Thursday, December 31, 2020

The FGR 2020 Year in Review - Part 1

Hey how about that 2020 am I right? If only we had only known that the lady in the Peloton commercial who got the bike for Christmas was a witch, we probably would've left her alone. Instead we pissed her off and now look at us. All riding bikes in our basements and and gazing at Netflix like a bunch of zombified toddlers watching Baby Einstein videos on a loop. We're really really sorry Peloton witch lady . . . can we please please go back to the gym and Applebee's now? Because goddamn I do miss eatin' good in the neighborhood. 

Anyway, a year this fucked-up definitely deserves a recap and I may not be just the guy to do it but I'm going to be one of the guys who does it. I believe I can bring a unique perspective to this because (a) I have my own perspective on it, and (b) I'm the only one who has my perspective thereby making it unique by definition. (These are the kinds of things that people who've been living on a desert island say right after they marry and subsequently divorce a palm tree over irreconcilable differences about how to raise the kids).  

If this goes the way I have it planned, we'll delve into some golf, a little entertainment and of course my personal travails. Basically a little song . . . little dance . . . a little seltzer down the pants. (All credit to The Mary Tyler Moore Show).

Let's jump right in and take it month by month starting in January which seems like five years ago considering that we could still go bowling and get tattoos in states other than Florida back then. This is Part 1 and it will cover three months. It will hopefully be followed by subsequent posts that carry us all the way through December but, based on my history of multi-part efforts, we'll be lucky to make it to mid-September. 

JANUARY

  • The golf season started-off with a bang as Justin Thomas won a three-way playoff over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed at the Tournament of Champions. In true FGR fashion, I picked Jon Rahm to win and pegged Thomas as "The Other Guy I'd Pick" as if that's a real thing in gambling. The remaining three tournaments of the month would be won by Cameron Smith, Andrew Landry and Marc Leishman a/k/a two guys who have sniffed a major and Andrew Landry.  
  • "Excuse me pops."
    With the Titans taking-out the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens would only need to handle the Chiefs at home in the AFC Championship game and then they'd get to trample some poor sap NFC team to win the Super Bowl. 
Instead the Ravens threw the ball 59 times and ran it 29 times in a 28-12 loss to the Titans while letting Derrick Henry relive his high school glory days of running over future mattress salesmen. These statistics seem relevant because the 2019 Ravens ran for 3,296 yards in the regular season which made them, let's see here . . . the greatest rushing team in NFL history. It's ok (audibly grinding teeth). I'm totally over it.  
  • Our eldest son departed for Belize to coach soccer and live above a bar on the beach. Basically the life I aspire to after I've worked-off my debt to society, karma and various colleges and financial institutions. He was supposed to be there for five months. More on that later in this episode. 
  • I have no idea what shows I was binging in January because back then I had a life beyond just watching and eating and WATCHING AND EATING and . . . sorry, I'm back. As proof, I flew to Florida to play in a lacrosse tournament and broke three ribs in the first game. If I had know what was coming, I definitely would've risked the punctured lung and played the next three games instead of just standing on the sideline drinking Bud Lights while working the refs like a Long Island soccer mom.  
  • My Twitter feed indicates that at some point this month my therapist asked me to write down all of the things that kept me awake at night and then, after carefully scrutinizing the 59 things I wrote on the white board, she turned to me like Matt Dillion and said "the handwriting is fascinating . . . you might be homicidal." So we added that to the list to make it an even 60 which was comforting because I have an issue with prime numbers and the 59 was making me want to stab someone. 
FEBRUARY
  • Golf opened the month strong again (smooth segue) with Webb Simpson finishing birdie-birdie at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to force a playoff with Tony Finau which he won with another birdie. The loss guaranteed Finau continued status as the face of the Puerto Rico Open curse, a position he would hold until December 6th when the curse was broken for him (more on that in a second). I made no mention of Simpson in my preview that week, however, I did pick Hideki Matsuyama who finished T16 and I spelled Martin Laird's name wrong.   
  • Later that month, Viktor Hovland would win the aforementioned Puerto Rico Open and become the latest victim of the curse. For those with better things to do than keep track of golf curses, the gist of the Puerto Rico Open curse is that once you win the tournament, you never win any other tour event again and that held true from 2008 until a few weeks ago when Hovland won the Mayakoba Golf Classic. It figures that a Norwegian would break it because everyone knows that if you want to get rid of a curse, you hire a Viking. Or is it a Saxon? Shit I can never remember.     
  • Saturday Night Live delivered the Del Taco Shoot sketch which I believed to be the best thing they've produced in at least five years thanks in large part to Adam Driver but my opinion was met with significant resistance so here it is if you want the definitive answer on whether you have a high functioning sense of humor . . . Del Taco Shoot    
  • I know Billy. The economy
    of words is exquisite right?
    I must have been watching something because it was the middle of winter in Baltimore for chrissakes. All we do here in February is go to bars and watch television. If you take those away, Baltimore is the dark side of Uranus. I was probably into Goliath which makes sense because it's about a boozy lawyer who likes to stir shit up. Of course Billy Bob's character is a trial lawyer who likes to stir-up political shit and not just a corporate lawyer who likes to be disruptive on conference calls and re-reads his own emails with pride because they're so damn well written but . . .   
MARCH
  • Little did we know that when Tyrrell Hatton won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a stroke, it would be the last real golf we'd see in three months not counting the first round of The Players which was the fake frisbee throw of 2020 sports. I don't know about you but I was pretty na├»ve at that point thinking that there was no way this thing was going to shut-down golf. Hospitals, schools and churches sure . . . BUT NOT SPORTS!!! 
  • Two days after they shutdown The Players, my family was in an airport getting ready to board a plane for Belize when a friend of mine who is in the import/export business called me and said "good luck getting back . . . we'll see you in July." I was, however, undaunted because (1) the condo we reserved was not cheap, and (2) I did not want to abandon my son down there in the middle of a worldwide pandemic (probably in that order). So we went and got back without incident unless you count my stand-off with a large Belizean airport security guard over his lack of social distancing enforcement. Pretty sure he was doing everything in his power to keep his fist socially distanced from my face.   
  • As part of this year-end review exercise, I scrolled through my Facebook posts to remind me what was going on in my life at the time. I don't post as much on Facebook as I used to because I'm pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg is the same devil's nephew who invented the stubbed toe and the cold sore a few thousand years ago but I did find this tidy little pandemic onset timeline (modern day commentary included):   
    • March 1st: The spatially unaware are running amok in the gym this morning. (One of the few upsides of 2020 is fewer encounters with the spatially unaware for whom I have unlimited disdain).  
    • March 14th: I continue to stand by my position that Matt Damon’s character from “The Martian” is always the president we need (accompanied by this quote which I'm sure I posted at 2:00 a.m. with an unfinished glass of red wine teetering precariously on the edge of a coaster).
    • March 22nd: (Accompanied by a picture of me at the airport wearing an N95 mask which I will spare you . . . you're welcome). Ah the familiar smell of the boatyard. The only things missing are the bluish hue of bottom paint all over my face and the hillbilly in the pickup truck driving by every hour to tell me they found a picture of me in Rock Hudson’s wallet before cackling wildly and speeding away. (A reference to my high school summer job grinding the paint off the bottom of sailboats that had been pulled from the water and lined-up in columns so the owner of the yard's dipshit sons could race around them in pick-up trucks when they weren't sniffing the aforementioned blue paint).  

    • A guy who used to be a cook in the Coast Guard (so he knows stuff) just told me he read somewhere that if you mix two tablespoons of oregano and a teaspoon of Pennzoil in six ounces of Sunny Delight and chug it while watching “The Price is Right,” it cures Athlete’s Foot . . . the more you know. (And to think my cynicism about the hoaxers and anti-vaxers was still in its infant stage at that point).

  • On March 31st I reviewed the curbside grocery pick-up at my local Safeway as follows . . . 

Seems like an appropriate place to take a break because the wine and the edible are currently colliding and we don't want it to get weird(er). The good news is that it only took me two weeks of writing and editing for this post to meet my high publishing standards so we'll see you back here for Part 2 sometime in mid-January. In the meantime, let's try to get through this by staying civil and only mocking people behind their backs.    

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The RSM Classic Preview

This week has gone out of its way to derail me from what I believe is a perfect writing streak since golf returned to action in June. Monday was just a total fucking pandemic grind and then Tuesday said "hold my beer" as I spent a good chunk of the morning wandering around IKEA convincing myself with little effort that, if there was a hell on Earth for men, it would be an heavily merchandized store devoted to shit quality impossible to build furniture with unpronounceable names. And of course mind numbing modern pop music would be ringing through the fucking Fjallbo and shaking the Upplaga right off the goddamn Morbylanga.     

Then I decided to brighten today by going in for my annual physical to make sure that my liver hasn't given-up hope and moved to Sarasota. After navigating and lying my way through the Rona screening (hey I've had half the symptoms every morning for the last 20 years), I took my seat in the waiting area. And that's when the inspiration fairy decided to pay a visit.

Within a matter of minutes I heard the distinctive sound of bitter old person anger at the check-in station and I immediately tuned-in to see if there was a Twitter star in the making. Apparently this elderly woman who appeared to be in her 90's had made a prior request for assistance upon arrival so a nurse was there to warmly greet her with a wheelchair which this cranky old bat immediately scoffed at and dismissed in disgust like it was a gay grandchild. 

But Grandma Hannity was just getting started. After ruining everyone's day at the entrance, she begrudgingly allowed herself to be escorted by the nurse through the waiting area at which point she decided to fully vocalize her frustration at the COVID protocols by speculating aloud that, "THESE CHINESE REALLY MUST HATE US . . . COMMIE CHINESE . . . BOY DO THEY HATE US." Normally one must dine at a Panda Express to get that mad at the Chinese. Memaw is gonna be a real hoot on the Thanksgiving Zoom call this year.   

TWEET OF THE WEEK

There were a lot of strong candidates this week but this one allows me to remind everyone that I picked DJ to win the Masters on this very website going so far as to say "I wouldn't be surprised if he won by 4+ shots this year." What can I say? I'm an expert. Says it right there in my Twitter bio. 



  

GOLF ANALYSIS FOR THE ATTENTION DEFICITED 

Here's everything you need to know about this tournament. A lot of these sneaky British types (I'm looking at you Poulter) are going to hang around and play this week but fuck those crumpet eaters. This is a tournament for good ole boys (Kevin Kisner) and the well-healed southern elites (James Frederick Webb Simpson). So primarily stick with the guys who drive $75K pickup trucks and pray to dear lord baby Jesus and you'll do just fine. 

Feels like a good week to pick a
guy named Russell from Macon.
One and Done Pick: Russell Henley

Other Guy I'd Pick: Webb Simpson

Sleeper Pick: Adam Schenk

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Webb Simpson

$11,200

Russell Henley

$10,100

Sebastian Munoz

$9,000

Kevin Kisner

$8,600

Doc Redman

$8,100

Talor Gooch

$7,900

Denny McCarthy

$7,700

Harold Varner, III

$7,400

Stewart Cink

$7,300

Adam Schenk

$6,800

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The Masters Preview

I'm not going to bore you with any personal stories because I kind of recognize that Masters week is bigger than the FGR. Not to mention, I know we're all exhausted and no one wants to hear about how I didn't get drunk and do anything stupid over the weekend because where's the fun in that? (Shit I didn't even do a Fireball shot or pretend to try to smoke a cigarette). So we're going to keep it really golfy in honor of the occasion. 

Before we get to this week's preview, however, I want to take a moment to reflect back on last year's Masters because I don't really feel like Tiger Woods got enough credit for what he accomplished if you can believe that. Maybe it's because they moved the final round start time up to beat the weather or because it took two back nine double bogeys by Francesco Molinari to open the door. But I don't remember seeing a deep dive into the absurdly ridiculous final leaderboard that Tiger topped to win the green jacket. (Note that there could have been a dozen articles written on this very topic but I don't read anything anyone else writes about golf).

Check out this partial list of players (including contemporaneous world rankings) who finished in the top twelve and within five shots of the winning score:

He's simply the GOAT.  
End of story.
T2 - Dustin Johnson (2)

T2 - Brooks Koepka (4)

T2 - Xander Schauffele (10)  

T5 - Francesco Molinari (7)

T5 - Jason Day (14)

T5 - Tony Finau (15)

T5 - Webb Simpson (23)

T9 - Jon Rahm (8)

T9 - Rickie Fowler (9)

T9 - Patrick Cantlay (21)

T12 - Justin Thomas (5)

T12 - Matt Kuchar (16)

T12 - Bubba Watson (17)

That ain't the Mayakoba Classic field my friends. He out-kicked 7 of the top 10 players in the world and 13 of the top 25 and he did it coming from behind with birdies on 13, 15 and 16 as that posse was swarming all around him. I don't even like Tiger that much anymore but that was some next level impressive shit, the likes of which we may never see again.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Considering this is Masters week which should be a unifying experience, I decided to avoid tweets that were political in nature and especially those mocking the Four Seasons Total Landscaping debacle but then I changed my mind because I can't stop laughing at this . . . 


MARGINALLY HELPFUL GOLF ANALYSIS

There are a few premises on which my Masters' picks are based that I need to disclose so that you can decide whether you want to ride with me this week. It's like getting ready to go on a four day road trip with seven guys in two cars and as you're making your vehicle choice based on the quality of conversation, one of the two drivers announces that "I plan to eat a shitload of queso dip and listen to a fuck ton of Coldplay boys!" You'll have to decide if I'm that driver in this misguided analogy or the other one based on the following:

  • I believe that Bryson DeChambeau was sent to this Earth to erode happiness from one of the few places it still exists and I will look for any excuse not to pick him even if that excuse is that I have to drive my Aunt Martha to the dentist (like I would ever drive that mean old bat to the dentist*).
  • I don't believe Rory is ever going to win the Masters.
  • I think Justin Thomas has less of a chance to win the Masters than Rory and that has everything to do with something a good golfer once told me about how he putts. (I didn't understand it at the time and can't remember it now).
  • I believe the best shot that Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar have to win majors is at Augusta, though now I just want to see Kuch gag one late and we all know why.
  • I believe that Phil Mickelson is going to contend at least one more time . . . just not this year. 

So with that in mind, the FGR predicts that one of last year's three runner-ups is going to break through with DJ being the most likely after his strong showing in Houston last week. You could argue that his "A" game is better than anyone else's "A" game and there is no way that his final resume is only going to include only one major win. I wouldn't be surprised if he won by 4+ shots this year. 

You can make almost as strong a case for Schauffele who now has seven major top tens in thirteen tries after his 5th place finish at the U.S. Open. It's not if but when for him. 

And that brings us to Koepka who has dropped from #1 in the world to 12th since the start of 2020 but just shot 65-65 on the weekend in Houston. The schedule has been so out of whack that it's easy to forget that he's won four of the last twelve majors and his worst finish in 2019 was a T4 at the British Open. You know there is nothing he'd rather do than snuff out Bryson's limelight and troll him while holding his four major trophies while wearing the green jacket. Talk about a unifying message. 

The rest of the picks are pretty chalky but this is the one tournament where that's ok (as evidenced by last year's final leaderboard). Augusta was practically built for Bubba and Jason Day has been in position to win this thing three times including last year. Rickie Fowler is a bit of a flyer because he's been struggling but I'm sensing a feel good run for him this week. And Kuchar, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari have played here a combined sixteen times in the last five years with zero missed cuts between them so that should be four live cards going into the weekend.

I don't know about you, but to quote my favorite house music D.J.**, I'm downright G. Gordon Giddy. 

That swagger is going to look
damn cool in a green jacket.

One and Done Pick: Dustin Johnson

Other Guy I'd Pick: Xander Schauffele

Sleeper Pick: Ian Poulter

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Dustin Johnson

$10,000

Xander Schauffele

$9,800

Brooks Koepka

$9,700

Bubba Watson

$9,000

Jason Day

$8,400

Rickie Fowler

$8,100

Matthew Fitzpatrick

$7,600

Matt Kuchar

$7,200

Ian Poulter

$7,000

Francesco Molinari

$6,700

This might be the most valuable historical performance chart you'll read all year, if not ever. Notice how it reveals that some guys play well at Augusta almost without fail (Kuchar, Molinari and even Adam Hadwin) while others just can't seem to figure it out (Tyrrell Hatton, Gary Woodland and Shane Lowry). Though don't be surprised if Hatton pulls a 2016 Danny Willet. He's playing about as well as anyone on the planet and, if we've every deserved a miked-up snarky Brit contending for a major on Sunday, 2020 is the year. 

                                THE WALDORF ASTORIA PEST CONTROL 

                                    HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE CHART

 

DK Price

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

Bryson DeChambeau

$11,200

T29

T38

DNP

T21

DNP

Justin Thomas

$10,700

T12

T17

T22

T39

DNP

Jon Rahm

$10,500

T9

4th

T27

DNP

DNP

Rory McIlroy

$10,200

T21

T5

T7

T10

4th

Dustin Johnson

$10,000

T2

T10

DNP

T4

T6

Xander Schauffele

$9,800

T2

T50

DNP

DNP

DNP

Brooks Koepka

$9,700

T2

DNP

T11

T21

T33

Patrick Cantlay

$9,600

T9

MC

DNP

DNP

DNP

Collin Morikawa

$9,500

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Tyrell Hatton

$9,400

T56

T44

MC

DNP

DNP

Webb Simpson

$9,300

T5

T20

MC

T29

T28

Patrick Reed

$9,200

T36

1st

MC

T49

T22

Tiger Woods

$9,100

1st

T32

DNP

DNP

T17

Bubba Watson

$9,000

T12

T5

MC

T37

T38

Adam Scott

$8,900

T18

T32

T9

T42

T38

Tony Finau

$8,800

T5

T10

DNP

DNP

DNP

Hideki Matsuyama

$8,700

T32

19th

T11

T7

5th

Tommy Fleetwood

$8,600

T36

T17

MC

DNP

DNP

Matthew Wolff

$8,500

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Jason Day

$8,400

T5

T20

T22

T10

T28

Jordan Spieth

$8,200

T21

3rd

T11

T2

1st

Rickie Fowler

$8,100

T9

2nd

T11

MC

T12

Paul Casey

$8,000

MC

T15

6th

T4

6th

Louis Oosthuizen

$7,900

T29

T12

T41

T15

T19

Scottie Scheffler

$7,800

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Justin Rose

$7,700

MC

T12

2nd

T10

T2

Matthew Fitzpatrick

$7,600

T21

T38

32nd

T7

DNP

Phil Mickelson

$7,500

T18

T36

T22

MC

T2

Sungjae Im

$7,500

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Abraham Ancer

$7,400

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Cameron Smith

$7,300

T51

T5

DNP

T55

DNP

Gary Woodland

$7,300

T32

MC

MC

DNP

MC

Shane Lowry

$7,300

MC

DNP

MC

T39

MC

Billy Horschel

$7,200

T56

MC

DNP

T17

MC

Lee Westwood

$7,200

DNP

DNP

T22

T2

T46

Matt Kuchar

$7,200

T12

T28

T4

T24

T46

Brendon Todd

$7,100

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

MC

Kevin Kisner

$7,100

T21

T28

T43

DNP

DNP

Danny Willett

$7,000

MC

MC

MC

1st

T38

Ian Poulter

$7,000

T12

T44

DNP

T49

T6

Jason Kokrak

$7,000

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

B. Wiesberger

$6,900

DNP

T24

T43

T34

T22

Brandt Snedeker

$6,900

MC

DNP

T22

T10

MC

Marc Leishman

$6,900

T49

9th

T43

MC

DNP

Henrik Stenson

$6,800

T36

T5

MC

T24

T19

Matt Wallace

$6,800

MC

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Zach Johnson

$6,800

T58

T36

MC

MC

T9

Francesco Molinari

$6,700

T5

T20

T33

DNP

DNP

Kevin Na

$6,700

T46

DNP

MC

DNP

T12

R. Cabrera-Bello

$6,600

T36

T38

MC

T17

DNP

Adam Hadwin

$6,500

DNP

T24

T36

DNP

DNP

Charl Schwartzel

$6,500

MC

MC

3rd

MC

T38

Charles Howell, III

$6,400

T32

DNP

DNP

DNP

DNP

Footnotes

* I of course don't have an Aunt Martha. 

** Yes I have a friend who is a D.J. and I don't know if what he plays is actually "house music" but hat's what I call pretty much everything that isn't The Who, Rush and The Allman Brothers. 

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