Fantasy: Tips to get ahead as the new game launches this weekPONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12: Harris English of the United States hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)February 05, 2013
PGATOUR.COM’s new fantasy game launches this week. It mixes familiar angles from other games but uses FedExCup points as the measuring stick for success.
Beginning with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and extending through the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, you will invest in four golfers in each of 31 tournaments. Whatever those golfers earn in FedExCup points goes into your bank. The more points you accumulate, the more competitive you'll be. Weekly prizes will be awarded as will one grand prize at the conclusion of the season. Please refer to the Rules page of the game for details.
Gamers can play alone or join as many as three leagues. While the game is straightforward in format, there are nuances in strategy that can make a difference in the long-term.
• Stick with the chalk. You're going to be investing in only 124 golfers during the course of the season. And since there are no governors to restrict ownership of any one golfer to any single owner in any league, you don't want to be the one gamer that, for example, elects not to burn Tiger Woods at the Masters. Yes, there will be weeks when you may need to settle for a push, but that's always better than the alternative. If you plan ahead for these weeks, they won't feel like you're regressing in real time.
• Spend lavishly. While each golfer is capped at 10 starts, you're unlikely to exhaust more than a small handful for most. Since you're plugging in only four guys per tournament, it may be difficult to even burn 10 starts for the most obvious of choices. However, should you max out on one or two guys, because you go only four deep every week, the pool will remain rich in talent.
• Take calculated risks. Because FedExCup points serve as the fuel for the scoring system, non-members (including amateurs, of course) will be out of play for most tournaments. However, all golfers will be eligible for the four majors, two World Golf Championships (Cadillac, Bridgestone) and THE PLAYERS. As a result, they will be rewarded with the appropriate total of FedExCup points as if they were members for these events. While a great deal of the world's elite are PGA TOUR members and, therefore, already eligible to earn FedExCup points, those seven tournaments (which account for 22.5 percent of the fantasy game) could prove as viable platforms to invest in non-members. Start your long-range planning with THE PLAYERS and Open Championship, which tend to be crapshoots. Also, remember that the WGCs award guaranteed FedExCup points because there is no cut.
• Prepare for the FedExCup Playoffs. This could be critical. One of the more helpless feelings fantasy gamers can experience is showing up for the postseason sans firepower to slam the door. Again, as stated above, because of the format, you'll probably be OK even if you're ultra-aggressive during the regular season, but until the vagaries of the game play out to allow for more intelligent angles, plan on saving a couple of starts on studs. While all gamers will be in the same boat on a week-to-week basis, this will be the time when you're going to unload on whatever's left in the arsenal. You don't want to reach in there and realize that it's empty while your competition dashes toward the finish line, especially since the final two events have no cut and will reward FedExCup points to everyone in the field.
• Create side games. If you're setting up a league, chances are there's at least one entrepreneurial spirit among the group. While season-long bragging rights can never be taken away from your league champion, consider rewarding weekly winners. This will allow for a greater engaging of all owners no matter their placement at any time during the season. Other contests you could track include most top 10s, fewest missed cuts/withdrawals/disqualifications and highest average of FedExCup points per cut made.
A separate contest for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship will be conducted. It will not have any effect on the weekly game.
I will be competing in a group at PGATOUR.COM where you'll be able to find my picks and play against me.