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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship - Late Sub

One quick note, I've decided to sub in Rory McIlroy for Tiger Woods in the A-List. I want to pair Mickelson (early/late) with a late/early and McIlroy makes the most sense. If I had two Woods starts left I would have left it alone.

Yahoo! starters for round one are Mickelson, Simpson, Furyk and Scott.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship - One-and-done

From a one-and-done standpoint, the Deutsche Bank Championship has been on my radar for a long time. Namely because there are several top-tier players that make a lot of sense at TPC Boston.

The biggest reason I didn't burn Adam Scott in a major this year was for the Deutsche Bank. While I am using him as my two-and-done, I'm calling an audible in the OAD.

The three big names that I have left and intend to use in the OAD are Scott, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. Of those, only Scott is secure for a start at East Lake. So, unless there is a big and unexpected shakeup, I will use McIlroy as my OAD this week and will likely go with Westwood at the BMW and Scott at the TOUR Championship.

With McIlroy as my OAD and Scott as my TAD, I like my chances to hit on at least one of them.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship - Fantasy

With the Deutsche Bank Championship creeping closer to the start, let's take a look at our regular gaming formats. I'll throw the reminder out there one more time that the DBC begins on Friday.

Yahoo!
Season: 5,381 points, 2,774 rankings (97th percentile)
Summer: 1,483 points, 1,545 ranking


  • A-List - Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods
  • B-List - Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose
  • C-List - Adam Scott and Jason Day

Golf Channel

As always, check out Rotoworld for my picks in Glass' article http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/44001/297/mass-potatoes?pg=3

PGA TOUR Game:

Season Standings:
  1. Pure Spin - 11326 (Why am I not surprised Ned is now leading?)
  2. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 10978
  3. Case of Biershenks - 9464
  4. Started a Week Late - 9425 (and here comes Bolton)
  5. Woltz - 9383

Weekly Standings:
  • T1 - Who's The Caddy? - 954
  • T1 - Boots With The Fur - 954
  • 3 - Started a Week Late - 846
  • 4 - Pure Spin - 828
  • 5 - PelicansRule - 803
We'll be back tomorrow with the one-and-done and any other updates. Until then, best of luck!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship - Power Rankings

Before we delve into the power rankings for the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, I would be remiss not to remind you that the tournament actually runs from Friday through Monday this week. For my overseas friends, Monday coincides with Labor Day in the U.S.

As expected, the power rankings are loaded with start power this week and likely will be from here on out. Current form, course history and a knack for hitting the long ball all factored into the equation.

Here we go:

  1. Tiger Woods - Coming off a T2 at The Barclays and as a past winner at TPC Boston, his penchant for coming through on tracks where he's won before all add up well. The early reports are that he intends to play through some back discomfort, but stay tuned until the final bell if you plan on using him in a critical game format.
  2. Phil Mickelson - Lefty made a late run at Liberty National and is another past winner at TPC Boston. He tied for third last year, to boot. I'd have to go digging, but I can't recall having Phil this high in a power ranking all year. Could be the kiss of death. 
  3. Adam Scott - Last week's surprise winner can't fall much further than this in any credible ranking. He's 8/8 at TPC Boston with a win, a runner-up and five total top 10s. I'm interested to see how he starts because he really didn't have to exert much mental strain in his win at Liberty National last week. He's my early two-and-done lean.
  4. Jason Day - He's 5/5 at TPC Boston and twice finished inside the top three. It's been a great year for the Aussie, only lacking a win. He opened with a 66 last week and faded over the weekend. 
  5. Rory McIlroy - The leader in the clubhouse for my one-and-done, the defending champ keeps teasing us with good rounds but is putting up too many double bogeys. I've said before that I like him when he gets on an active roll of playing tournaments, so this fits that bill. 
  6. Jim Furyk - Captain top 10 rolled off another one at The Barclays last week, extending his streak to four, and heads to TPC Boston where he owns three top 10s in eight tries, never missing the cut.
  7. Matt Kuchar - He's one of the few players on TOUR that doesn't concern me coming off a Sunday collapse like he had at The Barclays. He's 7/9 with four top 25s and zero top 10s at TPC Boston, but he could play like a guy with something to prove.
  8. Bubba Watson - A good blend of power, form (T13 last week), and sports a fair record. He's 5/7 with two top 25s at TPC Boston. 
  9. Jason Dufner - The PGA champ is 5/5 with a T2 in 2009 at TPC Boston and showed few signs of rust at The Barclays last week, finishing T37 but never posting an over-par round. As always, it comes down to his putter.
  10. Justin Rose - He had a shot to join Scott in a playoff last week, but suffered a three-putt bogey on the 72nd hole to fall one shy. He's a modest 6/9 with two top 10s at TPC Boston, missing the cut last year. A good option, but not the best.
  11. Luke Donald - A nod to his course history, Donald is 5/6 with a runner-up and a third here. Form has been spotty by his standards this season, but good enough not to discount him.
  12. Brandt Snedeker - This is admittedly a course history pick, Sneds has finished inside the top six each of the last three years here and has never missed a cut in six tries. The problem is, he's missed his last two cuts and hasn't cracked a top 25 since his win in Canada five starts back.
Next 5: Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Charley Hoffman

We'll check back in tomorrow with the fantasy update. Until then, best of luck to all!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship - Preview

The Deutsche Bank Championship (DBC) represents the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs and TPC Boston is the familiar scene of the action. One thing the DBC has going for it that The Barclays and BMW Championship do not from a gamer's standpoint is familiarity. Most savvy golf fans will recognize some of the more familiar holes at TPC Boston. The driveable par-4 fourth jumps to mind, as does the par-5 18th, but there are sure to be more.

TPC Boston is a par-71 layout featuring three par 5s and the full bevy of par 3s, stretching out to 7,214 yards. It boasts an impressive list of winners including Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy to name a few. Evaluating those three players, in particular, could be a big key to this week.

Scott will be a particularly tough call this week given his win at The Barclays. He admitted after his round that he never really felt like he was in a position to win the tournament, but things just fell into his lap. On the plus side for this week, that means he hasn't burned up as much mental energy as most champions entering the next week's event.

Rory McIlroy continues to flash signs of life, but he hasn't put four rounds together all year. Maybe not even three.

We don't know how big of a deal Tiger's back will be.

So what does all of this mean? Don't lock yourself into anything too early this week. I'll have my power rankings out around this time tomorrow, but that's a moving target.

At this stage of the Playoffs with fields this deep, I'm not a huge believer in spending tons of time on stats. You've got world-class players on a course where most of them have some familiarity and a deep number in the red is needed. What I will point out is that, more times than not, longer players show up with a high frequency on this leaderboard. If you've narrowed your picks down and need a tie breaker, a significant length advantage could be it. That is not normally the case on TOUR.

Case in point, the top five last year were McIlroy, Oosthuizen (2nd), Woods (3rd), Dustin Johnson (T4) and Phil Mickelson (T4). Every one of those guys can get it out there.

One final bit of advice, I'm not sure I'd lean on a first-timer here. Even if the learning curve isn't that steep, the quality of players they are trying to catch with that curve are just too classy.

Check back tomorrow! Happy research!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Barclays - One-and-done

The more time I spend on understanding Liberty National Golf Club and the changes made since 2009, the more I'm convinced that the course will not require the grind it did to win four years ago. That comes into play in the one-and-done and two-and-done.

For the one-and-done, I'm crossing my fingers that Henrik Stenson stays hot for one more week. While I could have also played the Swede in my two-and-done, this isn't the kind of tournament where I want all my eggs in one basket. There are just too many variables.

The two-and-done came down to Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson. About 36 hours ago, I was set on Furyk. Then the reviews of the course redesign began to roll in and I've shifted over to DJ. Johnson showed well here in 2009, as did Furyk, but Johnson's length will be rewarded to a higher degree with the greens more receptive and the rough much less penal.

Yahoo! starters are McIlroy, Furyk, Simpson and Stenson.

Best of luck this week!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Barclays - Power Rankings and Fantasy

With our full attention on The Barclays, we’ll dive into the power rankings and look at the usual fantasy formats. As we mentioned in our brief preview on Sunday, Liberty National is the stage for the first leg of the Playoffs. The TOUR returns to that venue for the second time, and first since 2009.

The return is not popular with the elite players. Probably a best test of a course is the champions it produces over time and, no offense to Heath Slocum, but Heath Slocum is the lone winner. Slocum isn't even in the Playoffs this year and didn't have fully exempt status on TOUR this year.

Making it even tougher, it was tough to pick up on a true statistical trend of the top players on the 2009 leaderboard. Padraig Harrington, for example, it the ball terribly but was first in putting and finished high. Others were above average with their ball-striking and above average with their putter, but not excellent.

I've taken into account exactly one statistical factor this week, and that is the all-around ranking. The thought being that the higher a player’s all-around ranking is, the more chances he has to figure out some sort of successful formula at Liberty National. The more dimensions to his game the better.

Above all, form wins out. Just because a guy picked up a top 10 here in 2009, if he doesn't have solid form and a solid all-around ranking (I’m talking about you Freddie Jac) there’s no point in treating his ’09 success with too much significance.

Here we go:

  1. Tiger Woods – The biggest factor in his favor is that this isn't a major. His form is fine, with a win at Firestone CC fresh in his mind. He also tied for second here in 2009. Oh yeah, he’s first in the all-around ranking. That basically hits on every category for me.
  2. Henrik Stenson – If you’re looking for form, he’s your guy. He has finished inside the top three in the last three tournaments, two of them majors and another a WGC. That he hasn't played Liberty National before isn't that big of a deal given the limited experience others would have on him.
  3. Webb Simpson – Coming in off a T11 at the Wyndham and finished eighth here in 2009, he may be a safe pick if there is such a thing.
  4. Jim Furyk – Did a 180 on what was almost a lost year with a T9, T9, runner-up finish in his last three starts, nearly winning the PGA Championship.  Had a very respectable T15 in the ’09 Barclays.
  5. Jason Day – It’s been a really good year for the young Aussie, and Playoff win would make it a great one. He enters off a T8 at the PGA and shared 12th at LN in ’09. He also hasn't missed a cut all year.
  6. Dustin Johnson – Now happily engaged, DJ heads to the site of a T15 in ’09 with two top 10s in his last three starts.
  7. Bill Haas – If you’re looking for what appears to be a safe top 25 option with some upside, he could be your guy. He tied for 24th here in ’09 and has finished inside the top 25 in each of his last three starts, highlighted by a T7 at Firestone CC.
  8. Rory McIlroy – I really like that we haven’t heard much about Rory lately. He got to work and played eight rounds in 11 days for the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA with some good results. He flashed glimpses of his swagger at Oak Hill, but couldn't keep it up all week.  I would be surprised if he had a poor week.
  9. Jordan Spieth – Coming in off a playoff loss at the Wyndham and ranks second in all-around ranking. The kid continues to outdo himself, so expect something good at some point in the Playoffs.
  10. Keegan Bradley – First timer to Liberty National is in solid form and has a strong overall game.
  11. Matt Kuchar – It’s actually impossible at this point to go 12 deep and not include Kuchar. He’s been messing around in the 20s lately, but you get the feeling the worse the other players like LN, the more it may play into his hands.
  12. Brandt Snedeker – I wasn't on alert after weak performances at Firesteone CC and Oak Hill, but I’m concerned by the missed cut at the Wyndham. I would speculate some possible fatigue since he hadn't had a week of since the British Open. His history and game seem to be a decent fit this week, but invest with caution.

Next 5: (in order) Charley Hoffman, Jason Dufner, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els.

Feeling risky?

Hard to consider anyone all that risky that made the Playoffs, but Stewart Cink might be worth a look in a deep format. Tied for 28th here in ’09 and is in the midst of a nice bounce-back year.


Fantasy Time:

Yahoo!
Season stats: 5,251 points, 2,597 rank (97th percentile)
Summer segment: 1,353 points, 1,056 rank.
  • A-List – Rory McIlroy and Bill Haas
  • B-List – W. Simpson, K. Bradley, Furyk and D. Johnson
  • C-List – Stenson and Day


Golf Channel

As always, check out Mike’s weekly article for all the Rotoworld staffer’s picks at rotoworld.com

PGA TOUR:

Season standings:
  1. O’Sullivan’s Tribe – 10,794
  2. Pure Spin – 10498
  3. Case of Biershenks – 9334
  4. Woltz – 9085
  5. Swinging for Sixties – 8589


Weekly Standings:
  1. Started a Week Late – 707 (yes, the fantasy guru (AKA Rob Bolton) picked Patrick Reed)
  2. PelicansRule – 412
  3. Subliminal Magic – 402
  4. Pure Spin – 251
  5. Woltz – 246



Thanks for your patience this week. Hopefully it proves worth the wait! Best of luck to all!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Playoffs - Top 125

While there was a part of me that really wanted to grind through and throw up a power ranking for The Barclays tonight, wisdom won out. I've recently had my top 125 power rankings for the entire FedExCup publish at Rotoworld http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/43944/350/ryans-top-125-fec-playoffs.

I plan on catching back up with a combined power ranking and fantasy post on Tuesday evening, but for now I'm fried. A power ranking tonight would be an insult to your intelligence and I'm not going to do that.

Please check back tomorrow around this time and you'll see a power ranking and a fantasy post.

Thanks for your patience, and check out Rotoworld for my FedExCup feature.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Barclays - Preview

The FedExCup Playoffs are here and it kicks off with The Barclays. Liberty National Golf Course takes center stage for the second time, and first since 2009.

Liberty National is a 7,346-yard par 70, and it was not met with the warmest regards from the competitors the first time around. Heath Slocum was the unlikely winner, besting an elite field as one of the last men to sneak into the Playoffs.

With that, I'm going to call a quick timeout.

I'm going to have to alter my posts this week due to my FedExCup Playoff preview for Rotoworld that is expected to publish tomorrow. In that preview will be a look at all 125 players in the Playoffs, as well as a quasi power ranking for the Playoffs.

Since the Playoff field wasn't set until today, all of my attention has been diverted to that assignment. I will do my best to provide an update tomorrow that could include power rankings, but as a worst-case scenario I plan to be completely caught up by Tuesday evening.

If you are looking for a nugget of information in regards to The Barclays, I would suggest rolling with the hot hands.

Thanks for your patience, and make sure to check out the Rotoworld article (www.rotoworld.com) tomorrow!.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wyndham Championship - One-and-done

We've reached the time of year at the Wyndham Championship when player availability for the one-and-done format can be problematic. Case in point, there are four players I really like this week. The "chalk" I guess you would say. They are the top four from yesterday's power rankings and I consider the separation between Bill Haas, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson to be small. I could easily live with any of them as a OAD this week.

You know where this is going.

I don't find any of the options after that to be particularly appealing. I could go with Hideki Matsuyama or Martin Kaymer as high-ranking players, but I don't have a feel for their course fit. I could go with Carl Pettersson as a course horse, but have you seen his form? David Toms is tempting, but I have a hard time seeing him do any better than a low top 10, and I'd like a guy with a shot at winning. Bud Cauley has a ton to play for, which could be good or bad. Roberto Castro is hot. The list goes on.

So I settled, and I mean settled, on Sergio Garcia as my OAD. I don't particularly like his record in title defenses (zero top 10s) and he doesn't have a top 10 on TOUR since his spat with Tiger Woods. I can think of plenty of reasons not to play Sergio, but the truth is that he's finished fourth and first in his two trips to Sedgefield and I need a top five badly this week.

In my two-and-done, I"m using Webb Simpson. I'm banking on last year's fade being due to his title defense, and with the spotlight not quite as brightly on him he should be a solid play.

For my Yahoo! starters, I'm going with the strongest players and ignoring the weather. I believe it was the WGC-Bridgestone where I played the same four all week, and that could be the case again this week. Haas, Z. Johnson, Simpson and Kaymer get the call.

Best of luck this wee!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wyndham Championship - Fantasy

After a decent week at the PGA Championship, we now turn our full attention to the games of the Wyndham Championship. We will check in on all the usual formats this week.

Yahoo!

Last week we netted 157 points, but probably the best move was the one we didn't make. We saved our final Tiger Woods start for another day. Season total is 5081 points and rank is 2,505 (97th percentile). Our Summer total is 1183 points and an 807 rank. 

Here's how it looks this week:
  • A-List - Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker
  • B-List - Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Carl Pettersson and David Toms
  • D-List - Martin Kaymer and Hideki Matsuyama

Golf Channel:

Check out all of the Rotoworld staffer's picks in Glass' weekly article http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/43887/297/the-final-cut?pg=3.

PGA TOUR game:

Season Standings:
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 10582
  2. Pure Spin - 10247
  3. Case of Biershenks - 9122
  4. Woltz - 8839
  5. Swinging for Sixties - 8377
PGA Championship Standings:
  1. Case of Biershenks - 727
  2. Swinging for Sixties - 411
  3. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 374
  4. Putter's Paradise - 359
  5. RotoRyan - 328
I'm still mulling over the one-and-done. I had Jason Dufner or Nicolas Colsaerts penciled in, but neither are in the field. Options I'm currently considering include Sergio Garcia (scary), David Toms and possibly Roberto Castro or Hideki Matsuyama. 

I'll firm that up tomorrow, as well as pencil in the starters in the Yahoo! format.

Best of luck!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wyndham Championship - Power Rankings

The Wyndham Championship does not offer a clear number one in the power rankings, rather a group of four players that could easily be mixed and mingled. The irony may be that the majority of the attention this week shouldn't really be focused on the guys in this power ranking, rather the players fighting for a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs and a 2013-14 PGA TOUR card.

Let's jump right in:

  1. Webb Simpson - The 2011 winner and North Carolina native is the right fit of form, class and history for Sedgefield. He surrounded his win with a T8 in '10 and a respectable T22 in his title defense last year. With the distraction of that defense in his rear-view mirror and a pair of top 25s at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, he's the guy to start the conversation.
  2. Brandt Snedeker - I'm not taking my eyes off the winner of the RBC Canadian Open. He wasn't great at Firestone CC and Oak Hill, but that doesn't mean his form has slipped. Firestone is a little long for him and Oak Hill a little tight. He's got a pair of top 10s in the last five years at Sedgefield, so this could set up for another big week.
  3. Zach Johnson - Easily could have taken the top spot, but I'm banking on a slight let down. Finished P2, T6, T4 and T8 in his last four starts, with the last three coming in a pair of majors and a WGC. An interesting fact, he currently sits in 10th place in the Presidents Cup Standings that cut off on September 2nd and it's tight. He's less than 10k points (essentially dollars) clear of Dustin Johnson and trails Steve Stricker for ninth by just over 11k points. The other two are off this week, so ZJ could make a big move with a top 10.
  4. Bill Haas - Another class guy playing near his college stomping grounds of Wake Forest, he's 3/5 with a pair of top 10s at Sedgefield and has shown up on leaderboards with regularity all season. Form is good with a T7 at Firestone CC and a T25 at Oak Hill after flirting with a top 10.
  5. Sergio Garcia - The defending champ finished fourth in his only other visit to Sedgefield, so course history buffs will be all over him this week. A word of caution. His last top 10 in the U.S. was THE PLAYERS. That's what started his most recent public feud with Tiger Woods, from which he has yet to recover.
  6. David Toms - A sneaky pick for you one-and-done players without the options of the top four or five, the Bayou Bengal is fresh off a seventh at the PGA Championship and a T16 at the Reno-Tahoe Open. He was runner-up here in 2010 and has missed just one of five cuts at this venue.
  7. Roberto Castro - Form is excellent, but missed the cut here in his only appearance at Sedgefield last year. A T6 in Canada and a T12 at the PGA give him a green light.
  8. Carl Pettersson - Really a tough call. He won here in 2008 and has tied for fourth each of the last two years, but his form sucks. His last top 25 was the Arnold Palmer Invite, but if he has a good couple of rounds and makes the cut he could jump on the bike one more time and remember how to pedal it towards a high finish.
  9. Martin Kaymer - This is a total nod to class and form, as he's never played here, but has a T9 at the WGC-Bridgestone and a T33 at Oak Hill in his last two weeks.
  10. Paul Casey - His best finish here was a T26 in 2008, but he's quickly moving closer to his world-class form of several years ago. His win at the Irish Open speaks for itself and he was an early factor before fading to T33 last week at the PGA.
  11. Jimmy Walker - His last two starts were missed cuts, but those came in majors. Jimmy doesn't have much major experience to draw from, but he does have plenty of reps in the regular ole PGA TOUR events. He tied for 2nd at The Greenbrier Classic in  his last non-major TOUR start. Add to that, he tied for fourth here last year.
  12. Brendon de Jonge - He's the guy you can plug into a Yahoo! lineup if you just want to make sure you have someone around for four days. Form is good and the Va Tech product seems like a safe bet to make a cut in the heart of ACC territory.
Next 5: Bud Cauley, Tim Clark, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt and Pat Perez

Feeling risky?
  • Jason Bohn - Runner-up in '09 and T12 in '11 are enough to land him here without any other considerations, but a T9 in Mississippi and a T2 in Canada in his last two starts seal the deal. On second thought....maybe he isn't that risky.
  • Davis Love III - Only one top 10 in what has been a disappointing year, but was T12 and T10 here the last two years.

We will return tomorrow to look at some games. Until then, best of luck!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wyndham Championship - Preview

The Wyndham Championship offers the last chance for many golfers to secure their 2013-14 PGA TOUR status, as it is the last stop before the FedExCup Playoffs. I heard earlier this week that the PGA TOUR doesn't want the PGA Championship to use "Glory's Last Shot" anymore. Perhaps the Wyndham can pick up that phrase.

It has been a year since Sergio Garcia essentially secured his Ryder Cup berth with a win in a Monday finish at the 2012 Wyndham, but it was a mere 52 weeks ago.

The tournament has been at Sedgefield Country Club since 2008 after a lengthy run at Forest Oaks CC. Sedgefield is a 7,130 par 70 with just two par 5s, but that doesn't mean the birdie opportunities will be at a minimum. The winning score has hovered between 16-under-par and 21-under.

Here is a list of the winners and bridesmaids dating back to 2008:

  • 2008 - Carl Pettersson (21-under); Scott McCarron (19-under)
  • 2009 - Ryan Moore (16-under); Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler (16-under playoff)
  • 2010 - Arjun Atwal (20-under); David Toms (19-under)
  • 2011 - Webb Simpson (18-under); George McNeill (15-under)
  • 2012 - Sergio Garcia (18-under); Tim Clark (15-under)
Several things pop from that list. It may mean nothing, but Pettersson (NC State), Simpson (Wake Forest) and Clark (NC State) all went to college on Tobacco Road in ACC country and Sedgefield is in their back yard. Simpson and Toms are both in excellent form of late, with Toms popping a top 10 at the PGA Championship and Simpson playing well at the WGC-Bridgestone.

This year's edition has a pretty high octane field, with guys still jockeying for position for the upcoming Playoffs.

From a statistical standpoint, the thing that stands out about the last few tournaments is that nothing stands out. The top 10 isn't littered by guys that find fairways, or make putts, or land GIR. It's a complete hodgepodge of everything. While I'm a proponent of stats being the third leg of the three-legged stool of form, history and statistics, you can almost just eliminate stats all together this week.

Check back tomorrow for our weekly power rankings!



Thursday, August 8, 2013

PGA Championship - Round 1

Round 1 of the PGA Championship is in the books, with Adam Scott joining Jim Furyk in the lead at 5-under-par. One of the things I do in my head following the first round of a major is play a little pretender/contender. I thought I'd do that in this space tonight for kicks. Feel free to point and laugh at the end of the week when one of these pretenders lifts the Wanamaker Trophy.

One quick item of business, I'm going Haas and Stricker for the second consecutive day in Yahoo, then subbing in Zach Johnson for Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott for Henrik Stenson (a day too late).

Now for the fun......

(5-under)

  • Jim Furyk - Pretender. Still too scarred from last year.
  • Adam Scott - Big-time contender. Can't wait to see if he can separate tomorrow morning. 

(4-under)

  • David Hearn - Less of a pretender than we might think. Has played some nice golf on smaller stages of late.
  • Lee Westwood  - Contender, especially if Oak Hill starts playing tougher.

(3-under)

  • Robert Garrigus - Pretender. He'll fade as the course toughens.
  • Paul Casey - Contender. If you've paid attention, this isn't out of nowhere.
  • Matt Kuchar - Absolutely a contender.
  • Marcus Fraser - Sorry, but pretender.
  • Scott Piercy - See Garrigus. His form suggests he fades.
  • Jason Day - Contender. Similar to Westy, I like him the harder the course gets.
(2-under)
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat - Dark Horse - He hung around for a long time at Firestone.
  • Jason Dufner - Contender
  • Steve Stricker - Contender
  • Bill Haas - Absolutely a contender
  • Henrik Stenson - Contender for sure
  • Rafael Cabrera Bello - Pretender....record in U.S. isn't good enough to sustain him.
  • Jonas Blixt - Pretender - Too much demand on ball-striking for 72 holes.
  • Roberto Castro - Pretender, but intriguing to watch for the future.
  • M.A. Jimenez - Unfortunately a pretender.
  • Martin Kaymer - Tough call....trending decently well...but pretender
  • Justin Rose - On the bubble, but I'll say contender.
Others
  • Zach Johnson (1-under) - Still a contender
  • Rory McIlroy (1-under) - Looked really good in spurts today. Might have found something. I'll say contender, but that could change quickly.
  • Brandt Snedeker (even) - Pretender
  • Phil Mickelson (1-over) - Contender if he and Butch work this out before round 2.
  • Tiger Woods (1-over) - Pretender. He has to lead after 54 and there's too much ground to make up.
Again....save this and feel free to point and laugh later!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

PGA Championship - One-and-done

Hours before tees are in the ground at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship, we will cement any remaining selections and get ready to sit back and enjoy the show.

For starters, the weather. It looks like there will be storms in Rochester, New York overnight, leading to soft conditions on Thursday. I would expect the potential for low scoring (relative, or course) on Thursday throughout the day. I'm not sure that I see a big advantage in terms of the early/late or late/early wave coming into the weekend.

In the Yahoo! game, it's probably not imperative to go with the early wavers on Thursday, but there is also no reason not to if it comes easy enough. I'm starting Haas, Stricker, K. Bradley and Stenson.

For my one-and-done, I was down to Henrik Stenson and Zach Johnson. I went with ZJ for my OAD. Accurate driver and above-average putter should play well and is form is second only to Stenson. I have ten turned around and nabbed Stenson in my two-and-done.

Best of luck this week!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PGA Championship - Fantasy

While I know there are plenty of specialty games out there surrounding the PGA Championship, we will stick to our regular format in this space. As always, feel free to email or comment below if you have anything out of the norm you want to run by me.

Diving right in.....

Yahoo!

Last week produced 204 points, moving us to 4,924 points for the season and a 2,666 ranking (97th percentile). For the Summer, we have 1026 points and rank 815th.

Before I list my lineup, I want to point out one thing. I have only one Tiger Woods start remaining and I'm holding onto it for an event with a smaller field. If you are a TW history buff, you will recognize that he is at his most dangerous in reduced-field events. It's tempting to have him on the bench, but twice this year he's occupied my bench only to be thrust into action out of necessity due to a missed cut by the other player.

With that out of the way, here we go

  • A-List - Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker
  • B-List - Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar
  • C-List - Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott

Golf Channel:

As always, check out my picks along with the rest of the Rotoworld staff in Mike's weekly article http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/43830/297/no-ducking-donald?pg=3.

PGA TOUR game:

Season Standings
  1. O'Sullivan's Tribe - 10208
  2. Pure Spin - 9957
  3. Woltz - 8676
  4. Case of Biershenks - 8395
  5. Rubio2016 - 7974

WGC-Bridgestone Standings
  1. Swinging for Sixties - 932
  2. Pure Spin - 909
  3. Indiana Intimidation - 903
  4. Case of Biershenks - 897
  5. Off the Tjaarts - 749
Best of luck this week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

PGA Championship - Power Rankings

With the fourth major upon us, it's time to put pen to paper for the PGA Championship Power Rankings. As was alluded to in the preview yesterday, current form, major success and wins on the resume all play well in recent PGAs.

It's with that in mind that we submit the Dandy Dozen for Oak Hill Country Club, as well as the next five.

  1. Tiger Woods - You can't ignore what he did at Firestone CC (South) last week, but I want to point out one thing. He only played his final 36 holes in 1-under-par. He didn't even need to play that well, but he's struggled on the weekends in majors the last few years and he didn't answer that question last week. 
  2. Henrik Stenson- You may remember that I went back and forth with my one-and-done selection last week between Stenson and Angel Cabrera, and picked wrong. It's fitting that Stenson is second in my rankings since he's finished second three times this year including at The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone in his last two starts. Position off the tee is supposed to be a big factor, and the Swede is controlling his golf ball as well as anyone.
  3. Zach Johnson - ZJ just kept working his way up my board every time I erased it and started over. His form is phenomenal, with a P2, T6, T4 in his last three starts. He's also deadly accurate off the tee and could benefit from only two par 5s on the docket.
  4. Brandt Snedeker - Frankly, I really don't care that he tied for 33rd at Firestone last week. He's never played all that well, so the story would have been if he would have played well, not that he didn't. Sneds gets hot in streaks and a T11 at The Open followed by a win at the RBC Canadian is good enough for me. I'm a little concerned about his ability to find fairways (and the proper spots in those fairways at that), but if he gets hot on the greens it may not matter.
  5. Keegan Bradley - We know two things about Keegan Bradley when it comes to the PGA Championship. First, he has a win and a T3 in his two starts in Glory's Last Shot. Second, he ushered those in with a T15 and a win at the WGC-Bridgestone. While the PGA course rotates, his T2 at Firestone last week warrants him being at least this high.
  6. Matt Kuchar - He's got two wins this season and tied for second at the RBC Canadian Open two weeks ago. He owns top 15s at the Masters and The Open. It would cap off an already unbelievable season if he were to win this week. Driving accuracy may be his key stat to watch.
  7. Bill Haas - If you dig deep, you'll see that Haas has played some of the oldest and most storied venues on the PGA TOUR really well the last two years. He has wins at Riviera CC and Congressional in that span. Oak Hill fits that mold and his form has been solid all season. I wish his major record was a little better (T20 at the Masters and two missed cuts at the Opens), but he's coming off a solid week at Firestone.
  8. Adam Scott - I kind of feel like my 6-12 are almost completely interchangeable. There's little doubt that Scottie has the game to contend anywhere tee-to-green, so it may come down to his putter. Not much else to say really. 
  9. Phil Mickelson - While I might be in the minority, I'm not sure he's come down off the high of winning the Claret Jug quite yet. I wouldn't be surprised if he won this week, and I wouldn't be surprised if the next time he contends is during the West Coast Swing in 2014. 
  10. Justin Rose - If total driving matters, and it really may, he could be the guy to beat. A missed cut at The Open Championship and a T17 at Firestone tell me he hasn't quite shook the Merion hangover. That's the biggest reason he's this far down the list.
  11. Hunter Mahan - I don't mean to be a downer, but if there was no baby and he went on to win (or even top five) the RBC Canadian Open, I'd bet he's at least top five if not top three this week. We don't know if he's played a round of golf since we saw him under the umbrella on the range in Canada. His first round will tell a big story. If he opens in the top 20, then he may be very dangerous. If it takes some time for him to get on his feet, then his week could be over early.
  12. Lee Westwood - His majors this year have gone T8-T15-T3. That's all I need to see.
Next 5: (alphabetical) Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Steve Stricker

Feeling Risky?

  • Harris English - He's recorded top 15s in his last three starts including a T15 at The Open Championship. We've seen our share of young winners in this event the last few years and it would only be a mild surprise if he joined that list. 
  • Tim Clark - He finished third here in 2003 (same venue as this year), and you have to think his accurate driver could be the reason. Wouldn't it be ironic if the guy who fought the anchored putting ban as hard as he did won the major put on by the organization that was also against the ban?
We'll be back tomorrow with a look at the various gaming formats.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

PGA Championship - Preview

The PGA Championship is here and, as the cliche goes, this is Glory's Last Shot. In many ways, this his been a strong season of majors. Adam Scott and Justin Rose each entered the year among the best to have never won a major, then shed the title. Phil Mickelson got the third leg of the grand slam off his back and hoisted the Claret Jug.

While the PGA Championship has produced its fair share of flukes over the years, nothing about the way 2013 has played out suggests that will be the case this week.Our system of narrowing the field by traditional and objective looks at past history has served to eliminate a bunch of guys that didn't win, while still leaving in play the champions this year, and we'll do it again this week.

I looked back at every PGA Champion since 2000 (Tiger Woods), and several things stood out.

  • Eleven of the 13 winners of the Wanamaker Trophy won on the PGA TOUR prior to the PGA that year. The two exceptions were Martin Kaymer, who played mainly in Europe that season, and Shaun Micheel. Micheel stands as the biggest fluke of the group of 13 winners, nudging out Rich Beem. What I found very interesting was that Micheel and Kaymer each had their best finish of the year prior to that tournament at Doral.
  • Five of the 13 had three or more wins on TOUR before their win. That suggests good things for multiple winners like Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker. Maybe G-Mac too?
  • Eleven of the 13 had a top 10 in one of their three starts prior to the PGA. The exceptions were Keegan Bradley (two top 25s) and David Toms. 
  • Seven of the 13 had a top 10 in a major earlier that year. Included in that was Martin Kaymer with two, who was one of the two without a win. Perhaps this is a good barometer for guys who aren't PGA TOUR members.
  • Rich Beem won in his final start just before his win. What's ironic is that it was in an event using the Modified Stableford scoring system. The lesson is to not write off the winner in Reno this week.
I will point out that the last winner at Oak Hill was Shaun Micheel, which is a little bit scary given his fluke status.

Ultimately, a player has to be clicking on at least two of three main categories. If he hasn't won, his form better be excellent and his play in majors very good, and so on. 

As for Oak Hill, it will play as a par 70, featuring just two par 5s and tapping out at 7,163 yards. The first of the two par 5s is a birdie hole, but the second is touted as having never been reached in two. I would also expect par 3 play to be critical.

One final thought, it's commonly thought that the PGA Championship sets up to offer a very fair test of golf. It is also fairly common to see a fairly low winning score, especially relative to the other majors. Because of this, form seems to come into play more than luck. When in doubt, go with form.

We'll be back tomorrow with a power ranking. Until then, best of luck and happy research!