What do you get after the chalk at Quail Hollow and the eraser that was TPC Sawgrass? It's a clean slate, of course. That's precisely how Trinity Forest in Dallas debuts as host of the AT&T Byron Nelson.
As for how that translates into fantasy scoring, go into the tournament with an open mind.
The most curious element concerns driving accuracy. With no rough between the native buffalo grass that frames most holes, percentages for fairways hit could be insanely high. Since PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO weighs driving over other components, fantasy scoring should follow suit, at least to a degree. Thus, avoiding zeroes on the weekend will be more important than usual.
Lean first on reliable choices to make the cut, and then those who might pin the needle off the tee.
With zero competitive course history, fantasy front-runners should be holding their breath.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO
My roster for the AT&T Byron Nelson (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Branden Grace; Martin Laird; Keith Mitchell; Grayson Murray; Ryan Palmer
Driving: Charles Howell III; Russell Knox; Martin Laird; Keith Mitchell; Ryan Palmer
Approach: Russell Knox; Matt Kuchar; Martin Laird; Ryan Palmer; Scott Piercy; Johnson Wagner
Short: Branden Grace; Matt Kuchar; Martin Laird; Daniel Summerhays; Johnson Wagner
Power Rankings Wild Card
Sergio Garcia … Well, chalk one up for the skeptics of the Nappy Factor. (Understand that it was never advertised as being foolproof.) Certainly, we can't rule out that the experience of being a first-time father at the age of 38 with a decorated career is greater than, say, a younger up-and-comer in a similar position who is looking to establish himself (e.g. Andrew Landry). So, as the Spaniard makes just his ninth start of the season, he presents as a contrarian piece on a new course that resembles a links-style test. In other words, class is permanent, just not necessarily in the short-term.
Joaquin Niemann … The 19-year-old from Chile was the last cut from the Power Rankings, which says something given his nascence. We should never forget his 67-67 finish to place sixth in his play-for-pay debut at the Valero Texas Open. His DFS value will rise incrementally, so invest freely and watch what happens.
Kevin Tway … He's cashed in 13 of 19 starts this season but hasn't connected for a top 25. That's hard to do and the drought won't last. He has the makeup to execute admirably in the wind – a T28 at Corales in March is a season-best-tying finish – he's T16 on TOUR in par-5 scoring and his DFS value should be reasonable.
Grayson Murray (all)
Scott Piercy (all)
Rory Sabbatini (DFS)
Hideki Matsuyama … When a talent of his ilk scuffles, the leash is long. He's earned that benefit of the doubt. However, since returning from the injury to his wrist, a solo 19th at the Masters is his only notable result. The rub is that that's hardly "notable" for him. Now coming off a missed cut at THE PLAYERS, just his second MC in 15 months.
Brandt Snedeker … Unfortunately, he's rapidly drifted into the bin populated only by long-term values. The positive spin is that he could be on sale for full-season salary gamers in 2018-19 because he's fully exempt through next season, but that this narrative has emerged at all is the overlying concern.
Aaron Wise … This isn't a knock inasmuch as it's a "let's see that again." His co-runner-up finish at Quail Hollow two weeks ago cemented his card for next season, but it's his only top 10 as a rookie in 17 starts. It also was his first top 30 in eight starts. There are larger question marks on the board at Trinity Forest, including the course itself, but the 21-year-old presents as a complementary option at best and not universally by format.
Returning to Competition
Steve Marino … Walked off Quail Hollow during his second round of the Wells Fargo Championship. An explanation wasn't released. He's 1-for-3 with a T68 at the Valero Texas Open in his return to the PGA TOUR. Still has seven starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension, but hasn't sustained the same form with which he resumed competition on the Web.com Tour earlier this year.
David Berganio, Jr. … Due to ongoing issues with his back, the 49-year-old hasn't pegged it on the PGA TOUR since 2009, but he still has seven starts to burn via a medical extension in the reshuffle category. He's 0-for-2 on the Web.com Tour in 2018. Arguably best known among long-time observers as the playoff victim to Phil Mickelson in the 2002 CareerBuilder Challenge.
Bob Estes … Withdrew after just one round of the Wells Fargo Championship due to allergies, which is nothing new to the 52-year-old. He's scheduled to compete in this week's Regions Tradition on the PGA TOUR Champions. Thanks to a new provision affecting the 50-and-older crowd, he won't be losing a start on his Major Medical Extension on the PGA TOUR even though he'd have cracked the field at the AT&T Byron Nelson on merit because the Regions Tradition is a major. So, he'll still have three starts on the medical when he reappears on the main circuit.
Chesson Hadley … Collected his eighth six-figure paycheck of the season with a T11 at THE PLAYERS and sits 17th in the FedExCup standings. He's a gold mine, not to mention a terrific example of grit and self-belief.
Brice Garnett … He was due for rest. His breakthrough victory at Corales yielded an exemption into THE PLAYERS, which was his fifth consecutive start. Everything henceforth is gravy for full-season investors. Congratulations.
Chez Reavie … It's been over three months now since he recorded a top 25 on his own ball, but an electric start to the season has him positioned at 23rd in FedExCup points, so he can afford to be choosy.
Steve Stricker … Acknowledged on the weekend at THE PLAYERS (where he finished T23) that he'd be a last-minute decision to stick with this commitment or return to the PGA TOUR Champions for the Regions Tradition – the first of five majors on that circuit. At second in Schwab Cup earnings, you can understand his motivation, but his tug of war between tours is going to be an ongoing "nice problem to have."
Trey Mullinax … You know we're in the heart of the season when a golfer with conditional status opts out of any tournament. That means that playing time is no longer a concern. At 71st in the FedExCup standings, regaining fully exempt status for next season isn't, either.
Whee Kim … After a strong fall to secure his job for 2018-19, he's banked only 25 FedExCup points in his last 14 starts, making it all but impossible to endorse in any format when he does lace it up.
Power Rankings Recap – THE PLAYERS Championship
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Jason Day T5
2 Justin Thomas T11
3 Rickie Fowler MC
4 Rory McIlroy MC
5 Henrik Stenson T23
6 Zach Johnson T75/MDF
7 Patrick Reed T41
8 Webb Simpson Win
9 Justin Rose T23
10 Ian Poulter T11
11 Francesco Molinari MC
12 Dustin Johnson T17
13 Kyle Stanley MC
14 Jordan Spieth T41
15 Louis Oosthuizen MC
16 Sergio Garcia 70th
17 Chesson Hadley T11
18 Adam Hadwin T57
19 Jon Rahm T63
20 Hideki Matsuyama MC
Wild Card Phil Mickelson MC
Sleepers Recap – THE PLAYERS Championship
Branden Grace T46
Russell Henley MC
Chris Kirk T46
Russell Knox MC
Luke List MC
Grayson Murray T30
Rory Sabbatini T30
Cameron Smith MC
Steve Stricker T23
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
May 15 … none
May 16 … Bo Van Pelt (43); Derek Ernst (28)
May 17 … Jason Gore (44); Søren Kjeldsen (43); Hunter Mahan (36); Andrew Yun (27)
May 18 … none
May 19 … K.J. Choi (48)
May 20 … Branden Grace (30)
May 21 … Stewart Cink (45); Gary Woodland (34); John Huh (28)