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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf Announcement - Options

Hello! It's been a while!

I hope you and your loved ones are settling in for a great holiday season.

Monday night, I had a loyal Twitter follower drop a bit of a bombshell on me. Commish Joe pointed my attention to the reality that the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game would not take place in 2016. Let me be clear that I have zero inside information on the inner working of the Yahoo! operation.

That said, I can only speculate that the fantasy golf traffic relative to the other major sports just didn't have the appeal to them to keep going. I don't know for sure how many people played the game in 2015, but I did notice I had to ascend to a higher number in the rankings to crack the 99th percentile this year than I did the year before, signifying a dwindling of play. My best guess is that there were around 80k-85k players last year, and I have no way of guessing how many of those kept with it for an entire season. I would further guess that the emergence of DFS, especially DraftKings, appealed more to serious gamers that enjoy a little wager than the free Yahoo! game.

Another thing to note is that, while many of you / us greatly enjoyed the Yahoo! game, there are plenty of players that hated the format. I tended to like it, in part because I felt like I figured out how to excel in it. It's like any game in that, once you get the strategy, it becomes much easier to produce relates.

So what now?

I have been peppered with questions on Twitter and email in regards to what I recommend for displaced Yahoo! gamers. The short answer is, "it depends." Why did you like Yahoo?


Before I get into recommending games, I've decided that I will only recommend games that I have personally played or games that I have a personal / professional relationship with those that run the games. I've heard of at least three different sites / games over the last 24 hours that I was previously unaware of, but I'm not promoting something of which I am unfamiliar.

Time in.

Most people liked Yahoo! because it would host a game for free where a bunch of buddies could play without the leadership of a commissioner and without any fees. Some did it for money, others prizes, other bragging rights.

If the format of the game doesn't matter to you, and you want something that's free and will allow customized leagues, I'd recommend looking at the GolfChannel.com game when it goes live in January. It's easier to play in that you set a lineup on Wednesday night (or before) and watch the results play out over the next four days without lineup changes. I would also recommend checking out the new PGATOUR.com Avis game (I think that's what it's called). While I haven't played it, Rob Bolton is a friend and a PGATOUR.com guy, and I'm sure it's fairly run.

It goes without saying that DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) is an option in most states as of today. For this that like weekly games and want to wager a buck or two in a game of skill (or chance), DraftKings is a known commodity. There is also a lot of smoke around FanDuel coming out with a game very shortly.

Something I would highly recommend for established groups that used to play Yahoo! is the idea of a private game with a commissioner. It takes a big commitment from someone in the group, but you are no longer beholden to a site. If you are interested in doing one of these and want to beat up potential options, shoot me an email and I'm happy to share some formats I've seen in private games I play. Some are about as complex as 300 level calculus and others are easy as 4th grade math. (thegolfaficionado@gmail.com).

The final thing I would recommend is some sites that I have come to be quite familiar with that offer season long games that you can still enter.

PGFantasygolf.com offers a salary cap game that begins with the Tournament of Champions and runs through the TOUR Championship. I've played it two out of the last three years and will be in it this year as well.

FantasyGolfTeam.com is another well run site that offers season long games, as well as some weekly games for bigger tournaments. The guys behind this site had a run at DFS with a site called Buzzdraft a few years ago and run a really nice game. They offer a variety of games, so check out there site and see what you like.

Golfmanna.com is an excellent site that is run by a guy that I happen to play with in several leagues. He offers several different games, and I highly recommend checking out his site.

As I mentioned before, I've had excellent personal experience with the sites above, and the people that have run them. I'm quite sure there are others out there.

I hope this helps you fill some of the void left with the Yahoo! departure.

It's not long until Kapalua. Oh, and rumor has it that I'll have a Rotoworld feature coming out in about a week with my updated top 125.

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

RSM Classic - One-and-Done

The final tournament of the 2015 portion of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season is finally here, and here is the one-and-done selection for the RSM Classic.

As bad as the picks have been for the first few tournaments of the new season, I'm ready to get this one turned in and hope the layoff provides me with some clarity in time for Kapalua!

With that, I'll take a shot with Kevin Kisner. 2015 has been an excellent year for the Kisner, and picking up his first victory after plenty of runner-ups would be the icing on the cake. He tied for fourth here last year and was runner-up (WGC-HSBC) in his last start. What's not to like? Well, other than that I've now cursed him.

Best of luck to all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

OHL Classic at Mayakoba - One-and-Done

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is just around the bend, and it's time to tab our one-and-done selection for the week. I'm snake bit right now, so follow me into the depths at your peril. 

In keeping with the trend of first-time winners on the PGA TOUR in 2015-16, it would be easy to look at Patrick Rodgers or Patton Kizzire. And with good reason. While I'm pegging a first-timer, it won't be one of the young guns. 

Instead, I'm playing the course history game and throwing a dart at Chris Stroud. He had three consecutive top fives before falling to a T23 in this event last year. Perhaps he's now on a downward trend, but this course clearly fits his game. 

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WGC-HSBC Champions and Sanderson Farms - One-and-Done

The WGC-HSBC Champions and Sanderson Farms Championship is set to kick off this week. Here are the one-and-done selections.

The WGC-HSBC Champions pick was actually quite easy this week. I wanted a combination of class and length, but I was struggling with the idea of burning Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson this early in the season when their current form is a bit of a question mark. Thanks to Adam Scott popping off a runner-up finish in the CIMB Classic and looking at least average with a putter, the Aussie made my pick for me.

Let's go Aussie!

In the Sanderson Farms Championship, there is another obvious selection. Jason Bohn. Current form is as good as it can be (T3 and T2 in two starts), he's playing in the Southeast (University of Alabama product) and he tied for second here last year. You can't get any chalkier than that.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CIMB Classic - One-and-Done

The PGA TOUR is in Malaysia for the CIMB Classic, and here is this week's one-and-done selection.

I did an excellent job of narrowing my focus down to Jason Bohn and Kevin Na last week, before ultimately going off the board and missing the cut with Will Wilcox. Should have stuck to my process and wrote down Bohn or Na, but so be it.

I'm not making the same mistake twice. I pretty much decided last year when Ryan Moore won his second CIMB Classic in a row that he would likely be my selection this year. Moore is known for being a bit of a course horse, and Kuala Lumpur seems to be one of those courses.

I'm very tempted to plug in Na, who is on a runner-up roll, but last week's lesson convinced me to stick with Moore. As an added kicker, Moore has already logged a top 10 in the new season.

Let's go, Ryan!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open - One-and-Done

It's the second week of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season, and I'm already frustrated with the one-and-done game. It's going to be a long season.

While Brooks Koepka looked like a layup for at least a top-20 finish, and a likely candidate for a top 10 or better, he barely made any money. So it goes.

I'm a bit like a poker player on tilt right now when it comes to this game, so following my lead may not be the best move. I've gone with a great deal of chalky picks (course history, current form and stats all match) over the last 12 months with much less success than what I deem to be acceptable, so I'm about to go off script for a bit.

Don't try this at home.

The chalky/smart picks this week are to go with either Jason Bohn or Kevin Na. Both played great last week and both have solid course history this week. If I followed my traditional line of thought, those two would be a coin flip for my pick

Instead, I'm running as far away from those two as possible and throwing caution to the wind.

I narrowed my choices to Emiliano Grillo and Will Wilcox. Grillo's won two in a row. He can't possibly make it three, can he? Wilcox is playing well everywhere and is (statistically) a better putter. Plus, Wilcox came through for me last season when I burned him in Alabama opposite the Open Championship.

Wilcox it is!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Frys.com Open - One-and-Done

Before we dive into the one-and-done selection for the Frys.com Open, I want to address one administrative item regarding the fall portion of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season. For those that don't know, I've taken on the responsibility of being the columnist for the previews at Rotoworld for the fall portion of the season.

My Frys.com Open preview can be found here.

With that, I anticipate that this space will be used almost exclusively for my OAD selection until the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to kick off 2016.

Back to the matter at hand.

The long game when making a OAD selection for the Frys.com Open is probably to walk out of this tournament with a top 25, and hopefully a top 10. I am very hesitant to burn a high profile player this week, but there is one I just can't ignore.

Brooks Koepka enters this week off a runner-up finish (T2) in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and tied for eighth in this event last season. Form meets history.

I may regret burning him this early in the season when the PGA TOUR is in the heart of the season next summer, but so be it.

Let's go Brooks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TOUR Championship - One-and-Done

The final event of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season awaits at East Lake GC. Of course, it is the TOUR Championship. We are going to do things a little bit differently this week.

Rather than throwing up the usual power ranking and sorting out who sits second behind Jason Day, it's time to discuss strategies. Coincidentally, the top five in the current FedExCup standings would all be inside the top 10 of any decent power ranking. Sprinkle in Rory and a few others, and there you go.

About strategy. For all full-season gamers, one of three things is the case for you.

  1. You are either leading or are in a position you would like to maintain. 
  2. You are trailing, but within striking distance if your opponent slips up and you play well.
  3. You are toast.
Playing numerous games, I find myself in each of these three scenarios.

If you are in category 3, none of this matters. Throw in anybody you want. 

If you are in category 1, you need to play it safe. If you've got Jason Day available, he's a must. For games like Yahoo!, load the wagons with Day, Spieth, McIlroy, Stenson, etc, etc, and force your opponent make a mistake. If it's a game like the Golf Channel game, take Jason Day in Group 1 and stay chalky the rest of the way.

If you are in category 2, this is a tough week. You've played well enough to put yourself in the mix, but you now must "zig" where you usually "zag." You have to play the game backwards. You don't take Jason Day, rather you hope McIlroy or Stenson dominate. You take a flier on Daniel Berger staying hot, or a relaxed Bill Haas to take home his second TOUR Championship after nabbing the captain's pick. This is going to feel very uncomfortable, but you have no choice. I can't stress the following enough. YOU HAVE TO DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU THINK THE LEADER WILL DO. A push is no good. Roll the dice.

Oh...and I'm taking Rory McIlroy as my one-and-done. Unfortunately, I'm in category 3 in this one. Toast.

It's been a fun 2014-15 season. Keep an eye on for me on Rotoworld for several upcoming articles over the next few weeks.

Best of luck to all!

Monday, September 14, 2015

BMW Championship - Power Ranking and One-and-done

The BMW Championship is inching closer by the minute and here is this week's power ranking and one-and-done to complete our research.

As mentioned in yesterday's preview, the hard look falls on current form and course history this week. One thing that began to stick out during the research process was how irrelevant bombing it off the tee proved to be in 2013 at Conway Farms. It wasn't just that Zach Johnson won. Rather it was that many of the notorious bombers didn't make a lot of noise.

With that in mind, here we go:

  1. Jason Day - His T12 at TPC Boston stopped his winning streak at two, and he returns to the site of a T4 in 2013. His week off came at a good time, as he began to look like he was running on fumes late in the Deutsche Bank.
  2. Jim Furyk - Love his trend (T30-T11-T4 last three) and it matches very well with his third-place finish at this venue in 2013. 
  3. Henrik Stenson - Back-to-back runner-up finishes is extremely impressive and overshadows a T33 here in 2013.
  4. Zach Johnson - Winner in 2013 has enjoyed a great last two months. Nothing should be a surprise this week with ZJ.
  5. Jordan Spieth - Class is permanent. Forget the back-to-back missed cuts. Tied for 16th here in 2013.
  6. Rickie Fowler - Winner at TPC Boston last Monday renders his T39 in 2013 at Conway Farms rather unimportant.
  7. Rory McIlroy - Not embarrassing himself, but not making a bunch of noise since coming back from the ankle injury either. If the putter clicks, the rest could quickly fall into place.
  8. Matt Jones - Another case of form meeting history. Tied for fourth last week and shared eighth in this event back in 2013.
  9. Daniel Summerhays - Two things jump off the page. First is that he's posted back-to-back top 10s. Second is that he is not a bomber, but in great form. As a bonus, he tied for 28th here in 2013.
  10. Kevin Kisner - Might have felt slightly snubbed by not getting a Presidents Cup nod. Enters on a string of back-to-back top 20s.
  11. Russell Knox - A carbon copy of Kisner, with a MC-T20-T12 run entering this week. The only difference is the lack of a snub. Summerhays, Kisner and Knox are all guys that are expected to break through with a PGA TOUR win sooner rather than later.
  12. Matt Kuchar - Two top 10s in his last three starts and a top 25 at Conway Farms in 2013.
  13. Bubba Watson - We'll make it a baker's dozen with the bomber.

I'm taking Daniel Summerhays. There are other options available that might be a bit safer (Matt Jones and Robert Streb jump to mind), but I have one of those dangerous feelings. And by dangerous, I mean a danger to myself. I sort of see him as this year's Morgan Hoffmann. 

Check out Rotoworld's Playing the Tips tomorrow for my Yahoo! and Golf Channel Picks.

Best of luck to all this week!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

BMW Championship - Preview

After a week off, the BMW Championship returns to Conway Farms Golf Club for the third leg of the FedExCup Playoffs. Here is a preview to get you off and running with your research.

The last trip to Conway Farms came in 2013, when Zach Johnson topped Nick Watney for the time. Since there is just one trip to this venue in this event, it should make the course history deep dive not quite so deep.

Conway Farms is a par-71 layout, stretching out to a moderate 7,198 yards and featured three par 5s, four par 3s and 11 par 4s. Each of the par 5s are 575 yards or longer, so length off the tee could be a determining factor for par 5 scoring this week. Of course, with ZJ as the defending champ it's certainly possible that great wedge play will negate any length issues.

As much as I like to rely on stats for a proportional amount of my research, we are reaching the point of the season where current form really starts to separate the field above all others. Perhaps it's because there are only 70 players in the field, so the cream is more likely to rise to the top. Adding to the complexity, we only have four rounds of which to glean valuable statistical information from this course. Knowing that, stats are much less relevant this week.

I will take a very hard look at current form and give the 2013 results a study before releasing my power rankings later this week. Until then, happy research!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Presidents Cup - Reaction to the picks

It's an impossible task. Nick Price and Jay Haas had to select two players out of a pool of highly qualified candidates to round out their respective Presidents Cup teams. No matter the selections, fans and media alike would scrutinize and criticize.

Let's join that parade and take a hard look at the decisions, both on the surface and a little below the crust.

Starting with Price, the man who announced first, I think he nailed it.

Steven Bowditch was so close to earning his spot that it would have been heartbreaking to see him miss out on his first Presidents Cup by such a narrow margin. He was a winner on the PGA TOUR in 2015 and is playing his best golf ever. He's also battled the demons of depression and been a success story for others that do. I'm not sure how that pick could be argued.

Sang-moon Bae, 20th on the points list, was also the right call. This reminds me of Mike Weir when he represented the Internationals when Canada hosted the event. And how did that turn out? Didn't Weir beat Tiger in Singles? Bae's pending military service in a couple of months adds to the story line.

The task Jay Haas faced was a bit taller and more complex.

Before we get into the picks of Bill Haas and Phil Mickelson, let's take a deeper look at Jay Haas.

Several things stand out about Jay.

  • He was and is extremely popular among his peers. Finding a player that has a bad thing to say about Jay is pretty much impossible. It's always been that way. He even had a groundswell of support for being a Ryder Cup captain despite never winning a major. 
  • This is his shot as a captain. Probably his only shot. While this isn't necessarily his legacy, it's part of it. Some of Davis Love III's legacy might be the 2016 Ryder cup, but that's not Jay's problem. That said, picking a young guy would probably benefit DL3 than Haas. 
Now for the picks.

When Haas said the words "Phil Mickelson", I was shocked. I thought Brooks Koepka and Bill Haas should have been the picks. Mickelson was 30th on the points list and hasn't done anything this year. But Jay's decision started to make sense as he explained it. 

It became clear that Haas not only talked to his vice captains, but also most (if not all) the members of the team for input. If the overwhelming answer was "we want Phil", as it seems to have been, then this decision starts to make some sense. If the 10 players already on the team wanted to go to battle with Phil by their side, then what message would the captain have sent to the troops to go against the team's wishes?

Now for Bill.

Ask yourself this. If Fred Couples was the captain this year and Jay Haas wasn't in the mix, would anyone really argue with Couples taking Bill Haas as the 11th man on the points list and with a win this season? A veteran of two Presidents Cups with performances a little better than his record would indicate? Of course not.

Many captains, including Jack Nicklaus on multiple occasions, have made it the standard to take the first man out in the Presidents Cup. It's actually an exception when it doesn't happen for the Yanks. 

That should be enough to close the case. If Bill sat 14th on the list and was selected, then there would be more to this. As it played out, this was not a controversial pick. 

I think Bill made a great point in the 24 hours leading up to the picks. I'm summarizing, but he said it wouldn't be fair to him to be overlooked by his father specifically because his father is the captain. 

I actually found myself in a similar situation once. 

I grew up loving baseball. I would play all day every day if I could. When I got to high school, my father happened to be my high school principal. It also just so happened that the head varsity and J.V. baseball coaches used to coach football with my father before he went into administration. They both had known me since birth. 

Wonder how long vice captains DL3 and Freddie Couples have known Billy Haas?

Back to the story.

One day at lunch, just before tryouts started, the head J.V. coach came and got me and took me outside and we sat down on some stairs. He informed me that my dad just had a meeting with both of the coaches and told them that, if it was close, they were to cut me to avoid the look of impropriety. 

I was immediately crushed, because I knew I would be on the bubble in a best-case scenario. I felt I could hold my own, but at a big school it would be hard for me to stand out. 

To my relief, the coach then told me that the two of them had talked after the meeting with my father and basically said "screw him." 

I was very proud to wear the uniform I'd dreamed of wearing a few weeks later. 

Just like Bill Haas has played golf for years with the guys on this years Presidents Cup roster and has played with many of those that were just left off, I had played with most of the guys I was trying out against and that ended up being my teammates for years as well. I've heard nothing but support for the Bill pick from players that didn't make the team, and I never caught any grief from anyone at my high school either. 

Do some members of the media or some fans not like that the father picked his son? Probably, but who cares. Last time I checked, none of them are hitting any shots in Korea, and those that are are on board with it. Did a parent somewhere feel like I shouldn't have worn a high school baseball uniform and that their son should have? Probably, but I never sensed it from any of the other kids that weren't on the team or those that were. I don't think it cost us any games. 

While my father and I are now fine, I'd be willing to bet that the Haas family vacation is going a little smoother than the remainder of my freshman year of high school went back home. 

Haters will hate and debaters will debate. From my seat, I agree completely with what Nick Price did and can't take issue with the calls of Jay Haas. 

See you next week with a BMW Championship preview!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Deutsche Bank Championship - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

The Deutsche Bank Championship is primed for a Friday start, and here is a power ranking and one-and-done selection to complete our research. Feel free to jump back to the Preview for additional information on the DBC and TPC Boston.

Off we go!

  1. Jason Day - Anytime you win three of your last four starts, you get the top spot.
  2. Jordan Spieth - Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I think the same principal could apply this week. The last time he missed a cut, he tied for second in his next start (Colonial CC). Has a T4 on his TPC Boston resume in 2013.
  3. Bubba Watson - Two top-three finishes in his last three starts is a nice trend, and he's made seven of his nine cuts at TPC Boston. Banking on his form being a bigger deal than his course history, which does not include a top 10. 
  4. Rory McIlroy - Already a winner at this venue, he's back for the first time since his 17th at the PGA Championship. It's time for him to heat up.
  5. Henrik Stenson - Looked the part in last week's runner-up finish and is a past winner of this event.
  6. Justin Rose - Has two top fives in his last three starts and two top fives at TPC Boston. Good enough for me, given his class.
  7. Dustin Johnson - On a course that favors longer players, he has made all five of his cuts with a pair of T4s. 
  8. Matt Kuchar - Is 9/11 with five top 25s, which is both not surprising and a reason to give him a hard look.
  9. Jim Furyk - Always a trusted hand for a top-10 finish, he's 10/10 with six top 25s and three top 10s at the DBC.
  10. Brooks Koepka - Earns the final spot inside the top 10 due to his recent form. I'm ignoring his week at The Barclays because that course isn't a good fit for him on paper. This one is.
  11. Robert Streb
  12. Louis Oosthuizen
  13. Bill Haas
  14. Webb Simpson
  15. Paul Casey
  16. Brendan Steele
  17. Brandt Snedeker
  18. Billy Horschel
  19. Russell Henley
  20. Phil Mickelson 
  21. Zach Johnson
  22. Jason Bohn
  23. Tony Finau
  24. Justin Thomas 
  25. Ryan Palmer

With the pickings slim, I'm rolling with the course history angle and taking Russell Henley.

Best of luck to all this week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Deutsche Bank Championship - Preview

The second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs is upon us, and TPC Boston is the stage for the Deutsche Bank Championship. Here is a preview to get you off and running with your research.

The top 100 players in the FedExCup standings have punched their ticket. That includes Chris Kirk, who returns to defend his 2014 title.

TPC Boston is a par-71 layout, topping out at 7,242 yards. The four par 3s, three par 5s, and 11 par 4s meet the expectations of the established par value, so no funky surprises lurk on the card. The fairways and greens are Bentgrass, so Bermuda and Poa Annua experts have no advantage.

Here is a list of winners and runners-up since 2005:

  • 2005 - Winner - Olin Browne (14-under 270) over Jason Bohn (271)
  • 2006 - Winner - Tiger Woods (268) over Vijay Singh (270)
  • 2007 - Winner - Phil Mickelson (268) over Arron Oberholser, Brett Wetterich and Tiger Woods (270)
  • 2008 - Winner - Vijay Singh (262) over Mike Weir (267)
  • 2009 - Winner - Steve Stricker (267) over Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank (268)
  • 2010 - Winner - Charley Hoffman (262) over Jason Day, Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy (267)
  • 2011 - Winner - Webb Simpson (269) over Chez Reavie in a playoff
  • 2012 - Winner - Rory McIlroy (264) over Louis Oosthuizen (265) 
  • 2013 - Winner - Henrik Stenson (262) over Steve Stricker (264)
  • 2014 - Winner - Chris Kirk (269) over Russell Henley, Billy Horschel and Geoff Ogilvy (271)

For those preparing a statistical deep dive, it’s wise to factor in par 4 scoring average since there are 11. While exceptions can be found, history says players who are long off the tee have held an advantage versus those who are not. Ball-striking appears to take precedent over the flat stick, so consider strokes gained: tee-to-green over putting.

We will return later in the week with a power ranking and a one-and-done selection. Until then, happy research!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Barclays - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

The Playoffs are set to begin with The Barclays, and here is this week's power ranking and one-and-done to complete our research.

Let's get it started

  1. Jordan Spieth - No course history, but his form has rendered even bad history irrelevant. First outing holding the title of numero uno in the world, so we'll see if that has any impact.
  2. Jason Day - Fresh off his win at the PGA Championship, he returns to Plainfield CC where he tied for 13th in 2011. 
  3. Justin Rose - Cracked the top four in his last three TOUR starts and tied for sixth at this venue in the lone hosting back in 2011.
  4. Matt Kuchar - The runner-up in 2011 has two top 10s in his last three starts. Form meets history.
  5. Dustin Johnson - Brought Plainfield to its knees in 2011, winning at 19-under through a mere 54 holes. Form has been a minor question mark since his U.S. Open collapse. Starting fast of late, but fading on the weekend.
  6. Brooks Koepka - Went T6-T5-T6 in his last three starts. Any questions?
  7. Brandt Snedeker - Gets a hard look in this spot due mainly to his T3 in 2011. Current form is average by his standards, if not a tad below.
  8. Paul Casey - Enters off a T3 at the Wyndham last week, and he makes his first appearance at Plainfield CC.
  9. Bubba Watson - Missed the cut here in 2011, but we all know poor weather isn't exactly Bubba's calling card. 
  10. Webb Simpson - Always known as a course horse, he tied for 10th here in 2011 and enters off a T6 at the Wyndham.
  11. Bill Haas 
  12. Russell Henley
  13. Charl Schwartzel
  14. Rickie Fowler
  15. Scott Piercy
  16. Robert Streb
  17. Jim Furyk
  18. Zach Johnson
  19. Hideki Matsuyama 
  20. Patrick Reed

I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit in the OAD at this point in the season, as I'm not a big believer of saving guys. My selection came down to Russell Henley and Charl Schwartzel. While I have Henley slightly higher, Schwartzel is trending well with a T31, T37 and T3 in his last three starts and must make a move if he wants to keep advancing. 

That's good enough for me! Charl it is!

Best of luck to all!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Barclays - Preview

The Barclays kicks off the FedExCup Playoffs at Plainfield CC this week, and here is a preview to get you off and running.

This is the second time that Plainfield has hosted this event, with the first coming in 2011. Weather forced a 54-hole finish, which was won by Dustin Johnson at 19-under 194.

Plainfield played as a 6,964 par 71 in 2011, but will be a 7,012 par 70 this time around. The difference is that the fifth hole has been moved to a par 4. That means it now has two par 5s, four par 3s and 12 par 4s. What we did learn is that birdies are needed to contend. Every player who finished inside the top 30 in 2011 navigated the course in even par or better in each of their three rounds.

Here is a list of the top 10 from 2011:

  • Winner - Dustin Johnson (19-under)
  • 2nd - Matt Kuchar (17-under)
  • T3 - Vijay Singh and Brandt Snedeker (16-under)
  • 5 - Jonathan Byrd (15-under)
  • T6 - Brian Davis, Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas and Y.E. Yang (14-under)
  • T10 - Charley Hoffman, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney (13-under)
For the veteran gamer, you already realize that this is a fairly diverse group of players. It's obvious what DJ brings to the table, but his game is noting like guys such as Snedeker, Byrd, Davis, Yaang and Simpson. 

As I look ahead, I will take a close look at par-4 scoring average and Par Breakers for sure. I will also lean heavily on current form, while also examining the limited course history.

We will return later in the week with a power ranking and one-and-done selection. Until then, happy research.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wyndham Championship - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

The Wyndham Championship is the final stop of the regular season, and here is the power ranking and one-and-done to complete our work for the week. While the PGA Championship is sometimes referred to as Glory's Last Shot, that truly is the case for a number of the lesser known PGA TOUR players.

Here we go:

  1. Brooks Koepka - Jumps off the page due to his recent form and posted a respectable T38 here last year in his first look at Sedgefield CC. 
  2. Brandt Snedeker - At this venue, he sports a pair of top-five finishes (including last year) and has made six of seven cuts. Clearly one of the classier players in the field, he's a solid play in any format.
  3. Webb Simpson - A known course horse, this is one that fits his eye in his home state. Has a win as one of his three top 11s and has made five of six cuts.
  4. Bill Haas - Close followers of Haas know several things. First, he has never performed well in majors. That places a big asterisk on his recent form. His course history, however, is very good here. It features three top 10s including a T2 last year. Make no mistake, he's very dangerous this week. Which brings us to the second thing to know. His course history often overrides his current form.
  5. Justin Thomas - Patrick Reed broke through here, and it would be no surprise to see Thomas follow in his footsteps. Playing great lately, with a T5-T4-T18 run entering the week.
  6. Hideki Matsuyama - A nod to his class, he is 1/2 with a top 15 in 2013. Recent form is good, but not great.
  7. Will Wilcox - Lacks the class of those above him and immediately below him, but is as hot as anyone. A T24 LY is good enough to elevate him into the top 10, given his form.
  8. Branden Grace - Did you watch the last few majors?
  9. Martin Kaymer - Tied for 20th here in 2013 and has recently been making some noise with some top-15 finishes.
  10. Paul Casey - He's 4/5 with a T18 here last year and has been a steady hand of late. In a field lacking tons of depth, he's a savvy play.
  11. Billy Horschel
  12. Adam Scott
  13. Patrick Rodgers
  14. Charl Schwartzel
  15. Ryan Moore
  16. Tiger Woods
  17. Harris English
  18. Cameron Smith
  19. Ollie Schniederjans
  20. Scott Piercy (WD)
  21. Luke Donald
  22. Camilo Villegas
  23. David Toms
  24. Carl Pettersson
  25. Chad Campbell

It's turning into that point of the season where you burn 'em if you got 'em. Some people trailing begin taking some calculated risks, but I don't exactly buy into that. Many of the gamers ahead of you have already burned the players you are considering, so it's a bit of a musical chairs with picks. I do encourage those of you trying to maintain to burn "chalk" whenever possible and force others to reach.

Of my top 12, there are only two that I have still at my disposal. They are Martin Kaymer and Branden Grace. While I have Grace slightly higher in my power ranking, I'm rolling with Kaymer for two reasons. Kaymer has course history (T20 in '13), and Grace could have a bit of a major hangover.

Best of luck to all!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wyndham Championship - Preview

The final regular season event of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR schedule is the Wyndham Championship, and here is a preview to get you off and running.

The Wyndham Championship will be contested at Sedgefield Country Club, as it has without interruption since 2008. Sedgefield is a par-70 layout that stretches out to a manageable 7,127 yards. It features the expected two par 5s, four par 3s and 12 par 4s. It is worth noting that both par 5s are easily reachable by almost anyone who puts a tee ball in the fairway, so bombing it off the tee is not a necessity this week.

Here is a look at the winners and runners-up since 2008:

  • 2008: Winner - Carl Pettersson (21-under 259) over Scott McCarron (261)
  • 2009: Winner - Ryan Moore (264) over Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler in a playoff
  • 2010: Winner - Arjun Atwal (260) over over David Toms (261)
  • 2011: Winner - Webb Simpson (262) over George McNeill (265)
  • 2012: Winner - Sergio Garcia (262) over Tim Clark (264)
  • 2013: Winner - Patrick Reed (266) over Jordan Spieth in a playoff
  • 2014: Winner - Camilo Villegas (263) over Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson (264)

This list further confirms that length isn't all that important. We have a lot of really good players rising to the top of some overall weak fields. 

The timing of this tournament dictates that most of the top players sit this one out as a rest between the WGC/PGA double dip and the FedExCup Playoffs. 

This tournament is somewhat tricky in that stats are less important than a player's inner battle this week. A bunch of the players are playing for something big. Some are trying to at least make the top 150 for conditional status next year, some are playing to try and crack or stay inside the top 125. There are even a few trying to crack the top 200 to earn a seat in the Web.com Tour finals. 

The players that can typically be trusted the most this week are those that are already secured of being in the Playoffs, but are playing to improve their standing, or because this is a home game, or because a sponsor requires it. 

I'll take a look at par-4 scoring average, SG:TTG and likely par breakers before ultimately putting a lot of trust on course history, current form and even a little gut (gulp). 

We will return later this week with a power ranking and one-and-done selection. Until then, best of luck to all!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PGA Championship - Power Ranking and One-and-done

The PGA Championship is growing closer by the minute and here is this week's power ranking and one-and-done to complete our research for the week. I encourage you to flip back to Sunday's preview for more details on Whistling Straits and the PGA Championship.

Here we go!

  1. Bubba Watson - Perhaps he should be second on the list, as he has posted back-to-back runner-up finishes leading up to this event and a P2 at Whistling Straits in 2010. He has everything required for success at this venue, ranking first in driving distance and par-5 scoring average, second in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 21st in par 4 scoring average. 
  2. Jason Day - Could this be his week? Went T4, 1, T12 in his last three starts and tied for 10th in this event back in 2010. Ranks third in driving distance and second in par-4 scoring average.
  3. Jordan Spieth - Definitely a quick learner, but has missed both of his cuts in the PGA Championship. Ranks first in par-4 scoring average, second in SG:TTG and 20th in par-5 scoring average. 
  4. Dustin Johnson - This is almost 2010 all over again. Blew a U.S. Open in 2010 and this year and ended his major season at Whistling Straits. Would have been in a playoff here in 2010 if he could identify a bunker, so clearly the course fits. Form is off a touch, but that shouldn't matter this week.
  5. Justin Rose - Trendy right now, with a T6-T4-T3 run in his last three starts but has missed the cut both trips to Whistling Straits. 
  6. Brooks Koepka - Different venue, but a T15 in this event last year. Has posted T10-T18-T6 in his last three starts, with the T6 coming at the legit Firestone CC in the WGC-Bridgestone. Reminds me a bit of Keegan Bradley when he won this event, picking up his first win earlier in the year. 
  7. Rickie Fowler - A bit under the radar, but his runner-up-T10 in his last two events has him poised for a nice run.
  8. Zach Johnson - Winner at St. Andrews finished T3 here in 2010. In a bubble, that should place him higher this week, but his length could be a challenge.
  9. Henrik Stenson - Starting to feel like Lee Westwood of five years ago. Keep expecting him to be a major winner due to his game and course fits, but it hasn't happened yet. 
  10. Rory McIlroy - Likely that he will be a bit rusty, but his T3 in 2010 can't be overlooked. If he gets in a groove, he could shift the focus of the golf world away from Spieth.
  11. Jim Furyk
  12. Matt Kuchar
  13. Louis Oosthuizen
  14. Hideki Matsuyama
  15. Sergio Garcia
  16. Danny Willett
  17. Shane Lowry 
  18. Patrick Reed
  19. Paul Casey
  20. Robert Streb
  21. Phil Mickelson
  22. Marc Leishman
  23. Marc Warren
  24. Martin Kaymer
  25. Justin Thomas


Brooks Koepka is the starter, with Robert Streb as the backup. 

Best of luck to all!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

PGA Championship - Preview

Glory's Last Shot awaits a loaded field at Whistling Straits for this week's PGA Championship, and here is a preview to get things off and running.

It's a bit uncommon that we can enjoy course history in a PGA Championship that is as recent as 2010, so savvy gamers will appreciate that comfort. In addition, the 2004 PGA also took place in Kohler, Wisconsin at Whistling Straits.

Whistling Straights is a par-72 layout of 7,501 yards, featuring four par 5s, four par 3s and 10 par 4s. Three of those par 4s are over 500 yards. It would stand to reason that being long off the tee is a major advantage.

Here are the top 10 (and ties) from 2004 and 2010:

  • 2010 - Winner - Martin Kaymer, P2 - Bubba Watson, T3 - Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson, T5 - Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Steve Elkington, T8 - Wen-Chong Liang and Camilo Villegas, T10 - Matt Kuchar and Jason Day
  • 2004 - Winner - Vijay Singh, P2 - Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard, T4 - Ernie Els and Chris Riley, T6 - K.J. Choi, Paul McGinley and Phil Mickelson, T9 - Robert Allenby, Stephen Ames, Ben Crane and Adam Scott
This list is not exclusively comprised of bombers, but when you see names like Bubba, Rory, DJ, Day, Singh, Els, Mickelson and Adam Scott, it's essentially a who's who of elite bombers. Perhaps the most interesting name on that list was ZJ, with a T3 in 2010. Coming off a win at the bomber-friendly Old Course, ZJ can't be ignored. 

In addition to course history and current form, I intend to take a hard look at Driving Distance, Par 4 Scoring Average, Par 5 Scoring average and perhaps SG:TTG. 

We will return later in the week with a power ranking and a one-and-done selection. 

Until then, happy research.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is just around the corner, and here is this week's power ranking and one-and-done to get you off and running with your research. For additional questions on the past history of this event or Firestone CC, please refer to the Preview posted on Sunday.

Here we go:

  1. Jordan Spieth - This is one of those weeks where an argument could be made to fade Spieth, but I'm not going to go there. He finished 49th here last year, but he's had similar course history and posted big finished this season already.
  2. Justin Rose - Two top fives at Firestone in the last three trips and back-to-back top-six finishes leading into this start. Classic case of form meets history.
  3. Jim Furyk - Nothing sexy about his game, but he has eight top 10s and two runners-up at this event and enters off a T4 at the RBC Canadian Open. What's not to like?
  4. Rickie Fowler - Broke out of a slight slump with a runner-up last week in Tiger's tourney, and has a T2 and T8 on his resume at Firestone CC.
  5. Louis Oosthuizen - Two top 10s in four tries at the WGC-Bridgestone and his P2 in the Open Championship and T2 at the U.S. Open has him poised for a big week.
  6. Bubba Watson - Thee top 25s here but has yet to crack the top 15, which is a concern in some formats. His runner-up at Glen Abbey in his last outing has him firing on all cylinders.
  7. Jason Day - His T4 in 2011 is his only top 20 in five tries, but you'd have to look awfully hard to find many players hotter than he at the moment. 
  8. Adam Scott - Has the long wand working well enough to be dangerous, as evident by back-to-back top 10s. He's a past winner of this event and posted a T8 last year.
  9. Keegan Bradley - Form is lacking, but he's a course horse if there ever were one. Finishes are T15, 1, T2, T4 in his four attempts at Firestone.
  10. Hideki Matsuyama - Trending with a T21-T12 run in this event and is posting top-20 finishes this season like Jordan Spieth is throwing up top fives. 
  11. Dustin Johnson
  12. Zach Johnson
  13. Sergio Garcia
  14. Henrik Stenson
  15. Marc Leishman
  16. Paul Casey
  17. Patrick Reed
  18. Brooks Koepka
  19. Matt Kuchar
  20. Martin Kaymer
  21. Danny Willett
  22. Bill Haas
  23. Danny Lee
  24. David Lingmerth
  25. Ryan Palmer


In an event like this, going classy is the move to make. When I took a look at my available options, the guy that jumped off the page was Adam Scott. I gave Keegan Bradley a long look, but the Aussie is the play. 

As for the Barracuda Championship, I'm rolling with Vaughn Taylor. He's played great all summer, despite limited status, and he's a two-time winner at this event. 

Best of luck to all!