Fantasy golf: One & Done, Safeway Open
October 03, 2018
By Rob Bolton , PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Cantlay finished 20th in the final FedExCup standings last season. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
That classic line is what defined my come-from-behind, worst-to-first victory among the Experts in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO last season. Justin Rose's bogey-bogey close en route to his playoff loss at the BMW Championship didn't come back to bite after all.
That's the beauty of the format on this site. By using FedExCup points to measure performance, just about anyone within a whiff of the leader can roar from the outside and threaten late. In earnings-based leagues, the fate of those who won't win is known weeks if not months in advance.
I admit that it took me time to come around on using FedExCup points, but I've grown to love the volatility that the quadrupled points in the Playoffs present. (And that's even before my timely surge. In fact, it's my second league championship.) You still have to plan ahead and you still have to connect, but the possibilities don't rule you out at the buzzer. And hey, the front-runners are in the same boat. If they leave that door open, someone just might sneak in and steal the trophy.
With the parade over and the celebration complete, we now venture into a new season. Here are a few critical things to keep in mind that I'm parking on this page. Use it as a resource throughout the 2018-19 season:
• The Houston Open, A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier and the Dell Technologies Championship are off the schedule.
• The RBC Canadian Open will be contested at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, which hosted in 2003, 2006 and 2012.
• The Rocket Mortgage Classic replaces the Quicken Loans National. The transition of the title sponsor is all that connects the 12-year invitational contested on four courses in the mid-Atlantic to its new digs as an open at Detroit Golf Club.
• TPC Southwind now hosts the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. (Firestone Country Club no longer hosts a PGA TOUR event.)
• Only three events will be included in the 2019 Playoffs. Among them, East Lake is the only recurring host (of the TOUR Championship).
• THE NORTHERN TRUST will be contested at Liberty National Golf Club, which hosted in 2009 and 2013. The BMW Championship migrates to Medinah Country Club, which hasn't hosted an individual competition since the 2006 PGA Championship.
• Unlike the Masters (held every year at Augusta National), the PGA Championship (at Bethpage State Park's Black Course), the U.S. Open (at Pebble Beach) and The Open Championship (at Royal Portrush) always demand real-time decision-making over long-range planning due to the variables in play during each of those weeks (even though Bethpage Black and Pebble Beach are familiar to many PGA TOUR members).
All of these changes for 2018-19 are reflected in the organization of Future Possibilities below. The section is dedicated to notables who are most likely to warrant consideration in all One & Dones. I've updated my confidence values for all golfers and extended a few to assist two-man gamers.
With the new season comes turnover among the notables as well. For example, Patrick Cantlay, Emiliano Grillo and Adam Hadwin represent this week's newcomers in Future Possibilities. This process will continue until all notables make their season debuts.
You'll also notice the +1 in my little league. Mike Glasscott joined (and doubled) the fantasy writing team at PGATOUR.com during last year's fall stretch. He authors the Confidence Factor every week, wrote the Emergency 9 after every round of every tournament through the TOUR Championship and will continue to contribute in various roles.
Also note Glass' willingness to step out on a limb with his first-ever selection. It's always easy to pick on the rookie, but at least he doesn't miss the bunny.
Even before Brendan Steele connected victories at Silverado in 2016 and 2017, he delivered for a pair of top 25s on the course. Now he's attempting to become the first since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011 to win the same tournament in three consecutive years.
Steele is a no-brainer of a No. 1 in my Power Rankings, but investors can't ignore suspect form spanning his last 10 starts. Since THE PLAYERS, he's made just five cuts and finished no better than T47 at The Open Championship. Maybe it's the euphoria of my surprise triumph in the Playoffs, but my confidence is higher in Ryan Moore, who sits No. 2 in the Power Rankings.
No one's record at Silverado can stack up against Steele's, but Moore has a T10 (2015) and a T17 (2017) in two tries. He's always a reliable bridge during the heart of the season, but the course feeds into his accuracy off the tee and experience in blending going low with salvaging a score during a tough round.
While former champion Emiliano Grillo, Patrick Cantlay and Martin Laird are tempting for different reasons, I love Sean's decision to piggyback red-hot Denny McCarthy. The events of the Web.com Tour Finals aren't PGA TOUR events, but they're play-in copetitions for the real thing. So many of the graduates ride the momentum of their latest achievement. Citing a historical example, Grillo made history when he concluded the 2015 Finals with victory at the Web.com Tour Championship before repeating the achievement at Silverado two weeks later.
Now that's euphoria!
LAST SEASON'S FINAL RANK PANELIST PICK COMMENT 109th
If Steele was in better form, I wouldn't hesitate. Since he isn't, I'm keeping the Reno-Tahoe Open in mind if he doesn't qualify for the WGC-St. Jude the same week. Meanwhile, Moore eases me into the season with punch that I won't miss. 143rd
On the Mark
Brendan Steele Why not? He clearly loves the place with two straight wins. Add to that the fact that he should be well rested leading into the season-opener. 169th
I traditionally take the winner of the Web.com Tour Finals. It has served me well with Emiliano Grillo (2015) and Chesson Hadley (2017). McCarthy finished 149th in the FedExCup as a rookie last season. He missed 6 of his first 7 cuts, but made 12 of his last 15 to close the season. He finished no worse than 13th in the four Web.com Tour Finals events, including a victory at the Web.com Tour Championship. 257th
Patrick Cantlay Last season’s title defense was a complete disaster. Here’s hoping the California native can get me on track from the get-go. 358th
Cantlay is arguably the best player in the field. 441st
Safeway Open champion two years running. Only other option is guessing which Web.com Tour Finals guy will continue form and it’s too early in the year for guessing, although my form last year suggests I guessed every week.
He's 50-under in four events at Silverado and that includes a 76 from 2016 when he almost when wire-to-wire (T17). The two-time defending champ has shown he's the selection this week regardless of form as this is his playground. After grinding at the end of last season, it's nice to have an easy selection to start the new season.
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 2018-19. 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.
Patrick Cantlay … Shriners (1; defending); Genesis (4); Valspar (2); Memorial (3)
Jason Dufner … CareerBuilder (9); Honda (3); PLAYERS (7); Valspar (4); New Orleans (1); Charles Schwab (6); Memorial (5); U.S. Open (2); Wyndham (8); TOUR Championship (10)
Emiliano Grillo … Mayakoba (1); Arnold Palmer (2); Charles Schwab (3)
Bill Haas … Safeway (5); RSM (7); CareerBuilder (1); Genesis (3); WGC-Match Play (8); Heritage (4); Charles Schwab (2); Wyndham (6)
Adam Hadwin … CareerBuilder (1); Waste Management (4); Genesis (3); Valspar (2); John Deere (5)
Russell Henley … Shriners (5); RSM (1); Sony (2); Honda (4); Masters (3)
J.B. Holmes … Farmers (1); Waste Management (3); Pebble Beach (2); Genesis (4); Wells Fargo (5)
Chris Kirk … Sanderson Farms (6); RSM (1); Sony (4); Valero (3); PLAYERS (5); Charles Schwab (2)
Russell Knox … CIMB (5); WGC-HSBC (4); Mayakoba (1); Sony (3); Heritage (2)
Martin Laird … Safeway (4); CareerBuilder (6); Waste Management (1); Genesis (3); Valero (5); Barracuda (2)
Phil Mickelson … Safeway (7); CareerBuilder (10); Waste Management (4); Pebble Beach (5); Genesis (6); WGC-Mexico (1; defending); Masters (9); Wells Fargo (2); Open Championship (8); WGC-St. Jude (3)
Ryan Moore … Safeway (4); CIMB (1); Shriners (10); Waste Management (12); Genesis (5); Valspar (3); Valero (7); Masters (13); Memorial (11); Travelers (6); John Deere (8); Wyndham (2); TOUR Championship (9)
Scott Piercy … Safeway (2); CIMB (4); Shriners (5); Mayakoba (6); Sony (3); New Orleans (1; defending); Canadian (7; last winner at Hamilton in 2012)
Brandt Snedeker … Sentry (4); Farmers (3); Waste Management (8); Pebble Beach (2); Masters (10); Heritage (6); Charles Schwab (7); U.S. Open (5); Travelers (9); Wyndham (1; defending)
Brendan Steele … Safeway (1; two-time defending); CIMB (5); CareerBuilder (6); Waste Management (2); Honda (7); Valero (8); Wells Fargo (9); Travelers (4); Reno-Tahoe (3)
Kevin Streelman … Sanderson Farms (3); Shriners (6); Mayakoba (2); CareerBuilder (8); Pebble Beach (1); Valero (9); Heritage (5); Memorial (4); Travelers (7)