Fantasy Insider: Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBankMarch 12, 2013
If you weren't already aware, you can find my four choices for PGATOUR.com's fantasy game in Expert Picks. As we enter the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, I'm holding off my editor/boss, Mike McAllister for the lead among the 10 of us, 1,785-1,716.
My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday. Also located there will be separate breakdown ("The Stats Suggest") of what the six previous champions of this tournament since its move to March have in common.
On a Roll
Luke Guthrie ... All six of his cuts made in eight starts have gone for top 30s. This includes each of his last four capped by a solo third at the Honda Classic and a T18 in Puerto Rico. Ranks 22nd on TOUR in adjusted scoring and 21st in the all-around.
Graham DeLaet ... Top 25s in each of his last three starts, and four in his last five. En route to a T18 in Puerto Rico, ranked sixth in total driving and T10 in greens in regulation. Currently seventh and sixth, respectively, on TOUR in those categories. Also 30th in adjusted scoring.
Jimmy Walker ... Back in play for the first time since the birth of his second child. Survived all six cuts on the West Coast Swing. Notched a pair of top fives and another top 20.
Bryce Molder ... He's 6-for-6 on the season with four top 25s. Missed a fifth by one stroke in Puerto Rico last week. Leads the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting. Tied for 20th at Copperhead last year.
Boo Weekley ... He's 1-for-5 at Copperhead with a T52 in 2009 but he's coming off a T8 in Puerto Rico. Placed T25 the week before at The Honda Classic. Leads the PGA TOUR in total driving and ranks 11th in greens in regulation; both scream of vintage form.
Horses for Courses
John Senden ... Marry a ball-striker's ball-striker with a track that reveals ball-strikers and it's a no-brainer that the Aussie appears here. Co-runner-up in the first two editions of this tournament during the FedExCup era (2007, 2008), he's gone on to add three more cuts made, including a T15 in 2011. Coming off a T20 at the WGC-Cadillac, too.
Scott Stallings ... Before he broke through at The Greenbrier Classic in 2011, Copperhead was the site of his only top 10 on the PGA TOUR. He finished alone in third place that season, ranking T12 in fairways hit, T11 in greens in regulation and ninth in strokes gained-putting that week. He also led the field in par breakers (1 eagle, 22 birdies) and par-5 scoring average (4.31). That he missed last year's cut will dissuade some gamers, but it shouldn't. He was in the midst of dealing with torn cartilage in his ribs.
David Toms ... Making just his fourth appearance of the season, the 46-year-old has only one top 40 in his last six stroke-play events, but he has nothing worse than a T37 (2011) in his last four trips to Copperhead where his precision off the tee matters. That stretch includes a pair of T20s.
Justin Leonard ... While he's still pursuing his first top 30 of the season, there's value in the fact that he's survived six of seven cuts. Expect another, if not his best finish of the year, at Copperhead where he hasn't finished worse than T29 in each of the last three editions.
Chez Reavie ... Best known for his tee-to-green proficiency, it makes sense that he's posted top 20s in each of the last two years at Copperhead.
Tommy Gainey ... Riding an 0-for-6 skid, his longest since he went 13 straight without a cut made in his rookie season of 2008.
Robert Allenby ... He's started 2013 with five missed cuts and one withdrawal. It remains noteworthy to remind you that he battled an injury to his left hip early on.
Ricky Barnes ... Has missed five consecutive cuts. It's his longest drought since he endured an 0-for-6 stretch in the second half of 2009.
Jonas Blixt, Chad Campbell and Kevin Chappell ... Each has missed his last three cuts.
Not So Fast
Zach Johnson ... Of those inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking -- he's 26th -- he's earned the fewest points in 2013. One top 45 in his last four appearances at Copperhead (T20, 2011).
Gary Woodland ... The 2011 champion at Copperhead is still grinding his game back into form with just one top-15 finish in a full-field event over the last 16 months. Remains best owned in full-season formats.
Sean O'Hair ... Despite a 6-over weekend at The Honda Classic two weeks ago, he still reeled in a T18. It was his second top 20 in his last three starts. However, since emerging from a soggy Copperhead to win in 2008, he's 0-for-4 with an actual scoring average of 72.875 and only one sub-72 score in eight rounds.
Josh Teater ... Off to a splendid start on the heels of a fine finish to 2012. His only cut made in three appearances at Copperhead was a solo 70th in 2010, so course history buffs will likely abstain and that's why he landed here, but he could fill a gap as a shrewd flier depending on your format.
Chris Stroud ... The West Coast Swing didn't end soon enough as he went 1-for-5 with a solo 62nd at the WM Phoenix Open. Since the migration east, he's posted top 20s in two starts, so he's projecting to survive his first cut in four appearances at Copperhead, but that's a gutsy investment.
Ryo Ishikawa ... His second-round 66 in Puerto Rico included a hole-in-one, and eagle-3 and four birdies, but he closed with a 74 to finish T39, tumbling 31 spots on the leaderboard. Yet, it was a season-best result among two cuts made in six starts this season. He's 1-for-4 at Copperhead with a solo 71st-place finish in 2009.
Charley Hoffman ... Solid record at Copperhead with top 20s in two of his last three appearances, but he hasn't locked into a groove yet this season. After a T10 at the shootout that is the Humana Challenge, he's 2-for-3 with no top 30s. He's also withdrawn twice after commitment deadlines but before his tee times (Pebble Beach, Honda).
Martin Laird ... Recent form trumps course history. The Scot tied for fifth here in 2011 but he's missed his last three cuts and hasn't posted a top 40 in a full-field event with a cut on the PGA TOUR in over eight months.
Rory Sabbatini ... While he finished T30 in Puerto Rico, he's gone 17 straight starts without a top 25, a stretch that includes only five cuts made.
Brian Davis ... He's survived the cut in each of the last three editions of this tournament, but since missing the cut at the PGA Championship last year, he's 3-for-14 with zero top 25s. Thus far this season, he's withdrawn during one tournament (Honda) and prior to his tee times in two others.
Back in the Saddle
Jeff Overton ... A back injury forced him to withdraw during his second round of the Puerto Rico Open last week. Tweeted the following on Sunday: "Feeling a lot better after my WD from Puerto Rico, some strained ribs. I'll be back out there in no time! #BOOMBABY" While he finished T5 here last year, consider leaving him alone this week. Normally one of the steadiest performers on TOUR, he's gone six consecutive starts with a top 25. It's his longest drought since he went seven straight without a top 25 in July-October of 2011.
Ernie Els ... Taking time off to treat an injured right hip flexor. He plowed through the discomfort to place T28 at TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral last week.
Kevin Na ... Pulled out on Monday. Withdrew during his second round in Puerto Rico last week due to a back injury.
Steve Marino and Scott Verplank ... Both have 15 starts remaining on their Major Medical Extensions.