Defending Champion: Tiger Woods
The final week of June doesn’t just mark the arbitrary point on the calendar where we now believe every day will be a scorcher, no, it also signifies the beginning of the stretch run in Fantasy golf, more commonly known as the “summer segment”.
This is it. 12 tournaments remain on the PGA schedule. Starting this week with the AT&T National, running through the Tour Championship at the end of September. And now is the time to conduct a fearless moral inventory of your expectations for the rest of the season. What to you want to accomplish? It’s actually not all that difficult to decipher, a simple glance at the league leaderboard should expose the proper goals, at least the realistic ones.
If you’re currently resting more than 300 points behind the leader in the full season standings, sorry, but you’re probably not going to catch them. Possible? Certainly. But it’s far more likely Robert Garrigus and John Daly debut in the WWE as the New Natural Disasters sometime in the next three months than you overcoming the deficit. That’s why you need to identify now how you want you finish the season. Because the one thing Fantasy golf provides over every other Fantasy sport, is ability to win smaller in-season trophies even though you may be out of contention for the overall prize. That’s the glorious part about having three separate acts within the game. But I’m guessing one of these four statements accurately describes where you fall in the table.
“I’m sitting in first place!”
Keep doing your thing, man. Whatever’s worked for you this far is clearly the proper game plan. Continue taking the biggest names in the field – ie. most likely to win – and just keep it on cruise control. Just remember to periodically check the road though and keep an eye on the eligibility of some of the more prominent players. When the fields start whittling down during the FedEx Cup playoffs, you want make certain you can still use the Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroys and Adam Scotts of the world.
“I’m about 100 points back of first.”
A hundred points ain’t nothing. If you’re this close to the lead, act like you’re actually in first and stick with what’s worked to this point. As the summer segment progresses and you’re still lagging this far behind, then it’s time to start taking some gambles, but 100 points is really just two good weeks, or one really awesome week. It’s not so far in the rear that you need to adapt to what anyone else is going. Put it this way, last year I trailed by 103 points entering The Open Championship, and as it turned out, I was the only one prescient enough to have Ernie Els in my lineup. I jumped four spots, out scoring everyone by almost 120 points. So it can be done.
“I’m almost 300 points out of the lead.”
I’ll be frank with you – I WILL NOT BE MADE TO LOOK LIKE A CRAZY PERSON – it’s going to be an acclivous climb. You’re going to need to hit a runner, runner, then another… then another to overtake the lead. Luck needs to be your best player. It is doable, however, you just need to tinker with your strategy. It’s a two-pronged method: First, each week, you have to identify who the most common picks are going to be. Who are the people in front of you going to take? That’s imperative. Second, play contrarian and go the opposite of those picks. Look, not having Tiger on your team will likely backfire. But, if you have him, and so does everyone else, you’re just treading water. CURSE YOU MATHEMATICS, CURSE YOU GIUSEPPE PEANO!!! You need to gain points in chunks and taking the most obvious selections every week isn’t going to cut it. Now, it’s more likely you’ll end up losing spots in the standings doing this – who cares though, you’re playing for first – and it’s the only viable way to catch up.
“I have no chance at first place.”
Bummer. But, like I mentioned earlier, this is what makes Fantasy golf great. The summer segment resets everyone back at zero, so you get the opportunity to play out the final months like you’re in the mix. Treat every tournament like you’re in first place. No need to play off of other teams, in fact, you can just load up on All-star squads in every event if you’d like, who cares if you burn through eligibility, right?
THE BUMP & RUN
Bubba Watson may love Jesus, but his enlightened self certainly does not have the same affection for his caddy.
… Graham DeLaet, coming off a career best third place finish at the Travelers, donated $1000 to flood relief in Southern Alberta for every birdie he drained. He’s a good guy – probably because he’s Canadian. Although, I don’t know if the extra $1000 is really going to make a difference in the overall aid effort, but I could have done without DeLaet pushing his short birdie putt on 17 to the right on Sunday. I had you in Graham, you blew it for me!
… Ernie Els picked up his first win since last year’s Open Championship posting a 63-69-69-69 in Munich, good for a one-stroke victory of Thomas Bjorn.
… and I always thought Caleb Southwell – aka The Frozen Golfer – was golf’s preeminent Caleb, but I was mistaken. Until he drops a track this dope, he’s a distant second to Caleb C…
Jason Day – You’d think Jason Day would feel at home down under, but that’s not really the case. With the way he’s played Congressional, it’s likely his Aussie accent is just a façade and he’s actually from DC – Because results don’t lie. Day was just a handful of players to break par here last year, good for a T8, and when the course played at its most challenging – during the 2011 US Open – Day posted a solo third.
Adam Scott – Scott’s an easy pick. He’s the top ranked player in the field, has the length off the tee and consistent enough iron play to make certain the Blue Course’s 7,574 yards don’t give him too many problems. Also, he’s made all three cuts since being bestowed golf’s highest sartorial honor and managed a solo third here last year despite an opening round 75.
Graham DeLeat – I’m sure LeDeat feels just awful letting me down last week, so I expect him to come through, as penance to his fellow countryman.
Hunter Mahan – One of these tournaments Mahan’s going to keep it together all four rounds and, chances are, he figures it out this week. All he needs to do is have one of his patented super low rounds, followed by another three around par. That’s good enough to be a winning score here.
Martin Laird – There was a point in time, about two or so years ago, that Laird looked well on his way to becoming the next big European superstar. He was contending at Majors, won at Bay Hill and seemed to be churning out Top 10s every other week. Then he went into the tank. Completely losing his stroke. Fortunately for the Scot, it has started to return, albeit sporadically. While Laird’s fate is ultimately tied to his flat stick, he has shown recent flashes of his former self. He claimed victory at the Texas Open back in April and cracked the Top 5 at the Players a few weeks later, beginning a streak of four straight made cuts. And even when his game was down in 2012, he still played quality golf on this site, barely missing out on the Top 10, finishing with a T11.
Bo Van Pelt – It’s like we’ve all forgotten about last year’s runner up. I suppose it’s understandable, BVP just hasn’t been as good this season trying to follow up his breakout 2012 campaign. But, he does possess the proper distance and shot making skills to own Congressional. And while he’s not frequenting leaderboards on the regular, he has made eight straight cuts, including in ultra competitive fields at The Masters, Players, US Open and Wells Fargo.
Scott Stallings – Since missing the cut at Sawgrass, Stallings has reeled off finishes of T4, T4. T2 and T53. But hey, Merion was no cakewalk. He’s one of the hottest players on the planet at the moment, yet won’t appear on most rosters. That makes him a must have.
Brandt Snedeker – Sneds was the best player on Tour before a rib injury in early March derailed his season. He’s been battling back lately though, especially at tough courses. While he missed the cut in Memphis and at the Memorial, he posted Top 10s at the Masters and Players, along with a T17 at Merion two weeks ago. Congressional is as difficult as it gets on the regular Tour schedule and Snedeker’s ball striking advantage should give him an edge over the majority of the field.
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