Fantasy Insider: The Honda Classic

February 26, 2013

By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider

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The annual migration to Florida carries with it a couple of notable changes. First, golfers will be playing Bermuda greens for the majority of the swing. (Paspalum is used at Trump International in Puerto Rico.) This usually benefits natives and those with experience on the tricky surfaces. Leaderboards are certain to reflect it, too. The same argument would work in reverse is the TOUR started in Florida and then hit the West Coast where Poa annua, bentgrass and ryegrass flourish (although Bermuda is in play at Waialae and PGA West).

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The other wrinkle accompanying the cross-country trip demands a strategic reaction by gamers. The first reshuffle occurred at the conclusion of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship even though none in it played the tournament. This means that long-term fantasy values are due for an update for a number of the guys that sat near the top at the beginning of the season but didn't capitalize during the first phase. Likewise, guys that started near the bottom but had some success have risen in the ranks.

For the updated reshuffle as well as medical extensions, my weekly Rookie Ranking and all qualifiers into the majors, WGCs and THE PLAYERS, please click on GAMES above. Most of my other content is now hosted on that page as well.

For my one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals, read The TOUR Report on Wednesday. Also located there will be separate breakdown ("The Stats Suggest") of what recent winners of The Honda Classic have in common.

On a Roll

Charles Howell III ... With $1.087 million in the bank already this season, he's earned nearly 85 percent of his entire haul from 2012. What's more, he went mano-a-mano with Tiger Woods at Dove Mountain and survived. CH3 is currently 17th on TOUR in greens hit, 31st in strokes gained-putting and fourth in adjusted scoring. In three starts at PGA National, he's posted a T10 and a pair of T26s.

James Hahn ... At 6-for-6 on the year, he's one of two rookies with a perfect slate (Peter Hanson, two starts). Hahn stumbled predictably at Riviera (T61) where first-time TOUR members struggle annually, but he opened with a 67. Sits 32nd on TOUR in adjusted scoring, 30th in the all-around and T38 in bogey avoidance.

Kevin Stadler ... Finally cooled at Riviera with a T42, but he's 25th in FedExCup points. Also 10th in adjusted scoring, fourth in the all-around ranking and 14th in bogey avoidance. Finished T3 in greens hit en route to a share of ninth place at PGA National last year.

Ted Potter Jr. ... After failing to log a top 55 in his last nine starts of 2012 following his breakthrough victory at The Greenbrier Classic, the lefty arrived at PGA National with three consecutive top 25s, including a T10 at Riviera. In his debut here last year, he tied for 30th, ranking T2 in fairways hit, T22 in GIR and T21 in strokes gained-putting. Ranks seventh in bogey avoidance this season.

Sang-moon Bae ... Riding a worldwide consecutive cuts made streak of 11. That includes five in a row to start the PGA TOUR season. His most recent was a T8 at the Northern Trust Open where he co-led at the midpoint. Ranks 16th in strokes gained-putting, 46th in adjusted scoring and 36th in the all-around.

Horses for Courses

Y.E. Yang ... He's earned more at PGA National than any other course on TOUR. His victory in 2009 goes a long way to contributing to that, but he's logged three more cuts made including a runner-up finish in 2011.

Tom Gillis ... No top 25s in two cuts made in five starts this year, but the Jupiter, Fla. resident shared runner-up honors at last year's Honda. He also tied for 17th in 2010.

Jerry Kelly ... All or nothing at PGA National. Each of his three cuts made in six starts have resulted in top 20s. The highlight was a solo third in 2011. Currently fourth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting.

Marc Leishman ... Documented record of success in the wind includes a pair of T17s at breezy PGA National.

D.A. Points ... He's off to the worst start in any of his seven seasons, but what was arguably his second-worst in 2009 turned the corner with a T9 at PGA National. With a T12 in last year's edition, he's earned the benefit of the doubt for at least one more week.

Leaking Oil

Tommy Gainey ... The only golfer to play in each of the first seven events on the schedule missed the cut in the last five.

Geoff Ogilvy, D.A. Points and Ricky Barnes ... Each has missed his last four cuts.

Daniel Summerhays ... Enters having missed three consecutive cuts.

Not So Fast

Jason Dufner ... This is a relative fade as you never rule him out and we'll get plenty of opportunities to invest in him later. He hasn't posted a top 10 in the U.S. since the Wyndham Championship last August, and his missed cut at the WM Phoenix Open four weeks ago ended a TOUR-leading streak of 22 consecutive cuts made. Since a T9 at PGA National in 2009, he's 2-for-2 with no better than a T40 (2010).

Rory Sabbatini ... He won this event just two years ago, but in his last 15 starts worldwide, he's survived only four cuts, none of which going for a top 25.

Robert Allenby ... Once an automatic investment at PGA National where he's 5-for-6 with a trio of top fives, it's been nearly nine months since he last cracked a top 25. In 21 starts since a T7 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he's survived only five cuts, two of which in no-cut World Golf Championships. Suffered from an injury to his left hip in January.

Stuart Appleby ... Validated a T10 here in 2011 with a T21 last year. However, he's failed to record a top-45 finish in his last five starts worldwide.

Back in the Saddle

Sean O'Hair ... No explanation was released for his withdrawal following an opening 83 at the Northern Trust Open. It came on the heels of a T16 at Pebble Beach, which remains his only cut made in five starts this season. In 24 starts last year, he failed to make the cut only five times.

Chris Stroud ... A wrist injury knocked him out of the Northern Trust Open after a first-round 76. Despite a rough start on the West Coast Swing, don't hedge against him at PGA National where he's survived each of the last four cuts and posted a personal-best T9 last year.

Stephen Ames ... Withdrew on the 10th hole at Riviera during his opening round of the Northern Trust Open due to a back injury. It extended his drought without a cut made to three straight starts.

Morgan Hoffmann ... Committed to the Colombia Championship on the Tour. A stomach illness forced the PGA TOUR rookie to withdraw prior to his final round of the Panama Claro Championship on Sunday.

Notable WDs

Jason Day and Robert Garrigus ... Both are scheduled to return for next week's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.

Jimmy Walker ... Tweeted that he forgot to withdraw before the commitment. He's spending time with his newborn child. Look for him inside the ropes again at the Tampa Bay Championship on March 14-17.

Charley Hoffman ... Second early withdrawal of the season. After his first at Pebble Beach, he played the following week and tied for 68th place at the Northern Trust Open.

Kris Blanks ... Tweeted that he's having surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday.

Jhonattan Vegas ... Didn't commit to the Honda, but tweeted last week that he's out for six months after having surgery on his left shoulder.