Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The PGA Championship Preview

Well we need to own-up for last week's dumpster fire before we get to the joy of previewing a major. Arguably one of the best week's in FGR history was followed by inarguably one of the worst. Of my ten recommendations for the AT&T Byron Nelson, three made the cut and that three did not include pick of the week Sam Burns, secondary pick Talor Gooch or sleeper pick Doc Redman. In fantasy golf parlance, that's referred to as the "FGR Triangle." 

And that's not even the worst of it. On the topic of 2021 champion K.H. Lee, I actually wrote the following, "we don't expect the king of the middle of the pack to replicate anything close to that anomalous effort." We were correct only to the extent that his winning score in 2021 was -25 and his winning score this year was -26. Truly anomalous.    

Oh and while I was on a roll, I went ahead and picked Georgetown to win the NCAA lacrosse championship. For those who don't track such things, they entered as the #2 overall seed and departed after a first round loss to Delaware. DELAWARE!!! Who loses to Delaware? That’s like losing to Lichtenstein. Or Kabukistan. 

Anyway, I aim to redeem myself this week (and most other weeks for that matter). 


Hey look, you never know when you're going to wake-up in a panic and suddenly need to put on a pair of sweatpants, a mock turtleneck, two different color socks and a cardigan. 


Southern Hills hasn't hosted many majors but it's produced quality winners when it has including Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Nick Price* and Raymond Floyd. A deeper dive into the final leaderboards from the 2001 U.S Open (Mark Brooks (2nd), Rocco Mediate (4th), and Tom Kite (T5)) and the 2007 PGA Championship (Woody Austin (2nd), Aaron Obherholser (T4), Kevin Sutherland (T9) and Scott Verplank (T9)) reveals an abundance of short straight hitters so that will be factored into this week's equation.

You'd be proud of me. My first run through the picks had me taking the contrarian position on Scottie Scheffler again. Then I took a beat, partially came to my senses and thought "hmmm" (that's the sound of me thinking) . . . "the hottest player in recent memory grew-up in Texas and you're not going to pick him to win in Oklahoma? Instead you were going to pick Justin Thomas just because you can't get past your conjured-up notion that he's really the best player in the world? Seriously?" (That's the sound of me ridiculing myself).

From there it gets very tricky as the upper echelon of this field goes eighteen deep - stopping just short of Bryson DeChambeau. I'm going to allow myself three more from that group and go with Rory McIlroy (edging Collin Morikawa), Hideki Matsuyama (edging Xander Schauffele) and Shane Lowry (edging Joaquin Niemann). And even then no one could fault you for taking Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka over all of them. 

Somewhat lost in the Scheffler blowout was the fact that Rory had a runner-up at The Masters which he followed with a 5th place finish at the Wells Fargo. Hideki finished T3 last week and Lowry has finished T3 in his last two starts. Also, it's supposed to be windy with rain Friday night followed by a temperature drop on Saturday. Those are portly Irish guy conditions and Lowry is suddenly giving-off a very "Two-Time Major Winner" kind of vibe.

The next wave of Corey Conners, Matt Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young might finish higher than any three-man combination of players I've already named, and yes, I recognize that's a lot of fucking combinations. Young and Conners rank top five in strokes gained off the tee and Fitzpatrick ain't too shabby at 14th (MOM!!! . . . the FGR is quoting stats again!!!). This fits nicely into my Kevin Sutherland/Scott Verplank theory.  

Harold Varner, III has come into his own this year and most recently finished T3 at the RBC Heritage after a T23 at Augusta. Our co-sleeper Christian Bezuidenhout, who I never pick because his name is too damn long and practically unspellable, has made the cut in six straight majors. He's not much to look at but he'll get you where you need to go, much like the car Rip built for Mark Watney in School Ties.**   
"Who picked me? No I heard you. I
just have no idea who that is."
One and Done Pick: Scottie Scheffler

Sleeper Pick: Harold Varner, III

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Scottie Scheffler


Rory McIlroy


Hideki Matsuyama


Shane Lowry


Corey Conners


Matt Fitzpatrick


Cameron Young


Billy Horschel


Harold Varner, III


C. Bezuidenhout



* During one of the all-time great golf heat checks, Nick Price won six tournaments over a span of six months in 1994 including the British Open and the PGA Championship. The latter he won by six shots over likely the greatest major leaderboard ever: Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson, John Cook, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Steve Elkington, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Loren Roberts, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam. That's eleven major winners in the top ten for those scoring at home or for those just reading alone (HEYOOO!!!).

** If you get that, we would be best friends immediately upon introduction. 

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