The Masters might stir some confusion in our world.
See, Augusta National Golf Club employs laser-guided technology to measure every stroke. That information is distributed through various channels, but it's not considered official for PGA TOUR purposes. It's not ShotLink, which is the TOUR's proprietary data-gathering tool.
This is why you're not going to find Strokes Gained metrics and readouts for statistics such as proximity to the hole and distance of putts made for the Masters on this website. It's also why bonuses are not awarded in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. (The PGA Championship is the only major for which ShotLink is utilized.)
Even so, overall fantasy scoring takes a hit of only 10-15 percent when ShotLink isn't in play, so don't allow its absence to influence your decision-making. More relevant to the season's first major is the opportunity to challenge your league leader(s) if in pursuit.
In the aggregate, the Masters is the most predictable tournament to prognosticate. This puts the onus on front-runners to invest in the chalk to retain leads, assuming that's the objective, of course. The field-friendly, 36-hole cut of low 50 plus ties and all within 10 strokes of the lead usually eliminates a handful of first-timers, amateurs and older past champions.
Also contributing to the increased margin of error is the breadth of talent in the limited field (of 87). Lean on this fact to make a move. In a format in which climbing the ladder is difficult unless your target is swallowing zeroes for missed cuts, the Masters grants you the chance to be aggressive with confidence.
Note that this week's column is brief. That's because I slotted every golfer in the Power Rankings.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Masters (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Jason Day; Dustin Johnson; Brooks Koepka; Matt Kuchar; Marc Leishman; Adam Scott; Jordan Spieth; Justin Thomas
Returning to Competition
Believe it or not, every qualifier is committed to competing this week. This fact ignores 1998 champion Mark O'Meara, who made his 34th and final appearance last year. Keen observers of the Qualifiers page noticed that he remained listed until its last update. That was in deference to the possibility of him changing his mind about returning. It happened two years ago after Ian Woosnam learned that he was going to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. The 1991 Masters champ previously had declared the 2016 edition as his last. Of course, O'Meara is already a Hall of Famer. Former Masters champions can to compete in the tournament for as long as they want.
Power Rankings Recap – Valero Texas Open
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Billy Horschel MC
2 Tony Finau T61
3 Aaron Baddeley T30
4 Lucas Glover T14
5 Jim Furyk T23
6 Jason Kokrak T7
7 Rickie Fowler T17
8 Sungjae Im T20
9 Matt Kuchar T7
10 D.J. Trahan MC
11 Ryan Moore 3rd
12 Justin Harding MC
13 Joost Luiten T63
14 Lucas Bjerregaard MC
15 Martin Laird T36
Wild Card Ryan Palmer MC
Sleepers Recap – Valero Texas Open
Julián Etulain WD
Chesson Hadley MC
Sung Kang T42
Chris Kirk MC
Kevin Streelman 6th
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
April 9 … none
April 10 … none
April 11 … none
April 12 … Matt Bettencourt (44); Russell Henley (30)
April 13 … Davis Love III (55)
April 14 … Kramer Hickok (27)
April 15 … Chris Smith (50); Martin Trainer (28)