Fantasy Insider: Wyndham Championship
August 13, 2014
By Rob Bolton , PGATOUR.COM
- Billy Horschel is rounding back into form ahead of the FedExCup Playoffs. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
A recurring theme lately in the discussions beneath several of my preview features centers on the motivations of the golfers committed to playing in the tournament about which the material is written. Certainly, all golfers are motivated, but there's a strange, implied belief that the value of motivations vary. For example, some comments suggest that because one golfer is chasing down a spot in the Ryder Cup, he'll be most motivated to play well this week and deserves inclusion in the Power Rankings. I'm sorry, but that's just silly.
If we can agree that motivation is triggered by goals, then you can't compare the value of a goal to one golfer against the value of a different goal to another golfer. Yes, all of this concerns intangibles, but it would be irresponsible of me to endorse any golfer based on his goal and motivation to achieve it.
Here's a short list of goals in play for the field of 156 at the Wyndham Championship:
Top 125 in FedExCup points.
Top 125 in earnings.
Top 150 in FedExCup points
Top 200 in FedExCup points
Official World Golf Ranking points, particularly for the Europeans in the field.
Comparing the values of goals is like ranking your children. Stick with the tried-and-true methods of gaming like any other week. If the goals (and motivations) align with your success, then it's a coincidence. But you're nearly certain to learn that the final leaderboard will be peppered with a myriad of goals achieved, not those that you may classify as the most valuable.
You'll find my selections for PGATOUR.com's fantasy game in Expert Picks.
Power Rankings Wild Card
Retief Goosen ... Of those in the field, only non-member Francesco Molinari has survived more consecutive cuts on the PGA TOUR than the South African. Goosen is two shy of the Italian's 14. His last two are top 25s. Placed T17 in his only previous appearance at Sedgefield in 2011.
Charles Howell III ... As automatic as any option on the board since he eats up short, scorable tracks. Leads the PGA TOUR with 55 rounds under par. Last year's disqualification at Sedgefield was as a result of an nonconforming driver. Otherwise, his record is solid with a T13 (2009) and a T4 (2011).
Billy Horschel ... Enjoyed a nice run this summer with four consecutive top 25s, but has since stalled. However, his only missed cut in his last seven starts was at The Open Championship, which I'll dismiss given its unique set of variables. If you invest in a daily format, consider laying off on Sunday. He hasn't broke par in a finale since a 67 at his ad hoc home track of TPC Sawgrass. And while he's carded red numbers in each of the first three rounds in both previous trips to par-70 Sedgefield, he's closed with a 72 and 73, respectively.
Scott Brown ... His line is almost impossible. Four top fives, another four top 25s and yet another 12 cuts made, yet he's "only" 52nd in the FedExCup standings. The foundation quells any concern we may have, but that he's connected five cuts made upon arrival should give you reason to pause. Then make room for him in DFS.
William McGirt ... Could have been one of my five Sleepers, but a spot here will do. Unimpressive record at Sedgefield will turn away the course history buffs, but they'll forget that he's a late bloomer and not up against the wall for a change late in the season. Top 25s in his last two starts with three red numbers in each.
Brendon de Jonge ... DFSers will already be on board since he's a walking dividend, but keep your expectations in check. Only one top 25 in his last 12 starts.
Michael Putnam ... The kind of talent that could be labeled as having more fantasy value than actual value, even though the latter can't be quantified in a global sense. Going 21-for-27 is a blessing, but he's posted three of his four top 25s this season in his last five starts. That includes a career-tying-best T4 in Canada. Getting his first look at Sedgefield.
Kevin Kisner ... Gotta hand it to him. Sat outside the top 140 in the FedExCup standings entering May, but has recorded four top 20s since and now sits 101st. Took the last two weeks off following the RBC Canadian where he polished off a T9 with a career-tying-low 64.
Robert Garrigus ... He's perfect in four starts at Sedgefield with a personal-best T11 last year, but he's played only periodically this summer after failing to qualify for any of the majors. Also withdrew due to a wrist injury in Memphis, although he rebounded with a T11 at Congressional three weeks later.
Jeff Overton ... Battled a wrist injury for months and has managed only one top-35 finish since January.
Aaron Baddeley ... Since a solo fourth at the Travelers Championship where he's scored well but never posted a top 20, he's 0-for-3. Only cut made in two looks at Sedgefield was a T53 in 2010. Sits second in strokes gained-putting but 178th in greens hit. That's the ratio that gamers can swallow, but results we need to embrace it are too far and few between.
Ryo Ishikawa ... His last of eight top 25s this season occurred way back at the RBC Heritage (T18). Since, he's 2-for-6 with no top 55s. However, he returned to Japan and won an event the same week at The Greenbrier Classic, so it's possible that he's learning how to juggle not only his global schedule but also the accompanying psychological demands.
Keep an Eye On
Billy Hurley III ... Curious to see how he responds to having the last three weeks off and a full five removed from a T4 at Greenbrier. At 79th in the FedExCup standings, he's a virtual lock to go two deep in the Playoffs regardless of what happens at Sedgefield.
Martin Laird ... Finally got off the top-10 schneid with a T6 at the Barracuda Championship. Another strong finish at Sedgefield, where he's 3-for-3 with a T4 in 2008 (that included a pair of 63s and one 64), would eliminate the cynicism over success in Reno due to Modified Stableford scoring. At 136th in the FedExCup standings, he may be making his last start of 2013-14, but he's already fully exempt through next season.
Bo Van Pelt ... Thanks to a rush of form capped by a T7 at the John Deere Classic, he's headed to the FedExCup Playoffs for the eighth consecutive time. However, that T7 remains his only top 10 of the year and he missed the cut in Canada in his last start. And while he's survived the cut in both trips to Sedgefield, neither went for a top 55, he didn't break par in either round after both cuts and he hasn't seen the course since 2009.
Returning to Competition
David Toms ... A back injury forced him out in Reno before the third round, and he was unable to go at Valhalla last week. Without it, he probably would have been featured in the Power Rankings what with eight consecutive red numbers prior to the injury and a sparkling slate at Sedgefield that includes a solo second in 2010 and a T16 last year.
Bud Cauley ... Having taken four weeks off since dislocating his left shoulder on the Saturday of the John Deere Classic, he finds himself 139th in the FedExCup standings and 125th on the money list. Suffice it to say that the first goal is merely making the weekend. The last time he did so at Sedgefield, he took solo third in 2012. He's not a smart fantasy choice, but his is a compelling story to monitor.
Camilo Villegas ... He's headed to the FedExCup Playoffs (currently 105th in points), but he enters the final contributing event coming off a wrist injury in Canada three weeks ago. If you're willing to risk it, he's an intriguing buy in DFS thanks to 17 cuts made in 25 starts this season and a 3-for-3 record at Sedgefield.
Boo Weekley ... Called it quits after 25 holes of the PGA Championship with a shoulder injury. He's been banged up for a few years, but continues to contribute enough to warrant a roster spot in season-long formats.
Patrick Cantlay ... In a sense and to steal a phrase from baseball, he's kind of in extended spring training after finally returning to competition in May. This is just his fifth start. He bowed out early of his last commitment at the John Deere Classic with a sore back. Shared 31st place in his only previous start at Sedgefield in 2012. Dabble if you want now, but plan on busier trading next season.
James Driscoll ... Hasn't played since withdrawing before the second round of the RBC Canadian Open. No explanation was released. It was the 10th time in his last 12 starts that he didn't survive the cut, a stretch that includes only three rounds under par.
Tyrone Van Aswegen ... Halted before his second round of the Barracuda Championship with an illness. At 140th in the FedExCup standings, he's all but locked for conditional status at worse in 2014-15, but every spot in the overall pecking order matters.
David Duval ... A sore elbow that won't go away precluded him from continuing his second round of the Barracuda Championship two weeks ago. It was his third mid-tournament withdrawal in his last six starts. He's gone seven consecutive without a cut made.
Matt Every ... Six top 10s on the season but only one top 35 in his last 10 starts. However, each of his last five was either a major or an invitational. Positioned 24th in the FedExCup standings, he's poised for a deep run in the Playoffs.
Rory Sabbatini ... Sits 92nd in FedExCup points, but hasn't cracked a top 35 since a T8 at the Wells Fargo Championship over three months ago.Pat Perez ... The last of his seven top 25s on the season occurred at Harbour Town. Zero top 40s among five cuts made in nine starts since. Currently 72nd in the FedExCup standings.
Keen observers may have noticed a wrinkle in my choices for Expert Picks. Ernie Els, who sits No. 1 in the Power Rankings, is not in the foursome. It's not because I'm saving or low on starts, it's because I'm accepting the writing on the wall that I will not defend my title. In fact, since last week, I've fallen a spot to fourth. The Big Easy's omission also has nothing to do with a sudden reversal of opinion since the Power Rankings published. All I've done is deviate from chalk in favor of the hope to slingshot into contention. It's a decision specific to my fantasy situation.
Indeed, I love Els this week, so he's my one-and-done selection. A T7 at the PGA Championship, where he finished with a 65, is his second top 15 in three starts with the other a T26 at Firestone. He closed out a T20 at Sedgefield last year, also with 65.
Others in my Power Rankings still on my board include Tim Clark (No. 5), Brian Harman (No. 6) and John Huh (No. 8). However, pound for pound and given his recent form, I can't jump off Els. The variable that pushed me over the edge, however, was that he was a late entry into the Wyndham Championship. That's a signal that he knows he's in a groove and doesn't want to sit on his hands on the eve of the FedExCup Playoffs.
Two-man games will probably struggle a bit this week, so cue the "calculated flier" angle. This deep into a season with so many of the elite resting following a formidable fortnight, focus on a guy that should make the cut as your secondary selection. If you're thinking horse for a course for your first choice, plug in Webb Simpson and ignore the reasons why he's a relatively low No. 9 in the Power Rankings.
PGA Championship: Patrick Reed; T59; $0.00; 0.000 FedExCup points
Overall record 32 for 40 Earnings $3,345,374.61 FedExCup points 1,776.649 Wins 0 Top 5s 4 Top 10s 10 Top 25s 18 Missed cuts 7 Withdrawals 1 Disqualifications 0