Fantasy Insider: Butterfield Bermuda Championship
October 26, 2021
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Lucas Herbert. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that one of my usages for the platform is to alert followers of all field changes. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, I have you covered in the ROB BOLTON TWITTERFEED on the FANTASY PAGE of this website. If you don’t care for all things Twitter, you are my hero, but at least you can review notable withdrawals in this weekly column.
Twitter followers have been agog about the movement for this week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship, but when you scroll to NOTABLE WDs below, you’ll see “only” seven golfers listed with comments beside each. So, you may be wondering why there aren’t more.
As of Tuesday, the field at Port Royal stands at 127. The tournament reserves space for 132, so the entirety of eligible members have made a choice to play or to rest.
This tournament originally was scheduled as a 120-man additional event contested concurrently with the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. However, on Aug. 31, it was announced that the WGC in China was canceled for the second consecutive season due to the pandemic.
This lifted the stop in Bermuda to stand-alone status awarding the full complement of FedExCup points (e.g., 500 to the winner), space for another 12 golfers and an invitation into the 2022 Masters. That promotion eliminated the possibility for the non-winners who finished 151-200 in the 2020-21 FedExCup to line up as alternates because that provision is utilized only in opposite events.
Bermuda is a British Territory with unique protocol concerning COVID-19. I’m not an expert on the machinations that go into all of the decisions, timing and other influences, but it can’t be ruled out as a factor for the construct of the field. A similar argument could’ve been waged at last week’s ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, but it hosted only 78 golfers and it was an invitational that included 18 full-time members of the Japan Golf Tour, so we didn’t have a chance to feel the same reaction.
Of those who competed at Narashino, nine appeared in the original field in Bermuda. Brendon Todd was the first to withdraw early. Lanto Griffin and Adam Schenk followed, but at noted in the final paragraph of the Power Rankings, there still are six who made the long trip from Japan. (Takumi Kanaya finished T7 at Narashino, and he was in the Bermuda field briefly via the top-10 exemption, but he has since withdrawn.) By comparison, and ironically as it were, last year when the ZOZO was contested at Sherwood Country Club in California, only Todd played both the ZOZO and in Bermuda (where he was the defending champion).
That leaves Lucas Glover, Cameron Young, Paul Barjon and Bo Van Pelt as notable early WDs who didn’t play the ZOZO. If you don’t want to rule out the impact of the COVID-19 protocol, then at least consider them generally as customary turnover in any given week.
All of the other 16 early WDs are on Past Champion status, but 13 started the week as an alternate, anyway, and another three withdrew as alternates before gaining entry. None likely would have had your attention in any fantasy pursuit, so all are omitted below.
While Bermuda isn’t an opposite event again this year, it’s not unusual for golfers deep in the pecking order to pass on a spot in an opposite event in a remote location. Wrangling eligible members to fill of field of even 120 is challenging enough that it was one of the reasons why opposite events were reduced to that size in 2019-20, only to be expanded again last season to increase playing time lost after the three-month shutdown in 2020.
Shifting the focus to the fantasy impact, Port Royal is situated an hour ahead of Eastern Time Zone. So, the first threesomes off both tees will be going out at 7:35 a.m. local time. That’s 6:35 a.m. ET and 3:35 a.m. on the West Coast. It’s not as dramatic a shift as the 13-hour difference in Japan last week, but it’s still early enough on Thursday to lock in your rosters on Wednesday night..
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Lucas Herbert (+6600) … It’s been a wild few months for the 25-year-old Aussie. After consecutive top 20s in the U.S. in June, he prevailed at the Irish Open and finished T4 in a much deeper field at the Scottish Open (which, of course, now is an official PGA TOUR event). A successful Korn Ferry Tour Finals experience yielded his first PGA TOUR card, but he’s debuted as a member with a pair of missed cuts. On cachet alone, he deserves considerable attention if for no other reason than to learn how he performs in these conditions, but it’s the conditions that might make him feel at home. Strong value.
Joseph Bramlett (+5000)… Although he doesn’t profile to make much noise on a short track that demands precision, he adapted with strong iron play and cashed in each of the first two editions of the tournament. His confidence also still should be soaring as the winner of the KFT Championship and into a status exempt from the reorders.
Ryan Armour (+5000)… The 45-year-old has conditional status this season, so he’s going to present best as a spot-starter. This is one of them. With a pair of T8s and a scoring average of 67.75 at Port Royal, and as one of the most accurate off the tee, his skill set is built for the place, especially when the wind blows, which is will considerably.
David Hearn (+10000)… He owns the identical record as Ryan Armour at Port Royal. The Canadian’s form has been lacking for quite some time, but the same thing could’ve been stated here a year ago. Bottom line, I tend to trust grizzled veterans of a certain age when conditions require patience and experience, and especially on tracks where they’ve already proved that we should. Consider both for DFS.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Hank Lebioda (+4000)… Cannot dismiss his terrific record at Port Royal – T3 in 2019, T16 in 2020, 67.75 scoring average – but he’s 0-for-4 since exiting the 3M Open to be with his father who suddenly was seriously ill. So, if you must, sprinkle fractionally into DFS. It’d be a timely experiment if you care more for form over course history in general, but never forget that it’s always golfer-specific.
Kramer Hickok (+6600)… He’s one of the six who traveled from Japan, and healthy 29-year-olds tend to recover faster than normal, but this essentially is the same message as Lebioda’s, albeit for a different reason. Hickok has a T15 (2019) and a T8 (2020) at Port Royal, and his scoring average is 68 in those eight rounds, but he’s also gone cold since losing in the playoff at TPC River Highlands. If you’re going to lean in on either of these guys, limit your investment to one and flip a coin.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Seung-Yul Noh … Walked off TPC Summerlin during his second round of the Shriners three weeks ago. An explanation wasn’t released. A rib injury knocked him out of the Wells Fargo in early May, he didn’t return until the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and didn’t finish among the top 25. Now 0-for-3 this season, he has 13 starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension, but he shouldn’t be owned in any format.
Arjun Atwal … Although the one-time PGA TOUR winner doesn’t play much via Past Champion status, it’s notable that he had to withdraw during the second round of the Barbasol Championship due to a sore back. He cashed once in eight starts last season and he hasn’t bettered a T41 at Port Royal in 2019 anywhere since.
Brendon Todd … The faithful continue to hold collective breath. When he appeared to defend his title last year, he was 41st in the Official World Golf Ranking. Today, he’s 100th after a long, slow slide.
Lanto Griffin … With a T18 in the inaugural edition in 2019 and top 10s in his last two starts this season, he’d have been a popular investment, but it’s sensible to opt for rest after the trip to Japan given the early foundation.
Lucas Glover … His Bermuda debut will wait for another time. Since winning the John Deere Classic, he’s 5-for-8 but without a top-35 finish.
Adam Schenk … Settled for a T28 at Narashino with an up-and-down performance, but he’s golden for a while with a T3 at TPC Summerlin in the bank.
Cameron Young … Just 1-for-3 in his rookie season but a T2 at the Sanderson Farms Championship will buoy him for months.
Paul Barjon … According to Thierry David of Canal+ in France on Twitter, and per Twitter’s translation from French, “Paul has not received permission to leave US soil for Bermuda.”
Bo Van Pelt … With Derek Ernst (who also withdrew early) and Andres “Half Man, Half Amazing” Gonzales, Van Pelt is part of my birthday foursome (May 16). It’s been a minute since I’ve had reason to write in any length about any of my, er, those guys, but here we are. BVP missed the cut in both prior trips to Bermuda and he’s 0-for-2 to start this season. The 46-year-old has conditional status in 2021-22 but limit him to spot-starts because he’s not going to be play as often as he probably would prefer.
RECAPS – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Xander Schauffele T28
2 Collin Morikawa T7
3 Hideki Matsuyama Win
4 Will Zalatoris T54
5 Rickie Fowler T44
6 C.T. Pan T57
7 Jhonattan Vegas T54
8 Tommy Fleetwood T7
9 Joaquin Niemann T28
10 Ryosuke Kinoshita T66
11 Takumi Kanaya T7
12 Keegan Bradley T7
13 Harry Higgs T39
14 Cameron Tringale T2
15 Maverick McNealy T25
Wild Card Erik van Rooyen T48
Golfer (GolfBet prop) Result
Sung Kang (top 20) T48
Chan Kim (top 20) T15
Shaun Norris (top 20) T39
Tomoharu Otsuki (top 20) T35
Scott Vincent (top 20) T66
OUTRIGHT: Hideki Matsuyama (+1200) Win
PROP: Xander Schauffele Top 10 (-130) T28
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
October 26 … none
October 27 … Fabián Gómez (43)
October 28 … none
October 29 … none
October 30 … none
October 31 … none
November 1 … none