There have been numerous instances this year when I've been classified as, for lack of a better description, a defendant of FedExCup points as the preferred measurement in a One & Done. In fact, I'm a proponent of either points or earnings as long as you trust your platform and commissioner. But obviously, since PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO uses only FedExCup points to measure performance, it's the game at PGATOUR.COM and I'm the fantasy columnist for the website, well, all one needs to do is connect the dots to understand my primary position.
However, what may have been overlooked in my full-membership fantasy ranking before the season or simply gone unknown to anyone resisting shifting to FedExCup points is that earnings will no longer be used to determine PGA TOUR status beginning in 2017-18. Of course, prize money will be tracked and distributed despite the elimination of its influence, but the evolution away from it should generate philosophical conversation in your private league about why you'd continue to use it as your measurement. Purists will acknowledge that earnings was used in the first place because it once was the only statistic that determined PGA TOUR status. So, if you continue to use earnings, you'll be using a measurement that no longer has relevance in reality.
All of that may come across as propaganda from a soapbox, but I assure you that it is not, for this is the week when I'd love to be banking earnings instead of FedExCup points.
The U.S. Open at Erin Hills boasts a record purse of $12 million. The winner will received $2.16 million (the usual cut of 18 percent). If you're in an earnings-based league, it likely has a couple of bottom-feeders gone dormant who haven't even totaled what the 117th champion of the season's second major will be depositing into his account.
Money leagues have three monsters from which to choose. In this order, defending champion Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day present the strongest offense in the context of your objective. They are the most dynamic fits for Erin Hills who are already proven. If none is available to you, you should have planned better for the potential windfall, but given how the first five months of 2017 unraveled for both McIlroy and Day, the odds are pretty good that at least one is at your disposal.
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO, then you understand that its selection process requires finesse. Since the Playoffs essentially quadruple FedExCup points earned, anchoring your season as I am – McIlroy-Day-DJ, in that order – is a strategy rich in insurance all the while you position yourself to accumulate what you can along the way.
This is why I'm pushing Rickie Fowler out there at the U.S. Open. The winner will receive 600 FedExCup points. By comparison, a three-way T3 in a Playoffs event is worth 580 points, which means there's a margin of error for the big boys in that series. Fowler will resonate as a short-lister again only at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, but with no cut and another deep field at our fingertips in that event, he's worth the plunge now.
I wouldn't pretend to steer you away from the trio for whom the case is open-and-shut for money leaguers, but have a plan for the Playoffs regardless of your decision.
The next tier for PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO gamers includes, in no particular order this time, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott. You could get away in abstaining from Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner and Jason Dufner, but I'd still circle Rahm or Dufner if either is available and you're in a pinch.
Jordan Spieth is the really interesting piece on the board. A top 10 is all but a given, but we expect a top five from him with the opportunity to pick off a win. As a scorer on a par 72 with room to spray it a bit off the tee, there's really nothing not to love about his fit. That's multiplied since he's regained form since going back to his old putter. If I didn't burn him at the Masters (with similar thinking, not to mention his phenomenal record at Augusta National), he'd be my guy at Erin Hills.
While the field is sprinkled with value all over the place, two-man gamers should focus on an international non-member as the tail of your tandem. Consider Thomas Pieters, Lee Westwood or Ross Fisher. Shane Lowry is a PGA TOUR member, but go ahead and toss him into the mix.
Then again, Steve Stricker is likely available. You'd be the envy of every one-man gamer who won't have the temerity to pull the trigger or tug on the heartstrings.
NOTE: Since it's possible that Phil Mickelson will withdraw before his tee time in the opening round, the timing has never been better to remind you that if any golfer you've rostered in any of the fantasy games WDs before his tee time in an opening round and you don't replace him, he will remain available to you in either One & Done and you won't be charged a start in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO.
RANK PANELIST PICK COMMENT 95th Rob Bolton
Part long-term strategy, part it’s his turn. The No. 1 in my Power Rankings may never have been more prepared to break through in a major. Remember, each of the last six major champions was a first-timer. 169th Sean Martin
Branden Grace The South African loves the biggest stages. He’s finished in the top five in the past two U.S. Opens and went 5-0-0 at the most recent Presidents Cup. Here’s hoping that trend continues. 239th Jonathan Wall
Jon Rahm Thought long and hard about taking Jason Day, but I need to stick to my season-long plan. Rahm is a great pivot this week. 636th Chris Dunham
I'm with Ben. If I'm picking a winner, it's Day. That said ... Oosthuizen, while not a bomber, ranks 18th on TOUR in strokes gained: off the tee and has a proven record of success in the world's biggest events. 640th Ben Everill
Justin Thomas Jason Day will win, but I need him in the Playoffs. Thomas will push him down the stretch and finish a close second. 684th Mark Immelman
On the Mark
Dustin Johnson Let's just call it the #SummerOfBash. The golf course suits the Defending Champ's game. 759th Tom Alter
Although Erin Hills is about twice as big as Merion, it’s still the U.S. Open: fairways, greens and guts. The 2013 U.S. Open champ will bounce back from his Masters heartbreak to claim his second major championship.
NOTE: Select golfers committed to the tournament are listed alphabetically. Future tournaments are sorted chronologically and reflect previous success on the courses on which the tournaments will be held in 2016-17. All are pending golfer commitment.
Keegan Bradley … WGC-Bridgestone; Dell Technologies
Paul Casey … Travelers; WGC-Bridgestone; TOUR Championship
Kevin Chappell … Dell Technologies
Jason Day … U.S. Open; Canadian; WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship; Dell Technologies; TOUR Championship
Jason Dufner … U.S. Open; TOUR Championship
Rickie Fowler … WGC-Bridgestone
Jim Furyk … U.S. Open; Canadian; WGC-Bridgestone; TOUR Championship
Sergio Garcia … Open Championship; TOUR Championship
Branden Grace … U.S. Open; WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship
Bill Haas … Wyndham
Charley Hoffman … Travelers; Canadian
Billy Horschel … TOUR Championship
Dustin Johnson … U.S. Open (defending); Canadian; TOUR Championship
Zach Johnson … John Deere; Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone; TOUR Championship
Kevin Kisner … Wyndham
Russell Knox … Travelers (defending); Dell Technologies
Brooks Koepka … U.S. Open; PGA Championship
Matt Kuchar … Canadian; WGC-Bridgestone
Martin Laird … Barracuda
Marc Leishman … Travelers; Open Championship
Hideki Matsuyama … PGA Championship; BMW
Graeme McDowell … Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone; Wyndham
William McGirt … Wyndham
Rory McIlroy … WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship; Dell Technologies (defending); TOUR Championship (defending)
Kevin Na … John Deere; Wyndham
Louis Oosthuizen … Dell Technologies
Scott Piercy … John Deere; BMW
Patrick Reed … Wyndham; Dell Technologies
Justin Rose … Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship; TOUR Championship
Charl Schwartzel … U.S. Open; Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone
Adam Scott … U.S. Open; Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone; Dell Technologies; TOUR Championship
Webb Simpson … Greenbrier; Wyndham
Brandt Snedeker … U.S. Open; Travelers; Canadian; Wyndham
Jordan Spieth … John Deere; WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship; TOUR Championship
Brendan Steele … Travelers; Barracuda (already eligible for concurrent WGC-Bridgestone)
Henrik Stenson … Open Championship (defending); WGC-Bridgestone; PGA Championship; Dell Technologies; TOUR Championship
Jimmy Walker … Greenbrier; PGA Championship (defending); Dell Technologies
Bubba Watson … Travelers; Greenbrier; WGC-Bridgestone; TOUR Championship
Gary Woodland … Barracuda; PGA Championship; Dell Technologies; TOUR Championship