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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RBC Canadian Open - One-and-Done

The RBC Canadian Open one-and-done is going to allow me to do something that I rather enjoy. Backing someone whom I can really get behind.

William McGirt nearly won his first PGA TOUR event at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open, sharing second place, though that was at a different venue. He faced Glen Abbey in 2013, which happens to be this week's host, and once again tied for second. Given his recent win at Muirfield Village and T7 in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitation, I'm all in. Emiliano Grillo was a close second, for the record.

Why do I pull for McGirt, you ask? While I've only met him on a few brief occasions, he could probably hit his driver from his driveway to my parent's front yard. It is uphill, so he may need a flip wedge for his second, if the wind is in his face. I also went to middle and high school with his wife, and we were the same grade.

Oh....and there is a financial benefit! He is already in the books as the best 11th-round draft pick I've made in a full-season fantasy game. Now if he can only help my OAD a bit....

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Open Championship - It's Not Over

I've heard enough over the last six hours. The Open Championship is now a two-horse race. The other 79 guys shouldn't show up. Extend the list of clich├ęs as you will.

The truth is, it probably is over. Probably.

With Bill Haas alone in third place and six behind Stenson, it would take a round similar to the one Phil shot on Thursday (8-under 63) to overtake the top spot. Let's go ahead and concede that as being highly unlikely, but take a deeper look at the options.

Haas has 14 birdies in three rounds (5, 4, 5). He probably won't shoot a 63, but a 4-under 67 isn't completely out of the question. Something like five birdies and one bogey or six birdies and two bogeys.

That, hypothetically, puts Haas at 10-under.

Stenson's 68 on Saturday was tied for the best round of the day. If we've learned anything over the years, it is that a low round is hard to follow. While 68 isn't ultra-low, it's still the round of the day. Stenson's also never won a major championship, and is sleeping on the 54-hole lead in a major for the first time. You're telling me that it isn't possible that he comes out tomorrow with the pressure on and fires a 3-over 74, dropping him to 9-under?

And then there's Phil. DID NOBODY WATCH WINGED FOOT IN 2006? It wasn't van de Veldian, but it demonstrates that Phil can blow it. For those that like trends, Phil started red hot, but has been worse every day following. You can't count out the possibility that Phil throws up a 73, with a bogey on the last hole, to miss a playoff by a shot.

The most dangerous thing for the Stenson / Mickelson duo is to lull themselves into a match-play nap. A Bill Haas or Andrew Johnston, in the group immediately ahead, quietly shoots 2- or 3-under on the front, but still hang about three back. Suddenly Haas or Johnston bags an eagle on 16 and an unlikely birdie on 17 or 18, and then Mickelson / Stenson  wake up a bit too late to realize they just lost the lead with a hole or two to play.

Do I think Mickelson or Stenson will hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday? Yep. I'd say to the tune of about 80% certainty.

Now, raise your hand if you thought Jordan Spieth had sealed the deal on his second green jacket when he stepped on the 10th tee at Augusta National on a Sunday afternoon in April. Rae's Creek happened, just like pot bunkers at the Postage Stamp can happen. Tee balls can be lost in gorse bushes.

The fat lady is in the auditorium doing her warm ups, but she's a long way from taking the stage!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Open Championship & Barbasol Championship - One-and-Done

We have another double dip this week, with the Open Championship stealing the show as the Barbasol Championship offers the lower tier of the PGA TOUR a shot at glory. It's time to declare a one-and-done selection, as the Open starts about six hours earlier than what we are used to for other U.S. tournaments.

A selection for the Open Championship is normally tricky, but the perfect pick fell right into my lap. It's hard to burn a truly elite player at the Open, as weather could throw a huge wrench into the proceedings at any time.

Enter a man who tied for second in the Masters and had a chance to win the U.S. Open this year. That's right. Lee Westwood. He's showing up on the big stage. History tells us he won't win, but current form tells us he will contend. Plus, you won't miss him later.

At the Barbasol Championship, I have two criteria. Give me a guy from the Southeastern part of the United States, and give me a player with some level of pedigree or current form in 2016. That man is Roberto Castro.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

WGC-Bridgestone and Barracuda - One-and-done

We got ourselves a double dip this week! The one-and-done consists of the WGC-Bridgestone and the Barracuda Championship, and we'll take our best shot at both.

A couple of Internationals were bouncing around in my head for Firestone CC this week, with defending champion, Shane Lowry, and Branden Grace catching my eye from the available pool of talent. For leagues that don't allow defending champs, Grace it is. As for me, I'm going with the course history / current form combo of Lowry.

At the Barracuda, I really wanted to pull the lever on John Rahm. Almost did, and will regret it mightily if he wins. Instead, I'm taking Gary Woodland.

Best of luck to all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quicken Loans National - One-and-Done

If you caught my preview for the Quicken Loans National on Rotoworld, you'll know that I believe this week fails to present us with an obvious choice for a one-and-done. Being as such, I suspect there will be a wide variety of players burned at Congressional.

I'm riding the hot hand of Marc Leishman, with his three consecutive top 20s. Coupled with a top 10 at Congressional in 2014, he's as good of an option as any.

There are lots of interesting choices this week, and I could endorse any number of players. The Aussie feels like just the right blend of good form, good enough history, and I probably won't miss him later.

Best of luck to all!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Breaking Down Andrew Landry - U.S. Open

While there are many plots surrounding the final round of the U.S. Open, perhaps none are bigger than Andrew Landry. The obvious question is, how did he end up in the final pairing of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont? Further down the list of questions are, what is a solid comparison in regards to what he's done / doing?

Who is Andrew Landry?

  • PGA TOUR rookie in 2015-16. 
  • Ranks 624th in the OWGR, which is down from 502nd at the end of the 2015 Web.com Tour Championship. 
  • Ironically, his 624th ranking is his lowest of 2016, even on the heels of his best PGA TOUR finish (T41 in the FedEx St. Jude Open). 
  • Ranks 203rd in the FEC Standings. (Sitting outside the top 200, he would not currently qualify for the Web.com Tour finals.)
  • 2009 University of Arkansas product, where he had a strong amateur career.
Why this week?
  • While he's only made 5 of 11 cuts in 2015-16 on the PGA TOUR, all five have come in his last six starts. 
  • He ranks 11th in SG: Off-the-tee and 12th in SG: Putting. If you can hit it well off the tee and putt, Oakmont could work. 
  • In contrast to ranking 183rd in SG: around-the-green, he ranks a strong 27th in Scrambling.
  • He ranks 1st in Total Putting.
  • At 193rd in par 5 scoring average, he catches a break with Oakmont having just two par 5s. 
  • He ranks 51st in par 3 scoring average.

Why this is completely out of the blue.
  • He managed to finish 72 holes under par on the PGA TOUR just one time all season. That was a 1-under tally at the Valero Texas Open, where he tied for 51st. 
  • Even though he posted a season-best T41 last week in Memphis, he did not break par in any round. Why the heck is he under par at Oakmont, again?
  • He ranks outside of the top 180 in SG: tee-to-green (187), SG: around-the-green (183) and SG: approach-the-green (199).
  • Important to know for Sunday, he ranked 136th in final round scoring average. 
  • While there are some important strengths to his game, he has some very obvious holes (statistically).
Perhaps the biggest question is, why hasn't he come close to putting anything like this together any other time this season?

Should he win, I'm struggling to find a comparison.
  • Probably the closest thing that comes to mind, at least in the 20 years I've been following golf, is the Ben Curtis Open Championship win in 2003. Still, Curtis was 396th in the world at the time, which is almost twice as high as Landry sits today.
  • In terms of the U.S.Open, Michael Campbell in 2005 at Pinehurst was an upset of sorts, especially given what's happened to his game since, but he was much more established than Landry. Had Jason Gore scored the win, that would have been much more comparable. 
  • Lucas Glover won at Bethpage in 2009 as an open qualifier, but Glover played in the 2007 Presidents Cup and had already won a PGA TOUR title, so that's not even close. 
  • Rich Beem in the PGA? Shaun Micheel? Still not the same. John Daly in his PGA win as an alternate? 
History says Landry should shoot a 78 in the final round, just miss breaking the top 10, and be a footnote that nobody remembers in three years. Who knows if he'll follow the script, or rewrite recent history. Either way, there's a pretty good chance he'll at least move inside the top 200 on the FEC standings and earn a tee time in the Web.com Tour Finals later this summer!

And if he wins? At Oakmont? I submit that it will be one of the biggest stories in the history of golf.

It should be fun to watch!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

U.S. Open - One-and-Done

Hold on tight, as it's time for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. In terms of the one-and-done, this is one of those weeks to take a hard look at the top. Oakmont has historically delivered well-pedigreed champions who have won, or go on to win, multiple majors.

I zeroed in on two thoroughbreds. Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Full disclosure, I don't have Jordan Spieth available, but I wouldn't have played him anyway.

Picking between Day and McIlroy is a virtual coin flip, but there are a few key differences as it relates to a OAD.

I'm picking McIlroy, and here's why.

  • If his driver is on, and I get that's an "if", he can eliminate 95% of the field off the tee. It's how he won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional and how he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah. 
  • Oakmont is not all that different, in some respects, to both of those venues. 
  • His high ball-flight should play well.
  • With a chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon, I like Rory's AM/PM draw better than Day's PM/AM. It's a small thing, but it could protect Rory from a starting/stopping routine on Thursday that Day could face. 
Typically, I would rather play McIlroy in a scenario where he was coming off a win and playing the next week. I still feel his form is good enough, so I'm not going to sweat it.

Let's go, Rory!