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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dustin Johnson – Now happily engaged, DJ heads to the site of a T15 in ’09 with two top 10s in his last three starts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keegan Bradley – First timer to Liberty National is in solid form and has a strong overall game.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
As always, check out Mike’s weekly article for all the Rotoworld staffer’s picks at rotoworld.com
- O’Sullivan’s Tribe – 10,794
- Pure Spin – 10498
- Case of Biershenks – 9334
- Woltz – 9085
- Swinging for Sixties – 8589
- Started a Week Late – 707 (yes, the fantasy guru (AKA Rob Bolton) picked Patrick Reed)
- PelicansRule – 412
- Subliminal Magic – 402
- Pure Spin – 251
- Woltz – 246
Thanks for your patience this week. Hopefully it proves worth the wait! Best of luck to all!