Because Monday's Power Rankings slotted the entire field of 156 for the PGA Championship, this Fantasy Insider column is abridged. That said, with two golfers returning to competition after known injuries and 13 withdrawals, the digital text extends longer than anticipated.
It's a rush to judgment to classify a baker's dozen as above average because that implies that 2020 is average, which, of course, it isn't. That the PGA Championship is going to be contested at all is a testament to the governing bodies and how they collaborate. Sure, 13 automatic qualifiers won't play, but most would if not for the impact of the pandemic. In a sense, that only 13 have opted out in 2020 is impressive.
Now that you're used to a 36-hole cut of low 65 and ties for PGA TOUR events – not to mention the elimination of the 54-hole/MDF hammer – there's some confusion over the cut for the PGA Championship. It's still low 70 and ties after 36 holes. All who survive are guaranteed two more rounds. Quite simply, because the PGA of America runs the tournament, it determines the cut line. So, no change for the major.
In PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, this is our only shot to win a major, so have at it. Last week's tip was to save starts for this week and the last two events in the FedExCup Playoffs, but we play fantasy for the biggies, too. Enjoy.
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: Daniel Berger; Patrick Cantlay; Tyrrell Hatton; Rory McIlroy; Justin Rose; Charl Schwartzel; Jordan Spieth
Driving: Abraham Ancer; Daniel Berger; Patrick Cantlay; Tommy Fleetwood; Tyrrell Hatton; Dustin Johnson; Rory McIlroy; Collin Morikawa; Gary Woodland
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Nate Lashley … The 37-year-old is making his PGA Championship debut thanks to his breakthrough victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic over 13 months ago. He's been banged up all season, however. His latest malady is a sore back. It forced him to walk off Muirfield Village after completing only 13 holes (in 6-over) at the Memorial. Since a T3 in his hometown Waste Management Phoenix Open, he's 0-for-8 with two mid-tournament WDs and one early WD (Travelers).
Vaughn Taylor … For the second consecutive year, he withdrew early from the Barracuda Championship (where he's a two-time winner), but this year's early exit was due to a rib injury. Since the restart, he's just 1-for-6 with a T52 at Harbour Town. Now makes just his second appearance in the last 10 editions of the PGA Championship (2016).
Francesco Molinari … He and his family are relocating to California, and he had circled the PGA Championship as his return site post-hiatus, but he's not ready to compete.
Charles Howell III … Unspecified injury. He just finished T3 at the 3M Open, too, but gamers weren't rushing to find a way to plug him in, anyway. In 48 career starts in the majors, he has only one top 10, and that was in 2003 at the PGA Championship where he finished T10. In his last 14 starts in the majors, he has only one top-30 finish, a T25 at the 2018 U.S. Open.
Ryan Moore … So deep on the list of alternates when the preliminary field was released a week ago that he had committed to taking this week off in advance of the Wyndham Championship and FedExCup Playoffs. It's a curious decision, of course, but there's nothing normal about 2020.
Branden Grace … Tested positive for COVID-19 during the Barracuda Championship and withdrew before his third round. He sat two Modified Stableford scoring points back of Kyle Stanley at the midpoint.
J.B. Holmes … This would have been his first action since withdrawing before the second round of the Workday Charity Open on July 10 with a sore shoulder.
Padraig Harrington … Deciding to remain home in Ireland during the pandemic.
Lee Westwood … Also opted out of last week's WGC. Months ago, he made it clear that it was going to be highly unlikely that he was going to travel to the U.S. during the pandemic. Currently slated to compete in this week's English Championship instead.
Eddie Pepperell … Also withdrew after one round of last week's Hero Open, but like his fellow Brit, Westwood, Pepperell stated a while ago that he wasn't likely to make the trip.
Thomas Pieters … The former PGA TOUR member also sat out last week's WGC after having qualified via the OWGR.
Paul Waring … His PGA Championship debut remains on ice. The 35-year-old Englishman is sidelined indefinitely with a sore back.
Y.E. Yang … It's been 11 years now since he prevailed at Hazeltine. He hasn't missed an edition until now, but he's added only three paydays since, none of which for a top 35. The 48-year-old will peg it instead at the 63rd KPGA Championship. He's remained in his native South Korea since play around the world resumed.
Vijay Singh … After 27 consecutive starts in the PGA Championship, the two-time champion (1998, 2004) has withdrawn early from the last two.
John Daly … The 1991 champ explained his decision not to play on Twitter on Monday.
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-FEDEX ST. JUDE INVITATIONAL
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Justin Thomas Win
2 Jon Rahm T52
3 Bryson DeChambeau T30
4 Tyrrell Hatton T69
5 Webb Simpson T12
6 Daniel Berger T2
7 Patrick Cantlay T35
8 Xander Schauffele T6
9 Matthew Fitzpatrick T6
10 Collin Morikawa T20
11 Rory McIlroy T47
12 Viktor Hovland T59
13 Jason Day T6
14 Tony Finau T65
15 Billy Horschel T25
16 Ian Poulter T69
17 Tommy Fleetwood T35
18 Patrick Reed T47
19 Matthew Wolff T49
20 Michael Thompson T57
Wild Card Rickie Fowler T15
SLEEPERS RECAP – WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-FEDEX ST. JUDE INVITATIONAL
Joel Dahmen T20
Mackenzie Hughes T44
Matt Jones T59
Robert MacIntyre T59
Shaun Norris T75
POWER RANKINGS RECAP – BARRACUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Ryan Moore T12
2 Patrick Rodgers T19
3 Brendan Steele T53
4 Emiliano Grillo T9
5 Cameron Davis T32
6 Richy Werenski Win
7 Alex Noren T9
8 Scott Stallings T5
9 Si Woo Kim T41
10 Maverick McNealy 7th
OTHERS TO CONSIDER RECAP – BARRACUDA CHAMPIONSHIP
MJ Daffue MC
Brandon Harkins MC
Pat Perez 18th
Nick Watney MC
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE GOLFERS ON THE PGA TOUR
August 4 … none
August 5 … Patrick Reed (30)
August 6 … none
August 7 … Andrew Landry (33)
August 8 … Webb Simpson (35)
August 9 … none
August 10 … Michael Gellerman (28)