Fantasy Insider: Analysis for the Transitions Championship

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March 15, 2011
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

This is the penultimate week of the Winter Segment for Yahoo! gamers. The advice is simple: If you're gunning for any kind of spiff right now, don't leave bullets in the chamber. Meanwhile, looking ahead, I'll be writing a primer for the Spring Segment beginning with the Shell Houston Open in two weeks.

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Just to put a bow on last week's lede, I received just one email complaining about the absence of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the Power Rankings for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, where Woods backdoored a T10 and Mickelson finished T55. Since the Power Rankings for this week's Transitions Championship were published on Monday, I've already received multiple beefs that K.J. Choi and Justin Rose were omitted. Gotta love fantasy gamers! (Both Choi and Rose are covered below.)

Power Rankings Plus

11. Spencer Levin ... Four straight six-figure paydays entering this week. Ranks 24th in greens in regulation, third in adjusted scoring and 15th in bogey avoidance. En route to a T25 here last year, ranked eighth in GIR and carded just seven bogeys.

12. Stuart Appleby ... Four top 15s in seven starts this season, including his last three. Currently 32nd in birdies or better on par 4s and 40th in bogey avoidance. Also has a pair of top 10s at Copperhead (2008, 2009).

13. Justin Rose ... His T42 at Doral is his worst finish in six starts this year, but he was returning from an illness and opened with a 77; eventually finished 17th in greens hit. Currently 22nd on TOUR in GIR and seventh in bogey avoidance. He's 5-for-5 at Copperhead, with top 15s in both appearances since the event was moved to March in 2007.

14. K.J. Choi ... The tournament's all-time money leader has two wins and two other top 10s in nine starts, including last year's runner-up. His lone top 25 in stroke play this year is a T7 at Riviera and his splits across the board are poor, which is why he didn't crack the Power Rankings. Still, I'll acquiesce to his record at Copperhead.

15. Ryan Moore ... Fared better than expected in his first go at Doral, finishing T22. He's 23rd on TOUR in bogey avoidance, thanks primarily to ranking 22nd in scrambling. Wouldn't normally think about him here either, but he's posted two top 20s since 2007.

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    Group A ... Padraig Harrington (2); Nick Watney (3); Jonathan Byrd (4); Martin Laird (6); K.J. Choi (14)

    Group B ... Bubba Watson (1); Bill Haas (8); Vijay Singh (9); Spencer Levin (11); Stuart Appleby (12); Justin Rose (13);

    Group C ... Martin Kaymer (5); Charles Howell III (7); Stephen Ames (10); Ryan Moore (15)

    Dark Horse (Yahoo! Group)

    Retief Goosen (B) ... Crazy that the 2009 Transitions champ qualifies as a dark horse, but the way he's been knocking it around this year, consider it an endorsement. This is the site of his most recent of seven PGA TOUR victories, and he backed it up with a solo fifth last year (on the heels of a T56 at Doral). He finished T31 last week, and won't go much longer without contending again.

    Marc Leishman (A) ... Three top 25s in six starts this year, including a T17 at the Honda, where he ranked third in putting (T63, GIR). Sits in the middle of the pack on TOUR in greens hit (84th), but a lofty seventh in adjusted scoring average and 10th in bogey avoidance.

    Ricky Barnes (A) ... Still can't get over his solo fourth at the Honda, where he missed the cut in his only previous appearance at PGA National (2009). He placed T68 here last year, and cannot be discounted again. While he'd rank 25th on TOUR in greens hit and sixth in adjusted scoring average, he's logged only 10 rounds, not enough to qualify for official rankings. That should change after this week.

    Tommy Gainey (C) ... First-timer at Copperhead. Grinded out a solo fifth with just six holes over par all week despite ranking T57 in greens and T48 in putting. It proved that his overall success at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T8) wasn't a flash-in-the-pan effort. And if you're looking for a bandwagon to ride, this is a fun one.

    Jimmy Walker (C) ... Don't forget about this guy. With three top 10s already, he's primed for a career year. Currently 41st on TOUR in putting and fourth in adjusted scoring average. Ranked T4 in greens hit en route to a share of 16th place here last year.

    Charley Hoffman (A) ... Showing signs of breaking out of his funk. Led the field in putting at Doral (T29, GIR) and had an eagle and 19 birdies (T5). The T24 payday is a season-best. Finished T19 here in 2009. Did not enter last year.

    Danger (Yahoo! Group)

    Jim Furyk (A) ... Since his T9 at the limited-field season opener at Kapalua, his best finish in four stroke-play starts is T35 (Northern Trust); he went 0-1 at the Match Play. The defending champion of the Transitions is currently T74 in bogey avoidance, his worst ranking since his sophomore season of 1995. In fact, in the last 14 years (circa 1997), he's finished inside the top 10 in the stat 12 times (ineligible due to injury in 2004; T21 in 2010).

    Michael Bradley (C) ... Both of his top 10s on the PGA TOUR since 2001 were victories in Puerto Rico (2009, last week). Owns an 0-for-2 record at the Transitions.

    Sergio Garcia (C) ... Making his 2011 PGA TOUR debut. Failed to post a top 20 in a stroke-play event in the U.S. in 2010. Gotta go back to the 2009 BMW Championship for his last top 10 in stroke play on the PGA TOUR. Zero top 40s in two starts at Copperhead.

    Sean O'Hair (B) ... His lone paycheck at Copperhead since the move to March was his victory in the slosh in 2008; he missed the cut the other three times. Coming off a season-best T24 at the Honda, but he's currently 183rd on TOUR in greens in regulation, 174th in putting and 188th in birdie average. Continue to sit on your hands.

    Yahoo! lineup
    Starters:
    Group A: Nick Watney
    Group B: Stuart Appleby; Spencer Levin
    Group C: Martin Kaymer
    Bench:
    Group A: Padraig Harrington
    Group B: Justin Rose, Bubba Watson
    Group C: Charles Howell III
    Yahoo! stats:
    1,594 points; 4,622th place
    One and done:
    Padraig Harrington
    2011 earnings: $636,015.00
    Duffer:
    Rocco Mediate
    2011 earnings: $745,495.00

    Stewart Cink (C) ... Only top 25 in five starts this year was his 1-1 record at the Match Play. His splits are fairly decent, although he's 138th in scrambling and 94th in putting. After stumbling in to finish second here in 2008, he didn't return until 2010, and then missed the cut.

    James Driscoll (C) ... Earns your time here after his course record-tying 63 in Puerto Rico in the opening round. Alas, after sitting 11-under through his first 14 holes, he played his remaining 58 in 7-over to fade to T42. Meanwhile, since the Transitions was moved to March in 2007, his lone payday in three starts was a T61 in 2008.

    Medic! (Yahoo! Group)

    Brandt Snedeker (C) ... Back in action since his wife went into labor, forcing him to withdraw after one round of The Honda Classic.

    Jerry Kelly (C) ... Had to call it quits at the turn in his second round in Puerto Rico, citing a back injury. He was bogey-free 2-under for the day until then. Kelly dealt with an injury to a facet joint early in 2010, but it is unknown if this latest issue relates to it.

    Kent Jones (C) ... Withdrew during his second round in Puerto Rico due to a groin injury. Had entered the week with consecutive top 25s.

    Rocco Mediate (C) ... Hasn't played since withdrawing after one round at Riviera. It was his second WD in three starts. The first one (Waste Management) was due to an arm injury.

    Ben Crane (B) ... Didn't commit to the Transitions, but wanted to point out that he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac due to a pulled muscle on the left side of his ribcage. He's hoping to return at next week's stop at Bay Hill.

    Mike Weir (C) ... Wasn't in the field this week, but it's worth nothing that he withdrew after nine holes in Puerto Rico due to a cyst on his left wrist. His next scheduled start is next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Boo Weekley (C) ... Forced to withdraw after 12 holes in Puerto Rico due to a hand injury. He was 6-over at the time. He did not commit to the Transitions.

    Notable WDs (Yahoo! Group)

    Steve Marino (A) ... Withdrew on Monday. Don't know what prompted his decision, but he played the Palmer and Houston in his run up to his first Masters last year, posting top 15s in all.

    Alvaro Quiros (C) ... Suffered an ankle injury in his final round (75) at Doral. John Huston was given Quiros' sponsor exemptions for the Transitions. The Spaniard's next start would come at next week's Andalucia Open.

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