Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Corales Puntacana Preview

Everything was going along somewhat swimmingly for the FGR last week until the back nine on Saturday when the wheels came off of the Patrick Reed and Jon Rahm cars as Bryson DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff were positioning themselves to make it a two horse race (wait, what kind of fucking racing metaphor is this?). From there, Bryson just bludgeoned his way to what went from a potentially great U.S. Open finish to an afternoon when most of us were thankful it overlapped with the NFL. 

Actually the wheels started coming-off for me the day before as I was undergoing a tournament experience unlike any other. Playing as a guest in the Erin Hills Flight, I proceeded to split fairway after fairway with the kind of controlled fade that would've made Nick Faldo proud. Unfortunately, I kept leaving myself really awkward yardages like 100, 105, 108, 112, 115, 120, 123, 124 and 128. My partner knew we were in trouble after we had the following exchange:

Me: "I'm between clubs again."

Him: "Which clubs?"

Me: "A gap wedge, a 9-iron and a 6-iron." 

Him: "Maybe you should putt it." 

The flashbacks are still vivid and haunting. Oh the humanity.  

TWEET OF THE WEEK

I feel like this tweet means I should be having an easy year but . . . 

GOLF ANALYSIS

I really have no clue this week and neither does anyone else. The previous two winners of this thing are Graeme McDowell and Bryce Garnett and no one has finished in the top ten both times. So how did I make my picks? Well I've been to Punta Cana so there's that. Then I just tried to picture the final leaderboard really really really hard and below is what I came up with. So, as I said on more than a dozen occasions last week play hard partner!

Wait, they have golf courses in Punta Cana?
Apparently those pages of my brochure
must have been conveniently removed.
One and Done Pick: Adam Long

Other Guy I'd Pick: Sam Burns

Sleeper Pick: J.J. Spaun

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Sam Burns
$10,100
Adam Long
$9,900
Charley Hoffman
$8,900
Adam Schenk
$8,500
Brian Stuard
$8,300
Patrick Rodgers
$8,000
Will Gordon
$7,600
Kevin Chappell
$7,300
Doug Ghim
$7,300
J.J. Spaun
$7,000

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The U.S. Open Preview

The last time they held the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Phil Mickelson treated us to arguably the greatest 72nd hole major meltdown ever on this side of the Atlantic and effectively handed the title to Collin Montgomerie who had of course preemptively choked thereby handing the title to Geoff Ogilvy who also benefited from less than pressure conquering performances by Jim Furyk and Padraig Harrington down the stretch. Just another reminder that golf is fucking hard. 

But Mickelson has often seemed to make it harder than it has to be and he's done it with a certain bravado that has made him simultaneously endearing and mockable. Sportswriter of past notoriety D.J. Gallo wrote a fictional first person blog account of Mickelson's final round meltdown in 2006 with a level of snark and politically correct indifference that I aspire to everyday. I'm not sure it's still available but luckily I copied it verbatim and posted it on my website with some nominal level of attribution which I probably would've learned in an ethics class at journalism school if I hadn't gone to law school where they only offer ethics class every other Sunday during the summer . . . Mickelson's Winged Foot Blog


Unfortunately, I haven't picked-up a club in over a week so there are no personal golf failings to share so please enjoy the Mickelson blog for a few minutes and the always much anticipated Tweet of the Week and then we'll get to some really overthought golf analysis.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Phil at his best . . . 
TAKING MYSELF WAY TOO SERIOUSLY GOLF ANALYSIS

The 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot featured an international leaderboard loaded with the best players of the day including the aforementioned Mickelson, Montgomerie, Furyk, Harrington along with Vijay Singh and Mike Weir (Tiger Woods somehow managed to shoot 76-76 and missed the cut along with all of the fun). The straight hitters you would expect at a classic brutal USGA set-up were there with Steve Stricker, Jeff Sluman and Nick O'Hern all finishing in the top ten. Ultimately the course applied enough pressure to crack most of them except Ogilvy who parred the last four holes including a mega clutch up and down on 18 for the win. 


Always include a picture of Tiger
whether you pick him or not.
This year sets-up for a repeat of 2006 with at least eight of the top players in the world coming-in on something of a roll and at least another eight who are one step behind them. And I'm not even including Tiger in that group or up and comers like Matthew Wolff, Sungjae Im and Viktor Hovland. Then again, I'm not including them in any of my picks either so not even sure why I brought them up. I guess just to fill some time until I . . . oh fuck it. Here's who I like in the order of how much I like them relative to their price tag if that makes sense. 

  • Xander Schauffele ($10,100): He's only been around for three years and in that time he's already won the Tour Championship, the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions so he clearly knows how to close against top competition. During that time, he's played in three U.S. Opens and his results are T5, T6 and T3. He's also tied for 2nd at the 2018 British Open and the 2019 Masters. He's not just knocking on the door, he's knocking really loud and yelling "let me in the damn house . . . you useless fucking kids locked me out again!!!" (It's not just me right?) 
  • Webb Simpson ($9,700): Simpson could be this generation's Andy North+. For the not as well versed in golf history, North won three times on the PGA Tour and two of them were somewhat mind-numbing U.S. Opens at Cherry Hills Country Club and Oakland Hills Country Club. Simpson has a better resume but kind of a similar game as his penchant for accuracy and consistency already bagged him one grinding title at Olympic Club. Winged Foot is going to reward the same style of play and Simpson has quietly worked his way to 6th in the world so he's no slouch. 
  • Jon Rahm ($11,000): Giving the nod to Rahm over DJ this week because you can't pick both of them and Rahm is more accurate off the tee and just as long. The only question is whether he can keep his emotions in check and it looks like he's getting better at that. He's still only 25 and some people take over twice that long to learn how to handle their emotions on the course. And some never do (trust me). 
  • Brendon Todd ($7,400): He's going to be a sexy pick this week because of his driving accuracy and also because he's just so goddamned sexy. Hard to pass-up at any price but he's almost irresistible at $7,400. 
  • Patrick Reed ($8,500): Could there be a more fitting U.S. Open winner for 2020? (You know I'm right).
  • Martin Kaymer ($7,100): Don't look now but the mercurial German is coming-in hot after a runner-up and a T3 in his last two tournaments. If he leads wire-to-wire for a three shot win, I'm going to split the coffee table in half with my forehead. 
  • Tommy Fleetwood ($8,900): This pick feels a bit trendy but your other options in this range are Tony Finau, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Tiger all of whom seem to come with flapping red flags . . . especially Day considering the cooler conditions and the fact that he instantly catches pneumonia when it drops below 82 degrees. 
  • Chez Reavie ($6,900): We need someone to play the Steve Stricker/Mike Weir role in this year's production and Chez is our guy. 
  • Lee Westwood ($7,000): I had Alex Noren in this spot but his U.S. Open track record is really spotty with a truckload of missed cuts surrounding a lone T25. Westwood has had past success in this event when he's playing well (which he is now) and he's definitely not afraid to grind - a trait made more impressive by the fact that he putts like a 5 handicap with the shakes (trust me). 
  • Shane Lowry ($7,700): The last slot I filled in my top ten and not because I don't like his chances but it always just feels kind of fluky when he plays well. That may not be fair now that he's a British Open champion but he has missed 11 of his last 25 cuts in majors. On the other hand, it's going to be a lot cooler than it would have been back in June and he's a beefy Irish guy so that's a nice fit. No offense Shane.
That's my line-up and I'm going with Schauffele for the stirring one shot win over Simpson and Rahm. And I fully expect to see Patrick Reed scare the shit out of us deep into the final round before God finally wakes the fuck up and says, "I think they've had enough for one year." For those who like to see it presented in the traditional FGR fashion, here you go.  

Actual photo of Patrick
Reed watching the news.
One and Done Pick: Xander Schauffele

Other Guy I'd Pick: Webb Simpson


Sleeper Pick: Martin Kaymer 


DraftKings Top Ten Values


Jon Rahm
$11,000
Xander Schauffele
$10,100
Webb Simpson
$9,700
Tommy Fleetwood
$8,900
Patrick Reed
$8,500
Shane Lowry
$7,700
Brendon Todd
$7,400
Martin Kaymer
$7,100
Lee Westwood
$7,000
Chez Reavie
$6,900

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The Safeway Open Preview

So I broke a 46 hole birdie-less streak on Monday which is kind of a big deal when you're out there posing and preening as a douchy mid single digit handicap. The culprit was and probably still is easy enough to identify. It's my fucking putter which now feels as comfortable in my hands as a temperamental toddler crocodile. When I finally did make a birdie, it came after almost acing a par 3 as witnessed by one of the assistant pros who said "it almost went in Mr. Elliott" to which I replied "want to watch me miss the fucking putt?" He apparently did not as he quietly moved along to a less volatile situation anywhere else on the property.

The irreconcilable differences between me and my putter began a couple weeks ago before a 34 putt debacle in what will be remembered as the gag match of 2020. And that round miraculously included a couple of birdie putts that somehow went in so you can only imagine the misadventures on the other sixteen greens. But I'm over it. Really. Haven't thought about it in like thirty seconds. No wait, just winced again.  

TWEET OF THE WEEK

This is pretty much how I expect to feel waking-up every day for the rest of 2020 knowing that the pools are closing, the virus is regrouping and winter is most definitely coming mutherfuckers.  

DE MINIMIS GOLF ANALYSIS

For more in-depth analysis this week or for any depth at all, this is one of the rare occasions where I would encourage you to read the PGATour.com Power Rankings. The writing is typically bland and uninspired but the information is solid. Then again, it's hard not to exceed the low expectations of forecasting a tournament with no buzz. But I'll give it a shot anyway.  

I have a feeling that Phil Mickelson is going to sling it around pretty good on a course he likes and you are almost obligated to pick Brendan Steele here based on his wins in 2017 and 2018. I also like Joel Dahmen. Mainly because I like Joel Dahmen so proceed cautiously with that reasoning which almost forces me to pick Pat Perez every week. 

The rest of the picks are kind of the usual collection of random hopefuls except for Wesley Bryan who would appear to have some serious upside as the guy who missed about two years with a shoulder injury and has now finished 24th, 21st and 31st in his last three starts. Beware the guy who has recently rediscovered his love for the game. Hopefully that will be me one day after my putter is resting peacefully on the bottom of a fucking lake. 

This is the actual Safeway in my neighborhood.
You know the one that apparently no longer sells 

those little dishwasher wand sponges. WTF?!?!?
One and Done Pick: Joel Dahmen

Other Guy I'd Pick: Tyler Duncan

Sleeper Pick: Wesley Bryan

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Phil Mickelson
$10,600
Brendan Steele
$10,000
Joel Dahmen
$9,500
Tyler Duncan
$8,400
Mark Hubbard
$8,100
Patrick Rodgers
$7,600
Talor Gooch
$7,300
Scott Piercy
$7,200
Wesley Bryan
$7,100
Martin Laird
$7,000

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The Tour Championship Preview

Well at least I'll get the golf course right this week assuming they didn't up and move this one too without telling anyone . . . shut up.

It turns-out that botching last week's preview was just the warm-up act for a week of debaclery (I know all the best words) culminating with me pulling an epic gag job on the 19th hole of a match that actually mattered to me and the weirdos in the worm store.* But hey, it's not like my partner and I clawed back from 3 down with 4 to play only to both throw-up on our shoes in overtime. Actually it was exactly like that. Fuck it. That which does not kill me makes for good writing fodder. Maybe I'll share the details later after the area is cleared of sharp objects. 

Moving on . . .     

TWEET OF THE WEEK

An icon in the making and he was just getting warmed-up dammit. Man this was one grounded, talented and cool dude . . . 

RISING FROM THE ASHES LIKE A FUCKING PHOENIX GOLF ANALYSIS

We've got only three former winners in the field and ten guys who've never played here before so that's kind of weird. And then we have to reconcile that with the fact that the leaderboard at East Lake tends to hold pretty true to form while we work within the confines of DraftKings wacky 30 man field formula (which is awesome by the way). Now add the fact that I'm slightly inebriated and let's see where this takes us.  

First off, D.J. is out. He's just too expensive and prone to drop a stink bomb like he did last year and it's preposterous to think he's worth $3,300 more than Justin Thomas and beyond ludicrous to think he's worth $5,500 more than Rory McIlroy who's won here twice. Suffice it to say I'm recommending Thomas and McIlroy. I stand by my belief that Thomas is the best player in the world until he keeps proving that I'm almost but not quite right. 

This course feels like an ideal set-up for Collin Morikawa to pull a 2017 Xander Schauffele so I'm picking both of them. Even after his win at the PGA Championship, I'm still not sure people understand how good Morikiawa is. He's really fucking good. And so is Schauffele who is going to either win this week or one of the two remaining majors. Deal with it!

Now it gets interesting. I'm going with Hideki Matsuyama over Daniel Berger based on course history (that's not the interesting part). And you are almost obligated to take Tony Finau who is a top five machine even if he's destined to be a glitzier version of Charles Howell, III. Brendon Todd is a ridiculous value. Even for a zombie. 

You kinda gotta go with Billy Horschel at $5,700 right? I mean who wants to be sitting there on Sunday smacking their forehead as Horschel back-doors a 5th place finish? I don't. And I feel almost the same way about Ryan Palmer who will inevitably play in the second to last group before fading to 7th. 

We need one low priced new guy and I like Viktor Hovland because, out of all the low-priced new guys, he's by far the best golfer. 

And one final note . . . Scottie Scheffler could contend and, if I had the energy to write this over again, I'd probably pick him but you have now idea how much work it is for this caveman to get all of this shit on here every week in some semblance of order. So I'm not changing it. But I think I'd take Scheffler over Finau. I'll probably see how the numbers workout and tweet my final decision from a bathroom stall tomorrow. Stay classy West Towson . . . 

Just look at him . . . he definitely
knows something we don't know. 
One and Done Pick: Xander Schauffele

Other Guy I'd Pick: Justin Thomas


Sleeper Pick: Viktor Hovland


DraftKings Top Ten Values


Justin Thomas
$11,900
Collin Morikawa
$10,400
Rory McIlroy
$9,700
Hideki Matsuyama
$9,300
Xander Schauffele
$8,900
Tony Finau
$8,200
Brendon Todd
$7,600
Viktor Hovland
$6,600
Billy Horschel
$5,700
Ryan Palmer
$5,400

Thanks to all of the new guys, we have a lot of DNP's so most of the value of the chart is at the top but hard to ignore Horschel's runner-up in 2018 and not featured is his win in 2014. Also revealing is how badly Marc Leishman plays this course. He did, however, finish +30 last week so he's coming in off a lot of reps.    


                      THE FLY THE DEFIANT SKIES OF ANTIFA AIRLINES 
                               HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE CHART


DK Price
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
Dustin Johnson
$15,200
T29
3rd
T17
T6
T5
Jon Rahm
$12,700
T12
T11
T7
DNP
DNP
Justin Thomas
$11,900
T3
T7
2nd
T6
DNP
Webb Simpson
$11,000
T16
T4
T13
DNP
DNP
Collin Morikawa
$10,400
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
B. DeChambeau
$10,100
T12
19th
DNP
DNP
DNP
Rory McIlroy
$9,700
1st
T7
DNP
1st
T16
Hideki Matsuyama
$9,300
T9
T4
T26
5th
T12
Daniel Berger
$9,100
DNP
DNP
DNP
T15
T12
Xander Schauffele
$8,900
2nd
T7
1st
DNP
DNP
Harris English
$8,700
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
T22
Patrick Reed
$8,500
T9
28th
T13
T24
27th
Tony Finau
$8,200
7th
T15
T7
DNP
DNP
Scottie Scheffler
$7,900
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Brendon Todd
$7,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Sunjae Im
$7,300
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,000
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Kevin Kisner
$6,800
T9
DNP
T3
26th
28th
Viktor Hovland
$6,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Joaquin Niemann
$6,300
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Abraham Ancer
$6,100
T21
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Sebastian Munoz
$5,900
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Billy Horschel
$5,700
DNP
2nd
DNP
DNP
DNP
Lanto Griffin
$5,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Kevin Na
$5,500
DNP
25th
DNP
29th
T16
Ryan Palmer
$5,400
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Cameron Champ
$5,300
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
$5,200
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Cameron Smith
$5,100
DNP
20th
DNP
DNP
DNP
Marc Leishman
$5,000
T24
T21
T24
DNP
DNP

Footnote

* We haven't done a footnote in a while. Anyway, the obscure reference above is derived from a Homer Simpson quote as he's trying to explain to Marge how catching a large fish while all alone in a random pond makes him a hero to "the weirdos in the worm store" which is pretty much what most of us are playing for at this stage of our athletic careers. For we are to each other the weirdos in the worm store.    

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com