Fantasy golf: One & Done, TOUR Championship
September 19, 2018
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
2018 TOUR Championship preview
The 22nd of 24 contributing events for PGA TOUR Champions One & Done presented by SERVPRO is this week's Sanford International. It begins on Friday. Scroll for tournament notes, 13 notables and seven wild cards from the field of 78 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In just about any other week, it wouldn't make sense to open this column with advice concerning a golfer who isn't competing, but Jordan Spieth isn't just any golfer.
In this space and in direct communication with you throughout the FedExCup Playoffs, I've reiterated that Spieth wasn't assured of advancing to this week's TOUR Championship where he's a former winner (2015). The preferred advice was to burn him while he was still fighting for position. If he makes it, you'd have been on board during the surge, but if you chose to holster and he fails to qualify, you'd have averted a relative negative. The rub is that you'd still needed to be ready with a Plan B.
The problem with a Plan B in the season finale is that there are only so many worthwhile secondary options who are still available at the deepest point of the season. You're encouraged to throw haymakers in the Playoffs just in case you land one, especially in PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO in which quadrupled FedExCup points measure performance, not pull a punch in the event that you're knocked to the mat yourself.
This is where we are whether you saved Spieth. He finished 31st in points.
Now, before you commit to your familiar process of determining a selection at East Lake, your league ranking acts like the game clock in the season finale. No matter who you might like for whatever reason, front-runners are strongly encouraged to play the stymie if possible. Even if you don't share your pick with your league prior to the deadline (like me and my fellow Experts), it's a variable that must be in your equation for it never carries greater value.
Chasers can at least go head-to-head with a talent who their target has already played.
Both of these strategies exist in my little league this week. As the leader, I could block Sean with Keegan Bradley, but Mark is firing with Justin Thomas, who I've already burned. While it's preferable to square off against only one opponent, Bradley isn't the matchup that I want with JT even as the 2017 FedExCup champion enters with some doubt over a sore right wrist.
Honestly, I wish this decision was easier. My short list consists of FedExCup points leader Bryson DeChambeau, TOUR Championship defending champ Xander Schauffele, former winner (2014) and red-hot Billy Horschel and English sensation Tommy Fleetwood. Of my 10 available choices, I've eliminated Bradley, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith, Kyle Stanley, Aaron Wise and Patton Kizzire for the purposes of this week's objective.
Because it's not in the spirit of our public arena to play the stymie, I've dismissed Schauffele (Tom) and Horschel (Jonathan). (On an aside, if the logistics warranted the possibility, the six of us would gather for a draft based on current ranking from the top. It'd be the fairest method for all to have a shot at the title.)
Both DeChambeau and Fleetwood are debutants at East Lake, but that doesn't dissuade me, nor should it you. Schauffele was a first-timer last year. So was Bill Haas in 2011 and Henrik Stenson in 2013. All three prevailed. Scroll to the table for my decision.
Perform a similar mock scenario in your unique situation. It's easy to lean on Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy if available, but it doesn't mean that any are the most sensible.
The tweeners are Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Paul Casey. Because of the time and place, each presents as a risk-reward worth the lunge at the finish line.
As always, feel free to hit me up in the discussion space below or on Twitter publicly or privately.
RANK PANELIST PICK COMMENT 71st
Bryson DeChambeau With two wins to open the Playoffs, DeChambeau afforded the opportunity to shift Justin Rose up to the BMW Championship. Although gut-wrenching, Rose's P2 lifted me into the lead. Now it's time for the No. 1 in the FedExCup standings to finish this off. 111th
Keegan Bradley It’s not uncommon to see players go back-to-back in the FedExCup Playoffs. Bryson already did it this year. Banking on Keegan to do it for me now. 121st
On the Mark
I saved a big bullet for the coup de grâce. 345th
It’s impressive that last year’s champion as a rookie fought his way back to East Lake. 360th
I don't have an Aussie bullet left so it’s viva Italia! Haven’t bruised a grape this season so looking for Francesco to invigorate my finish.
Ready to put this miserable season to bed. Believe Horschel gives me a great chance to enter next season with some much-needed momentum.
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 2017-18. The numerical values in parentheses represent the order of relative confidence of where to use each golfer if multiple sites are listed (e.g. 1 for strongest, 2 for next-strongest and so on). To present weighted confidence in real time, numerical values will not change all season no matter how many tournament remain listed for each golfer. All are pending golfer commitment.
Paul Casey … TOUR Championship (3)
Billy Horschel … TOUR Championship (4)
Dustin Johnson … TOUR Championship (6)
Rory McIlroy … TOUR Championship (3)
Justin Rose … TOUR Championship (2)
Justin Thomas … TOUR Championship (3)
Bubba Watson … TOUR Championship (4)
CHAMPIONS ONE & DONE
For the second straight week, the PGA TOUR Champions introduces a new tournament, this time at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's the first sanctioned competition in The Mount Rushmore State since the Web.com Tour set up shop at Dakota Dunes Country Club in the extreme southeastern corner of the state from 1990-2001.
Minnehaha is a par 70 with five par 3s and three par 5s. It tips at just 6,729 yards.
Total prize money is $1.8 million. The winner will receive $270,000. The last two events contributing to PGA TOUR Champions One & Done presented by SERVPRO each will feature purses of $2.1 million.
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 2018. The numerical values in parentheses represent the order of relative confidence of where to use each golfer if multiple sites are listed (e.g. 1 for strongest, 2 for next-strongest and so on). To present weighted confidence in real time, numerical values will not change all season no matter how many tournament remain listed for each golfer. All are pending golfer commitment.
Joe Durant … PURE (3); SAS (13)
David Frost … PURE (1)
Doug Garwood … SAS (1)
Paul Goydos … SAS (5)
Jerry Kelly … PURE (2); SAS (4)
Tom Lehman … SAS (9)
Billy Mayfair … PURE (1)
Scott McCarron … PURE (8)
Colin Montgomerie … PURE (7); SAS (3; defending)
Tom Pernice, Jr. … SAS (5)
Vijay Singh … SAS (1)
Kevin Sutherland … Usable everywhere.
David Toms … SAS (4)
WILD CARDS (short list of golfers not included above but on the rise or still building portfolios after recently turning 50): Paul Broadhurst; Bob Estes; Rocco Mediate; Scott Parel; Tim Petrovic; Wes Short, Jr.; Steve Stricker