There's confusion on the street regarding the turnover in the field of 156 at the 3M Open. That's a good sign because it means that newer gamers have noticed. Quite simply, they're (you're?) experiencing an important checkpoint on the learning curve.
The tournament lands immediately before the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship set to be contested in consecutive weeks. Because of the timing of the 3M Open and its commitment deadline occurring on the Friday of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, golfers who are on the bubble to qualify for either of the next two events need to take care of the administrative duty first. How things shake out on the weekend then can determine whether to remain committed to the 3M Open.
The world of qualifiers and commitments is a living, breathing thing. It's never static. In fact, when deadlines to become eligible for a WGC, a major or another stop that carries a significance to the golfer who'd rather rest and prepare for it instead of what's immediately in front of him, it should be expected that turnover will occur. You'll see it annually immediately after the sectional qualifiers for the U.S. Open are held, especially.
Because all decisions are golfer-specific, I try to speculate conservatively as to why some golfers withdraw early in NOTABLE WDs in every Fantasy Insider, when applicable. So, while you file away motivations not to play, scroll to that section below for more analysis on the early WDs from the 3M Open.
Meanwhile, this is the last of the seven tournaments in Segment 3 of PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. No matter my analysis and opinion of the notables in the field, if you're chasing, consider doubling down on last week's strategy as I described it on the "Talk of the TOUR" podcast with John Swantek.
Not unlike how full-season salary gamers hold their breath late in the season for a household name enduring a substandard season not to find form and ruin plans to buy him at a bargain for the following season, those same guys worry front-runners in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf as we approach the finish line. League leaders unlikely will roster anyone who isn't in form and/or possesses convincing course history.
Last week's smattering of golfers who fit the profile included Jason Day (T4), Matt Wallace (T4), Kevin Na (ninth), Jordan Spieth (T13), Si Woo Kim (T18) and Scottie Scheffler (T22). All were contrarians in their own way, and all would have benefited gamers in pursuit in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.
With that approach in mind, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey should be rostered at TPC Twin Cities regardless of how you think any will perform.
A short note/reminder about next week: In addition to the usual slate of preview material for the WGC, I'll have a stand-alone Power Rankings for the Barracuda Championship. However, only the WGC contributes to PGA TOUR Fantasy.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the 3M Open (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Sam Burns; Charley Hoffman; Brooks Koepka; Seamus Power; Erik van Rooyen; Kristoffer Ventura
Driving: Paul Casey; Henrik Norlander; Doc Redman; Jhonattan Vegas; Kristoffer Ventura; Bubba Watson
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Brooks Koepka … Just because he said that his left knee doesn't warrant an excuse for his inconsistency throughout 2020 doesn't mean that it hasn't affected his play. He said the right thing as the competitor that he is, but we don't have to buy it. Those factors coexist all the time when we're making our decisions. While his class is permanent, if you invest only in hope, then you should be chasing. That's an acceptable game plan given where we are in the season.
Paul Casey … If I ever was going to add a Wild Card for any tournament, it'd make sense for him at the 3M Open. Uncharacteristically non-impactful during the restart even though he signed for a quartet of sub-70s at TPC River Highlands and settled for a T32 on that racetrack. He also was among the throng of victims in the second round of the Memorial where he missed the cut by one despite a quintuple bogey-8 on the 12th hole in the second round. It's never worth assigning opinion to one hole because that's golf, so continue to believe in his cachet because he'll turn it around sooner than later.
Bubba Watson … The lefty is among the 10 in the field who haven't rested in the restart. En route to a T32 at the Memorial, his tee-to-green game was dialed in. He also ranked T8 in par-5 scoring. Not unlike Colonial (where he placed T7), TPC Twin Cities favors the long ball that isn't wasted. Not only should he enjoy it in his tournament debut, you also should make room on your bench in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf for the "just in case."
Chris Kirk … Tripped up in the finale of the RMC to fade from T4 to T21, and then started poorly at the Workday before a mild rebound en route to missing that cut. It's all part of the process of the return to the PGA TOUR for the 35-year-old. Keep the faith because he does. And he's only one month removed from victory at The King & Bear Classic at World Golf Village.
Pat Perez … As long as he continues to make most cuts, he's worth every dollar in DFS despite the absence of a top-35 finish in 2020.
Derek Ernst … Because he finished a respective T10, T12 and T5 in as many consecutive weeks on the Korn Ferry Tour this month, he'll be over-owned in DFS. That's not a sentence anyone expected to read when we entered July, and I didn't anticipate writing it until today. Gotta love this game, but even though he's a Draw on form, he's a smarter no-play in all circumstances. Roll the dice on allowing your opposition wishing it didn't. Crazy, but true.
Brian Harman … Placed T7 here last year with a balanced attack, but he arrives having missed three straight cuts for the first time since the spring of 2019 when he was scrambling for form. He'd find it in time for a T8 at the Travelers two weeks before the inaugural 3M. It's the reverse trend in his return.
Ryan Moore … A T40 at the Memorial was his first cut made in four starts post-hiatus. At 102nd in the FedExCup, he's not in jeopardy of missing the Playoffs, but the 37-year-old is experiencing his worst season on TOUR.
Vaughn Taylor … Can't find any traction in the restart. Just 1-for-5 with a T52 at Harbour Town, but 59th in the FedExCup.
Emiliano Grillo … Still waiting for the putter to show up. Since the restart, he's just 2-for-6 and without a top 35.
Alex Noren … Because his sum is greater than his parts, it's paralysis by analysis to lean on any component for the purposes of any commitment these days, but he misfired in his last two starts on tracks positioned on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of difficulty. Yet, he's 116th in the FedExCup thanks to a strong fall portion. Full-season salary gamers need to bird-dog the Swede for the remainder. If he emerges from conditional status to regain his full card and for a loaded 2020-21, he's going to be an automatic buy.
Bernd Wiesberger … The 34-year-old Austrian never has been a PGA TOUR member, but his record over time reflects a shortage of leaderboard appearances that have defined many a talent international member who has struggled to retain footing in the U.S. With last week's missed cut at the Memorial, he's made 50 starts covering the nine five seasons and he remains stuck on one top 10, and that was in China (T9, 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions). He's also managed only 11 top 25s (an average of one for every fifth start). Since a T24 at the 2018 Masters, he's finished outside the top 30 in five consecutive TOUR starts. Now, if he impresses in his 3M Open debut, consider piggybacking it and him in the no-cut WGC-St. Jude next week. Unless he wins a TOUR event, he's not eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs, so he could present as a valuable spot-start at TPC Southwind. First things first, however.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Danny Lee … Called it quits during his second round of the Memorial due to an ankle injury. Just 1-for-5 in the restart with a T70 at Harbour Town, it's a significant departure from his success pre-hiatus. Still 46th in the FedExCup. Hard to believe he'll finally turn 30 years of age this Friday.
Cameron Percy … Walked off Muirfield Village during his second round of the Workday Charity Open with an injured rib. The veteran of 150 PGA TOUR starts never has finished inside the top 125 of the FedExCup, but he's within striking distance at 137th in his debut at the 3M Open.
Chad Campbell … He was first alternate for the Rocket Mortgage Classic when he learned that he tested positive for COVID-19. The 46-year-old is on Past Champion status. He's 1-for-7 on the season (T9, Houston).
Brendon Todd … This decision enhances the opportunity to focus of his 35th birthday on Wednesday. He'll have many reasons to enjoy it personally and professionally. Since his last birthday, he's regained his PGA TOUR card, won in consecutive starts in the fall and made a spirited run at a third title this season at the Travelers Championship. Currently ninth in the FedExCup standings.
Corey Conners … A T22 at Memorial was his third top 25 of the restart. It also made him a virtual lock to qualify for next week's World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. So, he'll rest ahead of hoping to improve on a T27 at TPC Southwind last year.
Nick Taylor … He's been selective about his commitments post-hiatus, but he'll play in consecutive weeks with the WGC-St. Jude and PGA Championship on deck and in the hole, respectively.
Mackenzie Hughes … Golf's version of three true outcomes. It's fine for him but it's aggravating for all gamers except those in deeper full-season formats. Just 7-for-17 on the season and with only three top-45 finishes, but they were a runner-up (Honda), a T3 (Travelers) and a T6 (Memorial). He's 44th in the FedExCup and on the bubble to get into the WGC-St. Jude.
Carlos Ortiz … Some early WDs sting more than others. This is one of them. He finished T5 at TPC Twin Cities last year and he's scuffled in the restart (3-for-5, no top 30s), so the angle was that he'd reconnect with better form where the vibes are positive. So it goes. Currently 38th in the FedExCup in his breakout season, albeit still sans a victory on the PGA TOUR.
Jason Kokrak … Withdrew from the Memorial after an opening 79. An explanation wasn't released. Since a T3 at Colonial, he's 0-for-4 with only two red numbers in seven rounds. Safe at 88th in the FedExCup, however.
Mark Hubbard … Taking his first week off of the restart. He went 5-for-6 with a T12 in Detroit and sits 37th in the FedExCup.
Grayson Murray … He had been hoping to get back to action since a sore lower back forced him to withdraw during the second round of the Workday Charity Open, but that went by the boards when he tested positive for COVID-19.
Kevin Tway … He's missed nine consecutive cuts, including all six since play resumed, but at least he gets to celebrate his 32nd birthday on Thursday.
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Bryson DeChambeau MC
2 Collin Morikawa T48
3 Justin Thomas T18
4 Dustin Johnson MC
5 Patrick Cantlay T32
6 Webb Simpson MC
7 Viktor Hovland T48
8 Rory McIlroy T32
9 Ian Poulter MC
10 Xander Schauffele T13
11 Gary Woodland T22
12 Kevin Streelman T54
13 Jon Rahm Win
14 Tiger Woods T40
15 Hideki Matsuyama MC
Wild Card Jason Day T4
SLEEPERS RECAP – MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE
Lucas Glover T38
Troy Merritt MC
Andy Ogletree MC
Doc Redman MC
Matthias Schwab MC
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE GOLFERS ON THE PGA TOUR
July 21 … Robert Gamez (52); Paul Casey (43)
July 22 … Brendon Todd (35); David Lingmerth (33)
July 23 … Boo Weekley (47); Kevin Tway (32); Harris English (31); Kiradech Aphibarnrat (31); Sam Burns (24)
July 24 … Danny Lee (30)
July 25 … Bo Hoag (32); Nelson Ledesma (30)
July 26 … Tim Wilkinson (42)
July 27 … Jordan Spieth (27)