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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Memorial Tournament - Round 1

Charl Schwartzel jumped out to a one-stroke lead in the opening round of the Memorial thanks to 10 birdies at Muirfield Village. He was one of six men to go out in the morning wave and post 5-under or better. The lowest of the afternoon wave was 4-under (Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar). Needless to say, the AM tee times were key.

Other thoughts:

  • If Friday is anything like Thursday, it's entirely possible that 7-under will still be the leading number come day's end Friday. Much will depend on how the six guys currently 5-under or better fare on Friday afternoon.
  • Along those lines, if you had a guy in one of your games that played poorly in the morning on Thursday, you're in real trouble. Conversely, a disappointing round in the afternoon could still be overcome Friday morning.
  • Going with Woods, Kuchar, Furyk and Scott in round 2 of Yahoo!.
Best of luck!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Tournament - One-and-done

We laid the framework for the Memorial one-and-done at the end of yesterday’s post, and now it’s time to put pen to pad.

The top four in my power rankings (Woods, Rose, Kuchar and Donald) have already been burned. While there’s more to it than just going down the power rankings when it comes to OAD strategy, I rather quickly settled on Jim Furyk. I’m virtually assured of him making the cut (16/17) and with 12 top 25s, I’ll likely pick up a six-figure check (or close to it). I’m also not sure I’ll miss him all that much down the road.

I believe Tiger Woods will likely win this week, but I used him at Bay Hill. I considered McIlroy, but now have my eye on him a little further down the road at TPC Boston unless he really gets hot between now and then. Lee Westwood was also very tempting, but there are several other places I could plug him in. I haven’t researched if he will play the FedEx St. Jude next week, but that would be a place to roll with him. I’ve got my eye on Adam Scott for a Playoff start, possibly even East Lake unless I burn McIlroy before TPC Boston and go with Scott there.

As for my two-and-done, I’m going with Woods. While it’s important to be flexible with a preseason strategy when necessary, my thoughts of a OAD on Woods and Bay Hill and then two-and-done starts on Woods at Bay Hill and either Muirfield Village or Congressional seems to be working. I could hold out for a couple more dollars at Firestone or Merion, but I believe this is the start with the highest likelihood to produce a TW victory the rest of the way. That’s good enough for me.


Best of luck this week! (If you're like me, it can't be any worse than last week!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Tournament - Fantasy

Before we jump too far into the Memorial Tournament's Fantasy preview, I have one quick housekeeping note. In yesterday's "Feeling Risky?" segment, one of my three highlights was Daniel Summerhays. He began the week as the first alternate, which is normally a lock to pick up a spot in the field. As of Tuesday evening, there has not been a W/D and he is still on the outside looking in. Odds are he gets in, but I wanted to point that out.

Here we go with the games!

Yahoo!:

Our fatal mistake last week was not having Matt Kuchar on the roster. One could argue that both of our "C" players missing the cut was a bigger blunder, but I get the feeling we weren't alone. Dropped to 5,072 (95th percentile) with 3,304 points for the year and 1,382 for the segment with 133 points last week.

Here's what this week looks like:

  • A-List - Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
  • B-List - Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk
  • C-List - Adam Scott and Lee Westwood
Golf Channel:

When Chris Kirk went the wrong way in the final round, that game when from bad to worse last week. Here's our best foot forward this week:
  • Group 1 - Tiger Woods (You have to go chalk this week.)
  • Group 2 - Jim Furyk
  • Group 3 - K.J. Choi
  • Group 4 - Brandt Jobe (see the "Feeling Risky?")
PGA TOUR Game:

Season Standings:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe (6005)
  2. Pure Spin (5287)
  3. Boots With The Fur (5263)
  4. Subliminal Magic (5243)
  5. KyRoadz (5115)
Weekly Standings:
  1. Tiger's Embedded Ball (504)
  2. Team Tiger III (366)
  3. Team Tiger II (366)
  4. Team Tiger I (366)
  5. Off the Tjaarts (333) You can't fool us with your new name Rob!
We'll be back with the one-and-done pick tomorrow. I'll leave you with something to consider. I suspect most of you have burned Tiger by now. If not, I would this week. Knowing that there's a very good chance Tiger will win this week and most of your leagues have burned him, realize the value of a top 10 and don't try to get it perfect with a stud or a reach. In my opinion, this is a week to play it safe and try and find a nice payday.

Best of luck!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Tournament - Power Rankings

I'm glad the Memorial Tournament has arrived. Not because I love Muirfield Village - it's fine - but because the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial was a total disaster for me in just about every gaming format imaginable. I hope your week was better than mine. The best thing about the PGA TOUR is that there's almost always next week.

Let's get back on the horse!

We actually came close to nailing it by leading off last week's power rankings with Zach Johnson. The only problem is, we went against the chalk and only plugged him into our Yahoo! lineup. That won't be the case with this week's number one.

The Dandy Dozen:
  1. Tiger Woods - A five-time winner and defending champ in this event, he's coming off a win at THE PLAYERS where his resume isn't nearly as good.
  2. Justin Rose - While no one's record is as good as Woods' at Muirfield Village, Rose is about as close is it comes. He's 6/8 with a win, a runner-up and four top 10s (five top 25s). It's been a good year for the Englishman, but not yet a great year. He's coming off a pedestrian finish at Wentworth last week, but he did much better than guys like Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy who missed the cut.
  3. Matt Kuchar - This one's a tough call. He's coming off a runner-up at Colonial where he fell one stroke shy of the victory. He led most of the way and was in the heat of contention all week. I worry that it's hard to get back into the mix this quickly, but we'll see. His record here is great; with four top 10s in seven starts and only one missed cut. That includes a runner-up in 2011.
  4. Luke Donald - He's 7/8 here and finished inside the top 15 in each of his last four starts at Muirfield Village. The pause for concern is his performance in his title defense at Wentworth last week, where he missed the cut badly. I'm willing to give him a pass because the pre-cut weather was not good. It will be tough to figure out what to do with Donald in weekly games, but if you own him in a season-long format this tournament will excite you.
  5. Jim Furyk - Furyk is a rock in this event. He's 16/17 including a win, two runner-ups and 12 top 25s. He's not a bad guy to look at for a one-and-done and should garner plenty of consideration to fill a roster spot in Yahoo!. It's getting tougher to figure out when Furyk's going to contend and when he's just going to mess around and get a 35th, but he's probably worth a risk in most formats this week.
  6. Rory McIlroy - His record at Muirfield Village is a pretty good snapshot of his current state. He's 2/3 with two top 10s, and that's about what we've seen from Rory in 2013. He's about equally likely to miss a cut as he is to nab a top 10. I lean towards this being a place where he could be dangerous because it can be appealing to long but wayward drivers at times. It also has four par 5s, so he could pick off some easy birdies. We'll see.
  7. Lee Westwood - Westy is a sneaky option this week, in part due to his major boost in scrambling ability in 2013. He had a nice week at Wentworth last week, but has only played here one time. It was a T29 in 2003. That really doesn't tell us much 10 years later. Understand the risk associated with his lack of recent course history, but realize that there is some significant reward possibilities in the right formats.
  8. Dustin Johnson - He's done well here regardless of his current form. You'll remember that he tied for 19th here last season after a lengthy layoff due to a freak injury from lifting a jet ski. In all, he's 5/5 with two top 10s. Things seem to come down to motivation with DJ. Remember that he was posting some terrible finishes until just before the Masters, but focused himself for a few good tournaments. With the U.S. Open two weeks out, he could actually care about golf this week and show up.
  9. Charl Schwartzel - Missed his first cut in forever last week at Colonial, but it was his first trip there. He's 5/5 at Muirfield Village with two top 25s, so don't be surprised to see him get back on his feet this week. 
  10. Adam Scott - He's 6/7 with a couple of top 5s, but the last one was back in 2007. Since then, he doesn't have a top 30. Still, he's the Masters champ and has been playing a light schedule for a while now. He can't fall any lower than this.
  11. K.J. Choi - Choi is a past champion in this event, and owns a 12/13 record with three top 10s, eight top 25s and a T19 last year. He's also had a bit of a bounce-back 2013 after a weak 2012. In a field this deep, he may be considered a flier. If so, take him. 
  12. Matt Every - He tied for fourth at Colonial last week and tied for sixth in his only trip to Muirfield Village in 2012. That seems like an incredible formula for success. Be careful. He has a history of laying an egg the week after a top 10. My theory is that he likes to over-celebrate the good weeks. We'll see what happens this week when form meets history.
Next 5: Brendon de Jonge, Ryan Moore, Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Streelman, Scott Stallings

Feeling Risky?:
  • Jonathan Byrd - Incredible recent record in this event, with top 10s in three of the last four years including a T3 in 2009. Why isn't he in the Dandy Dozen? Since his return from injury he has not found any success. This could be the place he gets well, but there's plenty of risk.
  • Brandt Jobe - He was T2 in 2011 at this event and finished off his week at Colonial with a 4-under 66. In all, he had three rounds in the 60s, with a third-round 75 the tournament killer.
  • Daniel Summerhays - Tied for fourth here last year and enters off three consecutive made cuts. He narrowly missed a top 25 at THE PLAYERS (T26) and posted a T35 at Colonial. He could be a savvy investment.
We'll be back tomorrow to look at some games. Until then, happy research and best of luck!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Tournament - Preview

As the PGA TOUR continues the portion of the schedule that seemingly honors a different legend every week, we leave the home of Hogan to head to Jack's place. The Memorial Tournament will take place as it has every year since 1976 at Muirfield Village.

Muirfield Village is a par 72, topping out at 7,352 yards and featuring four par 5s. Given those stats, it's little wonder that Tiger Woods is a five-time winner and defending champion here. In his win last year, he finished at 9-under-par and played the par 5s in 8-under.

When I think of Muirfield Village and the Memorial Tournament, I think of a tournament/course that allows long drivers who tend to be a little errant the opportunity to score. That said, the stats tend to show that the course doesn't really favor a certain type of player. That's typically an indicator of a very good course that produces solid champions.

Don't ignore pedigree. The last three winners are Woods, Steve Stricker and Justin Rose. Others who have won since 2000 are Kenny Perry, K.J. Choi, Carl Pettersson, Bart Bryant, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk. None of those are flash-in-the-pan guys. This suggests that a first-time winner is unlikely.

This probably won't be the week to get "cute" with your picks. Play Woods in any format you possibly can. If he's still available in a one-and-done, it's probably time to use him. He's a must in Yahoo!, Golf Channel and PGATOUR.com games.

The risks you need to take this week should be along the lines of figuring out if you want to play Charl Schwartzel coming off a missed cut at Colonial. Betting on Seung-yul Noh to snap out of his slump is not a risk worth taking in a field this deep. Those are meant as examples....I'm not saying start Schwartzel.

We'll take our usual look at current form and course history and come back with a power ranking tomorrow evening.

Until then......Happy Research and have a happy Memorial Day for those in the U.S.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - Round 1

If you were a player in the opening round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational with Texas or Canadian roots, you were in the right place. Ryan Palmer (Texan) leads John Rollins (Texan) by one stroke at 8-under-par/7-under with John Peterson (born in Texas), David Hearn (Canadian) and Graham DeLaet (Canadian) among those tied for third at 6-under. Morgan Hoffmann is the only one inside the top six that doesn't fit the above criteria.

Thoughts:

  • Today is a great example of how frustrating a weekly game can be, but a great reason to find season-long games to be a part of where you own a guy for the season. Palmer and Rollins both deserved some respect headed into the week ,and there were reasons to be mindful of the others mentioned above, but none were at the top of anyone's list. They are all solid season-long owns at the right value.
  • We debuted a new feature called "Feeling Risky?" on Monday and one of our three wildcards was Hearn. Nice of him to pop up on the leaderboard early. Tommy Gainey (T7 at 5-under) was also on that list of three. Who knows where they'll end up, but the point of that segment is to identify guys that might contend if everything falls into place. 
  • I wish I would have used my "Feeling Risky" as a basis for Yahoo! picks this week Or at least for the first round.
  • Speaking of Yahoo!, second round will be Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Bo Van Pelt and Charl Schwartzel.
  • For my non-American readers, there's a saying in American football that if you have two (or three) quarterbacks, you don't have a quarterback. Essentially that's what the static at the top of this week's power rankings and one-and-done amounted to. A bunch of decent options, but no perfect fit meant we were left without a quarterback. Once the game started, we were exposed. Hopefully whoever you went with will finish off nicely.
That's it for today. Best of luck the rest of the way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - One-and-done

After sifting through the options, making up my mind, changing my mind and once again making up my mind, it's time to talk one-and-done for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

There's not that option out there that screams "safe pick" or sure-fire top 20. There are a handful of guys that seem to have a realistic shot at posting a big week.

I narrowed my focus to Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Kevin Streelman and Charl Schwartzel (only available in two-and-done). I could easily have gone with any of these.

ZJ showed signs of snapping out of a season-long slump two starts ago at Quail Hollow with good rounds. He then posted his best full-field event at THE PLAYERS in his last start (T19). His trend and my gut lead me to believe that he's going to have his best week of the year this week, but there's enough doubt in my mind that I'm holding off on him.

This may be a mistake of Billy Horschel proportions, but I keep thinking I've missed my window on Streelman. That's the only reason I can try and relay that I'm passing on Streelman. Well, that and my man Mike Glasscott took him in his Rotoworld preview and we operate under the assumption that his selections are sometimes cursed.

I came very close to pulling the trigger on Schwartzel in the two-and-done. I've burned him in Golf Channel and Yahoo! formats, but with ZERO course history it was a little too much of a gamble.

I'm using Chris Kirk in my two-and-done. His form is very good and his record has trended better every trip to Colonial culminating with a T5 last year. When I took my first glance at this tournament a little over a week ago Kirk jumped off the page. I knew I had to use him in one of my formats and this was it.

For my one-and-done, I'm taking Harris English. Since I took a shot at Glass in the Streelman portion, I'll credit his preview's mention of Jimmy Johnson being back on English's bag this week for the first time since a T6 in New Orleans coupled with Johnson winning at Colonial with Stricker in '09 as part of the reason why. The other part is his form and that he tied for fifth in  his only trip here last year. (If Glass' weekly article isn't part of your regular research http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/43294/297/hogans-heroes, it's worth a look.)

Best of luck!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - Fantasy

When considering the various games for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, it became obvious that there won't be many consensus picks. After turning in my Golf Channel picks for the Rotoworld feature, I went back and read Rob, Mike and Ned's picks and we were all over the place. (Keep in mind, last week we all four had the same players in Groups 1, 2 and 3.)

Because many of those with strong records at Colonial are not having the best of seasons and enter the week with form a question, correct selections will likely vault you ahead in some formats. This is a week to take calculated risks because the "chalk" is a calculated risk anyway.

With that as the backdrop.....here we go:

Yahoo!

Our resurgence in the Yahoo! format continued last week, picking up 163 points and moving up to 4,069 in the rankings (96th percentile) with 3171 points. Our Spring ranking boosted to 2,497 with 1,249 points.

Here's where we're headed this week:

  • A-List - Chris Kirk starting with Jason Dufner on the bench
  • B-List - Zach Johnson and Ben Crane starting with Jim Furyk and Bo Van Pelt on the bench
  • C-List - Kevin Streelman starting with Charl Schwartzel on the bench.
Golf Channel

Golf Channel is another one of those duel-tournament weeks. In addition to Colonial, we have the European Tour's stop at Wentworth. I don't proclaim to be any sort of an expert on the European Tour, but I do know Luke Donald is the two-time defending champion. That's exactly why I picked against him.

Colonial
  • Group 1 - Charl Schwartzel
  • Group 2 - Chris Kirk
  • Group 3 - Harris English
  • Group 4 - Richard H. Lee
BMW Championship
  • Group 1 - Justin Rose
  • Group 2 - Francesco Molinari
  • Group 3 - Peter Lawrie
  • Group 4 - James Morrison
PGA TOUR game

Overall Standings:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 5782
  2. Subliminal Magic - 5128
  3. Pure Spin - 5064
  4. Boots with the Fur - 5034
  5. KyRoadz - 4853
Weekly Standings for Byron Nelson:
  1. KyRoadz - 443
  2. BIG SWIFTY - 435
  3. Pure Spin - 435
  4. Subliminal Magic - 421
  5. Bushleaguers - 418
I'll be back tomorrow with the one-and-done. I can't recall a tournament this year where I'm this undecided this late in the week. Hopefully it will clear up soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - Power Rankings


The final stop of the four-tournament run in Texas takes place at Colonial CC in this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, with Zach Johnson the defending champion. ZJ’s won two of the last three editions of this tournament, and finished inside the top 10 in the last four. So what does that mean for this week?

In the statistical category, I took a peek at GIR, SGP and proximity. Take it for what it’s worth. As always, stats are the least important (in my mind) in terms of the stats/form/history equation.

This week's Dandy Dozen:
  1. Zach Johnson – I don’t know how you wouldn't start a list here. He’s the chalk. His T19 at THE PLAYERS in his last start was his best finish since a T18 at Kapalua. I’m not sure if that’s an indictment of his season or a sign that he’s rounding into form. I probably wouldn't trust him with a one-and-done (OAD), but he’s a must in the Yahoo! format and a prudent play in several others.
  2. Charl Schwartzel – He took a few knocks on the chin from the CBS broadcast team for his putting down the stretch at the Byron Nelson, but he only missed one putt inside 10 feet all day. He’s a rookie in this event, but enters off of his best finish of the year and ranks inside the top 30 in proximity and SGP and is 35th in GIR. Good formula at Colonial.
  3. Chris Kirk – He’s on a short list for a OAD, improving from T74, to T16 to T5 over his last three trips to Colonial. He’s been a rock all season, not missing a cut since January. I’m not overly concerned by his T50 at Quail Hollow and T55 at THE PLAYERS. That can be explained numerous ways. That he ranks 19th in proximity and seventh in SGP only adds fuel to my Kirk man crush this week.
  4. Kevin Streelman – It’s long overdue that he occupies a high spot on this list. Though he’s missed half of his four cuts here, he does have a T10 as recently as 2011 and ranks inside the top 25 in GIR, SGP and proximity. His form is as good as anyone’s in the world. Like those above him, I wouldn't talk you out of him in any format.
  5. Harris English – This is the type of course you would think he would do well on, and he came through with a T5 in his only start here last year. He had a T17 at the Byron Nelson that included a 4-over final round in the wind. Might want to check the forecast for strong gusts later in theweek, but if that doesn't look to be a factor he’s a good play. I absolutely could see him as the next non-winner to break through this week.
  6. Jim Furyk – What do we do with Jimmy? History is 13/17 with seven top 10s, two runner-ups and a fourth-place finish last year. He’s second on TOUR in proximity, but not all that efficient in putting (105) or GIR (70). I’m not totally convinced that history is a big deal with the veteran, but his last top 25 was a T25 at the Masters. Depending on your situation, there are other riskier picks with some nice upside.
  7. Bo Van Pelt – BVP’s a perfect 9/9 here, with sixth top 25s, three top 10s and a third in 2011. He sprinkled in a T6 at Quail Hollow in the midst of some otherwise average play. This could go a lot of ways.
  8. Ben Crane – His form is frustrating, meaning that it isn't trendy. Here’s a look at his last seven starts beginning in Tampa Bay (MC, T65, T4, T48, MC, T8, T57). All it tells us is that it “can” click for him. He’s 6/8 here with three top fives, and that doesn't even include a T10 last year. This pick’s loaded with risk, but you can see the rewards are clearly possible as well.
  9. Rickie Fowler – If I had any faith in his form, he’d be up there in the Kirk/Streelman/English range, but he doesn't have a top 30 on the resume since March. Reading that, I’m not even sure I should have him this high, but here’s why I do. T38, T16, T5 in his last three starts here.
  10. Jason Dufner – He’s not the same player he was in 2012. The putting isn't there, the accuracy with the irons aren't there and he’s just having a return to normalcy after an out-of-this-world year in 2012. Other than his runner-up here last year in the height of the biggest peak of his golfing life, he’s missed two cuts and tied for 59th. I suppose he could recapture the magic but, like Fowler, don’t go all in.
  11. Tim Clark – This is a perfect Tim Clark layout when his putter is cooperating. Length doesn't matter, and accuracy both off the tee and to the green do. He’s 7/8 with B2B runner-ups in ’08 and ’09 and six top 25s on the resume. You want to jump him up to around where BVP is? Ok by me.
  12. David Toms – Arguably one of the favorites here last year, but missed the cut as the defending champ. He’s got the bases covered in his 14 trips, with only two missed cuts and a second, third and fourth on the resume to join the win. Maybe he rounds it out with a fifth this year? If he does, it would mark a pretty dramatic spike in form that’s seen him pick up just one top 25 all season (T13 Masters).

Next 5: Charlie Wi, Henrik Stenson, Jeff Overton, Matt Kuchar, John Huh

There are several readers that email me with some frequency about some deeper gaming formats, and another one joined the list last week suggesting I take a look at something past the chalk. I’m game, so I've come up with something new. I’m calling it “Feeling Risky?” It's for those of you that want a calculated flier that is off the beaten path. To be on this list, it likely means a player clicks on one or two key categories but has a couple of deficiencies that make him a major risk/reward.

I’ll keep it in the three to five range every week, depending on who makes sense. Here’s the debut.

Feeling Risky?
  • Tommy Gainey – Finished third here last year and led the field in SGP and total distance of putts made. This year’s been a relative disaster after a career year in 2012, making 6/17 cuts and missing his last two. The book on Gainey has always been that the couple of weeks a year he’s hot with the putter, he can be dangerous. Maybe this is one of those weeks?
  • David Hearn – He’s trended from T44 to T13 year-over-year at Colonial, and is a solid 27th in SGP. He’s made his last four cuts, including a T21 at New Orleans earlier in the Spring.
  • Richard H. Lee – If you look at his trend as a whole since the beginning of his rookie year of 2012, it’s been a very slow and steady build. He’s currently 49th in GIR, 65th in proximity and 23rd in SGP. One week it’s all going to click, but he’ll need to snap a bad trend emerged following a T5 at the Heritage.


We’ll be back tomorrow to look at some games.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - Preview

Following a week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the PGA TOUR will make the short trip to Colonial for the Crown Plaza Invitational. The par-70 layout of 7,204 yards frequently rewards accuracy over length, with putting another factor.


You can easily look to see that Zach Johnson held off the hottest man on TOUR at this time last season - Jason Dufner - to win the event by a stroke. What you may not remember is that Johnson suffered a two-stroke penalty on the final hole when he forgot to replace his mark on the green after moving it out of Dufner's line.

When looking at the stats, here is an idea where ZJ and Dufner ranked in a few key areas.

  • ZJ got it done with the flat stick, ranking third in strokes gained and second in total distance of putts made. He did not rank inside the top 20 in any of the major ball-striking categories.
  • Dufner was the opposite, ranking third in GIR and first in proximity to the hole. He was also solidly in 10th in both strokes gained-putting and total distance of putts made.
  • Also of note, both of these guys were in the midst of huge seasons. Form mattered.
Either way, this further illustrates that length doesn't matter nearly as much as accuracy and putting. 


Here's a look at each champion and runner up since 2000 with their scores (280=even)
  • 2000 - Phil Mickelson (268) and Stewart Cink / Davis Love III (270)
  • 2001 - Sergio Garcia ( 267) and Brian Gay / Mickelson (269)
  • 2002 - Nick Price (267) and Kenny Perry / David Toms (272)
  • 2003 - Kenny Perry (261) and Justin Leonard (267)
  • 2004 - Steve Flesch (269) and Chad Campbell (270)
  • 2005 - Kenny Perry (261) and Billy Mayfair (268)
  • 2006 - Tim Herron (268) winner in playoff over Richard Johnson
  • 2007 - Rory Sabbatini (266) winner in playoff over Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer
  • 2008 - Mickelson (266) and Tim Clark / Rod Pampling (267)
  • 2009 - Steve Stricker (263) in playoff over Steve Marino and Tim Clark
  • 2010 - Zach Johnson (259) and Brian Davis (262)
  • 2011 - Toms (265) and Charlie Wi (266)
  • 2012 - Zach Johnson (268) and Jason Dufner (269)
As you can see, all of these winners are multiple winners, and you see plenty of Ryder Cup / Presidents Cup / major champions in the winner's circle.

When diving into your research, consider the form of top-tier players with a strength towards accuracy and putting.

We'll be back tomorrow to dive into the power rankings. Until then, happy research!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Round 3

Keegan Bradley continues to lead the HP Byron Nelson Championship with 18 holes to play, but the margin has shrunk to one over Sang-Moon Bae. What's more, it looks like the final round will include heavy wind in the 30 MPH + range.

Here are a few thoughts from Saturday leading into Sunday:

  • Our pre-tourney favorite and one-and-done pick Jason Day finally showed up with a 4-under to make a big move inside the top 20. Sunday's weather could mean a myriad of things for Day. He could shoot another 3 or 4-under and steal a top five or could shoot a 74 and finish outside the top 50. Either way, I'm feeling much better about him than I did 20 holes ago when it wasn't certain he would even see the weekend.
  • There are all sorts of dynamics at the top of the leaderboard. My gut (which is dangerous) is that Bradley won't close the deal tomorrow, but I'm not sure I trust Bae or Gillis given the weather. Guys that intrigue me tomorrow include Harris English and Charl Schwartzel (T5), and D.A. Points (T10). It's not impossible that someone five back could shoot 2-under tomorrow and win with the weather. 
  • Yahoo! lineup will be heavily Aussie with Day and Marc Leishman (a noted wind player) joining Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley. 

Could be an interesting final round.....


Friday, May 17, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Round 2

First, my apologies for skipping the post yesterday. I've been traveling on business and battled through a series of delays and a final cancellation with a flight that was a nightmare. It concluded with me waking up at 3:30 am this morning and catching a series of flights to get home. Excuses, excuses.....

On a golf note, it appears Keegan Bradley is well positioned to try and pick up his second title at the HP Byron Nelson. I was happy to have both he and Schwartzel in the starting lineup on Thursday and hope you jumped on board with me.

My third-round lineup will be Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley, Marc Leishman and Charl Schwartzel. While I haven't seen it announced, I would has to assume split-tee threesomes on Saturday, so if there is an "early" advantage it will be towards those in the middle of the pack versus those at the bottom.

Please note that there will be a 54-hole cut tomorrow.

I hope all of you have gotten more sleep over the past 36 hours than I!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - One-and-done

The HP Byron Nelson Championship is inching close, and it's time to put a bow on our games for the week.

I went all-in with Luke Donald at THE PLAYERS last week, and it worked out to the tune of a T19. I'm replicating that strategy and pushing all my chips in with Jason Day in the one-and-done and two-and-done this week. The only other guy that garnered my serious consideration was another Aussie, Marc Leishman.

One final note, I'm moving to all AM tee times in Yahoo! on Thursday. That means the starters are Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley and Charl Schwartzel.

Best of luck this week!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Fantasy

With the HP Byron Nelson Championship creeping closer, let's take a look at our regular list of game formats.

Yahoo!:

Keeping Tiger Woods on our bench at TPC Sawgrass last week proved to be the right play, and subbing him in for Sergio Garcia on Saturday was also well timed. Current ranking moved up to 5,411 (95 percentile) with 3,008 points.

As for this week....

  • A-List -  Jason Dufner starting and Charles Howell III on the bench.
  • B-List - Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen starting with Matt Kuchar and Keegan Bradley on the bench
  • C-List - Jason Day starting with Charl Schwartzel on the bench.
Golf Channel:

Slim pickings in the Golf Channel game this week. As always, check out my picks and standings in the Rotoworld weekly article by Mike Glasscott. 

  • Group 1 - Jason Day
  • Group 2 - Marc Leishman
  • Group 3 - Jordan Spieth
  • Group 4 - D.J. Trahan
PGA TOUR game:

Current YTD standings:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 5613
  2. Boots With The Fur - 4857
  3. Subliminal Magic - 4707
  4. Pure Spin - 4629
  5. Woltz - 4553
Weekly standings:
  1. KyRoadz - 957
  2. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 808
  3. Who's the Caddy - 736
  4. PelicansRule - 703
  5. Tigers Embedded Ball - 698

Best of luck this week!

We'll be back with the one-and-done tomorrow.

Monday, May 13, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Power Rankings


With the conclusion of THE PLAYERS Championship, we move from one of the deepest fields of the year to one of the weakest leading up to the U.S. Open. While there is no Tiger or Phil or Rory this week, we still have a handful of solid options for which to game with this week.

Let’s dive right in:

  1. Jason Day – The Aussie won here in his first trip back in 2010, then was fifth in 2011 and T9 last year despite shooting 2-over in the final round. He enters off a T19 at THE PLAYERS, and has been solid all year. His mix of form and history make him the chalk this week.
  2. Marc Leishman – The Aussie’s been on a roll of late, notching top 10s at the Masters, the RBC Heritage and THE PLAYERS. He finished tied for third in this event last year, and in a total of four starts he has three top 12s and a missed cut. The only problem with him this week is that he’s almost too obvious.
  3. Jason Dufner – We’re in a similar spot with Dufner this week to where we were with him at the Zurich Classic when he defended a few weeks ago.  He tied for eighth in 2011 before his win in 2012. He’s still looking for his first top 10 of the year.
  4. Matt Kuchar – Kuch has never missed a cut here, with his best two starts his last two. He was T6 in 2011 and T15 last year. He hasn’t done anything all that inspiring since the Masters, but may feel freed up to play some good golf now that his PLAYERS defense is behind him.
  5. Keegan Bradley – Bradley returns to the site of his first PGA TOUR win in 2011 after a T24 last year. A trend developing this year is players who performed well in specific tournaments in 2011, but took a step back in 2012, are making noise again in 2013. He enters this week off of back-to-back missed cuts, but his last top 10 was a T10 at the Shell Houston Open which is also obviously in the Lone Star State.
  6. Louis Oostuizen – He had a very nice weekend at TPC Sawgrass after making the cut on the number, eventually finishing in a tie for 19th. He’s due for a big week. *Shout out to my man Mike Glasscott for the correction that Louis has played here once before but did not fare well, missing the cut last year.
  7. Ryan Palmer – Had a terrible history here until the last two years where he went runner-up in 2011 and T9 in 2012. Comes home to Texas after a T5 at THE PLAYERS, but we must make sure he doesn’t pull out this week after the well-publicized loss of his friend last week.
  8. Jordan Spieth – This is where we first heard the name “Jordan Spieth” back in 2010 when the local high schooler tied for 16th, then returned a year later to tie for 32nd. He’s made a little less noise of late, but this is the perfect place for him to pick up a top 10.
  9. Charl Schwartzel – Finally broke his streak of top 25s last week at THE PLAYERS in what has been a slow downward fall in finishes since the beginning of 2013. Other than that, everything we said about Oosthuizen applies. Given the lack of strength of the overall field and the class the South African displays, he can’t be counted out.
  10. Jimmy Walker – While he’s made five cuts in seven tries here, Walker has just one top 25. This is the classic example of form meets history. All signs point to his best finish in this event, but there’s enough scar tissue hanging around TPC Four Seasons Resort to keep him down in this range.
  11. Ben Crane – After poor West Coast and Florida Swings, a T4 at the Shell Houston Open and a T8 at THE PLAYERS have Crane back in a spot where he deserves serious consideration when the course is a fit. He’s had his share of hits and misses here, highlighted by a runner-up in 2002 and a T7 in 2010.
  12. Jeff Overton – Always a little tough to pin down, Overton’s on a nice little run of late. At first glance, he’s made his last four cuts of 2013 with a T7 at the Valero Texas Open serving as his only top 25. If you cast the net a little wider, a T27 in Houston and a T26 at THE PLAYERS give him three top 30s in his last four starts headed into a venue where he tied for second in 2010 and shared eighth in 2011.


Next 5: Ken Duke, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, D.A. Points and John Rollins

We’ll be back tomorrow to dive into the games.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Monday Qualifier

The final four spots in the HP Byron Nelson Championship will be decided in an open qualifier on Monday. For those interested, here is a link to the information.

http://ntpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/ntpga13/event/ntpga1315/contest/1/leaderboard.htm

Best of luck to all!

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Preview

The HP Byron Nelson Championship returns to the TPC Four Seasons Resort, as it has every year since 1995, with Jason Dufner set to defend his second PGA TOUR title. From '95 through 2007, TPC Four Seasons split the venue with Cottonwood Valley GC but has stood alone from 2008 to current. That means course history is relevant dating back to 1995, but it's the most relevant since 2008.

TPC Four Seasons is a par 70 of 7,166. As with most par 70 courses, there are two par 5s, four par 3s and 12 par 4s.

Standing out, is the strength of the winner in relation to the field of late. Because of it's place on the schedule, the Byron Nelson has not drawn the strongest field but it does produce a high-profile winner. Since 2008, we have Adam Scott, Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner. When trying to pick this year's winner, keep a close eye on the top 50 in the world rankings.

In Jason Dufner's win last season, he led the field in GIR, was second in driving accuracy and was 56th in strokes gained-putting. Ironic was that he drained a lengthy birdie putt on the 72nd hole to bump Dicky Pride out of a playoff. Pride was inside the top 13 in the three stats mentioned above. Also of note, Dufner was first in proximity to the hole and Pride was second.

What is clear, is that TPC Four Seasons does a nice job of rewarding solid play tee-to-green, and if you aren't putting very well you better be at the top of the field in proximity.

When doing your research, take a strong look at those in the top 50 in the world with a history of solid tee-to-green play and who are in good form.

We'll be back tomorrow with a power ranking. Best of luck with your research!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Round 3

I'll hit a couple of topics very quickly on the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship.

  • It's not a huge surprise that Sergio hasn't lit it up alongside Tiger. The best thing that can happen for Garcia is to not be paired with Tiger in the finale.
  • Really bad break for Westwood on the first hole. 
  • Stenson may be the guy to beat. I have a hard time seeing Lingmerth holding on in the finale given how badly he butchered his first playoff hole at the Humana Challenge that Brian Gay eventually won. With that much water late in the round, I don't like him (Lingmerth) to finish it off.
  • They're probably too far off the lead, but I'm interested to see what Kyle Stanley and Louis Oosthuizen do in the finale. If not for this week, then for weeks to come. Stanley has been closing out final rounds of late and we've been waiting for a spark from Louis.
  • Yahoo lineup remains the same for the final round (Woods, Donald, Kuchar and Westwood).

Let's hope the weather doesn't rear it's ugly head again in the finale!

Friday, May 10, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Round 2

Sergio Garcia is atop a star-studded pack at the half-way point of THE PLAYERS Championship, with his 12-under tally one clear of Tiger Woods.Here are a few thoughts from cut day.

  • Billy Horschel finally cooled off an missed a cut, snapping the longest-running streak on TOUR.
  • Proving THE PLAYERS is one of the hardest tournaments to handicap, take a look at some of those joining Horscel on the couch this weekend: Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Bill Haas and Lucas Glover. All of these guys have made noise lately and could legitimately have been considered contenders to start the week.
  • The top five in our Power Rankings look to be in good shape. In order, Luke Donald (T29), Adam Scott (T9), Sergio Garcia (1), Lee Westwood (T3) and Tiger Woods (2). 
  • Big decisions to make in the Yahoo! game over the weekend. The first is a no-brainer. I'm plugging Westwood in for Scott to make sure I get him in the starting lineup for bonus points, as both are positioned for a possible top-three finish. I'm plugging Matt Kuchar in for Bo Van Pelt. BVP carried the banner in the first round, but it's time to burn Kuchar over the weekend. After going back and forth with it, I'm burning Tiger over Sergio in the third round. There are several reasons. First, Woods record head-to-head against Garcia is staggeringly in the favor of world No. 1. So chances are good that Woods will get more points than Sergio tomorrow. Second, that would mean that Woods would enter the final round tied or ahead of Garcia, and quite possibly in the lead meaning we'd have to burn him for one round on Sunday anyway. Combining those two, it looks like we'd have to burn Woods on Sunday no matter what; so might as well burn him on Saturday too. I also don't see Sergio taking it deep two days in-a-row. 
  • To recap, that Woods, Kuchar, Donald and Westwood tomorrow.
  • If Westwood isn't firmly on your radar for the remaining three majors, he should be.
  • Keep an eye on Jason Dufner....fired a 5-under today and is now T13 ahead of a couple of events where he was a major factor last season.

Should be fun to watch tomorrow. Let's hope an afternoon storm doesn't mess things up!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Round 1

Raise your hand if you had Roberto Castro firing a course-record-tying 63 in the opening round of THE PLAYERS to lead Rory McIlroy, among others, by three. No one? Yeah, I didn't think McIlroy would be within three of the lead either. And that wasn't bad by Castro.

Other thoughts:

  • I'll go ahead and say that if Tiger Woods wins THE PLAYERS, given his poor history of late at TPC Sawgrass, it will be his biggest win since the 2008 U.S. Open.
  • Roberto Castro won't win. See Alex Cejka.
  • It's a little surprising that McIlroy is doing this well. Let's see if it keeps up.
  • I'd love for Sergio Garcia to have been my one-and-done this week instead of Luke Donald right now, but there's still time.
  • Yahoo! lineup of Garcia, Van Pelt, Donald and Scott will stay the same for another round.
That's it for tonight!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - One-and-done

After the mishap of pegging Bill Haas for our one-and-done at the wild Wells Fargo Championship, the heat is on to throw up a big number (dollars, not score) at THE PLAYERS.

With this week's purse being the biggest of the year, it's not time to hold back on a stud if there's a prudent one to play. There is a certain amount of unpredictability in play due to the venue (TPC Sawgrass), but guys with a solid all-around game and some steady tournament experience must be considered.

I also prefer to go class with form over just form in an event like this, if that makes sense. While a reader did an excellent job of making a case for Kevin Streelman in an email earlier today, I prefer a player with a little more seasoning on the bigger stages this week.

I've rambled enough. In a somewhat rare move, I'm burning Luke Donald in both my one-and-done and two-and-done. Typically I prefer to hedge on my games, but considering I'm using Donald in Yahoo!, Golf Channel, PGA TOUR, one-and-done and two-and-done, you could say I'm "all-in" with Luke this week. Others that received heavy consideration were Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Lee Westwood.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Fantasy

While there are many formats out there this week that provide opportunities for gamers to test their skill with this week's PLAYERS Championship, we'll stick to our regular lineup. As always, if you need an opinion on another format we don't cover, feel free to email or leave a comment.

Yahoo!:

We took a slight slip in the Yahoo! format, down to 6,674 in the standings (still 94th percentile) with 2848 points for the season. Given the carnage that was Quail Hollow, I'll take that and move on.

Strategy comes into play this week on the Yahoo! bench. Namely, keeping Tiger on it unless he looks like he's going to win. It looks something like this.

  • A-List - Sergio Garcia starting with Tiger Woods on the bench.
  • B-List - Luke Donald and Bo Van Pelt starting with Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar on the bench. Surprisingly enough, I haven't used BVP yet this year and I wouldn't mind burning round one on him while I make sure Kuchar and/or Furyk are in it for the long haul at TPC Sawgrass.
  • C-List- Adam Scott starts with Lee Westwood on the bench.
At this time, I don't expect a significant swing in tee-time advantages, but if one comes about I'll adjust accordingly.

Golf Channel:

Per normal, the Golf Channel game standings can be viewed in Mike Glasscott's weekly Rotoworld article. This week:
  • Group 1 - Luke Donald
  • Group 2 - Sergio Garcia
  • Group 3 - David Toms
  • Group 4 - Jonathan Byrd
PGA TOUR game standings:

Overall
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 4805
  2. Boots With The Fur - 4661
  3. Team Tiger II - 4542
  4. Subliminal Magic - 4531
  5. Woltz - 4476
Weekly Standings
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 344
  2. Tiger's Embedded Ball - 338
  3. Rotoworld Rob - 333
  4. Subliminal Magic - 308
  5. Pure Spin - 292
  6. Indiana Intimidation - 292
We'll be back tomorrow to solidify the one-and-done pick. At the moment, it has a decidedly English flair to it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Power Rankings


Matt Kuchar returns to TPC Sawgrass to defend his PLAYERS Championship title this week with all of the game’s best ready to square off in Ponte Vedra Beach.

This is often referred to as the deepest field of the year, and I see no reason that isn't the case this week. It’s also a rich purse, so for gamers in formats where cash earned is a standing, it’s important to land some solid picks.

Rather than the normal dozen, I've expanded this week’s power rankings to 20 since there are more boutique games than usual going on this week that may require your deeper consideration.

Here we go:
  1. Luke Donald – The Englishman’s flown largely under the radar this season, but his play has been good. His highlights this year include a T3 at the RBC Heritage and a T4 at the Tampa Bay Championship, representing a Pete Dye course in Hilton Head and a Florida course. He’s made seven of his last eight cuts at Sawgrass, including a T2 in ’05 and back-to-back top sixes. The stars are aligning for a top five for Donald this week.
  2. Adam Scott – The 2004 PLAYERS Champion tied for 15th in this event last year and pops his head up or the first time since his Masters win. Count me among those very interested to see if his major breakthrough frees him up to go on a huge roll. He’s also used to managing a light schedule at this point, so that he took three weeks off should not be a concern.
  3. Sergio Garcia – Sergio has completed six tournaments this season and finished inside the top 20 in all of them. He’s made 11/13 cuts at Sawgrass with a win and a runner-up on the resume. What’s not to like?
  4. Lee Westwood – Have to love Westy's trend, with top 10s in each of his last three starts dating back to the Shell Houston Open and including a T4 at Quail Hollow last week. He’s made 7/10 cuts here with three top 10s and an additional top 25. It’s always hard to pick Westwood as a winner, but a top 10 is well within reach.
  5. Tiger Woods – His last three events have gone W-W-T4, so there’s that. The only reason he isn't much higher than this is that he only has one top 10 at this event (8th in ’09) since 2001. Tiger’s good where Tiger’s good, but he hasn't been comfortable at TPC Sawgrass in a very long time. It’s hard to bet against him, though.
  6. Billy Horschel – I’m not sure that there’s a player on this list with more confidence than the Zurich Classic of NOLA champ. To boot, that win came on a Pete Dye course as did his T9 at the RBC Heritage. I don’t love first-timers in this event, but who knows? He’s playing out of his mind on a course that demands confidence and commitment with your shots.
  7. Phil Mickelson – Anybody’s guess.
  8. Jim Furyk – A hometown event for the veteran, Furyk’s made 14/17 cuts here with three top fives and eight top 25s. He’s made every cut this year, with a T3 at the Valero Texas Open and a T7 in Tampa Bay the highlights. That tells me to expect a top 25 and possibly better.
  9. Matt Kuchar – Defending champs are having a bad run of late. Kuchar’s probably not going to be a guy to run away with a tournament, rather emerge from the scrum with one. He prefers to be a below-the-radar guy, which he will not be this week. This feels like a vintage top 20 for Kuch.
  10. Justin Rose – Hitting it great, but hasn't been able to make a putt to save his life. Add to that, he’s a meager 5/9 with no top 20s at TPC Sawgrass. I’ll go out on a limb and say he nets his first top 20, but it’s hard to bump him above any of the above given his flat stick and track record.
  11. Charl Schwartzel – He hasn't missed out on a top 25 in a stroke play event on the PGA TOUR this year, but he’s flirted with breaking that streak of late. He’s a steady 2/3 with a T26 in 2011 as his highlight. It could be that he’s finally figured this course out and will contend, but it also could be the end of his top 25 streak. Given his world ranking and other options this week in games like Yahoo! and Golf Channel, he would be an against-the-grain option for many.
  12. Henrik Stenson – Don’t let his missed cut at Quail Hollow throw you off his scent, he’s played some really good golf this year. He had three top 20s immediately before that missed cut, and there are plenty of valid reasons to throw QH out. He’s 5/7 (all top 25s) with a win, a T3 and a T15 last year on his resume. He’s a sneaky pick this week.
  13. Jason Day – This could go either way. He’s only 1/3 here, but it was a T6 in ’11. He also didn't perform all that well in 2012 in general, so we could conceivably dismiss that one. I’ll put it this way. I’m happy to have him on my season-long salary cap team so I can reap his rewards this week without risking him in a weekly format.
  14. Ian Poulter – He’ll be a sexy pick this week, but he hasn't snared a top 10 since the Match Play. He snuck away to Merion to look at the U.S. Open venue last week per his Twitter account, so he made the most of a late W/D from Quail Hollow. He’s 7/9 with a runner-up in 2009, but that serves as his only top 20. Form isn't good enough for me to jump in too heavily with him this week, but I’m paying plenty of attention to how he plays with the U.S. and British Opens coming up on courses that could be a great fit for him.
  15. Graeme McDowell – He won at Harbour Town in  his last start, which may be as close of a test as is available to TPC Sawgrass, but his record in this event isn't all that good. He’s made 4/5 cuts, but never scratched out a top 25. He’s very high on my list for Merion, so I’d prefer him to begin a build-up to that event rather than waste a bunch of high finishes on events leading up to it anyway.
  16. Nick Watney – He’s finished inside the top 15 in his last three starts this year, with a T10 last week the pinnacle. It may take him a little while to get over his final-round collapse at Quail Hollow, or it may not. He’s 4/6 at Sawgrass with a top 10 and an additional top 25. Good, but not great.
  17. Kyle Stanley – He’s the answer to the trivia question of the only guy on TOUR with top 10s in both New Orleans and Quail Hollow headed into this week. You may remember, those are his first two top 10s since his win in early 2012. He missed the cut in his first trip here last year, but did so with a respectable 2-over-par 73-73=146. That’s really not all that bad for a first-timer.
  18. David Toms – He’s racked up top 10s at Sawgrass in three of his last four starts. Ironically, it’s his only three top 10s in 20 trips to this event. His form this year isn't all that great, but he seems to have cracked some sort of code in Ponte Vedra.
  19. Tim Clark – Had a T11 at the Masters and probably disappointed a bit with a T24 at the Heritage on a course that was seemingly a better fit for him anyway. He’s a past champion in this event, winning his first PGA TOUR event here in 2010, and has made 5/9 cuts overall.
  20. Peter Hanson – He’s 2/2 with two top 20s, but is on the wrong end of the current-form bell curve at the moment. If you want to take a flier on someone (if he’s considered a flier), he’d be a good pick.

We’ll be back tomorrow to take a look at some of the specific gaming formats. Feel free to shoot me a comment or email if you have a question that isn't related to the formats we normally cover.

Best of luck!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

THE PLAYERS Championship - Preview

Next up on the PGA TOUR schedule is THE PLAYERS Championship. It is at the same time, one of the best and worst events of the year. Several of holes are iconic, with the par-3 17th the most memorable. But at the same time, it doesn't identify a particular type of player or highlight a specific strength.

It's nice to be long, but probably better to be straight. If a player is a putter/scrambler, he's got a chance because the scores won't go too low. The same can be said for an elite ball-striker with a balky putter. 

When it comes to fantasy, it's about as frustrating of a tournament to peg as possible. Of course, I guess that's the case with many Pete Dye venues. TPC Sawgrass (this week's site) is probably closer to a Harbour Town than a Kiawah Island, Crooked Stick or TPC Louisiana.

TPC Sawgrass is a 7,215 par-72 layout with four par 5s. Three of those are regularly reachable with the par-5 ninth the only question mark. The par 3s can be demanding, as are several of the par 4s, and there's no shortage of water on the course.

My lean this week will be form over history, because you have to be confident in your game to handle the visual discomfort Pete throws at you. A good example of that is Tiger Woods not being able to fake his way around this course with any degree of success lately. As well as he's played this year, it could be different this week, but he hasn't trusted his swing enough to do well here in the recent past. Billy Horschel could be dangerous, with a T9 at Harbour Town and a win at TPC Louisiana.

It's also not unheard of for a relative unknown to win here. Granted, it's the strongest field of the year, but Craig Perks won this tournament. Stephen Ames did too, and Alex Cejka almost did.

Add to the unknowns the course is extremely water logged, with images of the walkway to the par-3 17th underwater circulating the internet. A good chunk of the field played the less-than-pure greens at Quail Hollow last week, so how will they cope? 

For those of you that have nothing on the line this week, THE PLAYERS will be a blast to watch. Everyone else will likely sweat out unexpected missed cuts, threats from people not on the radar and anxiety of what you "should" have done or "almost" did. In other words, a replay of Quail Hollow!

We'll crunch the numbers and see how things look for tomorrow's power rankings.

Until then, happy research!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - Round 3

The Wells Fargo Championship sports both a bunched and a star-studded leaderboard ahead of the early final round on Sunday. Phil Mickelson and/or Nick Watney could have eliminated a bunch of players on Saturday afternoon, but Phil was Phil and Watney hit a shank to leave 19 players within four of the lead.

  • If Rory could putt he would be up a least five strokes. He missed eight putts inside of seven feet and is three back. That's just in one round. 
  • Lee Westwood fired a 66 in the final round of last year's WFC and Rory shot a course-record 62 in his win in the final round of 2010. Either one of those guys does that tomorrow and they win.
  • Speaking of winners, tomorrow is about as wide open as I could imagine. I don't even know where to begin in declaring a favorite.Sergio is four off the lead. Could he post a 65 and win? Sure. D.A. Points is three back and has been playing excellent golf. Could he post a 67 and steal it? Sure. There's no doubt Rory is hitting it well enough to win. Could the putts fall for him tomorrow for a 66 and a win? Sure. Watney and Mickelson are pretty good too. I could see any number of scenarios, but I wouldn't go much past the pack at 4-under.
  • One thing I have noticed, the Cinderella's have fallen by the wayside for the most part as the week's progressed. We aren't talking about Nate Smith or Scott Gardiner any more. The cream has risen. The only true wildcard left is Derek Ernst. 
  • Sticking with the same Yahoo! lineup of McIlroy, Watney, Glover and Westwood for a third consecutive round.
  • My gut is that they will play tomorrow without interruption beginning at 6:45 a.m. and ending around 1:45 p.m. If they don't I don't see them getting this in before Monday afternoon at the earliest. With THE PLAYERS looming, the PGA TOUR isn't going to want to drag this out. The weather will go from not good, to poor, to bad to worse tomorrow, so the conditions they face at any given time will be the best they see. Depending on how bad the last hour or two are, the advantage could belong to the earliest wave of players.
That's all for now. Tomorrow is anyone's guess.....really the whole tournament has been that way.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - Round 2

Phil Mickelson leads at the half-way point of the Wells Fargo Championship, and why wouldn't he? The ultimate wild card for gamers has made every putt inside of 10 feet despite not being able to find Quail Hollow's fairways with any degree of regularity. On a week where the greens are the biggest question mark, Lefty has rolled the rock.


  • I can't wait to see Scott Gardiner paired with Mickelson. James Hahn brought up a great story on Twitter that Gardiner confirmed the story with a minor correction. One time Gardiner played three holes in 4-under using the WRONG YARDAGE BOOK. I have a friend who's played with Gardiner and has shared similarly amusing stories regarding the native Aborigine. It should be fun to watch.
  • Rory's still lurking. Three of his four weekend rounds in this event are 66 or better.Phil better not slip.
  • I'm sticking with the same Yahoo! lineup of McIlroy, Watney, Glover and Westwood.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - Round 1

With 18 holes of the Wells Fargo Championship in the books, we essentially got what we expected in the first round. That is, a leaderboard that is all over the place. Here are some observations:

  • I mentioned yesterday that I wouldn't be surprised if Rory McIlroy won or one of the many alternates. Turns out, McIlroy is a co-leader at 5-under on a leaderboard that features a Monday qualifier (Nate Smith) with no TOUR status and TOUR rookie Derek Ernst. Others in the lead are Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus, Ryan Moore and Daniel Summerhays.
  • It was one of those days where the Yahoo! bench was much better than the starting lineup. Needless to say, McIlroy will start over Bill Haas while Lucas Glover (-4) will sub in for Webb Simpson alongside Nick Watney and Lee Westwood will sub in for Rickie Fowler.
  • As expected, some greens looked better than others. Down the stretch, 16 struck me as as pretty bad along with the par-3 13th. 
  • When writing about Bill Haas as my one-and-done selection yesterday I mentioned the need for him to play the par 5s better than he has this year. He rewarded my confidence with a bogey on the par-5 10th to start his round, another bogey on the par-5 fifth and took the cake with a 9 on the par-5 seventh. He played the par 5s in 6-over and the other 14 holes in 1-over. Great!
  • The McIlroy pick in the two-and-done looks nice. He looked very comfortable and in control.
  • The final Saturday paring in New Orleans (Lucas Glover and Boo Weekley) are a shot back after round one. Phil Mickelson is among those that join them. 

That's it for today! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship - One-and-done

There's been plenty of action at the Wells Fargo Championship before the first tee is in the ground in the opening round. Namely, a number of elite players have withdrawn, and frankly I can't blame them.

I've thought about this from all angles, and I really can't decide who the inconsistent greens will favor. Every scenario involves ball-striking being a big key. Rob Bolton had a nice thought today on the Rotoworld chat that Europeans could benefit. If they do, look out for Nicolas Colsaerts. I'm curious to see how guys not far removed from the mini tours perform. They have the most recent experience with sub-standard greens. 

I'm of the thought that local knowledge will be a huge advantage tee to green, but could be a hindrance on the putting surfaces. You know what I mean if you stop and think about it. Many of you are like me and frequently play at one particular course. When you have a 30-footer you don't even take the time to look at it from all angles. You know it breaks left-to-right by more than it looks or right-to-left by less than it looks and you have a rough idea as to the speed. You step in and lag it up to tap-in range and head to the next hole. The Webb Simpson's of the world could normally do that here, but now they have to second guess what they know about the greens. Maybe even talk themselves out of what they know to be true.

I wouldn't be surprised if the 8th alternate in the field wins this week, or if Rory McIlroy wins.

All that to say, for the one-and-done I'm going with Bill Haas. He knows Quail Hollow very well and has twice finished fourth. It's about an hour-and-a-half from his front door in Greenville, SC to Quail Hollow and don't think he hasn't made that trip a few times over the years on non-tournament weeks. His strength is his ball-striking and he's long enough to perform. The question will come down to his play on the par-5s. It killed him at the Masters.I don't have Webb Simpson available, but expect plenty of people to go that route. I said in my power rankings Monday that he (Simpson) was the chalk, but that this may be a good week to go against the chalk and I stand by that strategy for most gamers.

For my two-and-done, I'm burning Rory McIlroy for the first time. I made this decision before his interview, but I liked that he reportedly said something to the tune of it being his ball-striking that wins tournaments for him more than the putter. That's the attitude it will take to win this week. Maybe the putts fall, maybe they don't, but I'm going to strike it the best I can.

Best of luck to all this week!