As Sean is the Newman to my Seinfeld … "Martin!"
It was just how the contrarians drew it up. While nearly one-third of the fantasy world was on Hideki Matsuyama at the Waste Management Phoenix Open – and rightfully so – that presented the dream opportunity to connect with Rickie Fowler. And you know what happened.
O&D ownership percentages -- FINAL— Rob Bolton (@RobBoltonGolf) January 31, 2019
32.7 = Matsuyama
13.9 = Mickelson
9.1 = Rahm
6.8 = Kuchar
5.9 = Fowler
4.3 = Woodland
3.8 = Finau
3.5 = Simpson
3.3 = Schauffele
1.7 = Thomas
T53. Wolff https://t.co/MUk3WxUjSa
According to Future Possibilities, the WMPO slotted as the top spot to burn three golfers: Matsuyama (obviously; he finished T15), Martin Laird (a local resident with a strong track record; he faded to T26) and, wait for it, Fowler. As I've always said, it's always nice when golfers fulfill their projections, but it stung when Sean (and Tom) zagged to Fowler as the rest of us when chalk city.
Even though you easily can argue that we could see Fowler coming, you still were throwing caution at the wind given that it was just his second start with a new golf ball. That fact solidified my decision not to consider him despite his knowledge of and massive comfort at TPC Scottsdale.
With his victory, Fowler now leads Matsuyama by $3,438.00 in all-time earnings at the WMPO. (They sit a respective 2-3 behind Phil Mickelson, who is nearly $1 million clear.) I rarely look beyond the horizon of the current tournament, but I'm already eager for next year when I predict that Sean will cite that an evil wind will blow through my little play world and wipe a smug smile off my face.
In the meantime, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am showcases a similarly strong short list of usual suspects. From Dustin Johnson to Phil Mickelson to Jason Day, you'll know and feel like you've grabbed a good one.
The natural hesitation on DJ is that he's fresh off what in theory should have been a stressful Sunday way over in Saudi Arabia where he emerged victorious, but he's also known to rip off consecutive victories no matter where. Regardless, he's on our radar almost every time he laces it up.
Mickelson remains a moving target. He looked great last week and didn't deliver, but you know what you get and what you don't going into every start. Given the weather and the fact that experience in this tournament so often defines the contenders, this is a proper time to burn him.
Day is the safe play and sitting on the tee for those of us in pursuit. Of course, if you're keen on stepping on throats – guilty as charged – you can understand why our league leader is invested. Oh, and lookie there, Pebble Beach is No. 1 beside Day's list of Future Possibilities.
This tournament also sits first on the most valuable considerations for Jimmy Walker and Kevin Streelman, but both make more sense as the complementary selection in two-man lineups. You won't miss either, either.
The cast of characters who'd normally perk our ears includes Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey and Patrick Cantlay, but only Spieth is mildly enticing given his history here. However, as you're already aware, his form isn't worth the plunge. Reprising a recent theme, not yet.
That leaves Brandt Snedeker. Love him this week. He's No. 3 in the Power Rankings and fourth all-time in earnings at the tournament. His ball flight makes sense in the wind, his putting stroke makes sense on the Poa greens, and it'd be surprising if he didn't perform well over time with his short game on the small greens.
RANK PANELIST PICK COMMENT 60th
Jason Day Seven top-15s in nine appearances. Here’s hoping a win is next. 201st
Brandt Snedeker The two-time winner at Pebble isn’t bothered by iffy weather. 313th
Accepting that I was going to get stymied by Sean or Tom, I'm cutting my losses to stay close to my nearer target with the prospect of cutting into Sean's margin. 343rd
On the Mark
So much success around these parts and I’m sure he has ironed out the kinks from last week in Phoenix. Disclosure: I have Spieth for strong consideration.
He makes his annual trip to Monterrey and hopefully another trip to the top 10 in his 10th edition 679th
Phil Mickelson Saving Day and DJ for FedExCup Playoffs or majors... so the old guy can bank me some points here.
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.
Rafa Cabrera Bello … WGC-Mexico (5); PLAYERS (1); Wyndham (4)
Patrick Cantlay … Genesis (4); Valspar (2); Memorial (3)
Paul Casey … WGC-Mexico (6); Honda (10); Valspar (7; defending); WGC-Match Play (8); Masters (2); Wells Fargo (9); Travelers (1); TOUR Championship (3)
Jason Day … Pebble Beach (1); Arnold Palmer (5); PLAYERS (7); WGC-Match Play (11); Masters (4); Wells Fargo (6 defending); PGA Championship (3); U.S. Open (10); Open Championship (9)
Tony Finau … Valero (5); Memorial (2)
Branden Grace … Heritage (1); Valero (3); Byron Nelson (5); U.S. Open (4)
Adam Hadwin … Genesis (3); Valspar (2); John Deere (5)
Russell Henley … Honda (4); Masters (3)
Charley Hoffman … Genesis (5); Arnold Palmer (2); Masters (4); Heritage (7); Valero (3); Charles Schwab (6); Travelers (1)
J.B. Holmes … Pebble Beach (2); Genesis (4); Wells Fargo (5)
Dustin Johnson … Pebble Beach (2); Genesis (3); WGC-Mexico (5); Masters (8); PGA Championship (11); Memorial (10); U.S. Open (1); WGC-St. Jude (6); TOUR Championship (7)
Si Woo Kim … PLAYERS (3); Heritage (1)
Kevin Kisner … Heritage (3); New Orleans (5); Charles Schwab (2); Memorial (6)
Russell Knox … Heritage (2)
Matt Kuchar … PLAYERS (5); Valspar (9); Masters (6); Heritage (2); Charles Schwab (7); Memorial (1); Open Championship (8)
Martin Laird … Genesis (3); Valero (5); Barracuda (2)
Phil Mickelson … Pebble Beach (5); Genesis (6); WGC-Mexico (1; defending); Masters (9); Wells Fargo (2); Open Championship (8); WGC-St. Jude (3)
Ryan Palmer … Valero (2); Charles Schwab (4)
Pat Perez … Pebble Beach (5)
Scott Piercy … New Orleans (1; co-defending); Canadian (7; last winner at Hamilton in 2012)
Patrick Reed … Pebble Beach (6); Valspar (1); Masters (5; defending); PGA Championship (4); U.S. Open (3); Travelers (7)
Adam Scott … Genesis (4); Honda (1); Arnold Palmer (10); PLAYERS (2); Masters (6); Byron Nelson (11); PGA Championship (8); U.S. Open (9); Open Championship (7); TOUR Championship (3)
Jordan Spieth … Pebble Beach (3); Genesis (10); WGC-Mexico (11); Valspar (14); Masters (1); PGA Championship (7); Charles Schwab (5); Memorial (13); U.S. Open (4); Travelers (9); Open Championship (6); TOUR Championship (8)
Brandt Snedeker … Pebble Beach (2); Masters (10); Heritage (6); Charles Schwab (7); U.S. Open (5); Travelers (9); Wyndham (1; defending)
Kevin Streelman … Pebble Beach (1); Valero (9); Heritage (5); Memorial (4); Travelers (7)
Jimmy Walker … Pebble Beach (1); Valero (2); Byron Nelson (6)