Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fantasy Golf: FedEx St. Jude Invitational

There are so many fun facts about the 97 I shot in my misguided attempt to qualify for the club championship last weekend that I'll never be able to recall them all but here are a few of the standouts:

5. The recently lengthened course played as a 7,181 par 70. The fifth hole now plays about 500 yards uphill. After what I thought was a respectable drive into the left rough to avoid the right fairway bunker (which I can't reach anyway), I had 258 yards to the hole. I laid-up with a 7-iron, hit a wedge to ten feet and missed the putt. It would prove to be my third best hole of the day.   

4. The medalist shot 69 so I lost to him by 28. Ironically, several years ago I qualified and played him in the first round surviving all the way to the 16th hole. Ahh irony. You often make me feel like I stepped on a Lego. 

3. When I started the round, my handicap index was a 5.9 and, when I finished the round, my handicap index was a 5.9. Albeit much more defensible. 

2. I played the same ball for the whole round. In fact, I don't really remember having to look for it which is a good thing because my playing partners already had enough reasons to drive over me and back over me again with a cart.  

1. I had somewhere between 44 and 46 putts. I've tried to add them up in my head but they just kept multiplying and coming like the zombies in Game of Thrones so I don't know what the final number was. The highlight was a five-putt on #16 when I was trying to play fast and get out of the way (mission accomplished). 

And now this . . . 



What used to be one of the best events on tour moves to Memphis this year because that's where FedEx wants it and we now know that the people who decide where tournaments are played would do a rat piss flavored jello-shot at a bar if it came with a $5 off coupon for jalapeno poppers. Recent winners at TPC Southwind when it hosted a regular tour event included Ben Crane, Harrison Frazar and Fabian Gomez so, based on those credentials, it gets a WGC event. To quote myself from last year, "but hey, anytime you get to move one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world to the sixth best course in Tennessee . . . you gotta do it right?" Let's move on.      

Dustin Johnson would be the logical choice because he has the best record at TPC Southwind among the top players with two wins there (2012 and 2018) but we appear to be in the midst of a DJ malaise as he's on a run of T20, T35, MC and T51. The T35 at Pebble Beach is especially concerning considering he plays it better than just about anyone in history not named Tiger, Phil or Mark. DJ could certainly bust-out this week but I'm staying away until he stops looking like he can't remember where he left his skateboard. 

I'm also avoiding Brooks Koepka because (a) I'm a stubborn fool and (b) he just doesn't seem to give a crap about non-majors anymore. And why should he? He's well on his way to his goal of being considered one of the best players of all-time and wins at tournaments with "Classic" and "Invitational" in their names add zero value to that cause. It was comical in the Tiger Woods documentary on the Golf Channel when they inserted a big loud graphic telling us that his Masters win this year was his 81st tour victory because yeah, that's how we'll remember it.  

So my theory this week is to go for solid reliable guys who are due for a win and that would include Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama. Beyond the top three, I like Rafa Cabrera Bello, Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker for their past success at the venue and Chez Reavie, Marc Leishman and Kevin Na for having games that seem to fit it. Keegan Bradley is just a hunch. And with that, I'm off to break 90. I hope. 

You do have to admire the natural beauty
and design of TPC Southwind . . . except
 that this of course is TPC River Highlands.
One and Done Pick: Justin Thomas

Other Guy I'd Pick: Xander Schauffele

Sleeper Pick: Keegan Bradley

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Justin Thomas
Xander Schauffele
Hideki Matsuyama
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Chez Reavie
Marc Leishman
Billy Horschel
Brandt Snedeker
Keegan Bradley
Kevin Na

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