Because the PGA Championship is a major, it gets the treatment of a full-field Power Rankings. In turn, this Fantasy Insider column is abridged. The Wild Card, Draws and Fades will return for next week's Charles Schwab Challenge.
The PGA is the only major that utilizes ShotLink, so every stroke is measured for official and fantasy purposes. Bethpage State Park's Black Course won't surrender many 65s and lower, but long hitters will capitalize across its 7,459 yards. There are only two par 5s, but bonus points will be awarded when drives of 300 yards and beyond come to rest in the shortest grass.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the PGA Championship (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Patrick Cantlay; Bryson DeChambeau; Tony Finau; Justin Harding; Phil Mickelson; Jon Rahm; Justin Rose; Xander Schauffele
Driving: Paul Casey; Bryson DeChambeau; Tommy Fleetwood; Justin Harding; Jason Kokrak; Louis Oosthuizen; Jon Rahm
Returning to Competition
Marc Leishman … As a precaution for a sore lower back, he withdrew a few hours before his tee time in the opening round of the AT&T Byron Nelson. The Aussie has regressed into his previous profile as an occasional threat, but that could be connected to his physical fitness. However, because casual gamers might be not fully in tune with his trajectory over time, it's impossible to consider him as a contrarian investment in every format but a One & Done, and that's only if you're chasing. (My weekly preview for that game will publish on Wednesday as usual.)
J.B. Holmes … Opened with 80 at Trinity Forest and then withdrew. An explanation was not released. It was his first mid-tournament WD in eight years. Since prevailing at the Genesis Open three months ago, he's just 2-for-5 and without a top 60 in individual, stroke-play competition.
Gary Woodland … Back in action since a stomach virus knocked him out of the Wells Fargo Championship after a third-round 74. He'll be a popular own and pivot in every format this week, but he hasn't logged a top 25 in a full-field, stroke-play event in three-and-a-half months (T7, WMPO).
Charles Howell III … Called it quits after only one round of the AT&T Byron Nelson due to an injured hip. It was just his third career mid-tournament WD in 542 PGA TOUR starts and his first in 12 years. He's gone five straight starts without a top-30 finish in a stroke-play event. The PGA Championship is his penultimate major as a 30-something.
Martin Trainer … The PGA TOUR rookie is making his major debut a week after he withdrew before the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson due to a sore neck. Since breaking through at the Puerto Rico Open, he's just 3-for-7 without a top 40.
Byeong Hun An … Walked off Quail Hollow during his final round of the Wells Fargo Championship with discomfort in his neck. It was his first mid-tournament WD in 86 career starts on the PGA TOUR.
Talor Gooch … He's committed to the Web.com Tour's Knoxville Open. It'll be his first live action since he missed the cut at THE PLAYERS Championship. The 27-year-old has been out with an injured thumb. Sits 80th in the FedExCup standings on the strength of consecutive top-five finishes in January. That ain't too shabby for a second-year talent on conditional status.
Justin Thomas ... When he elected not to commit to the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow where he won the 2017 PGA Championship, you knew that his right wrist wasn't, well, right. Despite discomfort in it for months, he leads the PGA TOUR in adjusted scoring and par-5 scoring.
Charl Schwartzel … Also withdrew due to a wrist injury. In a bit of twisted irony, he wouldn't have gained entry in the first place without the special invitation for which he didn't qualify for the traditional criteria that triggers it for several in the field every year. His streak of consecutive majors played ends at 39. More importantly, he's 170th in the FedExCup standings and not fully exempt for next season.
Stewart Cink … He was the only qualifier who withdrew before the commitment deadline. Also withdrew early after committing to the Wells Fargo Championship due to recurring soreness in his back. Currently 172nd in the FedExCup and without a cut made in his last five starts, the longest drought of his career.
Sam Ryder … His PGA Championship debut will remain on ice and his time off will extend into a second month since he withdrew during the opening round of the RBC Heritage with an injured left wrist. The good news is that he's 77th in the FedExCup. The bad news is that there's no urgency to return soon and contribute for his long-term investors.
Vijay Singh … The two-time champ cited a back injury. It would have been a short week after he finished T43 at the Regions Tradition on Monday, and that marked his fifth consecutive start dating back to the Masters.
Davis Love III … Also withdrew early from the RBC Heritage and Wells Fargo Championship, but partnered with his son, Dru, at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where they finished last. DL3 hasn't made the cut at the PGA Championship since 2011. He's exempt for life as the 1997 winner.
Power Rankings Recap – AT&T Byron Nelson
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1. Marc Leishman DNP
2. Brooks Koepka 4th
3. Keith Mitchell T59
4. Scott Piercy T2
5. Hideki Matsuyama T23
6. Sungjae Im 83rd/MDF
7. Aaron Wise T43
8. Charles Howell III WD
9. Kevin Na T35
10. Ryan Palmer T43
11. Rory Sabbatini T5
12. Seamus Power T79/MDF
13. Adam Schenk MC
14. Scottie Scheffler T35
15. Ryan Moore T69
Wild Card: Patrick Reed T63
Sleepers Recap – AT&T Byron Nelson
Kramer Hickok T17
Hank Lebioda MC
Peter Malnati T72/MDF
Trey Mullinax MC
Shawn Stefani T20
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
May 14 … none
May 15 … Roger Sloan (32)
May 16 … Bo Van Pelt (44); Derek Ernst (29)
May 17 … Jason Gore (45); Hunter Mahan (37)
May 18 … none
May 19 … K.J. Choi (49)
May 20 … Branden Grace (31)