Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Fantasy Golf: The BMW Championship Preview

Recent tournament developments have left the United States Ryder Cup team selection process in a state of disarray. By winning the British Open, Brian Harman jumped up to an automatic bid which knocked a lock like Xander Schauffele or Jordan Spieth out of the top six meaning that Captain Zach Johnson now has to use a pick on a guy who wouldn't have otherwise been named Brian Harman. 

As I see it, that means we now have eight locks and, depending on who you talk to, eleven players vying for the remaining four spots. Your current automatic qualifiers are Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Patrick Cantlay, Harman, Brooks Koepka and Max Homa. Just outside that top six but absolutely on the team are the aforementioned Schauffele and Spieth. Even if Homa gets jumped for the sixth spot this week, he's in so these eight players are definitely going to Rome.

Now it gets weird. If I'm understanding the point system correctly, anyone from seventh all the way down to Lucas Glover at sixteenth on the current point list could climb into the sixth spot but I'm pretty sure that's the only way Lucas gets a seat on the plane. The results are very respectable, he's done a lot of solid work here, but it's not quite Ryder Cup now is it?

So that leaves these ten prospects (in order of current points): Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau. Before you spit your coffee all over your keyboard, let me tell you that I've heard every one of them mentioned as a possibility regardless of how preposterous at least two of them are.

So which four should Captain Johnson pick? Well for the sake of discussion, please consider that they've played nine Ryder Cups between 2004 and 2021 and, with the lone exception of the U.S. team blowing a 10-6 lead in 2012, they were all won by the team that had the lead going into the singles on Sunday. This would indicate that building as many strong two-man teams as possible as well as an overall positive team chemistry should be a priority. 

Suppose you could make a
case that this would be an
opponent's worst nightmare.
With that in mind, we can eliminate Reed and DeChambeau because they are downright loathsome. Also, the last time they played in Europe, Bryson got his ass kicked all over France. The fact that he's even being mentioned because he recently shot a 58 in an exhibition is ludicrous. Even if Z.J. wanted a random LIV guy, it would be D.J. who has a decent team record and the added benefit of not being despised by his fellow players but the fact is none of those three are getting picked so now we're down to seven.

I initially thought that Sam Burns made sense because you could pair him with his buddy Scheffler for at least three matches and watch them dominate. Then I saw that his Presidents' Cup record was 0-3-2 including 0-2-1 with Scheffler and remembered that most of my two-man golf success came with guys who would give me shit or at least a dose of the silent treatment when I needed a spark (stick not carrot). You're probably not getting that from two Bible study buddies - no disrespect. So Burns is out.

Keegan Bradley is out too. I know he'd bring a big dose of hyper enthusiastic patriotism but he's too inconsistent compared to the other five remaining options. We'll take Rickie Fowler instead - a great putter with experience who you can pair with anyone on the team. Your classic Scottie Pippen/Brendan Gleeson guy (Braveheart, In Bruges, The Banshees of Inisherin . . . do I have to explain everything?!?).  

So now we're down to four for three so it's time to address the elephant in the room. And you're goddamn right I'm taking Justin Thomas. His combined team record is 16-5-3 and that includes going 4-0 when partnered with Spieth at the last President's Cup. He's a flat-out gamer who will have some pressure taken off his shot-making in a match play format. Especially playing with Spieth who thrives on turning chicken shit into chicken salad. If he makes it and they play three times together, they're going 2-0-1. Bank it.  

Finally, we'll round-out the squad with Young and Morikawa who aren't discernibly better than Finau but, if you're going to take the guy who's 21st in points over the number 9 and 10, you better have a good reason. And I don't. 

So here is your 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup Team as recommended by the FGR:

Scottie Scheffler            Wyndham Clark            Patrick Cantlay
Brian Harman                Brooks Koepka             Max Homa
Jordan Spieth                Xander Schauffele        Cameron Young
Collin Morikawa             Rickie Fowler                Justin Thomas

Your move Europe. Pffft. 


Who knows where this story will ultimately end-up but, as far as bellwethers of character go, waiters and bartenders tend to be pretty reliable. For reference, the Tuohys are the family from The Blind Side and Michael Oher is accusing them of some unseemly dealings.


I don't have a lot to offer as far as a preview because this week feels like a bit of a crapshoot and I'm gassed from all of that Ryder Cup rambling. So in the absence of analysis, let's just take an unsolicited shot at this absolutely ridiculous entry for Xander Schauffele from's Power Rankings:

"Opened the Playoffs with a T24 in Memphis. It wasn’t a slow start inasmuch as he, like many who’ve been there and done it before, knows how to pace himself across these three weeks. Always a threat. Finished T25 here in 2020."

Pace himself? What? Wrong sport bro. First of all, how is hitting 8 more shots than the winner "pacing yourself?" But more importantly, it's not like Xander's out there protecting a lead. That T24 dropped him from 16th to 19th in the standings meaning that he pretty much has to win this week to have any shot at taking the whole shebang at East Lake. Pace himself. Good grief.  

Anyway, I assume everyone is getting thin on one and done picks which means you're eyeing up guys like Wyndham Clark, Lucas Glover and Taylor Moore. I'm going to take a flyer on Harman who finished T12 when they played Olympia Fields back in 2020 (Rahm beat D.J. in a one hole playoff). Feels like Glover has to run out of gas at some point and I don't trust Clark and Moore though, as I write this, I swear the wind is whispering "Wyndham . . ." Probably just my imagination or the early onset of senility.  

The course is a par 70 grinder where Jim Furyk won his lone major back in 2003 if that's any indication of how boring it is. To that end, I've loaded-up on "ball-strikers" like Viktor Hovland, Corey Conners and Cameron Young. Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau and Brendon Todd also get looks due to their top 10 finishes back in 2020. Not a lot of creativity I know but that kind of suits this venue.  

One and Done Pick: Brian Harman
When you're out of options . . .

Other Guy I'd Pick: Viktor Hovland

Sleeper Pick: Brendon Todd

DraftKings Top Ten Values

Jon Rahm


Viktor Hovland


Hideki Matsuyama


Corey Conners


Cameron Young


Tony Finau


Brian Harman


Byeong Hun An


Sahith Theegala


Brendon Todd


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