If you're just now easing into the 2017-18 season, you may not be aware of a new feature on the FANTASY page that I'll plug once more. After a short scroll, you'll see "ROB BOLTON TWITTERFEED." That's there for many reasons, including for all gamers who don't use Twitter and want to remain in touch with all field changes.
Loyal readers are familiar with finding notable withdrawals on this page, but I cite all WDs and additions on Twitter. I don't tweet often enough to be annoying, but I'm active enough to remind you that I'm there. It's a workable balance for our purposes.
In other news, fantasy gamers have a new, dedicated program that airs live on the PGA TOUR's Facebook page every Tuesday. (The time is flexible, so expect promotion on social media.) I'll be sitting in for a segment and conversation. The co-hosts will also read and discuss your hot takes. If you take part or just watch, we hope you enjoy it.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO
My roster for the Sony Open in Hawaii (in alphabetical order):
Charles Howell III
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Daniel Berger; Jason Dufner; Tony Finau; Xander Schauffele; Ollie Schniederjans; Cameron Smith; Peter Uihlein
Driving: James Hahn; Russell Henley; Ollie Schniederjans; Kyle Stanley; Gary Woodland
Approach: Jason Dufner; Kevin Na; Chez Reavie; Webb Simpson; J.J. Spaun; Kyle Stanley; Peter Uihlein
Short: Jason Dufner; Russell Henley; Zach Johnson; William McGirt; Chez Reavie; Xander Schauffele; Gary Woodland
Power Rankings Wild Card
Si Woo Kim … He was my last cut from the Power Rankings, so his spot here essentially is an extension of that. When he is on, he's so, so good. En route to a 10th-place finish at Kapalua last week, he ranked T2 in proximity to the hole and T3 in scrambling. In his only previous trip to Waialae, he placed fourth in 2016 and led the field in strokes gained: around-the-green and ranked T5 in both scrambling and par-5 scoring. Of course, even relatively new gamers also know what comes with the hope – hurt – but it's been nearly five months now since he's withdrawn during a tournament. Definitely worth a spot for aggressive DFSers.
Xander Schauffele … All that mattered at Kapalua last week was the experience, not the result (T22). First-timers always take a back seat to returning participants on that track. He can now retool and give Waialae all it can handle. As the 2016-17 Rookie of the Year, he ranked inside the top 40 on the PGA TOUR in total driving, greens in regulation, strokes gained: putting, birdie-or-better percentage, par-4 scoring and par-5 scoring. He's also missed only one cut since late May, and that was at the PGA Championship.
Kyle Stanley … Don't sweat last week's 30th-place finish at Kapalua. It had been five years since his debut on that course and he finished 30th that week as well. Waialae has been more his speed what with a pair of top 25s baked into a 5-for-5 cake. It makes sense, too, given his propensity to hit fairways and greens. Currently a respective 10th and seventh in those stats.
Kevin Na … For most intents and purposes, he's exactly where we expect him to be. His baseline is as a cut-maker and box score-filler. The spikes are bonuses. That also defines his track record at Waialae where he's 9-for-12 with three top 10s and a T20.
Ollie Schniederjans … Fared nicely as a rookie at Waialae last year en route to a T27. Opened this season with a trio of top 25s. All arrows are pointed upward for the 24-year-old ranked first in total driving and 34th in birdie-or-better percentage on the PGA TOUR.
James Hahn … There are many things worse than a 5-for-5 record at Waialae and five consecutive cuts made worldwide upon arrival, even though none of those results went for a top 25. Brick by brick, gang.
Jerry Kelly … The 51-year-old is second in all-time earnings at Waialae, standing that easily validated the sponsor exemption he received to make his 20th consecutive appearance. His most recent of nine top 10s here was just two years ago. Gotta give him some love in DFS where he should be cheap.
Brian Gay (DFS)
Emiliano Grillo (DFS)
Patton Kizzire (all)
Satoshi Kodaira (DFS)
Scott Piercy (DFS)
Brian Stuard (DFS)
Jimmy Walker … The two-time champion at Waialae (2014, 2015) endured a physically challenging 2017 due to Lyme disease. As he continues to improve, we need to continue to give him space to stretch back into form. He made only one start in the last four months and that resulted in a missed cut at the Shriners.
Bill Haas … You know the drill. He's considerably more valuable in the long-term than to connect in any tournament, and that profile matches his experience at Waialae. In six starts, he's landed two top 70s – both top 15s – and missed three cuts. At best, he's a flier in DFS.
Patrick Rodgers … Not unlike Haas, Rodgers is currently best suited for full-season gamers. He misses too many cuts to validate short-term ownership.
Shugo Imahira … The 25-year-old finished sixth in the Order of Merit on the Japan Golf Tour in 2017 and climbed inside the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking. As he makes his debut at Waialae, just keep an eye peeled to his game. This week is a learning exercise as he continues to introduce himself to fans in the U.S.
Returning to Competition
Webb Simpson … Withdrew before his third round of The RSM Classic to be with family as his father was living his last days. Although never short on motivation and having put together numerous sound performances late in 2017, he's now welcomed by Waialae where he's perfect in eight previous trips, the last four of which yielded a top 20. Always make decisions with your head, but understand that he resumes his career with a higher level of support that warrants investment in all formats.
Luke Donald … Not the horse for Waialae that he once was, but he's no doubt thrilled to have the opportunity to pad his 7-for-9 record, for he withdrew just before the opening round of The RSM Classic due to chest pains for which he was hospitalized for tests for several hours. Consider him as a complement in DFS.
Ryan Palmer … Making his season debut after surgery for bone spurs in his left shoulder sidelined him in early October. The winner at Waialae in 2010 added top 20s in 2015 and 2016. He has six starts on a medical extension this season to collect just shy of 30 FedExCup points and retain status. He'd convert on that objective with a two-way T28 this week, but gamers are advised to let him shed some rust before rushing him back out there.
Dominic Bozzelli … Went silent after alerting followers on Twitter that an injury would prevent him from competing in the FedExCup Playoffs. He hasn't played anywhere of note since late July. This marks his debut at the Sony Open in Hawaii, so use it for observation only as he ignites his sophomore season on the PGA TOUR.
Robert Garrigus … After going gangbusters to keep his job late last season, he's cooled considerably. This is who he know him to be, however, and he won't be missed at Waialae where he hasn't recorded a top 25 among three cuts made in six appearances.
Power Rankings Recap – Sentry Tournament of Champions
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Jordan Spieth 9th
2 Justin Thomas T22
3 Rickie Fowler T4
4 Dustin Johnson Win
5 Hideki Matsuyama T4
6 Marc Leishman T7
7 Pat Perez T4
8 Brendan Steele 29th
9 Brian Harman 3rd
10 Jon Rahm 2nd
11 Kevin Kisner T17
12 Daniel Berger T11
13 Xander Schauffele T22
14 Patrick Cantlay T15
15 Brooks Koepka 34th
Wild Card Cameron Smith T17
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
January 9 … Sergio Garcia (38)
January 10 … Ian Poulter (42)
January 11 … none
January 12 … Rob Oppenheim (38)
January 13 … none
January 14 … David Berganio, Jr. (49); Luke List (33)
January 15 … Y.E. Yang (46)