Suffice it to say that fantasy doesn’t have a seat at the table when determining the offseason! Oh, that’s been a common quip if not a lament since the wraparound concept was introduced in 2013, but the squeeze to wrap and prep seasons in a fortnight is, indeed, real. Gamers who like to include every official tournament need to be organized and efficient. Hopefully, you’ll agree that my annual full-membership fantasy ranking achieves both objectives.
Due of its comprehensiveness, it can be easier to frame what this isn’t. First, it’s not a Power Rankings. I’ll reserve those for the tournaments themselves. This also isn’t any kind of prediction. Rather, this draft guide is a subjective compilation of full-season fantasy value influenced by, in part, status, entry into lucrative events and total starts. On the whole, it’s always easier to retain fully exempt status than it is to capture it, so there is a general tilt toward golfers north of the Web.com Tour graduate reshuffle in the priority rankings who begin the marathon with a sprint to the holiday break when the first reorder occurs.
Almost all golfers through the Non-exempt Medical Extensions in the overall pecking order are included. Life member Tom Watson is not, nor is PGA Professional National champion Rich Berberian, Jr., who is allowed six exemptions. Meanwhile, all non-members inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking through Oct. 2 are slotted. For all golfers, unless otherwise specified, assume that status is exempt from the graduate reshuffle.
Unlike fantasy drafts in other sports where checklists are handy, full-season gamers need to remain fluid for building rosters in golf. You could probably mount a team headlined by a couple of heavyweights on the PGA TOUR, and then surround them with notable international talent. However, because the shortage of playing time (due to limited and rationed scheduling among golfers who could be categorized as such) will catch up with you in the long haul, and because you’d need just about everyone to play to his ceiling to contend, diversity is not only a more conservative philosophy, it’s the smartest. Also like in any other fantasy sport, experienced gamers know when there’s a separation between tiers during drafts, but it can be relative based on your house provisions and competition. Size up owners ahead and behind you to fine-tune your decisions in real time.
There isn’t a season that goes by in which TOUR changes don’t have fantasy implications. There are three of note as the 2016-17 season approaches the first tee:
• Only FedExCup points are now used in establishing the top 125 at the conclusion of the season. Earnings will still be measured, so salary gamers can exhale, but keeper leaguers can ignore the money.
• A PGA TOUR member will be required to play in at least one tournament in which he hasn’t competed in the last four seasons. Golfers who totaled at least 25 starts in the previous or current season are exempt from this requirement. Majors, World Golf Championships, THE PLAYERS and the FedExCup Playoffs are excluded from the options.
• Amateurs will now be counted when determining cuts of the low 70 and ties after both 36 and 54 holes. This will be aggravating news for DFSers probably at least once this season.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf returns for its third season. The most significant modification concerns the distribution of tournaments in each of the four segments. Instead of a balanced schedule, Segment 1 will consist only of six weeks during the fall portion of the season. The remaining three segments will include 13, 12 and 12 tournaments, respectively. The WGC-Dell Match Play in March will feature a stand-alone game. For the fantasy schedule and everything else related to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, visit FantasyGolf.PGATOUR.COM. It’s free to play and the prizes are terrific.
Coming new to PGATOUR.COM in January is a one-and-done game. It will also be free to play. We’ll release more about it in the coming weeks. It will sync naturally with our dedicated content to that format every Wednesday. For it and all other fantasy coverage, visit PGATOUR.COM/Fantasy or navigate the MENU at the top of most pages.
While it toys with our timetables, the benefit of a short offseason is that what we learned in 2015-16 should be still be fresh. Yet, for validation, reminders and advice, bookmark this beast and check back whenever needed. Thanks!