Fantasy Golf Picks: Waste Management Open Sleepers & Starts
Waste Management Open
Defending Champ: Brooks Koepka
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Waste Management Open Preview
The cost of travel between San Diego and Phoenix came at an ultimate discount this year. All the players had to do was channel their inner Mary Poppins and let the wind majestically whisk them away to the Waste Management Open. Everyone except Phil. Mickelson was well out of dodge before the weather got its gale-force on; he was already in Scottsdale losing cash on the course to teenagers, presumably.
The Waste Management Open is known, beyond its consistently mocked name, for crowds that flood the desert layout, bringing a Leon-level of ruckus to the grounds. One of the year’s most attended events, droves of drunken college students pack the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, just waiting to explode at a hole-in-one, witness a now out-of-date dance move or caddy race, and boo missed putts. You know all those new fans Happy Gilmore was attracting to the TOUR, like the two fat naked bikers off of 17 having sex? That’s who's populating the grounds this week. Hopefully, elite names like Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker and defending champion Brooks Koepka will be able to chip with those types of shenanigans going on, unlike Shooter.
Waste Management Open Key Stats
Greens in Regulation
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
While it’s not impossible for the short hitters to claim victory in Phoenix, course history definitely favors the deep drivers. If a non-bomber is going to contend, you better make certain their SG: T2G game is currently on-point. However, targeting a combination of distance off the tee and elite ball striking is a safer bet for a strong performance, even if the player’s putting or driving accuracy is substandard. Yes, there are ass-cacti lurking just off the fairway, but the landing surfaces aren’t uber-difficult to hit and these Bermudagrass greens have made even the worst of putters seem capable in the past (Cough, cough Hideki/Graham DeLaet).
Waste Management Open Picks
Bubba Watson & Rickie Fowler
As the betting favorite, expect Bubba Watson to be the most popular pick of the week. Should you do things just because they’re popular? Always. Bubba’s FIYAAAAA entering Phoenix, winning the stacked Hero Challenge in December and clawing his way to a T10 at the Tournament of Champions. So, there’s that, and his track record on this site; the last four years, Watson’s finished 2nd/2nd/15th/5th; Bubs has four T10s in nine starts at TPC Scottsdale and hasn’t missed cut since this event was called the FBR Open… Now is the perfect time to sneak Rickie Fowler on to your roster. As one of the most popular picks at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, Fowler gravely disappointed all who selected him, finishing in the cut line shit hole, likely one pulled pin away from playing the weekend. And, despite his four worldwide wins in the past year, including a triumph in Dubai two weeks ago, recency bias will have most Fantasy players taking Phil Mickelson instead. Now, Phil too disappointed at Torrey Pines, but he's a four-time winner of this event and has the narratives working in his favor. People love narratives, so they’ll take Phil over Rickie for their second spot after Bubba. You know who doesn’t care about narratives, though? Winning. Tiger Woods has won more recently than Phil. This is an excellent opportunity to roster an elite talent like Rickie at low ownership.
Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka, Graham DeLaet & Webb Simpson
You’d be nuts to fade Brandt Snedeker right now. Coming off a win, Sneds hasn’t finished worse than third in any 2016 event. Even if he wasn’t in such great form, he has enough historical success at TPC Scottsdale to warranted a start regardless. In his nine trips to Phoenix, Snedeker has four T10s and only one missed cut… Course history shouldn’t necessarily be a determining factor at every tournament, it's a case-by-case situation, but the same players tend to do well at this event each year. So, rostering Brooks Koepka, Graham DeLaet and Webb Simpson based off their past success would be fine with me, but throw in their combination of GIR, ball striking, and T2G prowess, and you have a potent squad. BROOKS WAS HERE!!!!!
Kevin NAAAAAAAAAA & Si WOOOOOOOOOO Kim
Since finishing T26 at this event last year, Kevin Na has only missed three cuts (Pebble Beach, Travelers & PGA Championship) while securing ten T10s, including four T3 finishes in his last six starts. He has to win eventually, right? RIGHTTTTTT?????? I mean, I’d feel bad for the guy if he doesn’t. Na is no bomber, but he does sit ninth in SG: T2G, 24th in GIR, and 16th in Ball Striking. His lack of distance will keep him off a lot of Fantasy gamer’s radars, good - MORE FOR US… You can go a bunch of ways with your last roster spot. Youngsters Jamie Lovemark, Harold Varner III, Daniel Berger and Patton Kizzire all make compelling cases, as do course horses Brendan Steele, Party Marty Laird, and Scott Piercy, but my allegiance, at least this week, rests with Si WOOOOOOOOOO Kim. South Korean Spieth had his T10 streak come to an end after a 75/77 close in San Diego, but his T18 kept his five straight T20 finishes in tact. The 20-year-old is already 27th on TOUR in SG: Tee-to-Green, 42nd in ball striking, 14th in total driving, and eighth in scoring average; and, ideal Arizona conditions could be the catalyst that thrusts him into the winners circle. But I'm not greedy, simply ending up on the first page of the leaderboard is good enough for me.
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