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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BMW Championship - Power Rankings

With the BMW Championship closing in on us, let's take a look at the Power Ranking. Since course history is out the window and statistical trends are a guess at best, I relied heavily on current form and class. After all, class is permanent.

Forgive me if this comes off as a bit chalky, but better safe than sorry.

Here we go:

  1. Rory McIlroy - I know it's getting old, but let's be serious.
  2. Adam Scott - A nod to class and elite ball-striking (seventh), par 4 scoring average (third) and all-around ranking (first). Form is a string of top-15 finishes, so he's a safe play in almost any format.
  3. Jason Day - He's on fire of late, with a T2 and a T7 in his two Playoff starts. He's trending towards picking up a win on one of the last two events. Why not here?
  4. Jim Furyk - He's been so consistent and his ball-striking has been a big reason as to why. Ranks second in proximity and fifth in par 4 scoring average.
  5. Bill Haas - Could make Tom Watson regret his decision to leave him off the Ryder Cup team. Last three starts went T2-T15-T9 and it's hard to find a true weakness in his game.
  6. Sergio Garcia - Interesting call this week after taking last week off to rest up for the Ryder Cup. He's been excellent this year, so no reason to believe he won't be a factor this week. 
  7. Henrik Stenson - Needs to make a move if he is to defend his title at East Lake next week, so expect the top-ranked ball-striker on the PGA TOUR to come out firing. 
  8. Rickie Fowler - While he's cooled a bit with a T23 at TPC Boston, he's still long overdue for a win and it could happen this week.
  9. Billy Horschel - Billy Ho runs hot, and his T2 last week could have him primed for a big week in Colorado. Kept his cool down the stretch at TPC Boston last week better than in the past.
  10. Keegan Bradley - Throw everything else out the window. Now that he's received the call and is on the Ryder Cup team, he can free himself up to play some great golf the next two weeks.
  11. Zach Johnson - This has nothing to do with him being the defending champion. He's quietly gone T22 and T16 in his last two starts and has a solid makeup for most courses when he's on. Ranks inside the top 25 in the all-around ranking, proximity and par 4 scoring average, which are all relevant this week.
  12. Jimmy Walker - With top-10 finishes in two of his last three outings, it would be borderline reckless to leave him out. 
Next 5 (alphabetical): Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson and John Senden

We will return tomorrow to name the Yahoo! starters and the one-and-done.  Until then, best of luck to all!

Monday, September 1, 2014

BMW Championship - Preview

The third leg of the FedExCup Championship is set to go down at Cherry Hills Country Club, and here is a preview of the BMW Championship to get you off and running.While Cherry Hills isn't a known commodity on the PGA TOUR, it does have a long history of hosting USGA events.

Cherry Hills CC was the site of Arnold Palmer's only U.S. Open title back in 1960. Phil Mickelson won the 1990 U.S. Amateur at this venue and Jack Nicklaus claimed the 1993 Senior U.S. Open title. That's a lot of class.

I would encourage you to take a tour of Cherry Hills on their website (chcc.com) to get a feel for the layout. The scorecard lists it as a par 70, stretching out to 7,352 yards. Keep in mind that this venue is in Colorado, so altitude will dictate that it plays shorter than the yardage. The tour seems to favor accuracy and precise approaches over length, but the list of winners includes some long and aggressive players. Ultimately, this course seems to dictate that the cream rises to the top, so perhaps a combination of class and form should trump everything else.

I will return tomorrow with a Power Ranking. Until then, happy research!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Deutsche Bank Championship - Fantasy

With hours to go before the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs is underway at the Deutsche Bank Championship, it's time to put the finishing touches on our Yahoo! lineup.

As published at Rotoworld.com on Tuesday in Playing the Tips, my A-list consisted of Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar. That was before the tragic news regarding the death of Kuchar's caddie's wife. I've fielded several questions in regards to Kuchar since then, and my thoughts are that he will be top 10 or bust. He will come out and try to play inspired for his man, but if he is too distracted it could turn into one of his more forgettable performances.

That said, pairing Kuchar with Scott is pretty safe in the sense that Scott won't miss the cut. I'm leaning AM tee times when it makes sense, so that means Scott starts and Kuchar is on the bench as we watch to see how he responds to the tragedy.

B-List - All of my players have AM tee times, which I normally will not allow to happen. I'm starting Hunter Mahan and Jason Day, with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy on the bench. I'm down to my last Rory start and want to make sure he doesn't lay an egg in the first round at TPC Boston like he did last week.

C-List - Charl Schwartzel starting with John Senden on the bench.

In the O v. Glass, I narrowly eeked out a two-point victory last week to improve my record to 4-2. I win this week and I will close out Glass. We have four matches this week (Scott, Mahan, Day and Schwartzel), meaning I have Kuchar, Spieth, McIlroy and Senden going up against his crew of Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley, Graham DeLaet and Jimmy Walker.

I will update future lineup changes and the O v. Glass on Twitter as the tournament plays out.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Deutsche Bank Championship - One-and-done

Let's hope the Deutsche Bank Championship goes better than The Barclays. It wasn't that Paul Casey's T22 was all that bad, rather it was the opportunity cost. As mentioned in the article last week, I was down to Casey and Hunter Mahan. Obviously I chose incorrectly.

That puts Mahan back in play as an option this week.

If my goal was a top-25 finish, or even a top 15, I'd probably ride Mahan and hope he has enough left in the tank to check that box. Other options in play include Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.

After missing out on all of Spieth's top-10 finishes earlier this year, I had penciled him in for East Lake (TOUR Championship). He tied for second there a year ago and seemed a very likely candidate to make it back in 2014.

Reed is a wild card. Though he didn't play well at TPC Boston last year (T70), he is known for making bunches of birdies.

I'm playing for a win or a top five this week, and I've landed on Jordan Spieth. His final-round 67 at Ridgewood CC last week was his first sub-70 round since the third round of The Open Championship, so perhaps he snapping out of a mini-slump. The final nail in the coffin was his T4 in this event last year.

As well as Mahan is playing, the odds are against him scoring a top five this week. That means I've slotted him in for East Lake, where he nearly beat Bill Haas in a playoff in 2011.

So, let's go Spieth!

Since the tournament doesn't start until Friday, we will be back Thursday to tab the Yahoo! starters and take a look at the O v. Glass.

Until then, best of luck to all!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Deutsche Bank Championship - Power Ranking

As we dive deeper into our preparation for the Deutsche Bank Championship, let's take a gander at this week's Power Ranking. I encourage you to flip back to yesterday's Preview for more information on the history of this tournament, as well as the lay of the land at TPC Boston.

It's worth mentioning, PGATOUR.com rolled out two new metrics this week. They are Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Total.Rather than try and explain it all, I recommend going to PGATOUR.com and reading the article on the new measurements. I took a look at Strokes Gained: Total for this week.

Here we go!

  1. Rory McIlroy - Was due for a letdown after three consecutive wins, settling for a T22 at The Barclays last week. Returns to TPC Boston, where he was the winner in 2012. Expect him to begin another big run leading up to the Ryder Cup.
  2. Adam Scott - He's made each of his nine cuts, with five top 10s, and owns a win and a runner-up at TPC Boston. Enters this week off back-to-back T15s at the PGA Championship and The Barclays. Ranked 1st in Par 5 Scoring Average, 2nd in Par Breakers, 3rd in Par 4 Scoring Average, 4th in Strokes Gained: Total (SGT) and 10th in Ball-Striking.
  3. Jim Furyk - Arguably the most consistent player on the PGA TOUR the last few months, went T15-T5-8 in his last three starts and hasn't missed a cut at TPC Boston. Has five top 25s and three top 10s in the DBC.
  4. Matt Kuchar - A T4-T12-T5 run in his last three PGA TOUR starts trend well into this event, as does his T4 at TPC Boston last year. He's first in Par 4 Scoring average on the PGA TOUR and 3rd in SGT.
  5. Hunter Mahan - Tough to see him going back-to-back, but his T15-T7-Win trend is impossible to overlook. He's 8/11 at TPC Boston, with a T8-T39-T13 in his last three trips. He's been hot with the irons lately, which generally is a lead indicator for success in his case. 
  6. Rickie Fowler - His course history isn't great, but I don't think he's finished outside the top 10 since Tiger and Sean Foley last had a beer together. 
  7. Henrik Stenson - The defending champ enters the week 66th in the FedExCup standings, so he can't afford to lay an egg if he hopes to advance to the BMW Championship and ultimately defend his FEC crown. Tied for 38th at The Barclays last week after a near miss (T3) at the PGA Championship. Expect a top 25, if not a top 10.
  8. Jason Day - His health is continually a concern, but his T15 at the PGA and T2 last week are about as good of a trend as you will find. Had a nice run at TPC Boston with a T2 in '10 and a T3 in '11. 
  9. Bill Haas - If the putter behaves, he will make a run this week. Has a T2 and a T15 in his last two starts at the Wyndham Championship and The Barclays. Has one top 10 and three other top 25s in four trips to the DBC.
  10. Jordan Spieth - While he's been quiet the last month, he ended The Barclays with a final-round 67 to steal a T22 and returns to TPC Boston where he tied for fourth a year ago. Just like Mahan snapped his winless streak last week, it's very possible Spieth could do the same this week.
  11. Patrick Reed - His T70 at last year's DBC aside, he's been trending well (T58-T24-T9) leading up to this week. Considering it will likely take something in the neighborhood of 20-under to win, he's the type of player that could get really hot and throw up that type of number.
  12. Brandt Snedeker - Plenty of pressure on his shoulders this week to make a final impression on Tom Watson, he buckled with a missed cut last week following his T13-T5 run leading up to The Barclays. Has recent success at TPC Boston, with a T5-T3-6-T47 in his last three ventures to TPB Boston.
Next 5 (alphabetical): Keegan Bradley, Graham DeLaet, Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson.

We will be back to discuss the OAD tomorrow. Until then, best of luck!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Deutsche Bank Championship - Preview

The second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs winds to the familiar venue of TPC Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship, as 100 players remain in contention for the FEC title.

While variety is fun for fans, tournaments that rotate venues can be a nightmare for serious gamers. Needless to say, the ability to project results for this week's tournament should be a little easier to pin down than Ridgewood CC. Seriously, raise your hand if you had Stuart Appleby and Cameron Tringale tying for second?

So, what do we know about TPC Boston?

It's a par-71 layout, stretching to 7,216 yards and featuring three par 5s and a par 4 that can be reached with driver, and in some cases 3-wood. While this tournament only dates back to 2003, it's taken at least 20-under to win on five occasions, with 22-under serving as the winning mark in three of the last five years. A player better take care of the par 5s and make some birdies.

Here's the history since 2005.

  • 2005 - Winner: Olin Browne (14-under, 270) over Jason Bohn (271)
  • 2006 - Winner: Tiger Woods (268) over Vijay Singh (270)
  • 2007 - Winner: Phil Mickelson (268) over Arron Oberholser, Brett Wetterich and Woods (270)
  • 2008 - Winner: Vijay Singh (262) over Mike Weir (267)
  • 2009 - Winner: Steve Stricker (267) over Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank (268)
  • 2010 - Winner: Charley Hoffman (262) over Jason Day, Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy (267)
  • 2011 - Winner: Webb Simpson (269) over Chez Reavie (playoff)
  • 2012 - Winner: Rory McIlroy (264) over Louis Oosthuizen (265)
  • 2013 - Winner: Henrik Stenson (262) over Steve Stricker (264)
What does that list tell us? Any time I see a list of winners that includes Vijay, Tiger and Rory, I immediately gravitate towards the class of the field. All three of these players, especially in their respective primes, were also extremely long off the tee and could overpower par 5s. Stenson fits that mold, and guys like Oosthuizen, Hoffman and Wetterich are/were players that could dominate par 5s and posses the length to be deadly when everything else falls into place.

It would be a mistake to not at least acknowledge that there are guys that do not fit that mold on the list. Webb Simpson is a good par 4 player and solid putter, not all that unlike Stricker. There are others that are steady putters, etc.

In terms of stats to study, this is probably a good week to lead on some of the major statistical categories. Ball-striking jumps off the page, as does SGP, Par 5 and Par 4 Scoring average and Par Breakers immediately come to mind.

We will get to work on our power rankings and pump something out tomorrow night. Until then, happy research!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Barclays - One-and-Done / Fantasy

With The Barclays ready to kick off, it's time to finalize our one-and-done and list the starters in the Yahoo! format.

To be frank, my OAD options are extremely limited. This week, my attention narrowed to Hunter Mahan and Paul Casey. (I've essentially saved Jordan Spieth for East Lake.)

Mahan represents the better current form, with a T15-T7 run at the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship, but has finished a very modest T31 in both of his trips to Ridgewood CC.

Casey has decent form, coming off a T18 at the Wyndham, but has solid course history at Ridgewood CC. He owns a T7 in 2008 and a T12 in 2010. 

I've decided to roll with Casey. Mahan allows me some flexibility over the next three weeks, so I'll keep that option open.

As for the Yahoo!, I've put two players in my lineup this week (Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy) that are down to their last start. While I prefer AM tee time for Thursday when possible, I'm much more about managing starts. 

Starters are Adam Scott (A), Justin Rose (B), Bill Haas (B), Charl Schwartzel (C), with Henrik Stenson (A), Jim Furyk (B), Rory McIlroy (B) and Sergio Garcia (C) on the bench.

As for the O v. Glass Challenge, I maintain a 3-2 advantage with four weeks (including this one) to play. Unlike last week, where we matched all eight picks, we have numerous difference this week. I essentially have Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel against Glass' Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley and Nick Watney. Should be a fun week.

Best of luck to all this week!