Fantasy Insider: The RSM Classic
November 19, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Robert Streb has made four cuts and earned a victory in five starts at The RSM Classic. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
As it will for the fifth consecutive year, The RSM Classic wraps the fall portion of the 2019-20 season. That means that this is the last Fantasy Insider until Tuesday, Dec. 31. Thus the listing of all birthdays in the interim at the bottom.
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf for which the tournament marks the end of Segment 1, ShotLink will not be used because only the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort is lasered. This is the procedure for all tournaments that use multiple courses.
As noted in the Rules, the bonus points for low round and second-lowest round are determined by aggregate scoring. It's a key factor this week because Seaside is a par 70 with two par 5s and the Plantation Course is a par 72 with the full complement of four par 5s. (Each of the 156 entrants will play Plantation once before the 36-hole cut.)
Conventional wisdom encourages gamers to lean on golfers cycling through Plantation what with twice as many eagle opportunities and a greater chance for momentum to build. The unknown is how the renovated Plantation Course will play. It's been open for only five weeks, so the greens are likely to have some spring to them. The threat of rain doesn't enter the equation until after the cut, so it should play similarly in each of the first two rounds.
To use last year as a guide – pre-renovation on Plantation, remember – both courses surrendered close to an equal number of sub-70s, not enough to dissuade you from investing in whomever you want on either course.
In the first round, Plantation yielded 25 sub-70s to Seaside's 19. In the second round, there were 39 sub-70s on Plantation and 38 on Seaside. As sample sizes go, that's incredibly even at 64-57.
Focusing only on 67s and lower, there were 23 on Plantation and 20 on Seaside. The lowest score submitted was a 63, achieved twice and only on Seaside in the second round (Cameron Champ and Jason Gore). Go figure.
In terms of aggregate scoring on the whole, Seaside averaged 70.52 in the first two rounds. Plantation came in just under that at 70.45. So, while scoring in relation to par was much easier on the par 72, that distinct difference isn't felt in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. And with the mystery of how Plantation will score in his debut as a renovation, consider no more than a blend of talent if not a stack on Seaside. The reverse advice was extended last year. It didn't hurt but it didn't matter, either. We've learned from it.
Looking past The RSM Classic, I will return for full-field Power Rankings of the Hero World Challenge in two weeks and the Presidents Cup the week after that. Our annual Top 30 series also will launch in December. It will include fresh contributions from numerous writers, including yours truly.
Until we connect again on New Year's Eve for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, thank you for your loyalty to my work and this website. Thanks to all who contribute to the weekly conversations. May you have the happiest and healthiest of holidays!
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for The RSM Classic (in alphabetical order):
Charles Howell III
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Dominic Bozzelli; Lanto Griffin; Brian Harman; Adam Long; Denny McCarthy; Alex Noren; Scottie Scheffler
Power Rankings Wild Card
Chris Kirk … As a former winner (2013) and veteran of all of the previous nine editions of The RSM Classic, it'd have made sense for him to return to action this week. Instead, he got back after it at Mayakoba and hung up a T33 while ranking T9 in greens hit. While every personal challenge is beyond the comprehension of the person afflicted, it's worth the utilitarian reminder that his time away from the game had zero to do with injury or anything affecting his swing. So, if he's a free agent in your season-long game and you're weighed down by an injury or total loss of form, the time to hop aboard the 34-year-old is now.
Adam Hadwin … This is his first start since being selected as a captain's pick for the Presidents Cup, so The RSM Classic presents the chance to stay warm before heading to Australia. He opened the season with a runner-up finish at Silverado and a T4 TPC Summerlin. Still known as a terrific putter, but his ball-striking is vastly underrated. Superb complementary material in DFS.
Austin Cook … It'd be tough to roster him in any format other than fractionally in DFS because he misses too many cuts, but Sea Island has been a jackpot. He prevailed a rookie two years ago and finished T11 in his title defense. He also has a pair of top-20s already this season, but he's missed the cut in his other four.
Robert Streb … A first-time winner as a first-timer at Sea Island in 2014, he's added three cuts made in four return visits. That strengthens the peace of mind locally, while his flashes of form over the last four months support it analytically. Two top-fives and another pair of top-25s on two tours in his last 10 starts. Co-led the field in greens in regulation en route to a T14 at Mayakoba.
Doc Redman … Because El Camaleón rewards talent of a certain age, I'm worried not at all that the 21-year-old missed the cut last week. Now he gets to tackle another pair of tracks that feed into his strength without the prerequisite of experience. Three of the six champions at The RSM Classic in the fall were first-timers at Sea Island, and each was a first-time winner on TOUR.
Brendan Steele … For as much as he's disappointed us over the last year and a half, there's no denying his grit. He hasn't cracked a top-20 in over eight months, but he's survived nine of his last 11 cuts. There are worse choice in whom to have faith. Should come cheap.
Boo Weekley … Don't look now but he's surging with a T21 in Houston and a T18 in Bermuda. The shorter the course, the better, so Sea Island's duo presents the opportunity to lurk on a leaderboard. He's posted two top-25s among four cuts made in seven trips. This will be the ball-striker's first appearance in three years. If only it was as much fun to shout, "Thomas Brent!"
Adam Schenk … He presented as a curiosity last season in ranking 39th in the all-around en route to his first Playoffs. While still smartest employed in full-season formats to endure the learning curve, the best feel comes with real-time investment. He finished T23 here last year and he's 4-for-7 this season with a pair of top-25s.
Mackenzie Hughes … It was a terrific story. He got married in October of 2016, and then went wire-to-wire to win The RSM Classic as a PGA TOUR rookie a month later and just days before his birthday. In his two appearance since, he's failed to break par and has missed both cuts. And after a solid comeback season in 2018-19, he's opened this season with only one cut made in five starts (T55, Houston).
Kevin Chappell … His good record at Sea Island doesn't take into account his challenges of 2019. This is just his seventh sanctioned start since returning from back surgery. He's missed only one cut but he's finished no better than T40 (Safeway). Statistically, that he's struggling so much off the tee (284th in fairways hit) and on approach (T227 in GIR) is concerning. Continue to observe only.
Joel Dahmen … He ham-and-egged his way to a T6 at Mayakoba. His short game met the challenge after averaging only 11 greens in regulation per round (to rank T72). In fact, he led the field with only 101 putts. Sea Island demands a similar path to success, so tip your visor if the magic show is allowed an encore.
J.T. Poston … He's sustained solid form since breaking through at Sedgefield in early August, but he's yet to find the touch at Sea Island where he's 0-for-3. The drought likely ends this week, but there's no urgency to reach.
Luke List … Course-history buffs who see a T13 (2016) and a T4 (2018) in his last two appearances are overlooking the fact that he arrived for both in considerably better form than he does this week. Flier at best.
Bronson Burgoon … Something will give, and it just might be his track record (1-for-3 with a T70 in 2017), but if you must, consider him only as a weapon to fend off the sharks. Three top-20s this season but almost entirely on the foundation of strong putting.
Chesson Hadley … Might be streaking again with a pair of top-25s this fall, but he hasn't found the handle at Sea Island with no better than a T32 among three cuts made in six appearances. After an even stronger start to the fall of 2018, he scored 74-70 here and missed the cut.
Si Woo Kim
Returning to Competition
Brandon Hagy … If only he'd treat every start as if it was a Korn Ferry Tour Finals event. Since securing his card for this season with a T5-T2 surge during the series three months ago, he's 0-for-5 in PGA TOUR action. His last start resulted in a withdrawal from the Houston Open due to a sore back before the second round. Although he has six starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension, he'd help his long-term cause by putting some FedExCup points on the board this week. If he doesn't, he's going to drop some 40 spots in the graduate reshuffle category. That would put a little pressure on his scheduling in the sense that he might have to be choosier than he'd like for the first few months of 2020.
Anirban Lahiri … Called it quits prior to his third round of the Bermuda Championship due to a sore rib. Had committed to Mayakoba before withdrawing early, so obviously he's week-to-week. Finished T13 in his only appearance at Sea Island in 2016, but he was in much better form and presumably better health.
Tyler McCumber … Walked off El Camaleón with a sore back during his second round on Saturday. He had missed only one of five cuts to launch his rookie season, but he's still chasing his first top-25. Leave him alone for the time being.
Vincent Whaley … The rookie is off to a rough start with only one cut made in four tries (T45, Sanderson Farms). He last played in the Houston Open where a back injury forced him to withdraw during his opening round.
Harold Varner III … Perfect in six starts this season and 49th in the FedExCup. It's to be expected. Since breaking onto the PGA TOUR in 2015-16, he's 21-for-24 with nine top-25s in the fall.
Roger Sloan … Just 2-for-6 to open his first season will status north of the reshuffle, but he's 122nd in the FedExCup on the strength of a T13 at Silverado.
John Huh … He withdrew early from the Mayakoba Golf Classic as well, so the 29-year-old will enter the holiday break with 11 starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension. He's 2-for-4 on the season but without a top-45 finish on the PGA TOUR since late January.
Hunter Mahan … With only three starts remaining on his Minor Medical Extension, there's no need to play until he's entirely confident that he'll either meet its terms or make a serious dent in them. He still needs 146.678 FedExCup points just to shore up conditional status as a contingency.
Bo Van Pelt … Hasn't appeared at Sea Island since 2011. He's returned to the PGA TOUR this season with just one cut made in five starts. While his status was extended via a medical, he's not subject to the same restriction of terms because he's burning a career earnings exemption. The medical extends the status for the entirety of the season in which he returns full-time to competition.
Power Rankings Recap – Mayakoba Golf Classic
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Billy Horschel T8
2 Charles Howell III T20
3 Harris English 5th
4 Tony Finau MC
5 Abraham Ancer T8
6 Russell Knox T33
7 Denny McCarthy T48
8 Danny Lee T26
9 Scottie Scheffler T18
10 Viktor Hovland MC
11 Keegan Bradley MC
12 Lanto Griffin T76
13 Matt Kuchar T14
14 Brian Gay T14
15 Scott Piercy T26
Wild Card Jason Day MC
Sleepers Recap – Mayakoba Golf Classic
Ryan Armour T33
Brice Garnett T11
Carlos Ortiz T2
J.J. Spaun T80
Harold Varner III T58
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
November 19 … Kyle Stanley (32); Max Homa (29)
November 20 … none
November 21 … none
November 22 … none
November 23 … Mackenzie Hughes (29)
November 24 … none
November 25 … none
November 26 … Vince Covello (37)
November 27 … none
November 28 … none
November 29 … none
November 30 … Smylie Kaufman (28)
December 1 … D.A. Points (43)
December 2 … Alex Cejka (49); Shawn Stefani (38)
December 3 … none
December 4 … Matt Every (36); Harry Higgs (28)
December 5 … Ryan Moore (37)
December 6 … none
December 7 … Luke Donald (42); Billy Horschel (33)
December 8 … Brandt Snedeker (39)
December 9 … Wyndham Clark (26)
December 10 … Brian Stuard (37); Wes Roach (31)
December 11 … none
December 12 … Nate Lashley (37)
December 13 … Rickie Fowler (31)
December 14 … Brian Gay (48)
December 15 … Sam Ryder (30)
December 16 … Trevor Immelman (40)
December 17 … Tim Clark (44)
December 18 … D.J. Trahan (39)
December 19 … none
December 20 … none
December 21 … none
December 22 … Richy Werenski (28)
December 23 … Daniel Chopra (46)
December 24 … none
December 25 … none
December 26 … none
December 27 … Charley Hoffman (43); Doc Redman (22)
December 28 … Martin Kaymer (35)
December 29 … Martin Laird (37)
December 30 … Tiger Woods (44)