July 17 2013
Our expert is using Rory McIlroy this week at Muirfield. (Franklin/Getty Images)
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
FANTASY INSIDER: Who to use, avoid this week at The Open Championship
Before the season and after plugging in Tiger Woods at any of the sites where he's dominated over the years, the veterans among you then pencil in your short lists for the majors. From my perspective, which serves as a funnel, the most popular preseason choice for The Open Championship is Sergio Garcia.
It makes sense. While we want our investments to wield a stronger self-belief in the majors, we're also keen on chalking up the value of entering the most historic events with lowered expectations. As in life, it's a sound formula to guarantee happiness.
Garcia's record also supports the nod and especially at Muirfield. He recorded one of his seven top 10s in The Open at this year's host venue in 2002 (T8). He also won The Amateur Championship here in 1998. Bottom line, if he's going to go into any links course with positive vibes, you'd have trouble stating a better argument for a course other than Muirfield.
The Spaniard is unavailable to me since I burned him at THE PLAYERS Championship. Of the top 10 in my Power Rankings, only Brandt Snedeker (No. 7) and Bill Haas (No. 8) remain on my board, but I look forward to having both available down the stretch. So, this is the time to play Rory McIlroy (No. 20).
My philosophy for this tournament is to holster the most obvious and run with scissors. Looking over the remaining possibilities to exhaust McIlroy, I find current better options. And since you know he'll turn it around for good at some point, why not in this event with a top-heavy field where he's 5-for-5? That sets him up beautifully to be make a difference.
The choice for the Sanderson Farms is a no-brainer -- Chris Kirk. While Charles Howell III ranks higher in the FedExCup standings, 21st to 26th, Kirk won at Annandale in 2011 and returned to tie for 10th last year. He's scored in the 60s in his last eight rounds in the event. Howell III is 3-for-3 with just one top 25. That came in his last appearance three years ago (T23, 2010).
Last week: Steve Stricker; T10; $119,600.00
Overall Record: 27-for-29
Top 5s: 6
Top 10s: 12
Top 25s: 19
Missed Cuts: 2