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18D AGO

Golfbet Insider: Fortinet Championship

9 Min Read

Golfbet News

Golfbet Insider: Fortinet Championship


    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    If all you care about is fantasy golf, then you can be my best friend, but that approach will simplify things as the PGA TOUR transitions from the wraparound era to calendar-year scheduling.

    This week’s Fortinet Championship assumes its customary slot in the leadoff position of the fall events, only this time, it’s the launching pad of the FedExCup Fall and not the official PGA TOUR season. However, it’s still the first tournament of the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf season that still stretches from now through the FedExCup Playoffs in 2024.

    In case you missed it, I examined the implications of the FedExCup Fall on many things fantasy in my recent primer, so please give that a read if you already haven’t. For PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf gamers, the biggest takeaway is that nothing changes. Seriously. This is because Segment 1 consists of only the seven tournaments of the FedExCup Fall, just as it always did. When The Sentry opens the 2024 PGA TOUR season in January, all fantasy gamers will reset to three starts per golfer for Segment 2. It’s clean.


    What's at stake in the first FedExCup Fall?


    Membership will turn over in the interim, but for those of us who will log a full Segment 1 (as opposed to private leagues with customizable schedules that might exclude it), the greater impact will be on how we adjust to new blood on TOUR in 2024. Ownership philosophies will be forced to evolve, but we’re all in that same boat, too.

    The best part of Segment 1 always has been that you’ve been unlikely to burn through three starts for just about everyone, much less wishing you had a fourth for even one guy. On one hand, there are only seven tournaments, but this year, the haymakers have more reason to rest, so you’re unlikely to feel any pressure with roster management until we’re a few weeks into Segment 2.

    Omitted from my primer is that the golfers who achieved Special Temporary Membership [STM] during the 2022-23 season will carry that into the FedExCup Fall. Similarly, short of a victory, all non-members will continue to chase the value of FedExCup points totaled by the member who finishes 125th at the conclusion of The RSM Classic, the last official tournament of 2023.

    As it concerns the usual caps for non-members, all who haven’t achieved STM cannot exceed 12 starts since the 2022 Fortinet Championship (save the exception for special invitations into the 2023 majors) and seven sponsor exemptions. To monitor this subset of potential investments, follow my dedicated thread on X.

    POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD

    Justin Thomas (+175 = Top 10) … Who else could it be, right? He’s been a regular absentee from my Power Rankings proper and for good reason, but now he’s buoyed by Zach Johnson’s vote of confidence to contribute to the United States’ cause at the Ryder Cup. Even better, Thomas proclaimed his commitment to compete at Silverado Resort before he was chosen as a captain’s pick, so it’s all fallen into place naturally. This is the opposite of my prop for “Best Bets” in the previous iteration of Golfbet for which I touted Jon Rahm to miss the cut at the Fortinet Championship in 2021. He was +700 and, boom, he missed the cut. It was the week before the Ryder Cup, and I didn’t like the timing despite his permanent class. Sure, JT still has work to do but it’s without the kind of stress with which he was saddled all summer. What’s more, he recorded a top 10 in each of his last three trips to Silverado (2015, 2016, 2019). Therefore, the expectation is that he’ll pass the gut check with one flying color on the scoreboard – red.

    Odds were sourced on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 5:30 a.m. ET. For live odds, visit BetMGM.

    ALSO STARRING

    NOTE: These are notables who are not included in my Power Rankings or Sleepers. Connect with me on X if you want analysis, insight and opinion for anyone else.

    Matt Kuchar (+240 = Top 20) … The 45-year-old did it again: He qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs. He’s never not qualified, which is saying something since there have been 17 editions of the annual series. So, he’s all set for fully exempt status in 2024, but now he’s chasing spots in the Signature Events. Although he concluded the season without a top-35 finish, he rose for a T12 at Silverado last year after a similar stretch immediately preceding it. He continues to thread the needle off the tee and the course gives his short game a stage on which to thrive. While not a long hitter by any definition, his secret weapon is that he’s T13 in par-5 scoring. That’s handy on a par 72 with the full boat of par 5s.

    Webb Simpson (-135 = Top 40) … In the absence of the option for him to miss the cut, we might as well hope for the better result even though he’s posted only three top 40s in the last 14 months. The most recent of which was in his last start at Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship) where he’s been a force throughout his career, so at least he teased that something could be percolating. He finished T30 at Silverado two years ago, but that’s a long two years ago and before he was sidelined for a time with a herniated disc in his neck. It’s fair to wonder how that malady drove him into a bad habit. It’s also fair to blame it on any loss of confidence to which he’s admit.

    Taylor Montgomery (+150 = Miss the Cut) … After starting the season with a podium finish at Silverado and carrying red-hot form into early 2023, it was an upset that he failed to survive the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs. In the process, he slipped into second position in my Rookie Ranking behind Eric Cole, who also is in this week’s field but in my Power Rankings. Montgomery missed the cut in the last four tournaments he played with a cut.

    TAP-INS

    NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.

    Aaron Baddeley (+160 = Top 40)
    Cam Davis (+138 = Top Australian)
    Brice Garnett (+250 = Top 40)
    Kelly Kraft (+333 = Top 40)
    Chez Reavie (+100 = Top 40)
    Carson Young (+160 = Top 40)
    Kevin Yu (+125 = Top 40)

    RETURNING TO COMPETITION

    Luke List (+125 = Top 40) … First action since he was a late scratch at the Barracuda Championship on July 20. He cited a sore thumb as the reason. That came on the heels, pardon the pun, of a foot injury three weeks prior at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The 38-year-old is fully exempt in the winners category for another season, so short of a second career title, he gets back after it to chase exemptions into the second and third Signature Events of 2024. His skill set plays up at Silverado – he’s 5-for-7 with three top 40s on the track – so consider leaning into options that reward good play.

    Kevin Kisner … Officially withdrew during his first round of the Travelers Championship on June 22 with an illness, but he revealed this week that he needed a mental break. Of course, that can be better or worse than an injury, but that it wasn’t an injury is a default positive. That he’s broken free and rested for an extended period of time is a bonus for which you won’t find a touring professional who’d turn it down if it was a reasonable option. Naturally, the irony is that that’s exactly what the FedExCup Fall can be for anyone who doesn’t “need” to play. Technically, he doesn’t either because he’s fully exempt through 2024, but we might see him as many as three times before the holiday hiatus. If you’re keen on his reemergence, Silverado presents a soft landing for his archetype. He’s connected for a pair of top 35s on the course, but it’s been nine years since the more recent.

    NOTABLE WDs

    None

    RECAP – TOUR Championship

    POWER RANKINGS
    Power Ranking / Golfer = Result

    1 Viktor Hovland = 1st
    2 Rory McIlroy = 4th
    3 Scottie Scheffler = T6
    4 Patrick Cantlay = 5th
    5 Xander Schauffele = 2nd
    6 Max Homa = T9
    7 Sungjae Im = 24th
    8 Jon Rahm = T18
    9 Tommy Fleetwood = T6
    10 Matt Fitzpatrick = T9
    11 Brian Harman = 23rd
    12 Jordan Spieth = 27th
    13 Tom Kim = T20
    14 Russell Henley = T14
    15 Rickie Fowler = T16
    16 Si Woo Kim = T20
    17 Tony Finau = T20
    18 Lucas Glover = T18
    19 Corey Conners = 26th
    20 Collin Morikawa = T6
    21 Wyndham Clark = 3rd
    22 Tyrrell Hatton = T16
    23 Sam Burns = T9
    24 Emiliano Grillo = T29
    25 Sepp Straka = T14
    26 Nick Taylor = 25th
    27 Keegan Bradley = T9
    28 Adam Schenk = T9
    29 Taylor Moore = T29
    30 Jason Day = 28th

    * - For the recommendations below, an asterisk represents a bet that won.

    GOLFBET INSIDER
    Team (recommended bet) = Result

    *Tap-in: Tournament Match (Tie No Bet) – Starting Strokes applied: Sam Burns (+100) over Jason Day = T9 > 28th
    *Tap-in: Patrick Cantlay (+110 = Top 5) = 5th
    Tap-in: Brian Harman (+300 = Top 5) = 23rd
    Tap-in: Sungjae Im (+138 = Top Asian) = 24th [T20 = Si Woo Kim]
    Tap-in: Sungjae Im (+160 = Top 10) = 24th

    RECAP – FedExCup Playoffs

    POWER RANKINGS
    Power Ranking / Golfer = Result

    1 Scottie Scheffler = T6
    2 Rory McIlroy = 4th
    3 Jon Rahm = T18
    4 Patrick Cantlay = 5th
    5 Rickie Fowler = T16
    6 Xander Schauffele = 2nd
    7 Viktor Hovland = 1st
    8 Tony Finau = T20
    9 Tommy Fleetwood = T6
    10 Brian Harman = 23rd
    11 Sam Burns = T9
    12 Corey Conners = 26th
    13 Max Homa = T9
    14 Tyrrell Hatton = T16
    15 Jason Day = 28th
    16 Wyndham Clark = 3rd
    17 Emiliano Grillo = T29
    18 Sepp Straka = T14
    19 Tom Kim = T20
    20 Jordan Spieth = 27th
    21 Collin Morikawa = T6
    22 Russell Henley = T14
    23 Kurt Kitayama = 36th
    24 Keegan Bradley = T9
    25 J.T. Poston = 39th
    26 Denny McCarthy = 33rd
    27 Nick Taylor = 25th
    28 Byeong Hun An = 44th
    29 Lucas Glover = T18
    30 Si Woo Kim = T20

    September is Responsible Gaming Education Month. If you bet, set a budget and play within your means. To learn more, visit haveagameplan.org/pgatour.

    Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

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