I can also be found at Rotoworld.com and on Twitter @RyanGolfBlogger.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - Fantasy

Before I dive into the usual suspects of fantasy games for the Wells Fargo Championship, there is someithing out there worth addressing. It was reported ahead of this week that the greens at Quail Hollow were in desperate shape. If you want to read a solid first-hand account, I recommend reading Jesper Parnevik's Twitter history today (@JesperParnevik).

Coinciding with that news, Tiger Woods decided not to play late last week and we saw several high-profile WDs from Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter today. While they are required to give a medical reason since it is past the deadline, DJ has very much downplayed the degree of his injury, leaving many to connect the dots. Both also mentioned being excited about the event on Twitter in the days before their trip to Charlotte.

What do dead/dying greens and some with new sod on them mean? I'm not entirely sure, but my guess is that it puts a further premium on ball striking and levels the playing field when it comes to putting. I would also think it would negate some local knowledge that guys like Webb Simpson have.

Now for the games......


Another nice week last week, racking up 194 points to improve to 6485 in the full season with 2678 points and reaching the 94th percentile.

This week looks like this and take into account Thursday tee times:

  • A-List - Bill Haas starting and Rory McIlroy on the bench
  • B-List - Webb Simpson and Nick Watney starting with Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan on the bench.
  • C-List - Rickie Fowler starting with Lee Westwood on the bench.

Golf Channel:

We hit a homerun with Billy Horschel in the lineup last week. Here's hoping for another big week.
  • Group 1 - Rory McIlroy (swing for the fences)
  • Group 2 - Angel Cabrera
  • Group 3 - Lucas Glover 
  • Group 4 - John Rollins


Overall Standings:
  1. Boots with the Fur - 4518
  2. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 4461
  3. Team Tiger II - 4393
  4. Woltz - 4322
  5. Subliminal Magic 4223
Weekly Standings:
  • T1 - Boots with the Fur - 643
  • T1 - adub - 643
  • T1 - KyRoadz - 643
  • 4 - Pure Spin - 635
  • 5 - Rotoworld Rob - 624
We will be back with the one-and-done and two-and-done tomorrow. In the mean time, best of luck!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - Power Rankings

With Billy Horschel's breakthrough win behind us, we now turn our full attention to Quail Hollow and the Wells Fargo Championship. One of my favorite things about the calendar turning to May from a power ranking standpoint is that stats become relevant because the sample size is now large enough. Most rank-in-file players are about 12 or 13 events in and the elite guys are in the 8-10 range.

I used my normal metrics of course history and current form to narrow my list of potential contenders to a pool of around 30 players, then gave consideration to stats relevant to Quail Hollow.

The first thing that struck me about this course is that most of those with solid track records are successful with their driver. The fairways aren't easy to hit, but many of the holes are lengthy, so a player must feel comfortable hitting a driver. It would help if he hit it a long way, but there are a few examples of shorter and extremely accurate players having success. Total Driving was the first stat heavily considered.

Second, Quail Hollow has four par 5s and they are each reachable with strong drives by above-average hitters. I next took into account Par 5 birdie or better percentage.

The final piece of the statistical puzzle is GIR from other than the fairway. Because the fairways are so difficult to find, it is imperative that a player find the putting surface from something other than the fairway.

I want to stress that stats DO NOT outweigh course history and current form, but they do a good job of providing perspective when on the fence about someone. Think of it as a tiebreaker, of sorts.

Here we go:
  1. Lucas Glover – This is complicated, but everything from course history (a win in ’11 and a runner-up in ’09), current form (T4 in New Orleans) and stats all point to him. He’s 10th in Total Driving, 45th in Par-5 birdie or better and 60th in GIR from other than the fairway. I also have a running theory that he always plays better in Presidents Cup seasons because he puts too much pressure on himself in Ryder Cup years. Notice his win and runner-up came in odd-numbered years. Where this will get tricky is how to use him this week. His wife is about 38 weeks pregnant and he said in NOLA that he would bolt if he got the call. That makes him a risk in virtually every format except Yahoo!. He also plays his best when under the radar, and he is not under the radar this week. Everything points to him on paper, but be careful.
  2. Rickie Fowler – He’s played here three times and has a T6, a T16 and a win last year. I advise caution towards defending champs (see Jason Dufner last week), but he has a record and a stat sheet that can’t be ignored (46 in TD, 16 in Par 5 and 75th in GIR other). You have to go back to Bay Hill to find his last top 25, but it was a T3. Probably would shy away from a one-and-done (I've already used him anyway), but a solid look in games like Yahoo! and PGA TOUR.
  3. Rory McIlroy – He’s the elephant in the room. He’s got a T2, a missed cut and a Win in three trips to Quail Hollow. It just so happened to be his first TOUR win. If he didn't have the missed cut in between, he would be number one but we have to pause. I’m a believer that when he’s on with the driver, he’s virtually unbeatable. Think Kiawah Island and Congressional when he ran away with those majors. This is a venue that allows for the same advantage if he’s on; but is he on? When he won in 2010 he was coming off of B2B MCs at Shell Houston and the Masters and was 1-over after 36 holes before going off with a 66/62 finish. He missed the cut in ’11 in his first start after blowing up on the back nine at the Masters. He was T2 in 2012 after a T40 at the Masters. This course could be Rory’s version of Bay Hill. He comes in off a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open and a T25 at the Masters, so he may be fine. The toughest question of the week will be what to do with Rory in the one-and-done.
  4. Sergio Garcia – Sergio has a T2 here, but it was way back in 2005 and serves as his only top 10. His record of late at Quail Hollow hasn't been all that impressive. His form is undeniable. If you throw out his W/D at Bay Hill, largely related to fatigue, he’s been T17 or better in all five of his other starts with a T8 at the Masters leading him into the week. His stats are off the chart for this week, ranking 14th in TD, 25th in Par 5 and 2nd in GIR other. He’s a sneaky pick this week and one that will likely fly under many radars if you’re looking to make a move in a league.
  5. Webb Simpson – I could have ranked him first or left him out all together depending on how I looked at it. He’s coming off a playoff loss at the RBC Heritage and was fourth at Quail Hollow last year after leading at the 54-hole mark. To boot, he’s a member of QH. If you stop right there, you are rushing to turn in his name in every format imaginable this week. BUT. His stats aren't a great fit for this course with the exception of being third in GIR from other. He’s 152 in Total Driving and a modest 66th in Par 5 percentage. He’ll also be like Glover on steroids when it comes to expectations being through the roof and, like Glover, I’m not sure that’s his best scenario. He may be the “chalk” this week for many, but it may be a good week to go against the chalk.
  6. Bill Haas – This is more a nod to form than the other categories. His stellar history at Riviera is a big reason to think he could match or better twice finishing fourth in this event. The red flag is that he’s missed four of his nine cuts. One thing we are learning about Haas this year is that he is frequently posting best finishes at venue’s where he hasn't previously been strong. He’s a puzzling 163rd in Par 5 birdie percentage, which frankly doesn't make sense given some of his other strengths.
  7. D.A. Points – Was the forgotten man in the three-way playoff with Fowler and McIlroy last year, but enters with more confidence than both combined. Won the Shell Houston Open and played a brilliant final round in New Orleans yesterday that easily could have won had Billy Horschel not have played out of his mind. He’s very dangerous this week despite not checking out all that well on our stat sheet and missing four of his six cuts at QH.
  8. Hunter Mahan – Mahan feels like an automatic top 25 this week. He’s got seven of them in 11 starts in 2013 and has four at Quail Hollow in his last five trips. He ranks 14th in TD, 19th in GIR other and 41st in Par 5 percentage. We know that when he’s on, he’s a hot player that can take it low and isn't scared to hit a driver. The pause for concern is a recent slump in current form.
  9. Lee Westwood – Westy is trendy in this event over the years, improving from a MC to a T61, T38 and topping out with a T5 last year. Also trending in with a T10 in Houston and a T8 at the Masters. That’s a lot going right for a player of his caliber.
  10. Nick Watney – It cautions me lately to tip him, but he has six top 25s in eight trips to QH and a career-best eighth last year is nice. He’s coming off back-to-back top-15 finishes at the Masters and in New Orleans. This is a vintage case of form matching history and agreeing with stats.
  11. Phil Mickelson – Yep, we have to include him. It’s irrelevant to talk about his form. With four top five’s in nine trips to QH to go with never missing the cut, he’s worthy of consideration. Let’s face it. He could win or miss the cut in epic fashion.
  12. Bubba Watson – He tied for second here in 2009 and has made each of his last three cuts. His accuracy scares me a little, but his ability to attack the par 5s offsets that a bit. He’s been a little off most of the season, which is why he isn’t a touch higher, but with Bubba you never know what week will be the big one. A T15 in NOLA last week could have us all saying “I can’t believe I didn't see that coming” on Monday if he has a big week this week.

Next 5: Kyle Stanley, Boo Weekley, Angel Cabrera, Nicolas Colsaerts and Padraig Harrington

One other note worth mentioning, be aware of Jonathan Byrd. He's only played four events (making one cut) since his wrist surgery but his history here over the last four years is off the charts in consistency and high finishes. If you're looking for a calculated risk, he could be it. 

We will be back tomorrow to see how this all shakes out in the games.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Wrap Up

Billy Horschel broke through to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a sizzling final round that featured six birdies in-a-row after a three hour rain delay and two birdies on his final three holes to hold off D.A. Points. Here are a few thoughts;
  • It's always nice when we nail it, and we did so with Horschel for this tournament. He was second in the Power Rankings and played in the Yahoo!, Golf Channel and two-and-done format. (Two-and-done is the same format as a one-and-done, except you can burn a player twice in a season instead of once for those wondering.)
  • D.A. Points is playing out of his mind and has to hate to see April come to an end. That said, he lost in a playoff last year at Quail Hollow and enters this week's tournament with as much confidence as he could possibly have.
  • Lucas Glover was the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship winner, and his form is peaking. Two reasons to pause for concern. 1. His wife is between 37 and 38 weeks pregnant and he has said he will W/D if she goes into labor. 2. He always plays his best when no one is expecting it. Plenty of eyes will be on him this week.
  • It was nice to see Kyle Stanley jump back in the mix. Even though he didn't win, his bogey-free 67 in the finale only placed him behind a red-hot Horschel and Points and alone in third. Quail Hollow would seem to be a good fit for him.
  • Keep an eye on Nicolas Colsaerts. He just posted his best finish of the year very quietly, and the Belgian Bomber's length would be a nice asset at Quail Hollow.
  • Jimmy Walker knocked on the door again, but played his last 10 holes in 3-over after taking the lead. It's fair to question if he has the guts to win. 
Let's get ready for a big week at Quail Hollow!

Wells Fargo Championship - Monday Qualifier

As is normally the case, the final four spots into the Wells Fargo Championship will be filled by those successful in navigating the Monday Qualifier. Here's the link http://carpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/carpga13/event/carpga1319/index.htm

Best of luck to all!

Wells Fargo Championship - Preview

Normally when I do a tournament preview, I go back and take a look at the previous year's preview to see if there is something that proved particularly accurate or inaccurate. While I've always started from scratch on all previews for the 2013 tournament, this year I'm going to copy a large chunk of last year's because it remains relevant.

Here's a large portion of last year's entry:

The Wells Fargo Championship is a tournament that is relatively new on TOUR, but has gained a reputation as a favorite among the top players in the world. When you look at the past winners and runner ups, you can see why. It produces major-championship caliber champions.

The Quail Hollow Club staged the first edition of this event in 2003, and here are the winners / runners up:
  • 2003 - David Toms (winner), Vijay Singh, Robert Gamez and Brent Geiberger (runners up)\
  • 2004 - Joey Sindelar (winner), Arron Oberholser (runner up)
  • 2005 - Vijay Singh (winner), Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia (runners up)
  • 2006 - Jim Furyk (winner), Trevor Immelman (runner up)
  • 2007 - Tiger Woods (winner), Steve Stricker (runner up)
  • 2008-  Anthony Kim (winner), Ben Curtis (runner up)
  • 2009 - Sean O'Hair (winner), Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson (runners up)
  • 2010 - Rory McIlroy (winner), Phil Mickelson (runner up)
  • 2011 - Lucas Glover (winner - playoff), Jonathan Byrd (runner up)
Wow. That's a high octane list of players. Also notice that this tournament identifies guys that are about to win majors. Immelman was runner-up in 2006 and then won the 2008 Masters. Glover finished runner up in 2009 just weeks before he won the U.S. Open at Bethpage. McIlroy won in 2010 and then won the 2011 U.S. Open. Watson was runner up in 2009 and won this year's Masters. Anybody want to buy some stock in J-Byrd at Olympic?

Knowing this, when you are looking at your fantasy options headed into the week, ask yourself these questions.
  • Has this guy won a U.S. Open or a Masters?
  • Could I see this guy winning a U.S. Open or a Masters?
It suits itself for U.S. Open / Masters combo in that it's a long course that requires some total driving skills, but you have to make birdies and get up and down. There are two par-4s that are basically drivable, or close to it, and the par-5s can be scored. So, like the Masters, you are going to see birdies. Like a U.S. Open, you can get in real trouble if are just a little bit off. You are also going to have to make some eight foot par putts.

So what's different about this year?

There are reports out there that Quail Hollow had to replace two greens within the last week. The par-4 eighth and the par-5 10th are what I'm hearing. If the greens are inconsistent, that may actually hurt the better putters and favor the ball strikers.

Another thing about Quail Hollow, the fairways are tough to hit and many of the holes require a good bit of length. Knowing that, it's not a surprise to see Rory McIlroy regularly in the mix here. He lost in a playoff (along with D.A. Points) to Rickie Fowler last season. Long and accurate tee shots allow a player to be aggressive.

The elephant in the room this week will be McIlroy. Given his win in 2010 and playoff loss last year, this is the perfect spot for him to pick up his first victory of 2013. I would be more comfortable with him if he had played the week before, but he really never has for this tournament.

We will take a hard look at the field and come back with power rankings tomorrow. Best of luck with your research!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Round 3

Lucas Glover increased the margin of his lead at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to two (14-under) in the third round, but questions about his putter remain as he heads into the finale. Here are a few quick thoughts:

  • Glover's attitude stayed positive, but when he missed a 2'6" putt for par on the 14th, the mainstream golf world got to see what I've seen way too many times over the course of this year on Shot Tracker. A miss from inside three feet.
  • Watch out for Billy Horschel tomorrow. This is the right scenario for him to claim his first PGA TOUR win. Trailing, but not by much, and not in the final pairing. My guess is that one of three people win this thing. Glover, Horschel or Jimmy Walker. I don't see Kyle Stanley holding up.
  • I'm keeping the Yahoo! lineup of Horschel, Walker, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner the same for tomorrow. 
  • Note that the final round will take place starting at 7 a.m. local time tomorrow, with the leaders going off at 9:01. Early split tee threesomes are to try and get ahead of inclement weather that is forecast. 
Enjoy the finale!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Round 2

Lucas Glover claimed the 36-hole lead in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at 12-under when he followed his opening 7-under 65 with a 67 in round two. He is one up on Boo Weekley and chasing his fourth PGA TOUR victory.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • The advantage remained with the Thursday PM / Friday AM wave, as both Glover and Weekley were products of the fortunate end of the draw. It wasn't without exception, as Bubba Watson's 65 in the afternoon was the round of the day. I also noticed Kyle Stanley spun a 67 in the afternoon wave.
  • First-round leader Ricky Barnes disappeared.
  • I like the Glover / Weekley pairing. It should be comfortable for both players. They both play to a quick pace, and should they run into down time they can keep each other entertained with conversations on hunting and fishing while sharing a dip. 
  • Of note, the lowest winning score at TPC Louisiana was last season when Jason Dufner won at 19-under. Consequently, he was 12-under (same as Glover) and the leader by one at the half-way point.
  • Oh how I wish I would have subbed Bubba in for Dufner in the Yahoo! game after round one, but it just didn't make sense. If you had Bubba, it was a nice day for you.
  • Tomorrow's Yahoo! lineup is Dufner, Rose, Walker and Horschel. I don't particularly like to chase a hot round like Bubba put up. It's hard for a guy to go that low twice and Dufner goes out very early tomorrow.
  • If you are one of those that burned Boo in various formats last week at Hilton Head, only to count him out this week, you are not alone. I've gotten numerous emails and tweets suggesting that you are in good company.

We'll see who can catch our final pairing on moving day at TPC Louisiana tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Round 1

A track meet broke out in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Ricky Barnes tying the course record with an 8-under-par 64 to lead by one over Lucas Glover and Boo Weekly. Here are a few thoughts:

  • With the exception of Barnes, the afternoon tee times enjoyed the lower scores. While I normally try and even out my Yahoo! lineup with AM/PM splits, I didn't this week because I felt like I would be reaching. It worked out to my advantage. The lesson is not to reach for a player you aren't comfortable with just to fit a tee time.
  • Barnes and Glover are perfect examples of good owns in season-long formats. Glover hasn't made a putt in six weeks, but the key to his round today was a seven-foot bogey save on the par-4 sixth and and equally long par save on the par-5 seventh (he started on the back nine). He then birdied his last two holes. The weeks when guys like Barnes and Glover putt well are hard to peg, but when they do they can each contend.
  • Everything points to another day of low scoring tomorrow, but the course should at least play a little firmer and faster. If it does, it likely means an advantage for the Thursday late/Friday early players.
  • In Yahoo!, I'm keeping Dufner and Rose in the lineup and adding Jimmy Walker for Hoffman and Rickie Fowler for Billy Horschel. Fowler and Horschel are both in the same wave and both 5-under, so I want to make sure to play both so I can get any potential bonus points later.

Settle in for more red numbers on Friday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Final Thoughts

Hours away from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, here are a few final thoughts.
  • This week's one-and-done is Justin Rose. A big part of me would love to have him around for a FedExCup Playoff event but this is a good spot for him. He feels like the most likely to at least nab a top 10, and should contend.
  • For my two-and-done, I find myself outside the money at this point and I'm rolling the dice a little bit with Billy Horschel. Truth be told, I really wanted to play him somewhere this week and this spot made sense. 
  • That means I've shut Dufner out of every game except Yahoo! (and my PGA TOUR game). Somehow it feels unwise to have so much hedged against Duf this week, but he just hasn't proven to have anything better than his B- game thus far this season.
  • Yahoo! players stay the same. My starters are Dufner, Rose, Hoffman and Horschel.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Fantasy

After a mixed bag of results at the RBC Heritage when it came to fantasy games, let's move on to NOLA for the Zurich Classic. I'm going to jump right in.


Last week was a really good week for us in this format, netting 203 points and improving our season total to 2484. That's good for a ranking of 8,512 and the 92nd percentile.

I'm publishing my lineup this week without yet accounting for the weather. I'm going to go back tomorrow and take a deeper dive into the elements. If I make a switch, I will post tomorrow. As for now:

  • A-List - Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson
  • B-List - Justin Rose, Charley Hoffman, Cameron Tringale and Jimmy Walker
  • C-List - Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler
Golf Channel:

As always, the details of rankings, money and picks are in the weekly Rotoworld article. This week's picks are:
  • Group 1 - Justin Rose
  • Group 2 - Billy Horschel
  • Group 3 - Jordan Spieth
  • Group 4 - James Driscoll

Overall Standings:
  1. Woltz (4163)
  2. Boots With The Fur (3875)
  3. O'Sullivan's Tribe (3863)
  4. Team Tiger II (3777)
  5. Subliminal Magic (3696)
Weekly Standings:
  1. Woltz (990) with a lineup that included G-Mac, Simpson and Donald. (I hope he had money on this somewhere.)
  2. Who's The Caddy? (717)
  3. Super Molinari Bros. (570)
  4. Putter's Paradise (345)
  5. Bird Dogs (264)
Huge week Woltz....great job!

I'll be back tomorrow to update any last minute changes as well as post a one-and-done and two-and-done pick. I'll go ahead and tell you I'm leaning Horschel for the one-and-done, but haven't ruled out Rose. 

Best of luck!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Power Rankings

When Jason Dufner brought home his first PGA TOUR trophy at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he did so with a trend at TPC Louisiana that fantasy gamers dream about. He improved steadily from a T9 in ’09, to a T7 in ’10, then was T3 in ’11 and finally got the “W” in ’12. Simply put, if you weren't on Dufner last year in this event you were not paying attention.

This year, what we do with Dufner becomes very complicated. This will be our first look at Dufner defending an event, and he does so without a top 10 on the resume this season. To be fair, his only top 10 before last year’s win was a T8 in Phoenix, and he didn't have one in 2010 before his T7. This week is different because there is more pressure. If any of you are season-long Dufner owners, you likely feel this is a week he MUST perform to be worth the investment you made in him. I have to think he feels the same.

He’s a must in your Yahoo! lineup this week, but what you do with him in the Golf Channel game and one-and-done formats becomes complex.

Here is how this week’s power rankings shake out:
  1. Justin Rose – Arguably the best player in the field this week, he spun a T10 last year but has missed the cut twice in five tries at TPC Louisiana. His ball-striking at Augusta National was nearly flawless, but the putter held him back mightily. Elite players have emerged in NOLA the last two trips (B. Watson and Dufner), and Rose fits that mold. He’s a “must” have in your Yahoo! lineup and deserves serious one-and-done consideration.
  2. Billy Horschel – One of the problems I've faced when considering going heavy on Horschel is finding a track where he has some success. Even though he missed the cut at TPC Louisiana last year, he managed a 69 in the second round. He also tied for 26th here in 2011. Given his run of three consecutive top 10s, this may be the week to invest heavily in Horschel. That includes Yahoo! and quite possibly one-and-done. Another trend that TPC Louisiana has become known for in its short history is first-time winners. That Nick Watney and Jason Dufner each picked up their first wins here demonstrates some high-class talent can get over the hurdle in New Orleans. Horschel fits that bill.
  3. Jason Dufner – I laid out the case for Dufner above. How you use him largely depends on your situation. Yahoo is a must. Golf Channel, one-and-done and other games largely depend on your position. If you are near the top, he’s a pretty safe play. I’m probably going to shy away from him in the one-and-done because there are several other good spots to burn him if he shows me his form is on this week.
  4. Bubba Watson – After some early results that weren't all that impressive at TPC Louisiana, he picked up a win in 2011 and tied for 18th last year. He didn't have that good of a week at Augusta National, but that shouldn't have shocked you. I would feel really good about him picking up a top 20, but his focus will determine if it’s better than that.
  5. Rickie Fowler – He makes his third start at TPC Louisiana with an impressive trend working. He tied for 26th here in 2010 and tied for 10th here last year before heading to Quail Hollow and capturing his first win. Simply put, I won’t talk you out of Fowler this week in any format.
  6. Cameron Tringale – Don’t forget about this young gun this week. His trend at TPC Louisiana is eerily similar to Dufner’s last season. The Georgia Tech star has gone T28, T18 and T7 in his last three trips. He finished third in Tampa Bay a little over a month ago, but missed the cut at TPC San Antonio the last time he teed it up. If you are trailing in a league and want to go against the likely grain, he could be your guy.
  7. Jeff Overton – He has three top 20s here in his last four seasons, highlighted by a runner-up in 2010. He tied for seventh in his last start at the Valero Texas Open before taking the Masters and the Heritage off. He will likely be overshadowed by all of the options above, so he’s another way to go against the grain if you need to try and play catch up.
  8. Charley Hoffman – His last three TOUR starts are T20, T3 and T6. He was in control of the Heritage until a very windy final round. In particular, a poor tee shot on the par-3 14th into the water doomed him. He’s made 5/6 cuts at TPC Louisiana, but owns just one top 25. My gut tells me the window on his current run probably closed at the Heritage but his current form demands his inclusion at this spot.
  9. Brendon de Jonge – This is a good course for him to pick up his first win. I’m not saying it will happen this week, but a course with four par 5s and a winning score generally in the teens fits him. His perfect scenario will be posting a number a few groups back. He’s trending up, with a T26 here in ’11 and a T18 last year. Eight of his 11 final rounds on TOUR have been under par, with the exceptions being an even-par 72 at Pebble Beach and over par rounds at The Honda and the Heritage. Has improved his final round scoring average from 81st on TOUR last year to 21st this year.
  10. Jimmy Walker – Another non-winner not to be ignored, he hasn't missed a cut all year and has been in contention several times. He tied for 18th here last year and has made two of his three cuts at TPC Louisiana.
  11. Thorbjorn Olesen – His T6 at the Masters earned him Special Temporary Membership allowing him unlimited sponsor exemptions. As a result, here he is in New Orleans. We don’t have enough to go on in terms of investing too heavily, but he needs to be on your radar.
  12. Jordan Spieth – Another ho-hum top 10 at the Heritage last week. He looks like a guy that could break through at any time on any course.

Next 5: Chris Kirk, Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley, Graham DeLaet, Jerry Kelly

I expect this to be a week of movement in many fantasy formats, and we will dive into our games tomorrow. Until then, best of luck with your research.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Preview

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans returns to TPC Louisiana for the eighth time in the last nine season, with the only break a quick return to English Turn G&CC in 2006. TPC Louisiana is a 7,425 yard par 72, featuring the typical four par 5s and par 3s, with 10 par 4s.

Below are the winners and runner-ups of the seven previous stops at TPC Louisiana:

  • 2005 - Tim Petrovic (13-under) over James Driscoll (13-under) in a playoff
  • 2007 - Nick Watney (15-under) over Ken Duke (12-under)
  • 2008 - Andres Romero (13-under) over Peter Lonard (12-under)
  • 2009 - Jerry Kelly (14-under) over Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini and Charlie Wi (13-under)
  • 2010 - Jason Bohn (18-under) over Jeff Overton (16-under)
  • 2011 - Bubba Watson (15-under) over Webb Simpson (15-under) in a playoff
  • 2012 - Jason Dufner (19-under) over Ernie Els (19-under) in a playoff
What I notice about this tournament is that it seems to identify form, even over course history. While Jason Dufner had both going for him in his win last year, I think about guys like Webb Simpson and Ernie Els both showing up at TPC Louisiana and then winning later in the year. 

It's also friendly to first-time winners. Tim Petrovic and Andres Romero captured their only wins in New Orleans. Watney and Dufner each picked up their first wins here. Billy Horschel anyone?

We will scour the usual metrics of course history and form in an effort to identify a short list of guys that should be ripe for contending later this week.

Until then, happy research!

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Monday Qualifier

As is the case with any open PGA TOUR event, there is a Monday qualifier for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to decide the final four spots in the field.

Here is a link http://gulfpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gulfpga13/event/gulfpga1311/index.htm to all of the information for the qualifier.

Best of luck to all!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

RBC Heritage - Round 3

Charley Hoffman took command of the RBC Heritage, posting a 5-under-par 66 to reach 11-under and besting Webb Simpson by two. Hoffman did it with a putter, needing a minuscule 21 putts to tour Harbour Town.

So what does the final round hold? Good question.

  • Weather should be pretty windy all day. I'm not sure there will be much of an advantage on tee times, but I guess it couldn't hurt to be a very early tee time.
  • I'm having a hard time on two of my Yahoo! moves for tomorrow. I'm leaving Hoffman and Donald alone in the B-List even though Furyk came alive today. I find it doubtful that Furyk will have two hot rounds in-a-row, but Donald still looks like he's not all that sharp. His birdie putt at five ran all the way off the green and a short iron shot into the par-5 15th missed the green on the short side. Both of those are mistakes you never see him make.
  • Billy Horschel vs Jason Day is a tough one. I feel a little safer with Day in tougher conditions, but every time I doubt Horschel he bites me. There's only about an hour separating their tee times, so I'm going to close my eyes and take Billy Ho.
  • Boo Weekley vs Brandt Snedeker in the A-List is another question mark. Snedeker is clearly hung over from the Masters, but Boo isn't getting it done either. I'm sticking with Boo.
  • Webb Simpson should be on your very short list at Quail Hollow after returning to form this week.
  • Jason Dufner, on the other hand, will head to his defense in New Orleans with plenty of questions to answer.
We'll check back in tomorrow..

Friday, April 19, 2013

RBC Heritage - Round 2

The RBC Heritage isn't in the books quite yet. In fact, we still aren't sure if the cut line will be 1- or 2-over-par. Jesper Parnevik will stand over a 5'5" putt that will likely decide the fate of about 20 players.

As expected, the weather caused some dramatic moves both up and down the leaderboard, with the morning wave holding the decided advantage on Friday.

We have to set the Yahoo! lineups before we know the definitive cut line, but my advice would be to avoid those at 2-over unless you have no other option.

Because I have no other option with Snedeker and Weekley in the A-List, I'm sticking with Boo, then holding firm in the B-List with Donald and Hoffman and switching back to Day in the C-List.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

RBC Heritage - Round 1

Round one of the RBC Heritage is in the books and we may look back and see that it was the best weather of the week. Brian Davis leads at 6-under, and many people would consider it a beautiful twist of fate if he picked up his first TOUR win at this stop after his playoff loss to Jim Furyk in 2010.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Glad I started Charley Hoffman and Jason Day in the Yahoo! game today.
  • Tomorrow's Yahoo! lineup is Weekley, Hoffman, Donald and Horschel. With the wind a factor tomorrow, I'm going with early tee times.
  • Day and Marc Leishman weren't hungover from the Masters, but Brandt Snedeker was.
  • Defending champ Carl Pettersson fired a 3-under after not showing much form.
  • Today is a perfect example of the goal of the first round being to not shoot yourself out of the tournament. There is a ton of golf to be played and I would wager that there is plenty of movement still to come on the leaderboard. Especially as the weather is expected to worsen. 
Because I believe that there is still so much movement ahead tomorrow, I'm not going to ramble any further. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RBC Heritage - Final Thoughts

Not much has changed in the last few days regarding the RBC Heritage. Wind will be a factor, but that's not all that unusual at Harbour Town. What most people don't know is that, because of the dense tree line, many of the holes are guarded from the wind if you have a low ball flight. Only the final three holes are completely exposed.

That leads me to go with experience. I'm taking Boo Weekley in my one-and-done and two-and-done and hoping for a top 10. He seemingly always plays well here regardless of current form, and the good news is that his current form is better than usual.

When wind and even rain/thunderstorms are featured in the equation as they are this week, I want to avoid a high-profile burn. While you could make a strong case for Jim Furyk or Jason Dufner or Luke Donald etc, I know I won't miss Boo later in the year and I might miss the others. I also don't want to burn a stud and have him end up on the wrong end of an unpredictable draw.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

RBC Heritage - Fantasy

Last week proved to be a good week for us in several of the more popular gaming formats. We had Adam Scott in our Yahoo! C List and Angel Cabrera in Group 4 of our Golf Channel lineup. We were not so lucky with Phil Mickelson as our one-and-done and a quadruple-bogey seven on the par-3 12th in the final round dropped Justin Rose out of the running for a top 10 and into a tie for 25th.

At present it looks like Friday will be the windiest day of the week, so you may want to consider favoring the Thursday late / Friday early wave.

Here we go.


We scored 190 points last week and cracked the 90th percentile with our 11,118 ranking for the season. This week looks like this:

  • A-List - Brandt Snedeker starting with Boo Weekley on the bench due to tee times.
  • B-List - Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman starting with Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar on the bench.
  • C-List - Jason Day starting and Billy Horschel on the bench.

Golf Channel:
Another big leap in the Golf Channel standings has us up to $8,829,254 and ranked 6,142. This week, we're going:
  • Group 1 - Jason Dufner
  • Group 2 - Zach Johnson (tempted to take Horschel but I worry about a first-timer.
  • Group 3 - Boo Weekley
  • Group 4 - Ricky Barnes


Overall Standings:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe (3713)
  2. Boots with the Fur (3642) (Love the name!)
  3. Subliminal Magic (3619)
  4. Team Tiger II (3538)
  5. PelicansRule (3430)
Weekly Standings:
  • T1- Team Tiger III, Team Tiger II, Team Tiger I (865)
  • 4 - Subliminal Magic (797)
  • 5 - Rubio2016 (793)
We'll be back with our one-and-done tomorrow. I'm pretty set on where I want to go, but I'll give it one more day to simmer.

Best of luck to all!

Monday, April 15, 2013

RBC Heritage - Power Rankings

With the Masters fully behind us, we now turn our attention completely to Hilton Head, SC and the RBC Heritage. When digging into the history of many players, the facts are that Harbour Town either fits your eye or it doesn't.

Guys we typically consider "grinders" like Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar have their share of success. Solid iron players like Jason Dufner and Luke Donald have also done well.

So how does it all shake out?

Here we go:

  1. Jason Dufner - We are entering into the heart of Dufner's season, and this serves as an excellent warm up for his New Orleans defense. His irons looked really good at the Masters, which will be important this week. This is his fifth trip, with his only missed cut the first one. He also has three top-26 finishes. The relaxed atmosphere should be just fine with Duf.
  2. Boo Weekley - I challenge you to find a better record than Weekley has at Harbour Town. He won in his first two trips, still serving as his only two TOUR wins. He's never missed a cut, and three of his other four weeks were T13 or better including a T6 last year.
  3. Jim Furyk - He's a safe pick in virtually any format this week. Tied for 8th last year with a win and two seconds on his resume at Harbour Town.
  4. Luke Donald - A surprising T37 last year after finishing no worse than third in his three preceding starts. He needs to get his 2013 jump started, and this could be the perfect place.
  5. Jason Day - Now it's time to play amateur psychiatrist. Finished third at the Masters and improved from MC to T22 to T9 in his three starts at Harbour Town, skipping it last year. His game is primed for a big week if his head and heart are in it.
  6. Billy Horschel - No history here, but we've seen what he did in Houston and San Antonio. He can't get away with nervy driving around Harbour Town or he'll never leave the trees.
  7. Brandt Snedeker - He won here in 2011, but the year to look at is 2008. That was the last time he came here the week after a Masters final-round let down, finishing T53. Hard to tell if his excellent form will trump his broken heart.
  8. Matt Kuchar - Made 8/9 cuts with two top 10s and four top 25s. Had a disappointing T44 last year.
  9. Charles Howell III - Good record here with three top 25s in seven trips. Counting on his irons and current form to make this one of his better trips to Harbour Town.
  10. Ernie Els - It's a bit of a throwback pick, but we all saw what Angel Cabrera did at Augusta National last week. Has three missed cuts and a T48 in his last four starts, but a runner-up before that in 2007. In all, he's made 10/13 cuts with seven top 10s including that runner-up and two thirds.
  11. Charley Hoffman - Solid wind player if things get gusty, coming off a T3 at the Valero Texas Open and a T8 here last year.
  12. Zach Johnson - Last year's runner-up has yet to crack a top 10 this year after six in 2012. He's the right fit for this course. Accurate off the tee, a good wedge player and a solid putter.
Next 5: Stewart Cink, Harris English, Brian Gay, Carl Pettersson and Webb Simpson

We'll take a look at some games tomorrow. 

Best of luck!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Masters Recap

Adam Scott slipped on the green jacket, marking the first time any Australian won the Masters and his first major championship. It turns out, he didn't have to wait long to get over the sting of blowing the Open Championship last July. In truth, his play in majors the last two seasons has led up to this.

Here are some thoughts from the Masters:
  • Scott struggled with the putter all day, only taking advantage of par 5s until he dropped a bomb on 18 and then nailed a mid-ranger on the second playoff hole for the win.
  • Stevie Williams helped his guy to a green jacket before his old boss won one.
  • Angel Cabrera will probably be like Freddie Couples at the Masters. His length will allow him to contend here for another decade, and his course history is proving formidable. 
  • Before he hit the shot, I said out loud "What are you thinking!" If you're not sure what I'm talking about, think back to Cabrera going for 13 in two from the pine straw. If he pitches out, it's a wedge on in three and an easy par with a birdie possibility.
  • On that note, I don't know how his putt at 17 missed, his first chip in the playoff missed and his putt on the 10th in the playoff missed. There must have been some screams from Down Under shaking the Augusta greens and leaving those balls out of the cups. 
  • Jason Day will win a green jacket one day. He had this one locked up when he stood on 16 tee, but a poor tee shot on 16 and a bad iron on 17 cost him the win. He did not look nervous and nearly birdied 18 when it looked like that would have been good enough for a playoff.
  • I'm glad I burned my Tiger one-and-done at Bay Hill.
  • Snedeker choked. I like the guy and hate to say it, but that's the truth. Of those in the final three pairing, he's the only one that really looked nervy.
  • Thorbjorn Olesen is the European Rickie Fowler. I like his game and his flair, but I'm not ready to call  him the next Rory McIlroy. He'll win a major one day.
  • Westwood, Garcia and Kuchar do what they do. Rack up low top 10s in majors.
And that's a wrap.

We'll be back tomorrow to talk Harbour Town.

RBC Heritage - Preview

From the year's first major at Augusta National, the PGA TOUR heads to one of the best parties of the year at the RBC Heritage and Harbour Town Golf Links. Having been to both, the mood of the two tournaments is strikingly different. Both incredible in their own way.

Harbour Town was lengthened last year to 7101 yards, and the par 71 layout will remain at that yardage this time around as well. Just like the cameras at Augusta National can't do justice to the slopes and hills, the same can be said about how tight and tree lined Harbour Town plays. It's not an exaggeration to say that a player can hit a drive in the fairway on a par 4 and have a semi-blind second shot.

So what type of player does Harbour Town favor? Someone who is great at something. Brian Gay and Brandt Snedeker have won here and both are excellent putters. Boo Weekley and Davis Love III are multiple winners and did so with excellent ball striking.

The biggest reason for the discrepancy in types of champions is probably the greens. They are among some of the smallest in the world. An excellent ball striker can find them more often and have an advantage over the field by not having to scramble as much. An excellent putter, however, will enjoy success on the greens he finds and stands a better chance of scrambling and holing par putts.

It's worth keeping an eye on the forecasted wind as Thursday nears. Last year's opening round was extremely windy, and parts of the course sit directly on the Calibogue Sound and are exposed. Consequently, noted wind player Chad Campbell shared the first-round lead at 4-under-par.

We will dive into the power rankings tomorrow as we ease our way out of Augusta and down to the South Carolina coast.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Masters - Round 3

Well we thought the second round of the Masters was in the books when last we checked in, but little did we know Tiger Woods would make the wrong kind of news this morning. I'll trust you are well informed on his rules violation and the bullet he dodged on not being disqualified.

Moving day came and went, and there were no dramatic jumps into contention. The round of the day was Tim Clark's 67, but the co-leaders came from the second and third-to-last groups. Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera share the lead at 7-under.

Here are some thoughts ahead of the final round:

  • I've mentioned more than once this week, including yesterday, that Snedeker is a great fit on paper. If you look at it, his entire season has built for this moment much like Mike Weir's year did in 2003. Sneds also has the experience of 2008, when a final-round 77 left him in a tie for third and in tears. Combining those experiences means he knows what he will feel and how to handle that. He's probably the favorite to win this thing.
  • But don't sleep on Angel Cabrera at all. He's the exact opposite of guys like Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia. He's a big-game hunter. He's the guy at the poker table that shows up and wins the World Series of Poker. He's not phased by the moment. Whoever wins this tournament will have to put him away, and if they don't it will be major No. 3 for the Argentine. 
  • Speaking of Adam Scott (6-under and one back), he has the hopes of every Australian on his shoulders. Well, sort of. He can at least share the lime light with Jason Day and Marc Leishman who are both 5-under and two back. This isn't a bad spot for Scotty. 
  • Tiger Woods is too far back to win. It would be interesting if he was two back, which would be the case if he didn't take the improper drop on the 15th on Friday. Frankly, I just don't see Snedeker, Cabrera and Scott all three giving enough ground to let him in the picture. If he were chasing Marc Leishman and Freddie Couples, then maybe.
  • I see Jason Day as the wild card tomorrow. He ended his day with back-to-back three-putt bogeys after going blemish-free for 16 holes. 
  • I'm absolutely shocked at how poorly Bradley and Mickelson played today. Maybe they were trying to get a Sunday tee time together? That's all I can think.
Everything stays the same in the Yahoo! lineup. Woods, Scott, D Johnson and Rose.

Remember......the tournament starts on the back nine Sunday! Enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Masters - Round 2

At the mid-point of the Masters, Jason Day has taken his seat at the head of the table at 6-under-par. The cut fell at 4-over, with those guys sweating Day's final two holes since the 10-stroke rule is what saved them.

Here are some thoughts:

  • If you haven't heard, the 14-year-old kid from China (Guan) was assessed a slow-play penalty today. I find it quite ironic that a 14-year-old uses an anchored putter AND is a slow player. This is what the current generation of TOUR players has bred. 
  • I remember reading - and I think it was in Hank Haney's The Big Miss - that one time Tiger was so dialed in with his irons on the range - I want to say at a British Open - that Steve Williams had to tell him to aim a little to the right or left of the flag because he was seriously afraid he would hit the pin. Perhaps Joe LaCava didn't get the message, as Woods hit the pin on 15 and, instead of a kick-in birdie- the ball went into the water for an eventual "good" bogey. 
  • Fantasy - Most of my roster moves backfired in the second round in Yahoo!, but I'm only making one change for Saturday. Woods in for Mickelson. Tiger is a moving day legend at Augusta, so don't sit this one out. Phil might make a move, but he might not. Tiger will. The other three are Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. 
Looking ahead:

I'm sure some of you know the stat better than I do, but it essentially states that you better be in the top five after the second round if you want to win the Masters and you often need to be in the final group on Sunday. 

Knowing that and referring to Sunday's preview, here's what I think of those in the top 5's chances, as well as a few more just outside to watch.
  • Jason Day - He was 20th on our power rankings, but eliminated as one who could win because of his missed cut in 2012. Given he was T2 in 2011, he's a threat.
  • Freddie Couples (T2) - At 5-under and one back, we'll see what Boom Boom can do on the weekend. Eliminated as a potential winner due to age, and 39th on our power rankings. I still don't like his chances to win, but would love to be wrong.
  • Marc Leishman (T2) - The first round leader began his slow fade in the second round. We eliminated him as a potential winner because he hadn't made a cut and was only making his second start. I expect him to hang around for a while on Saturday, but eventually be fighting for a top 12 and a trip back for next year on Sunday.
  • Angel Cabrera (T4) - At 4-under and two back, he was 23rd in our power rankings and DID meet the criteria for a potential winner. He was also our pick in the Golf Channel Group 4. Hard to see him winning, but he will be around in the end.
  • Jim Furyk (T4) - We eliminated him as a winner because he had made one more start than O'Meara before he won his first Masters. Let's be honest. If he steps on the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead, that tee shot will find the trees.
  • Brandt Snedeker (T4) - He fit the criteria of a winner and I even mentioned that he was a "perfect fit" on paper. He was eerily similar to 2003 Mike Weir leading into this tournament with a torrid West Coast Swing. Form was scary after the injury, but he's a closer now. If I had to pick one person currently in the top five to win, it would be Sneds.
  • At 3-under and tied for seventh, there is a large group of players that could make a huge leap on moving day. Among them are a group of guys highly considered primed for their first major. They are Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, K.J. Choi and Justin Rose. Oh, and a guy named Tiger Woods. I'll go out on a limb and predict that one of these guys will shoot a 66 or 67 tomorrow and earn a spot in the final group. Woods is the favorite to do so, but don't sleep on any of them. Of those, only Choi didn't meet the criteria of a winner I established.
  • The rest - It's a big ask to leap all of those at 3-under or better, but don't count out Rory McIlroy (2-under), Charl Schwartzel (2-under) or Dustin Johnson. It will take at least a third-round 67 or 68 for one of these guys to really jump into the conversation, but they all could do it.
  • Feels like 10- or 11-under will win this one. That would probably be bad for a guy like Couples, but ideal for someone like Snedeker or Cabrera.

Enjoy the third round of the Masters!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Masters - Round 1

I just made it back in from dodging thunderstorms in my two-and-a-half-hour commute home from the opening round of the Masters, and I'm beat. Special thanks to my good friend Marc for treating me to the experience.

The first-round thoughts from this week's tournament will be from my personal observations at Augusta National. I haven't watched any of it on television yet.

  • I've had the opportunity to go the Augusta National on several occasions and I'm always blown away by the slopes and blind shots. Walking across the eighth fairway today, I saw a sprinkler head that read 187 yards and you can't even come close to seeing the green from there. There are also very few holes where you can actually see the green from the tee box.
  • I saw Justin Rose hit it on in two at the par-5 second and make an easy birdie to go 2-under through two. I was surprised that was where he ended up given how "easy" the course played.
  • Luke Donald was efficient.
  • I was 10 feet away from Lucas Glover when he approached his ball in the greenside bunker on one. I couldn't see it due to the depth of the bunker, but a dead magnolia leaf was in the bunker near where he would stand. Knowing he couldn't move a loose impediment, he called Bernhard Langer over to see if he would be penalized if the impediment moved when he took his stance. Both thought he would not be penalized, but were unsure. They called a rules official over and it was the most interesting interaction I've heard on a golf course. Glover said something along the lines of "I know I can't move a loose impediment, but what if the leaf moves when I'm taking my stance. Is it a penalty?" The official said (again, paraphrasing), "I don't think so, as long as you don't move the impediment." Lucas then said, "Well, the impediment will move when I step on it. Is that a penalty?" The official then changed course and said, "yes, I suppose it would." Langer, listening to all of this, spoke up and said "hold on. What if there were 10 leaves in the bunker instead of one? He has to be allowed a reasonable stance to play the shot." The official then changed his mind for seemingly the third time and said, "Yes, I guess you're right. It would not be a penalty." A completely confused Glover then said, "So to be clear, when I step on this leaf and it moves, I will not be penalized?" To which the answer was "Correct." Bernhard Langer talked a rules official out of his ruling. My buddy and I couldn't believe it. Perhaps more unbelieveable is that the rules official didn't seem to actually know what the correct ruling actually was. 
  • When betting on closest to the pin approaches on the par-3 16th, take the old past champions.
Yahoo! moves.
Mickelson in for Woods, Scott in for Westwood and D Johnson in for Donald. (Leaving Rose in.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Masters - Final Thoughts

You've watched the preview shows, read the articles and made most or all of your picks for the 2013 Masters, and now we are less than 12 hours away from the opening tee times! So here are the famous last words.

Weather looks to be a non-factor on the weekend, but storms could potentially interrupt play late in the afternoon / early evening on Thursday. It could also delay the start of play on Friday. That likely means the best draw are those going out in the morning on Thursday.

For my one-and-done this week, I'm plugging in Phil Mickelson. There are a few guys I have penciled in for events at the start of the year. Tiger at Bay Hill was one. Phil at the Masters is another. Rory at Quail Hollow could very well be a third. Phil thinks he's found the perfect club for Augusta with his new 8.5 degree "driver" that's made more like a 3-wood. He's got his putter dialed in, or so he thinks. Plus, Lefty's always a factor here.

In my two-and-done, I considered burning my second Tiger start. I also considered going all-in with Phil. Rory might have made sense as well. Instead, I went against the chalk and took Justin Rose. I love his Masters trend and his current season trend. Hey, Tiger and Phil don't win every year at Augusta.

The other reason for plugging Rose in, is that I'd like to save my second Tiger start for the Memorial, AT&T National at Congressional or maybe TPC Boston. Phil might also prove a prudent play at the TOUR Championship with my second Phil start.

I hope you enjoy the Masters!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Masters - Fantasy

As I've learned this year, there are more Masters fantasy games than I could have ever imagined. For those of you waiting for emails back from me regarding specific questions, I'll try and plow through all of them shortly after posting this.

If you have a specific question as to who I like better between golfer A and golfer B, and there are no limitations to burning starts, please refer to my power rankings yesterday where I ranked the field.

Here we go with the usual formats.


Took a small step back last week, probably because I didn't go with Billy Horschel, and currently rank 13,138 with 2091 and in the 88th percentile. As for this week:

  • A-List - Tiger starting on Thursday with Phil on the bench. Very hard to leave Rory out of this one, but Phil's record here is unavoidable. 
  • B-List - Justin Rose and Luke Donald starting on Thursday with Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan on the bench.
  • C-List - Lee Westwood starting with Adam Scott on the bench.
I broke this down for to allow for earlier tee times / late tee times even though it isn't your usual split-tee start. I did this mainly to hedge for the weather in case a storm somehow gives a big advantage one way or another. The only "reach" may be Donald over a guy like Stricker or Bradley.

Golf Channel:

Big week last week. Ended up making a big move ranking 82nd overall in the Valero Texas Open with all four guys in the top 15. Here we go this week.
  • Group 1 - Tiger
  • Group 2 - Dustin Johnson
  • Group 3 - Rickie Fowler
  • Group 4 - Angel Cabrera
PGA TOUR game:

Overall top five:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe (3432)
  2. Case of Biershenks (3184)
  3. Pure Spin (3150)
  4. Stink Eye (3150) (there really is a tie for third)
  5. Swinging for Sixties (2937)
Last week's top five:
  1. adub (491)
  2. Pure Spin (445)
  3. Define Statutory (437)
  4. Stink Eye (437)
  5. the horsethieves (417)
I'll be back tomorrow with one-and-done and two-and-done picks.

Best of luck to all!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Masters - Power Rankings

On rare occasions, the Masters being one of them, I will stray from a power ranking and rank an entire field. I’m going to do that again this week, and the biggest reason as to why is because there are so many gaming formats out there for majors, and the Masters in particular, that it ends up being easier on me to give you a list of all 93 players in order of how I see their value.

I’ll start off heavy on the comments early, and then lessen them until I eventually just give you names. Let’s face it. When it’s down to the 76th man on the list, there just isn't that much to say. I will also put a (W) beside past winners.

All of the normal factors are in play for the rankings this week including past Masters history, current form and a very little bit of stats. And by “very,” I mainly want to make sure the guy doesn't completely suck at putting and has the distance to handle Augusta National.

The weather looks to be good for Saturday and Sunday, with thunderstorms expected on Thursday and Friday. For the purposes of this, I’m not allowing the weather to play too large of a role in my ranking since this is a typical April forecast for Augusta. I may dial in deeper for several of the more popular games when some hourly forecasts become available for Friday to see if one wave of tee times has an advantage.

Everybody clear as mud?

Here we go:

  1. Tiger Woods – Actually, the first one doesn’t require much of a comment either.
  2. Phil Mickelson – He’s got his usual pre-Masters win and seems to be clicking on enough cylinders coming out of Houston to allow plenty of optimism for the three-time winner. I actually like that he played Sunday with former Secretary Rice on Sunday and peppered her with political questions. For some, I would worry about the distraction, but Phil needs that side of his brain stimulated.
  3. Rory McIlroy – He’s not found his “A game” quite yet, but I was really impressed with his wedge control last weekend. There were a number of times where he was hitting 100-yard wedges inside six feet at TPC San Antonio. He also brought it with a final-round 66, only to be outdone by Martin Laird’s 63.
  4. Justin Rose – He’s got top-eight finishes in his last three TOUR starts in 2013, and check out his Augusta National record…..7/7, 2 top 10s, 5 top 25s. His last three starts at ANGC are T20, T11, T8.
  5. Adam Scott – Commented to the media yesterday that he’s got his work in for the Masters and will take a relaxing approach to the next few days. He knows how to play this course (9/11, 3 top 10s, 6 top 25s) and T2 and T8 in his last two trips.
  6. Dustin Johnson – He’s never missed a cut here, but never cracked a top 25 either. He is trending really well into Augusta, with a T12 and a T4 in his last two starts. Expect him to be a major factor.
  7. Lee Westwood – We know Westy has an excellent record here and his form seems to be above average coming off a T10 in Houston. Hasn’t done any better than a T9 this year, so hard to put him any higher than this.
  8. Sergio Garcia – Kind of wore himself out after a great start to the year, pulling out of Bay Hill during the rain delay. I really like his T3 at Doral, which is generally a good indicator of Masters success. He tied for 12th last year with 10/14, 2 top 10s, 3 top 25s as his overall record.
  9. Steve Stricker – I was surprised by his lack of success in Houston, but everything else this year has been nearly perfect. You could argue that this is a little high, but not much.
  10. Hunter Mahan – I mentioned yesterday that Mahan is ripe on paper to win the Green Jacket, and he is. Consider that he hasn’t missed the cut in eight starts on the PGA TOUR this year, with seven going for top 25s. His record at Augusta National is a respectable 4/6, 2 top 10s, 3 top 25s, including a T12 last year.
  11. Charl Schwartzel – Seems to be fading a bit, but I’m not putting too much thought into an average week at TPC San Antonio. He’s gone T30, win, T50 in his three starts here, so an every-other-year trend could show up this year. One thing I’ve noticed about Masters winners is that they tend to not finish inside the top 10 in the prior year’s Masters.
  12. Rickie Fowler – Making his third start, a T38 to T27 improvement could mean nice things for Fowler in  his third trip. Was T3 at Bay Hill in his last start.
  13. Bubba Watson – Tough to peg the defending champ, but I don’t see him doing much better than this with the distraction of defending. Form is good, but not excellent.
  14. Matt Kuchar – I’ve followed Kuch closely the last few weeks and he’s missing more short and mid-range putts than I remember being normal for him. He was T3 here last year and has only missed one cut in six previous trips.
  15. Keegan Bradley – Some people are going to like him a bunch this year, and given his form it’s hard to argue. I think he needs one more year. He was T27 in his only start here last year, which is similar to Schwartzel before his win in ’11. Elevate him if you want.
  16. Bill Haas – He’s been hanging around a lot of leaderboards lately, but not finishing the job. He’s never missed a cut in three previous Masters, but done nothing better than T26. I see him having a career-best trip to ANGC.
  17. Louis Oosthuizen – Hard to know what to make of Louis. He’s got three missed cuts here and a runner-up last year. He’s also slowly waking up, with a top 10 in Houston two weeks ago as his Masters lead-in.
  18. Ian Poulter – I see him being a factor in all the majors this season, and his Masters history has some bright spots, with his 7th last year the best. Overall, he’s 8/8, 2 top 10, 5 top 25s in this event.
  19. Brandt Snedeker – He would have been top three or four before his injury, but hasn’t shown anything close to the game that saw him leave the West Coast Swing with the FedExCup points lead. Was due for some hard work at Sea Island last week, so we don’t know what to expect.
  20. Jason Day – Was T2 in ’11 and missed the cut last year, but his form this season is closer to 2011 than a distracted 2012.
  21. Luke Donald – One of the favorites last year, he is flying in under the radar and could surprise some people. His record is steady at ANGC (6/8, 3 top 10s, 3 top 25s). Was T32 last year after sharing fourth in 2011. He may thrive under lessened expectations.
  22. Peter Hanson – Had a great final round at TPC San Antonio. I put a lot of stock into his T8 at Doral. Keep a close eye on the Swede, who was your 54-hole leader last year and tied for third. Probably fades to a non-competitive top 25 due to his heightened expectations, but that makes him a juicy pick in 2014.
  23. Angel Cabrera – Figured it out in Houston two weeks ago for a T16 (his best start since 2011) and credited a switch back to some older irons. His win in 2009 here wasn’t a one-hit wonder. He backed it up with T18, T7, T32 in his last three Masters.
  24. Jim Furyk – Length is a question, but his form (T3 last week) and record (14/16, 4 top 10s, 10 top 25s) make him impossible to ignore past this point.
  25. Jason Dufner – Quietly building a nice Masters resume, with a T30, T24 in his previous two starts. If his form was a little better (MC at Bay Hill and no top 10s), I’d be touting him much higher. It might be to my peril that I’m not.
  26. Padraig Harrington – Enters after notching his second top 10 of the year at the Valero Texas Open yesterday. His record here is respectable (9/13, 4 top 10s, 6 top 25s) and there is no question that he can handle major pressure.
  27. K.J. Choi – I had a hard time ranking him this week. He had a really nice week in San Antonio last week with a season-best sixth-place finish. Missed the cut here last year, but overall has a nice record (7/9, 3 top 10s, 4 top 25s) including a third-place finish. Nothing much would surprise me with Choi.
  28. Nick Watney – Cooled off after a T4 at Torrey Pines. A T27 in Houston was his best start on paper since the Match Play (T17). Never missed a cut in five trips to the Masters, with one top 10 and three top 25s.
  29. Graeme McDowell – Of all of this year’s majors, this one sets up the worst for him. He’s made just 2/5 cuts here, with a T12 last year his best finish.
  30. Bo Van Pelt – Quietly entering the Masters with just two top 25s in eight starts and back-to-back missed cuts, BVP can tout a T8 and T17 in his last two trips to Augusta National. Failed to re-create the top-10 successes of last year to this point.
  31. Henrik Stenson – Form excellent coming out of Houston and was the leader through 17 holes last year.
  32. Ernie Els – Big Easy back to ANGC, but hard to trust his putter to do much better than making the cut.
  33. Webb Simpson – He’s making his second trip after a mediocre T44 last year. Still needs some seasoning.
  34. Zach Johnson – Hasn’t had a great year and really has one of the more unimpressive Augusta resume’s of the past champions.
  35. Ryan Moore – Has the kind of record to watch at Augusta. He’s 4/4 with two top 25s. If his form was a little better and his putter more reliable, he would be a serious dark horse.
  36. Stewart Cink – He’s showed several flashes this year ,and owns a 10/15, 2 top 10s and 7 top 25s lifetime record, but T50, MC, MC in his last three trips don’t look flattering.
  37. Freddie Jacobson – Underwhelmed us in San Antonio last week, never contending. Record here is a T17 and a MC in two starts.
  38. Francesco Molinari – He’s a legitimate threat to make a little noise, with 2/3 cuts and a top 25.
  39. Fred Couples – He’ll thrill the patrons at some point early in the week, but has shown that his days of a weekend run are probably in the past.
  40. Martin Kaymer – Someone will tout how his game is a perfect fit for this course, and maybe he’ll be this year’s Louis Oosthuizen, but his record is a mere 1/5, T44 LY.
  41. David Lynn – Of all the European “rookies” on the PGA TOUR this year, Lynn may be the most pleasant surprise. He was T4 at The Honda and 14th at Valero last week. Masters rookie.
  42. Nicolas Colsaerts – The Belgian Bomber makes his Augusta debut. We know his length is a fit. Now we’ll see if the flat stick holds up.
  43. Vijay Singh – Any past champion is dangerous at Augusta, and Singh is no different. He could catch lightening in a bottle.
  44. Y.E. Yang – Don’t ignore him. He could be of value in the right game. (4/5, 1 top 10, 2 top 25s)
  45. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – Caught the attention of many golf fans with a T3 at Bay Hill to earn Special Temporary Status on the PGA TOUR. Made the cut here in his first trip last year, but didn’t crack the top 60.
  46. Thomas Bjorn – A good roster filler down the line, (5/9, 2 top 25s) was T37 last year.
  47. Lucas Glover – Striking it well enough to do some damage, but putter has killed him this year.
  48. Branden Grace – Has spent some time in the U.S. this year, but has made very little noise.
  49. Trevor Immelman – Hard to believe in his form, but overall record here (8/10, 2 top 10s, 5 top 25s) demands a modicum of respect.
  50. Carl Pettersson – Swede is 2/4 with a T27 his best effort.
  51. Kevin Streelman
  52. Russell Henley
  53. Michael Thompson
  54. Scott Piercy
  55. Martin Laird
  56. Kevin Na
  57. Matteo Mannassero
  58. Paul Lawrie
  59. John Merrick
  60. John Senden
  61. David Toms
  62. George Coetzee
  63. Tim Clark
  64. Brian Gay
  65. Ryo Ishikawa
  66. D.A. Points
  67. John Peterson
  68. Richard Sterne
  69. Robert Garrigus
  70. Marc Leishman
  71. Thorbjorn Olesen (remember that he’s questionable after car wreck in Texas)
  72. John Huh
  73. Jamie Donaldson
  74. Jose Maria Olazabal
  75. Thaworn Wiratchant
  76. Bernhard Langer
  77. Hiroyuki Fujita
  78. Ben Crenshaw
  79. Ben Curtis
  80. Tom Watson
  81. Mike Weir
  82. Mark O’Meara
  83. Ted Potter Jr.
  84. Larry Mize
  85. T.J. Vogel
  86. Alan Dunbar
  87. Steven Fox
  88. Nathan Smith
  89. Michael Weaver
  90. Craig Stadler
  91. Ian Woosnam
  92. Sandy Lyle
  93. Tianlang Guan

One thing to point out, I know that almost every year an amateur is part of the conversation early, only to fade late. I may be dead wrong, but I don’t see an amateur jumping off the page at me this year.

Tomorrow I’ll return to hit some of the most popular game formats. In the mean time, feel free to email me if you have specific questions regarding your format.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Final Wrap Up

I know we are all ready to let our minds wander down Magnolina Lane, but first here's a quick wrap up of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.

  • Martin Laird may have caught lightening in a bottle with a 9-under 63 to win by two in the final, but there is something to be learned. That is, you can't ignore a previous PGA TOUR winner who is in contention. D.A. Points did it last week with no warming, and this week the Scot repeated. So the next time a Carl Pettersson or Mark Wilson or insert any other winner here are hanging around the leaderboard, don't count them out.
  • Rory's ready for Augusta.
  • Billy Horschel was lucky to shoot a 1-under. His putter saved him big time.
  • Jim Furyk closed with late fireworks, holing a wedge for eagle on the 18th. Good thing he wasn't in contention or it may have found the creek.
  • Let me know when you figure out Charley Hoffman.
  • Speaking of Hoffman, it was a rare great week for us in the Golf Channel game. Group 1 was Rory McIlroy (runner-up), Group 2 Freddie Jacobson (T15), Group 3 Charley Hoffman (T3), and Group 4 D.J. Trahan (T15). 
  • Our one-and-done pick of Matt Kuchar was T22. Not where we expected, but we'll take it. Remember, the goal was to survive.
Enough of Texas.....let's move to Augusta.

Masters - Preview

The Masters has arrived! Yours truly will make the trip to Augusta National for the Thursday round, and I’m crossing my fingers for no rain. If you want to meet me, I’ll be the guy in a chair at the 16th green betting my buddy on closest to the pin in the afternoon.

Because this is both the season’s first major and my favorite event, I’m switching up the format a little this week. We’re going to try and crack the code of picking a Masters winner in our preview. This is only a look at the winner, and not an attempt to determine the top five or top 10.

I’m going to assume that you are all familiar with Augusta National Golf Club, at least to a degree. It is a par 72, featuring four par 5s. They are all reachable for the longest hitters and all but the eighth are reachable for an average TOUR player. There are numerous opportunities for both birdies and high scores.

Back to cracking the code.....

To do this, I went back and took a close look at all of the Masters winners that are in this year’s field (19). Specifically, I looked at how many times they played the Masters before their win, how many top 10s and top 25s they had at Augusta National before that win, how many missed cuts they had before that win and what their finish in the Masters was immediately before the W.

While there are a few outliers, there are some generalities that prevail.

Let’s being to eliminate the 93 players and work our way down to who actually has a chance to win.

First-timers don’t win and, of the current crop of winners, only Charl Schwartzel won in his second start. We’re going to accept Schwartzel as the exception to the rule and eliminate all first timers and sophomores.

That eliminates:  (29) K. Bradley G. Coetzee, N. Colsaerts, J. Donaldson, A. Dunbar, G. Fdez-Castano, S. Fox, H. Fujita, R. Garrigus, B. Gay, B. Grace, T. Guan, R. Henley, J. Huh, M. Leishman, D. Lynn,  M. Mannessero, T. Olesen, J. Peterson, S. Piercy, D.A. Points, T Potter Jr., W. Simpson, N. Smith, K. Streelman, M. Thompson, T.J. Vogel, M. Weaver, T. Wirtchant

With 64 remaining, we see that in every case except Tiger Woods in 1997 the winner made the cut in his most recent previous start at the Masters. It is still the only cut Woods has missed at Augusta National, and we will also consider this an exception and eliminate all of those that did not make the cut last year. This means we also chop off those that didn't play last year.

That eliminates:  (25)K.J. Choi, T. Clark, D. Clarke, B. Crenshaw, B. Curtis, J. Day, E. Els, L. Glover, R. Ishikawa, F. Jacobson, D. Johnson, B. Langer, S Lyle, J. Merrick, L. Mize, R. Moore, M. O’Meara, J. Olazabal, C. Pettersson, J. Senden, C. Stadler, R. Sterne, T. Watson, M. Weir, I. Woosnam.

This drops us to 39. Of those in this year’s field, Mark O’Meara needed 14 starts of “practice” before he was able to win the Masters in his 15th start. We will eliminate all of those who already have more than 14 starts under their belt without a win.

That eliminates:  (3) S. Cink, J. Furyk and D. Toms – (An FYI, Sergio is making his 15th start this year, and would make this list next year should he not win.)

We've moved the field from 93 players to 36 contenders by applying three rules that history has proven to be pretty iron-clad.

The next rule which applies to all former winners in the field is that a Masters winner has never missed more cuts than they have made at ANGC before their first win.

This eliminates:  (5) M. Kaymer, P. Lawrie, G. McDowell, K. Na, and last year’s playoff loser L. Oosthuzien.

We now have 31 remaining. Of the 19 former winners in the field this week, only Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson and Jose Maria Olazabal finished inside the top 10 the year before their first win, and each of those had at least seven prior starts before their victory. This likely means there is something to be said for the pressure of entering the Masters looking for your first Green Jacket coming off a top 10 the year before, at least when you have less than seven previous starts.

This eliminates: (2) Peter Hanson and Matt Kuchar.

Now that we are down to 29, let’s take a look at who is left. I will put a (W) beside those that are previous winners.

T. Bjorn, A Cabrera (W), F. Couples (W), L. Donald, J. Dufner, R. Fowler, S. Garcia, B. Haas, P. Harrington, T. Immelman (W), Z. Johnson (W), H. Mahan, R. McIlroy, P. Mickelson (W), F. Molinari, I. Poulter, J. Rose, C. Schwartzel (W), A. Scott, V. Singh (W), B. Snedeker, H. Stenson, S. Stricker, B. Van Pelt, N. Watney, B. Watson (W), L. Westwood, T. Woods (W), Y.E. Yang.

Of the currently players, only Tiger Woods has won back-to-back Masters. That eliminates B. Watson and takes us to 28.

The oldest winner of a major championship was Julius Boros at 48 years, 8 months and 14 days. That means father time has run out on the beloved Freddie Couples and our “deer” friend Vijay Singh.  

26 remain.

This is as far as I’m going to take it. I've seen other people apply similar philosophies and whittle the list all the way down to the winner, but the facts stop here and it would begin to get a little silly and lose integrity.

If there is anything we know about the Masters and Augusta National, it is that history is everything. Maybe Louis didn't win the playoff last year because he didn't fit the mold due to his missed cuts. Maybe Kenny Perry didn't win his playoff against Cabrera in ’09 because he was too old, and the ghost of Bobby Jones wouldn't allow it. I don’t know.

What I do know is that, short of something happening outside the history of the typical Masters champion, one of the remaining 26 players that the data hasn't eliminated will win the Masters.

Going by the formula, the non-winners who are the cleanest fit on paper are Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker. They are in the perfect window for number of previous starts (six for Mahan and five for Snedeker) and each have a nice resume of top 10s and top 25s. Snedeker's season is eerily similar to Mike Weir of 2003 with the exception of the injury. Mahan is similar to Olazabal and Couples.

Two past champions that are following trends similar to years of their triumphs are Tiger and Phil.

I’m posting this before the winner of the Valero Texas Open is known, so the field could expand to 94.

We will return tomorrow to sort it all out in our power rankings.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Round 3

Billy Horschel maintains a two-stroke lead (10-under) after the third round of the Valero Texas Open, with Charley Hoffman still in hot pursuit and Jim Furyk now tied for second. Here are a few thoughts on the third round:

  • The wind blew and that seemed to favor Texans. Ryan Palmer and Bob Estes are now both tied for fourth at 6-under. It also didn't hurt Charley Hoffman. As I mentioned in his Rotoworld blurb today, his 2007 win at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic came in a final round with heavy wind. 
  • Horschel wasn't conventional today. He had five birdies, but two came from outside 25 feet, one was a chip-in and another was a 10-inch tap-in. The only seemingly "regular" birdie was a five-footer on the par-5 14th. I don't know that he can count on the smoke-and-mirrors of long birdie bombs and chip-ins in the finale. Especially given he has the disposition of a powder keg ready to blow at any time. He's got to chill out a little. 
  • Rory McIlroy only shot a 1-under today, but given the wind it was a pretty good round. He's Masters ready as are K.J. Choi, Padraig Harrington and Charl Schwartzel. 
  • If you're looking for a prediction for tomorrow, my gut is that Billy Horschel figures out a way to get it done, but he'll have to earn it. Charley Hoffman and Jim Furyk aren't going to both just give it to him. If it's windy, watch out for Ryan Palmer posting a number a group ahead.
Yahoo tomorrow will be McIlroy, Kuchar, Hoffman and Steele.

Best of luck!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Round 2

The Valero Texas Open has reached the half-way point with Billy Horschel staked to a two-stroke lead at 8-under-par. Here are a few thoughts.

  • Horschel was in a similar position through 36 holes at Torrey Pines, but fell apart. He's much more confident now, and not paired with Tiger Woods tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow may be the most windy day of the tournament. Eighty-two guys made the cut, meaning there will be a 54-hole cut. That could lead to a very volatile moving day.
  • Rory McIlroy is tied for fifth, three back. DO NOT let a mediocre round tomorrow throw you off his scent for the Masters if it's a windy day. He is a threat at Augusta National. How big of a threat is yet to be determined.
  • Also tied for fifth are Jim Furyk and K.J. Choi. They both bear watching for the purpose of next week.
  • Matt Kuchar gutted out a 2-under to make the cut. It would have been easy for him to mail it in and get an early jump on Masters week. 
  • Cameron Tringale missed the cut.Glad I went against my gut and took Kuch for the one-and-done.
  • Moving Charley Hoffman into the Yahoo! lineup proved brilliant. He tied for the round of the day and picked up 20 points. Now I'm benching him. Pressure of the final round can't be a great spot for him.
  • Speaking of Yahoo! lineup, going McIlory, Jacobson, Kuchar and Steele.
That's all for tonight!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Round 1

Round one of the Valero Texas Open is in the books with Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo the surprise leaders at 5-under. Here are a few thoughts.

  • I say "surprise" leaders, but tip of the cap to my Rotoworld colleague and our fellow competitor in our PGA TOUR game Rob Bolton, who listed Bettencourt as a sleeper pick on PGATOUR.com this week http://www.pgatour.com/sleeper-picks/2013/04/valero-texas-open.html
  • It's about to not matter where Billy Horschel (-4) is playing....he's just hot right now.
  • Padraig Harrington (-4) may be showing up just in time for the Masters. Guys like that always seem to know how to prepare themselves to peak at the right time.
  • Probably the biggest surprises of the first round were who didn't play well. I think Cameron Tringale was on everyone's short list, and he shot a 5-over. Matt Kuchar was considered the cream of the crop and posted a weak 2-over. Both of those guys played in the morning and that wave seemed to have more trouble than the afternoon wave. The split was over 1.5 strokes. 
  • Freddie Jacobson came through with a 2-under, and I would maintain he may be the most dangerous guy in this field right now.
  • Speaking of guys that played in the morning, Brendan Steele was in that group and shot a respectable even par.
  • It's hard to imagine that the morning wave will again play over a stroke more difficult than the afternoon wave on Friday, but we'll see. Put me down as thinking the right wave would be the Thursday AM/Friday PM wave. Unless things correct themselves tomorrow; boy was I wrong.
Things didn't go as scripted in the first round, but I guess that's why they play the game. I don't have much conviction with my Yahoo! lineup for tomorrow, but I'm going Chappell, Jacobson, C. Hoffman and Steele. 

Best of luck!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Final Update

Hours before tees are in the ground at TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, it's time for the final adjustments and the declaration of this week's one-and-done and two-and-done selections.

One early matter of business, I gathered from a tweet from Ian Poulter today that his first look at TPC San Antonio came at the Wednesday Pro-Am. The bad news about that, is the Pro-Am was called off with him only playing 10 holes. That meant that he had to go back out and view the nine he didn't play after the storm cleared, but never actually played them.

Because of that, I'm making lineup adjustments in the Yahoo! and Golf Channel formats. Charl Schwartzel will take his place on the Yahoo C-List bench, and I'm rolling the dice with Rory McIlroy in the Golf Channel Group 1. Conventional wisdom may be to take Kuchar in the Golf Channel game, but I'm a little further back than I'd like to be and am choosing to go against the grain and swing for the fences realizing the risk.

For my one-and-done, I had about the hardest time I've had all season picking between two players. I narrowed it down to Matt Kuchar and Cameron Tringale, and decided to play it relatively safe and take Kuchar. Kuch is a higher-class player than Tringale, but Tringale has a better course record and is running pretty hot right now. The biggest factor for me was my current standing in my one-and-done game (third and in the money). The worst thing I could do would be to miss the cut, and there's virtually no chance that happens with Kuchar. It's not likely it happens to Tringale, but it could.

For my two-and-done, AKA my hedge game, I'm taking Brendan Steele. This is a stubborn selection where I'm making good on a promise to myself last year to play Steele no matter what in this tournament.

There you have it.

Best of luck to all, and may you escape this tricky week unscathed!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Valero Texas Open - Fantasy

With the preview and power rankings for the Valero Texas Open in the rear-view mirror, let’s jump into some games.

One note, it looks like Thursday will be the windiest day of the week, so it may be worth investing more heavily in Thursday early tee times. At the very least, don’t short yourself on the Thursday AMs.


We continued our voyage from the depths to improve to 11,369 with 1922 points and jumped to the 89th percentile. That ends the Winter segment of the game. Here’s how we look this week.

  • A-List – Rory McIlroy and Kevin Chappell. I’ve still got all 10 McIlroy burns left and the options in the A-List aren’t great this week.  I’m going to go ahead and burn him with a Thursday AM start and hope for the best. Generally, A-List is deep enough to where I can survive having him on the bench a few more times if needed.
  • B-List – Cameron Tringale, Matt Kuchar (starters), Freddie Jacobson and Charley Hoffman on the bench.
  • C-List – Brendan Steele starting with Ian Poulter on the bench.

Golf Channel:

Check out Mike Glasscott’s weekly Rotoworld article for more details on my picks/rankings, but here we go for this week.

  • Group 1 – Ian Poulter
  • Group 2 – Freddie Jacobson
  • Group 3 – Charley Hoffman
  • Group 4 – D.J. Trahan

This week, the Golf Channel game also features selections for the LPGA event; I assume since it’s a major. My picks are published (Rotoworld) for that as well, but know that I haven’t watched more than 30 minutes of LPGA golf all year and shouldn’t be considered any type of expert, swami, tipster or anything else on the topic.

PGA TOUR game:

The year-to-date standings:

  1. O’Sullivan’s Tribe – 3040
  2. Case of the Biershenks – 2993
  3. GHIN & Juice – 2821
  4. Swinging for the Sixties – 2762
  5. Bushleagers – 2761

Last week’s top five:
  1. Define Statutory – 265
  2. Subliminal Magic – 230
  3. Bushleaguers – 217
  4. Stink Eye – 201
  5. Bustouts – 182
I can't believe none of you had D.A. Points! 

I’m still mulling over my one-and-done and two-and-done picks this week, and will provide those tomorrow.

Best of luck to all!