So much going on right now. From this week's doubleheader to the field filling at the PGA Championship, it's enough to help you forget that there were three months without any action not long ago.
On top of all of it, early on Tuesday the PGA TOUR announced that it fortified its relationship with DraftKings.
It was in 2012 when I first start contributing analysis, insight and opinion for "weekly salary leaguers." The ground swell was real and it was vast. The vibrations reflected the rocket ship that was humming on the launch pad. Now, here we are eight years later and DK now is the Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR. What a time to be alive.
Of course, PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf continues to simmer. The World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational opens Segment 4. The home stretch includes only six tournaments, but half will not have a cut. That includes this week's stop at TPC Southwind.
Front-runners are likely to keep even the nearest in pursuit at an arm's reach since no one will swallow any zeroes. If you're one of them, consider exploiting your bench as a place for a pair to pounce in the final round should either be in contention. In the meantime, just ride your starters in each of the first three rounds as a defensive measure. Even if you love to play aggressively, you won't be able to step on throats until Sunday, anyway.
Those of us in pursuit are benefited by the promise of the ownership dispersion in this deep field of 78. You might not narrow your deficit by much, but it'll be more fun to have a chance with a sixsome that your target is unlikely to roster. We'll lean on the chalk at the PGA Championship.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (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; Rory McIlroy; Shaun Norris; Patrick Reed; Webb Simpson; Justin Thomas
Driving: Abraham Ancer; Patrick Cantlay; Bryson DeChambeau; Tommy Fleetwood; Viktor Hovland; Jon Rahm; Webb Simpson; Gary Woodland
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Rickie Fowler … Slides into his spot solely for the purposes of a sharper focus. It's been a minute since I recall relying on him to contribute and he's played in only one WGC since the start of the 2018-19 season. Both of his cuts made in five events in the restart went for a top 25. No cut this week is a net-positive in relation to the field for the 31-year-old.
Gary Woodland … Went T5-T22 in the "Dublin-header." Ideal complement in every format.
Jordan Spieth … Still grinding. En route to a T13 at Memorial (after missing the cut at the Workday), he ranked eighth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green essentially on guile and moxie. Ideal for chasers.
Chez Reavie … From 2013-2018 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he went 4-for-4 with a pair of top 10s and a T12. He also placed T27 here last year. Now he struts in on the shoulders of a pair of top 25s. Even mildly savvy DFSers can't miss him, but he'll be affordable.
Abraham Ancer … He's taken to the WGCs nicely. Finished T4 and T12 in the first two this season. He's also reopened 2019-20 by going T14-2nd-T11-T58. Not a stranger to TPC Southwind, either, as he's 1-for-2 with a T18 in 2016.
Kevin Kisner … Relished the WGCs. Bolsters every lineup.
Brooks Koepka … The defending champion can't silence the doubt that his left knee is a bigger bother than he'd ever concede. Even gamers in pursuit don't need to consider with buckets of value across the field.
Phil Mickelson … A sparkling record at TPC Southwind couldn't will him to better than a solo 57th-place finish last year. Despite vintage form at times recently, he's a trap due to ongoing inconsistency.
Marc Leishman … Finished third here last year and his class is permanent, but he's gone MC-T58-MC-T40 in the restart. Be careful.
Hideki Matsuyama … This might be a first. Relatively speaking, he's scuffling. Debuted at TPC Southwind with a T43 last year. Reserved only for chasers in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.
Henrik Stenson … First action since THE PLAYERS was canceled. Leaked oil in his first four starts of 2020. Generally speaking, he rarely lets us down and he can pop at any time, but the smart play is to see what he has now, and then consider plugging him in at TPC Harding Park. At 211th in the FedExCup, there's no point to saving starts on the Swede, anyway.
Matt Wallace … Fresh off a T4 at the Memorial, but he's yet to perform in the WGCs. No top 25s in six tries. Contrarian special.
Byeong Hun An
RETURNING TO COMPETITION – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-FEDEX ST. JUDE INVITATIONAL
Dustin Johnson … At least, let's hope so. After a pair of 80s at the Memorial, he withdrew following an opening 78 at the 3M Open. A sore back was the culprit. It's a sudden and stunning turn of events given that he just prevailed at the Travelers. Now we're faced with the fact that he's a two-time winner at TPC Southwind, including in its last spin as host of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. PGA TOUR Fantasy gamers are wise to open with him on the bench in case he contends on Sunday. DFSers are keen to invest fractionally in a deep field.
Brandt Snedeker … He was a late scratch before the Memorial due to a sore back. Veteran gamers know that he's been banged up more than most over the years, but he's also proven to rebound exceptionally in a short period of time. Still, leave him alone at TPC Southwind as he's 1-for-4 in the restart. Contrarians don't mind that this is a home-state start for the native of Nashville.
Jason Kokrak … No word as to why he withdrew after an opening 79 at Memorial, but it's good news to his investors that he's ready to give it a go with the promise of 72 holes in Memphis. That said, he's 0-for-4 since a T3 at Colonial.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION – BARRACUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
Chris Stroud … Withdrew during the second round of the 3M Open. An explanation wasn't released. Suffice it to say that he'll miss Montrêux G&CC. It's the site of his only PGA TOUR victory (2017), which he chased with a T7 and a T15, respectively.
Tyler McCumber … Called it quits at the turn in his opening round at TPC Twin Cities due to an injured leg. After a T20 at the Puerto Rico Open, he's gone 0-for-7. That includes one start on the Korn Ferry Tour.
David Berganio, Jr. … For all intents and purposes, the last we heard from him, he had withdrawn early from the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic because of travel complications. That opened the door for Nate Lashley to gain entry as the last man in the field. Of course, Lashley went on to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR. Now 51 years of age, DBJ is making the penultimate start via a medical extension dating back to time missed in 2009. For a long time, he believed to have a back injury, but it was a hip injury that went misdiagnosed.
NOTABLE WDs – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-FEDEX ST. JUDE INVITATIONAL
Tiger Woods … Finished T40 at the Memorial in his only live action of the restart. Committed to returning at the PGA Championship.
Justin Rose … No stranger to sitting out a WGC now and then. Another week off in advance of a flurry of intense competition caters to the less-is-more approach.
Adam Scott … No surprise. He made it known weeks ago that he was going to slow-play his return to the U.S. Planning to be back at the PGA Championship.
Francesco Molinari … Relocating to California. It's convenient timing ahead of his return at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.
Lee Westwood … Telegraphed his concern to travel months ago but didn't officially withdraw until Sunday. He's also taking a pass on next week's PGA Championship.
Shugo Imahira … No doubt personally disappointing to take a pass on this week's WGC and next week's PGA Championship. The Order of Merit leader in the last two seasons on the Japan Golf Tour vowed to improve on his 0-for-4 in the majors in 2019.
NOTABLE WDs – BARRACUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
Sebastián Muñoz … Poised for his PGA Championship debut next week, but he's struggled since play resumed. Just 2-for-6 with one top 45 in the restart.
Cameron Tringale … Gained entry into the PGA Championship on Monday.
Harry Higgs … The rookie has nothing about which to complain despite a cool restart. He's 62nd in the FedExCup and will be taking his first week off since the hiatus. It'll stretch into a fortnight because he fell short of qualifying for the PGA Championship.
Brice Garnett … The compressed schedule benefits the absence of a leaderboard appearance. Overall, he's 9-for-17 with five top 25s and 102nd in the FedExCup. He's one of 10 without a top-10 finish and inside the top 125 in points.
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – 3M OPEN
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Harris English T18
2 Matthew Wolff T12
3 Dustin Johnson WD
4 Tony Finau T3
5 Tommy Fleetwood MC
6 Charley Hoffman MC
7 Henrik Norlander T23
8 Lucas Glover MC
9 Erik van Rooyen MC
10 Luke List T32
11 Russell Henley MC
12 Doc Redman MC
13 Patrick Rodgers T32
14 Will Gordon MC
15 Charles Howell III T3
Wild Card Brooks Koepka MC
SLEEPERS RECAP – 3M OPEN
Ryan Armour MC
Sam Burns T32
Ben Martin MC
Seamus Power MC
Kristoffer Ventura MC
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE GOLFERS ON THE PGA TOUR
July 28 … Frank Lickliter II (51); Will Gordon (24)
July 29 … Harrison Frazar (49)
July 30 … Graeme McDowell (41); Justin Rose (40)
July 31 … none
August 1 … none
August 2 … Jonathan Kaye (50); Brian Davis (46)
August 3 … Omar Uresti (52)