Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fantasy Golf: The British Open Preview

The rational minds among us agree that The Masters is the greatest golf major in the same way that we concede without reservation that Wimbledon is the greatest tennis major and The Other Guys is the most brilliant Will Ferrell movie. Interestingly (at least to me), there is little debate as to the runner-up in each of these categories with the British Open (golf), U.S. Open (tennis) and Step Brothers (Ferrell) having a decided advantage over the bronze medal winning U.S. Open (golf), French Open (tennis) and Anchorman (Ferrell). Everything after that is crap except maybe Elf once a year with your kids.     

My point, to the extent I have one, is that the British Open is awesome and only misses-out on the top spot because someone thought to build a perfect golf terrarium in Georgia and had the foresight to give custody of it to a bunch of rich assholes with no fucks to give about what anyone thought of the way they ran it. Hard to believe that formula actually worked to our benefit but even the blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut assuming he's not eaten by the blind hawk first in which case he's one seriously unlucky dead blind squirrel.         

I have such an affinity for the British Open that, up until two years ago, I hosted an annual outing in its honor including a post-round dinner and parimutuel wagering that was decidedly frowned upon at Bushwood. It was actually an idea pitched by a friend of Irish descent who then proceeded to become mysteriously ill on the eve of the event leaving me to run it unassisted (typical fucking Irish). I kept it going for five years until I weighed the effort I was putting into it against the enjoyment I was getting out of it and thought to myself "fuck these guys and fuck this." 


If memory serves, I carried that attitude into the final year as my last act in the event's history was getting into a post-dinner heated political debate that resulted in me throwing a balled-up napkin at a guy which hit his glass of red wine dumping it all over his shirt. After a sincere but terse apology, I stormed-off the property amidst a hale of F-bombs (mostly from me) never to run it again. Oh yeah, that guy was also Irish so perfect symmetry and a fitting conclusion were achieved. I think Oscar Wilde would have approved. Remember, "we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."


And now this . . .     

GOLFBABES TWEET OF THE WEEK


THIS WEEK'S ANALYSIS

The British Open heads to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 and any value we could hope to draw from Max Faulkner's two stroke victory over Antonio Cerda that year has been negated by the course's redesign including the complete replacement of the 17th and 18th holes. So we have a new course and no historical data other than the 2012 Irish Open won by Jamie Donaldson who seems to have faded into Welsh oblivion after beating Keegan Bradley to clinch the 2014 Ryder Cup. So what are we to do?


Well I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter because a British Open guy is a British Open guy is a British Open guy.  Are you going to run-out and dump a big pile of quid on Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau or Justin Thomas just because this new course might make them feel more comfortable with the weather, the time change and the shitty food? Of course not. Nor would I ask you to. 

This is the week you stick to the fundamentals . . . McIlroy, Molinari, Leishman, etc. However, with that being said, I'm going to ask you to take a leap of faith with me on Jordan Spieth. Next to Rory, he is by far the most dominant British Open player of the past five years with a win, a tie for 4th that was essentially a runner-up because he finished one stroke out of a playoff and a tie for 9th last year thanks to a bizarre final round 76. I think he's the closest thing to Tom Watson in his love of this tournament we've seen since, um, Tom Watson.     

If you're not buying my Spieth pitch, then I would point you in the direction of Xander Schauffele who will win one of the next six majors. He has now played in ten of them and finished T6th or better in five including a T2 and T20 in his two British Open starts. His first major win is more inevitable than the audible smell it through your ears fetidness of the next Coldplay album. 

As for the rest of the picks, I'm playing it safe with Matt Kuchar, Matthew Wallace, Eddie Pepperell and Zach Johnson. They're all going to make the cut and at least two but likely three will finish in the top twenty. One will contend on Sunday. Probably Wallace who plays with a chip on his shoulder the size of Phil Mickelson's ego which suddenly and inexplicably seems to be growing exponentially larger with every missed cut.  

And finally this year's sleeper is Andrew "Beef" Johnston who has made a recent resurgence with a T4 at the Scottish Open and proved in his only two other British Open appearances that he's of the type to thrive in this scene. Look for him and Pepperell to celebrate making the cut by showing-up pissed drunk for the third round before shooting 65's to put themselves in contention . . . 3 to 2 one of them says something lewd about the queen or a high ranking member of Parliament.   

It's easy to forget how beautiful Northern Ireland
is because all you think of are "The Troubles" and
Graeme McDowell but it's really quite breathtaking.
One and Done Pick: Jordan Spieth

Other Guy I'd Pick: Xander Schauffele


Sleeper Pick: Andrew Johnston


DraftKings Top Ten Values


Rory McIlroy
$11,600
Xander Schauffele
$9,500
Francesco Molinari
$9,400
Jordan Spieth
$8,900
Matt Kuchar
$8,700
Matthew Wallace
$8,100
Marc Leishman
$7,700
Eddie Pepperell
$7,600
Zach Johnson
$7,200
Andrew Johnston
$6,800

For those new to the Fantasy Golf Report, welcome, and this is where I explain that the chart below only includes players I considered for this week's top ten. All of the high-dollar options are represented so you can make your own decisions on the favorites but the budget players are comprised of only those with strong track records, lesser known talents and whimsical guesses. I hope you find it helpful.  

                                        THE HAVE YOU TRIED THE HAGGIS? 
                                        HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE CHART


DK Price
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Rory McIlroy
$11,600
T2
T4
T5
DNP
1st
Brooks Koepka
$11,400
T39
T6
DNP
T10
T67
Dustin Johnson
$10,900
MC
T54
T9
T49
T12
Jon Rahm
$10,600
MC
T44
T59
DNP
DNP
Tiger Woods
$10,200
T6
DNP
DNP
MC
69th
Justin Rose
$9,900
T2
T54
T22
4th
T24
Tommy Fleetwood
$9,700
T12
T27
MC
MC
MC
Xander Schauffele
$9,500
T2
T20
DNP
DNP
DNP
Francesco Molinari
$9,400
1st
MC
T36
T40
T15
Rickie Fowler
$9,300
T28
T54
T33
T30
T36
Bryson DeChambeau
$9,200
T51
DNP
MC
DNP
DNP
Justin Thomas
$9,100
MC
MC
T53
DNP
DNP
Patrick Cantlay
$9,000
T12
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Jordan Spieth
$8,900
T9
1st
T30
T4
T36
Adam Scott
$8,800
T17
T22
T43
T10
T5
Matt Kuchar
$8,700
T9
2nd
T46
T58
T54
Jason Day
$8,600
T17
T27
T22
T4
T58
Hideki Matsuyama
$8,500
MC
T14
MC
T18
T39
Henrik Stenson
$8,400
T35
T11
1st
T40
T39
Paul Casey
$8,300
T51
T11
MC
T74
T30
Gary Woodland
$8,200
T67
T70
DNP
T58
T39
Matthew Wallace
$8,100
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
$8,000
T28
MC
MC
T2
T36
Shane Lowry
$7,900
MC
MC
MC
MC
T9
Graeme McDowell
$7,900
DNP
DNP
T63
T49
T9
Sergio Garcia
$7,800
MC
T37
T5
T6
T2
Tony Finau
$7,800
T9
T27
T18
DNP
DNP
Marc Leishman
$7,700
60th
T6
T53
T2
T5
Ian Poulter
$7,700
MC
T14
DNP
MC
MC
Matthew Fitzpatrick
$7,600
MC
T44
MC
DNP
DNP
Webb Simpson
$7,600
T12
T37
T39
T34
MC
Eddie Pepperell
$7,600
T6
DNP
DNP
T49
DNP
Phil Mickelson
$7,500
T24
MC
2nd
T20
T23
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
$7,500
74th
T4
T39
T40
MC
Danny Willett
$7,500
T24
76th
T53
T6
MC
Patrick Reed
$7,400
T28
MC
T12
T20
MC
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,400
T51
MC
T5
MC
MC
Brandt Snedeker
$7,400
MC
DNP
T22
MC
T58
Lee Westwood
$7,400
T61
T27
T22
T49
MC
Alex Noren
$7,300
T17
T6
T46
DNP
DNP
Branden Grace
$7,300
MC
T6
T72
T20
T36
Kevin Kisner
$7,300
T2
T54
76th
MC
DNP
Thor Olesen
$7,300
T12
T62
MC
DNP
T64
Hao-Tong Li
$7,300
T39
3rd
DNP
DNP
DNP
Bubba Watson
$7,200
MC
T27
T39
MC
MC
Zach Johnson
$7,200
T17
T14
T12
1st
T47
Russell Knox
$7,100
MC
MC
T30
MC
MC
Emiliano Grillo
$7,100
MC
MC
T12
DNP
DNP
Chez Reavie
$7,100
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
$7,100
DNP
T74
MC
T68
MC
Erik Van Rooyen
$7,100
T17
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Andy Sullivan
$7,000
MC
T70
T12
T30
DNP
Ryan Moore
$6,800
T12
DNP
T46
MC
T12
Andrew Johnston
$6,800
DNP
DNP
T27
8th
DNP
Charley Hoffman
$6,700
T17
T20
77th
MC
T67
Stewart Cink
$6,400
T24
MC
DNP
T20
T47
Chris Wood
$6,300
T28
T14
W/D
DNP
T23

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com