op Where the FGR Picks-Up Vegetables from a Suspicious Box in a School Parking Lot Open . . . where do I sign? Actually, I avoid kumbaya grocery stores like they're the DMV because the overly friendly employees make me uncomfortable and trying to get a shopping cart through the aisles is like trying to deliver furniture to an apartment in downtown Mumbai. ("Don't write this down by I find Milton as boring as you probably find Milton"). 

In truth, the reasons for the brief sabbatical were many and none of them had to do with last week's tournament sponsor. But you don't care about that. Fuck it. Let's go through them anyway. Story time!


Part of my job (yes I have a job . . . a paying job) requires me on occasion to testify at hearings on behalf of my employer and against our employees. (This means I often leave the office expecting to find a street sign through my windshield a la Dalton in Roadhouse). Last week was one of those occasions and it resulted in the loss of four hours of my life that I will never get back, two of which were spent sitting in a waiting room listening to a secretary play Wack-a-Mole with a stapler every thirty seconds thereby ruining any chance of a late morning nap. Let's just say that someone appeared to be having a bad day and the fucking staples were going to pay for it. 

Once I finally finished testifying, I did get the pleasure of this exchange with the judge:

Me: Am I free to go?
"I'm going to need you to sit
down and shut the fuck up."

Judge: Do you have somewhere urgent to be?

Me: Urgent?

Judge: You might want to hear what I have to say.

Me: (Inner voice - "I doubt it") Ok. Will we be much longer?

Judge: (Visibly irritated) Not much longer.

Hey, I'll probably never see that guy again. The lesson there is that it's better to be the client than the lawyer. 


I coach a soccer team of 14 year olds and last weekend we had a tournament which is an unnecessarily taxing administrative exercise because trying to get seventeen kids into a weekend soccer tournament is harder than smuggling American embassy workers out of Tehran in 1979 (the references are going to come fast and furious this week so look sharp). The best part is that the parents reward your volunteerism by being super vigilant about returning the necessary forms and providing pertinent information like whether their kid is actually going to show-up (I think he's being sarcastic again). The good news is that we made it all the way to the finals before losing on a bullshit call that the prick ref clearly made to avoid overtime. At least that's what I told the kids.  


So about a year ago I decided to insert myself into a local dispute over whether a gas station should be built in a place where a gas station definitely should not be built (if you haven't figured it out yet, the movie scene that best defines me is the one from Ferris Bueller's Day Off when Jennifer Grey's character walks into Mr. Rooney's office with a scowl on her face and the secretary says, "Hello Jeannie. Who's bothering you know?"). By last Thanksgiving, I had fully engaged myself and was holed-up in our dining room like Carrie Mathison off her meds with stacks of papers everywhere, diagrams, flow-charts and more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone on mushrooms.

"You complete me!"
Fast forward to last week and success is within our reach, however, now a new enemy has emerged in the form of the reactionary mob who want to capitalize on our momentum by demanding that the gas station be replaced with a more Earth friendly concept like say a day spa for turtles or a butterfly ranch. It turns-out that community activist kook might be more overzealous than soccer parent kook. I clearly need to start spending more time around the putting green with the guys who smoke cigars and discuss how few fucks they have to give and less time wearing my Captain Righteous cape. 


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the lingering effects of the previous weekend's Member-Member tournament performance . . . and what a performance it was. On Day #1 we played two nine-hole matches and, after parring the first three holes, I then proceeded to exceed my handicap by eleven shots or, put another way, multiply my handicap times three and then add it to par and that was my score. We were the suckers at the table and we knew we were the suckers at the table.    

In preparation for a better Day #2 performance, I ate three slices of pizza for dinner, washed it down with some red wine and went to a bar with a Grateful Dead cover band until about midnight. For good measure, somewhere along the way I got a giant coffee to ensure that sleeping on my partner's couch would be as restless as possible. Mission accomplished. 

Day #2 began with me waking-up on said couch, putting my clothes from the night before back on and heading to the club an hour before our tee time. Quick shower and a shave (look good play good . . . or something), bowl of oatmeal, couple of putts and we were off. Boom. Double bogey. Here we go again. Except that was followed by birdie, par, par, par, par, birdie, bogey and a par. Seriously, this fucking game. That, combined with my partner adding a par on top of my double and a birdie on one of my pars, put us right back in contention. For about half an hour.

We played the fourth match with less energy than a kid going to the dentist on the morning of the first day of school after discovering that all five of his goldfish had a suicide pact ("Goodbye cruel bowl!"). The fact that I had no idea how far my irons were going started to become a problem so, on our sixth hole, I decided to redirect my frustration by questioning my partner's club selection (he made par and I of course made bogey). By the time that nine was done, we had mathematically eliminated ourselves with another match yet to play. If there's one thing I love more than playing golf badly, it's playing golf badly with no chance of winning a prize and the temporary admiration of my drunk friends.  

As it turned-out, the last match featured the highlight of the weekend. I was riding shotgun in the cart which, for some reason, our caddie was driving and, at the very moment that I caught sight of my ball and decided to step-out, he jammed on the breaks and took a hard left propelling me into a three step sprint followed by a 3/4 somersault that ended with me staring at the clouds. Oh the grass felt so warm and comforting that all I really wanted to do was stay there . . . forever. Unfortunately, my landing spot was in full view of at least two greens and two tee boxes so the last remnant of my pride forced me to get-up quickly and pretend like nothing happened. Miraculously, no one saw me other than the caddie who was mortified meaning that I then had to spend the rest of the hole telling him it was ok. And that brings us to the moral of our story. If you're going to eject a member from the cart, make sure it's the Country Club Libtard.        

Thank you for listening. This has been very cathartic. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go meet with some people about building a vegan steak house.    


* Out of countless the hypocrisies that I represent, the food thing might be the most egregious. I am the first to pass judgment on the guy filling-up his 32 oz Dr. Pepper at 7-11 as I dilute my coffee with chemically engineered faux dairy crap. And don't think I won't consider alerting child protective services if I see you walking into McDonald's with your kids as me and mine exit Five Guys with a five pound paper bag full of fried potatoes and salt. I think this all started when I switched my go-to breakfast from cereal to kale smoothies. Somehow that turned me into a nutrivangelist Joel Osteen flying around in my private jet fueled by Chick-fil-a sauce to preach about the sins of excess as I conclude every order with ". . . and let's put some bacon on that."  

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fantasy Golf: The CIMB Classic Preview

I more or less took last week off but, if you care enough to visit the website and you checked-out the sidebar, you'd know that the picks were shockingly strong and included the winner (though that was only like a 3 to 1 shot). We've got a randomly good October tournament this week but, instead of previewing it, I've decided to write about why I didn't write last week. Trust me. It will all make sense at some point this week. In the meantime, enjoy this gambling advice from the red hot FGR along with a subtle message to a couple of raging assholes.  

The One and Done Pick: Justin Thomas
Fuck you Cam and Harvey!!!

The DraftKings Top Ten Values
Justin Thomas
Paul Casey
Gary Woodland
Kevin Na
Bud Cauley
Chez Reavie
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
James Hahn
Adam Hadwin
Keegan Bradley

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com