July 11 2012
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy columnist
Full-season gamers are scouting for the postseason.
Is there anyone that you would consider picking up to replace Sergio Garcia, Kyle Stanley, David Toms, or Bud Cauley for the remainder of the season? We get points for top-15 finishes.
Some of the players that are available include Tim Clark, John Huh, Marc Leishman, Charlie Wi, Ken Duke, Brian Davis, Seung-yul Noh and Daniel Summerhays. We get to make five moves during the season; we've made two so far.
The other strategy is to make the moves closer to the Playoffs when you know which golfers will qualify for the most playoff events. Thanks! -- Craig
Let's face it, you could make arguments for all of the guys that Craig has in his crosshairs. That's a nice problem to have. It means that he can be patient on a scuffling Stanley since he's currently 16th in the FedExCup points standings. Cauley (67th) hit a skid and could be expendable as a rookie. Toms (68th) is a keeper unless there's an obvious choice nearer the postseason. And I'd give Garcia (96th) at least through next week's British Open given the Spaniard's success in that major.
As far as the octet of options Craig tosses out, Huh (15th) is an absolute no-brainer. He continues to exhibit consistency beyond his 22 years. Duke (37th) also has to find room on Craig's roster. The 43-year-old is enjoying a renaissance season and reached THE TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in 2008.
At 24th in FedExCup points, Leishman definitely deserves to sit on the short list. He reached East Lake as a rookie in 2009 and advanced to the BMW Championship the last two years. However, I'd like to see how the Aussie fares now that he's a PGA TOUR winner. Will he step on the pedal or will he regress? In two starts since his breakthrough at the Travelers Championship, Leishman has finished T32 (AT&T National) and T73 (Greenbrier).
Clark (130th) is emerging and I like him at this week's John Deere Classic. Once he cracks the top 100, it's time to buy.
Wi is a curious case. He's never played THE TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola but he's already established a career-high in earnings this season and sits 28th in FedExCup points. He's consistently making cuts but he's still very much a horse for courses. Perhaps if he climbs even higher prior to the Playoffs, he's worth the investment, but I wouldn't miss the 40-year-old.
Davis' postseason run has ended at the BMW Championship in each of the last four years. He's currently 43rd in FedExCup points but he's logged just two top-30 finishes among 14 starts in the Playoffs. Always reliable long-term value but hasn't showcased enough dynamic form when it's most desired.
Noh is a rookie and sits 44th in the FedExCup points standings. He's riding the crest of a wave at the moment having survived 10 consecutive cuts. I've hedged in his favor ever since he earned his card but I prefer experience in the postseason.
Finally, with four top 10s including three top fives, it seems impossible that Summerhays is only 61st in FedExCup points; he was 82nd before the solo fifth at The Greenbrier Classic. Yet, as much as I love his direction, he's never qualified for the Playoffs, which means he doesn't crack my short list of guys into which to invest now. Perhaps later.
One variable to Craig's success is what he can't control. If he's in a league with owners that like to stay busy, it forces the issue on some decisions. Only Craig knows how the vagaries of his format influence league standings. It's a dynamic about which I don't write much only because it's unique to you and there's no end to the permutations.
If I were to offer a broad stroke of advice, it is to ride veterans in their prime. That doesn't narrow it down as much as you'd think, which is why each of Craig's possibilities deserve the analysis above.