Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Fantasy Golf: The 3M Open Preview

Sometime a little before noon on July 19, 2009, I bid my family farewell on the beach at 137th Street in Ocean City, Maryland and adjourned to the solitude of my in-law's condominium to watch the final round of the British Open. A highly improbable story was developing with 59 year old Tom Watson leading by one shot after three rounds and, as he made the turn on Sunday, he was only one shot behind emerging folding chair and Saudi Golf mouthpiece Lee Westwood.

As the back nine unfolded, the impossible suddenly started becoming probable. Westwood bogeyed three of his last four holes foreshadowing his major career and Watson just kept hanging around the top of the leaderboard. As he played the 17th, we had all traded reluctant optimism for full-blown hope. And then he made birdie to take a one shot lead to the final hole. I can still remember the "this is going to make the whole world a better place if he wins" feeling I had like it was yesterday. 

Anyone who watched it live will never forget his next five shots. A hybrid off the tee that was absolutely smoked down the middle followed by an adrenaline juiced 8-iron that hit just short of the pin and barely rolled over the back. Normally that would be no problem for a guy who'd won five Claret Jugs . . . if he wasn't 59. Alas, the adrenaline got him again and he putted it 8 feet past the hole into disaster territory for a player who had shown enough yips during regular tour events that we knew what would happened next. And it did. He tapped-in for a bogey that would send him to a four-hole playoff against Stewart Cink. 

Watson would predictably run-out of gas in the four-hole playoff, ultimately losing by 6 shots. I walked back out to the beach and someone asked me what happened. I'm pretty sure my response was "I don't want to talk about it" as I walked straight into the ocean with thoughts of never turning back. Last Sunday didn't reach that level but it sure as hell was reminiscent. Good times. 


After Sunday, I think it is no longer hyperbole to suggest that Paul Azinger is one of the worst announcers in all of sports. Maybe it's hard for his employers to recognize considering the marginal talent** with which he is surrounded but good god he takes Dan Dierdorfian stating of the obvious to never before seen levels. When 50% of your verbal meandering focuses on the facts that (a) Rory is a good driver, and (b) Cam is a good putter, it feels like your style may be a lacking a bit of nuance and originality. And here's another gem from Saturday that I didn't even catch.


Look. I'm not going to waste your time and, more importantly, my time by acting like I have any idea who is going to play well this week. The previous winners of this event on this course have been Cameron Champ, Michael Thompson and Matthew Wolff, three guys with less in common than me, Tim Tebow and a taxidermist (I don't like dead things). I've made some educated suggestions below but proceed at your own peril. 

This week is so crazy that renowned chalk enthusiast Rob Bolton over at the Power Rankings has the favorite Tony Finau ranked 6th behind the likes of Davis Riley, Cam Davis and his overall #1, Adam Svensson who's 6th place finish at the Barbasol Championship was his first top ten since February. That's putting a lot of stock in a tournament won by Trey Mullinax but I like that Rob is finally letting his hair down. Next thing you know he's going to buy a Chrysler Sebring and start going by "Bobby."     

Anyway, I'm picking Adam Hadwin but, by the time I finish this second glass of box caliber wine, I may shift over to Nick Hardy who I'm convinced is the next first-time winner laying in wait. I am also intrigued by Joohynung Kim who has climbed to 40th in the world after a 3rd place finish at the Scottish Open. More importantly, he finished 23rd at the U.S. Open and T17 at the Byron Nelson so he's proven himself in the states. Bobby has him ranked 12th, just behind the magnetic duo of Chez Reavie and Cameron Tringale. 

One and Done Pick: Adam Hadwin
"The winner gets a Sebring and 
the feeling that they're making 
a difference in the world."

Other Guy I'd Pick: Nick Hardy

Sleeper Pick: Michael Gligic

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Tony Finau


Adam Hadwin


Maverick McNealy


Adam Long


Brendan Steele


Nick Hardy


Rickie Fowler


Emiliano Grillo


Joohynung Kim


Michael Gligic



* I try to maintain a golf theme for the Tweet of the Week to keep up appearances but I would be remiss if I didn't include Andy Towers' epic PLL locker room speech. I can say with 90% certainty that it is fact based and with 100% certainty that his neighbor's dog never shat on this lawn again.

 ** While we're here, someone please tell Peter Jacobsen that there is no lazier form of golf commentary than "I think __________ will definitely be hoisting the Claret Jug in the future" and he said it of Viktor Hovland twice in the space of about half an hour on Saturday. Unless you were once so prescient that you said that about Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton, shut-up. You have no idea who's going to win the next twenty British Opens you dolt.

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