Fantasy Insider: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCardtext sizeMarch 19, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM fantasy columnist
There is a contingent that will deviate from investing in Tiger Woods this week. Don't be that gamer. Doing so would be like circling a 16-seed to survive the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The odds are heavily against that outcome emerging as the proper call. Take the gimme and wage your battles elsewhere.
My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
On a Roll
Kevin Streelman ... En route to his breakthrough victory at last week's Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, he flashed a swagger that gamers love to see, as if he had been there before. The kind of balance with which it's clear he lives his life and goes about his profession is at the heart of why he's been a solid fantasy investment since his rookie year of 2008, so it was just a matter of time before it manifested. He's 3-for-3 at Bay Hill with a T7 in 2010, so while it's always wise to give first-time winners a week for the success to settle in, his acknowledgment before he even signed his scorecard that he's thinking long-term reveals that it's unlikely that he'll stray from his reliable form.
Brandt Snedeker ... The FedExCup points leader sat out five weeks to recover from a strained rib muscle. In Tuesday's presser at Bay Hill, he declared himself healthy. We've been down this road before with him following hip surgeries in 2010 and 2011, which had zero bearing on his performance thereafter. Rib injuries are different, but in this relative world of fantasy golf, he sets up as a sneaky investment if you can surround him with safer calls.
Jimmy Walker ... Picked up where he left off the West Coast Swing following the birth of his second child. He's survived 16 consecutive cuts and ranks highly in most of the statistics, including 29th in greens in regulation, 10th in adjusted scoring and 11th in the all-around. Tied for 24th at Bay Hill last year.
Greg Chalmers ... Enjoying arguably his best start to a season during his PGA TOUR career, with five cuts made in six events, including a T10 (Northern Trust Open) and a T4 (Tampa Bay). Co-led the field at Copperhead in both par breakers (19 birdies) and par-3 scoring average (2.80). Currently 16th on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and 19th in scrambling.
Chris Kirk ... Took the last two weeks off following a T51 at The Honda Classic that allowed him to hit seven figures in earnings. Currently 14th in FedExCup points and ranks eighth in both strokes gained-putting and adjusted scoring; fourth in the all-around.
Billy Horschel ... The first-timer at Bay Hill co-leads the PGA TOUR with 18 consecutive cuts made. Sits 24th in adjusted scoring and seventh in both total driving and the all-around ranking.
Brian Harman ... For his second consecutive season as a PGA TOUR member, the lefty has showcased an affinity for the eastward migration that trails the West Coast Swing. He placed T18 in Puerto Rico and a season-best T14 at Copperhead. Tied for 15th in his debut at Bay Hill last year.
Horses for Courses
Ryan Moore ... In addition to getting knocked out in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, he hasn't posted a sub-70 for any of his last eight scores in stroke-play competition, but he's survived the cut in each of his last three appearances at Bay Hill. The run includes a T12 in 2011 and a T4 in 2012. Therefore, avoid him in head-to-head matchups.
Marc Leishman ... He's 3-for-3 at Bay Hill with a T3 in 2011. Given he enters having survived his last three cuts this season and has repeated success when the wind blows, he qualifies as a calculated flier.
John Senden ... He's coming off a rare missed cut but he's survived the last four at Bay Hill. Each of the last three went for a top 25.
Trevor Immelman ... Three top-12 finishes at Bay Hill including in each of the last two editions. Still after his first top 35 this season despite four cuts made in six starts.
Brian Davis ... While an inconsistent beginning to 2013 includes one mid-tournament withdrawal (Honda) following two early WDs precludes an endorsement this week, the Isleworth resident tees it up at Bay Hill riding a streak of three straight top 25s in this tournament even though he hasn't broken 70 in his last 17 rounds on the track. Last year's T4 is the highlight.
David Toms ... Since a solo second at The McGladrey Classic last fall, he's failed to finish inside the top 50 in three stroke-play starts. He also lost in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Jonas Blixt ... A T38 at Copperhead ended an 0-for-3 slide, but his only top-30 in seven starts remains a T18 at the 30-man season opener at Kapalua.
D.A. Points ... He's gone 10 consecutive starts without earning any Official World Golf Ranking points. In 2013, he's 2-for-8 with zero top 60s.
Tommy Gainey ... Riding an 0-for-7 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 six missed cuts and one withdrawal. It remains noteworthy to remind you that he battled an injury to his left hip early on.
Chad Campbell ... Arrives at Bay Hill having missed his last four cuts. No top 40s among two cuts made in seven starts this season.
Ken Duke, Matt Every, Scott Gardiner, James Hahn, William McGirt, Mike Weir and Casey Wittenberg ... Each has missed his last three cuts.
Not So Fast
Robert Garrigus ... Despite a 7-for-7 start with two top 10s, he hasn't cracked the top 55 in his last two. It's primarily because of his putting, which is a source he readily recognizes when the scores don't reflect his tee-to-green strength. He ranked 65th (WGC-Cadillac) and 72nd (Tampa Bay) in strokes gained-putting the last two weeks. He's 1-for-2 at Bay Hill (T56, 2011) and hasn't broken 71 in six rounds.
Zach Johnson ... He's been a regular in this section and he's coming off his third missed cut of the year. Hasn't broken 75 in his last four rounds spanning two courses.
Martin Laird ... The 2011 champion at Bay Hill tied for 70th at Copperhead last week. It ended an 0-for-3 skid but it extended his drought without a top 25 anywhere to 14 straight starts.
Johnson Wagner ... With a pair of T30s (2009, 2011) and a T4 (2012) in his last three trips to Bay Hill, course history buffs may consider a nibble. However, in his 27 starts since last year's visit, his only top 25 is a T13 at the 30-man Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January.
Back in the Saddle
Bud Cauley ... Returns after an illness forced him to withdraw before his second round at Copperhead last week. It dropped him to 2-for-7 on the season with no better than a T24 at the WM Phoenix Open. Before you hedge against him this week, consider that he tied for fourth in his debut at Bay Hill last year. It's the only top 10 by a rookie in the last four editions of the tournament.
Doug LaBelle II ... Withdrew following an opening-round 80 at last week's Tampa Bay Championship. An explanation was not released. It ended his consecutive cuts made streak at six. He's still chasing his first top 25.
David Berganio Jr. ... Scheduled to compete in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Web.com Tour. He committed to and withdrew early from the same event in 2010 and 2012. Hasn't competed since 2009 on the PGA TOUR where he still has a medical extension. His only TOUR-sanctioned start since occurred at last year's Soboba Golf Classic.
Kevin Na ... Withdrew on Monday for the second straight week following his WD during his second round in Puerto Rico due to a back injury.
James Driscoll ... Withdrew on Tuesday. Tied for 21st at Copperhead last week for his second top 25 among six cuts made this year. Currently 70th in FedExCup points.
J.B. Holmes ... Didn't commit but he's expected to be out 8-12 weeks recovering from a fractured ankle suffered in a rollerblading mishap, according to GolfChannel.com.