Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fantasy Golf: The PGA Championship Preview

Holy shit we've got an honest to goodness real live mutherfucking major this week. I haven't been this excited since the new Clash album. (It came out in 1985, was called Cut the Crap, should've been called Steaming Pile of Crap and I'm old). Before we get to the reason we're here, however, let's recap the last several days because they were actually (and mercifully) somewhat eventful. 

I got to play golf with some friends on Wednesday afternoon, had a few beers in the process and then made the ill-fated decision to run onto a lacrosse field with a bunch of other dream-chasing middle aged dudes later that night. You're not going to believe this but it did not initially go well. 

"Good evening!!!"
After playing some of my patented "help" defense as in "please help me because I can't play defense," our goalie made the regrettable decision of throwing an outlet pass that I miraculously caught and carried over midfield like a disoriented rodeo clown wondering why everyone was yelling at me and then KABLAM!!! Flattened. Which is totally illegal under old man rules but the ref just looked at me laughing and said "I can't call that." And who could blame him? I probably ran straight into the fucking guy.

Thursday morning came very early and brought the annual Father-Son golf tournament at The Unnamed Club that Would Have Me with the always unpredictable and intriguing selective drive/alternate shot format. This year I played with both my dad and my 16 year old son which meant I got saddled with double duty when it came to the alternate shot portion of the show. By about the 13th hole, I was just quietly praying for them to whiff so at least we could stop looking for balls. At one point my son chipped one 90 degrees sideways into a bunker and I asked him "why hast thou forsaken me?" He just half shrugged and said "get it close." By the end of the day I think we were playing an twelve year old Pinnacle with a Michelob logo and a range ball. No one questioned our handicaps. 

But that was ok because my daughter is always there for me in the Parent-Child tournament which was two days later so I at least had a couple nights to rest and not get my orthodontia rearranged. We played my tee shot on the opening par five and, after topping my perfect drive, she left me about 235 yards. I was able to get it to the rough about five yards from the front of the green. Never to be outdone by her older brothers, she proceeded to chip it sideways into the water which really set the tone for a day where I was eternally grateful for (a) the 9-hole format, and (b) the fact that we didn't have to wait around for the awards ceremony which always feels like a talent show at a senior center.      

We'll get to the golf stuff in a minute but first, this . . .


The only way this would be a better metaphor for 2020 is if a Kanye song was playing in the background and one of these amphibiously challenged yokels was wearing a Redskins Donovan McNabb jersey. And can someone please tell me what this guy is trying to achieve by working the throttle like a meth head at a slot machine? 


We're definitely trending in the right direction after a solid showing across the board at the 3M Open followed by picks of Justin Thomas to win and Phil Mickelson as a sleeper last week. Please excuse the Rafa Cabrera-Bello recommendation. That's an ailment I come down with once a year and it won't happen again. Until next year.  

They don't play much pro golf at Harding Park Golf Course but here is what we do know. In 2005, it hosted a WGC event with a loaded final top ten including Tiger Woods at the top along with Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Henrik Stenson, Vijay Singh and Graeme McDowell. So that's a really good sign because we like golf courses where good players play well. Then in 2015 it hosted the WGC Match Play and Rory McIlroy beat Gary Woodland in the final. Also a really good sign. I know it was match play but I'm working with what I got here people.

So we have a golf course that good players like and here are the relevant winners since the restart in June with their current world rankings (no offense to Richie Werenski and Michael Thompson but you guys don't fit my narrative): Daniel Berger (20), Webb Simpson (4), Dustin Johnson (5), Bryson DeChambeau (7), Collin Morikawa (12), Jon Rahm (2), and Justin Thomas (1). That's a pretty solid menu. Now throw-in Brooks Koepka (T2 last week), the aforementioned past winners here (Tiger and Rory), the overdue for a major guys (Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Cantlay) . . . and we could really have something special on tap.    

[I'd like to note that we're now nine paragraphs into this so-called "preview" and you haven't told us who to pick yet] . . . hey now don't get excited . . . don't lose your head. We wouldn't want anyone to lose that. 

Here's how I see it. My five favorites in order are (this includes everyone dammit): 

1. Brooks Koepka: What can I say? I like the guy who found his game last week and has won four of the last seven majors. It also feels like, of all the contenders, Brooks needs this the least and, after no majors since last year, that may work to his benefit. I can picture him strolling around the range and stopping near Bryson to ask no one in particular "why's it so quiet out here?"

2. Xander Schauffele: (Pronounced "Zander Show-Flayyyyy"). He's been flying under the radar lately but he finished T6 last week and, in the last seven majors he has two runner ups, a T3 and a T6. He's really fucking good and he's due.  

3. Tyrrell Hatton: He stunk last week but before that he went T4, T3 and he won the last tournament before everything shutdown.  

4. Collin Morikawa: It's only his second major (he finished T35 at the 2019 U.S. Open) but his game is just so damn solid that I don't see him straying far from the top five. 

5. Dustin Johnson: He's almost surely going to win another major and whatever concerns there were about his health should have been dispelled with his T12 last week (I hope). DJ is either going to contend or miss the cut by seven shots so it depends on how much you want to gamble on that upside. 

I would also fully condone a Justin Thomas pick but it feels like all of the other favorites have some hair on them. From Rory's putting to Rahm's temper to Bryson's douchiness, it just feels like there are better options. I guess I could kind of be talked into Webb Simpson but is he really a two major guy? Meh. Same feeling for Patrick Cantlay. Not even sure he's a one major guy. 

And as for Tiger, I don't think he even feels like he can win this week. His recent light schedule has to be geared toward winning at Winged Foot and Augusta. I mean I'm sure it means nothing to him that Jack Nicklaus has four U.S. Open titles to his three and six Masters titles to his five. He's not the kind of guy who would factor that into his long-range game plan right? 

Enjoy the week, try to make someone laugh and hey, stay safe out there. 

I'll tell you the more I ruminate and the more
red wine I drink, I think this might be the guy.
One and Done Pick: Brooks Koepka

Other Guy I'd Pick: Xander Schauffele

Sleeper Pick: Joost Luiten

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Brooks Koepka
Xander Schauffele
Dustin Johnson
Collin Morikawa
Tyrrell Hatton
Gary Woodland
Tommy Fleetwood
Shane Lowry
Matthias Schwab
Joost Luiten

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com

1 comment:

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