Fantasy Golf Picks: McDowell & Furyk are must plays at RBC Heritage
Defending Champ: Carl Pettersson
Sure, The Masters is the pinnacle of the sport, but Fantasy Golf is Communist by nature (The NKVD’s hippest Troika!). Every event’s worth the same. So don’t get caught with an Augusta hangover. Get yourself a Gatorade, avoid light and start hair of the dogging it because there are plenty of points to be had at the RBC Heritage. And frankly, it wouldn’t stun me if a large segment of your league forgets to set their lineups this week.
So what sorts of challenges does the RBC Heritage present? Well, expect the majority of points to ooze out of accurate drivers and solid iron players, that won’t embarrass themselves with the flat stick. Harbour Town Links is one of the shortest courses on Tour, featuring a passel of narrow, protected fairways. Miss the short grass and, basically, you’re proper f**ked. A tee box bomber hasn’t won since Boo Weekley went back-to-back in ‘07 and ‘08. So I’m dodging some of the longer, inaccurate hitters. There are enough all-around options to build a balanced team.
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Brandt Snedeker & Matt Kuchar - You’d expect a weaker field the week after a Major, but nine of the world’s Top 25 are making the short trek to Hilton Head. So, I’m going with a pair of them in my A-List. Wonder why they are playing? Let’s call it the RBC factor. On top of lending its name to two tournaments, the Royal Bank of Canada basically sponsors half the players on Tour. Now, Matt Kuchar does have an inflamed case of the blowin’ its at the moment, but he’s still churned out seven Top 10s in ten starts this season. Kuchar’s a safety net - that’s why he’s taking a seat to begin the week. I’m starting Brandt Snedeker. Sneds took home the ridiculous plaid jacket that comes with winning this event two years ago in a playoff over Luke Donald, and he’s now all the way recovered from the knee injury that suppressed his play early in the season. Most will be leaving Snedeker off their squads this week. Don’t be one of those people. Don't be a loser. Nobody likes a loser.
Jordan Spieth & Zach Johnson - It’s a talent laden B-List, and you’re going require some of those bigger names on the roster. You can’t afford not to. Fresh off his Masters silver, Jordan Spieth will be primed to top his T9 here last year, and Zach Johnson’s a former winner. Plus, he’s super consistent. You need them. But… they’re bench guys for me. Cause I like going contrarian Thursday and Friday. Soooooo…
Jim Furyk & Bill Haas - … Jim Furyk gets the opening nod for me. Mainly, because Harbour Town Links basically sets up for Furyk’s skill set: short and accurate off the tee, deadly with irons. Plus, he’s made 14 consecutive cuts overall, so he’ll tread water at worst for the first two days. Just like Bill Haas. Haas flamed out after sitting atop the Masters leaderboard Thursday night, but his strengths are very similar to Furyk's. With the added benefit of hitting more greens in regulations and not being bothered by a trip to the beach. Haas ranks inside the Top 10 on Tour in both GIR% and Sand Save percentage. With the protection of Spieth and ZJ as backups try and gain some points on the field with Furyk and Haas.
Graeme McDowell & David Toms - Everyone is going to take and start defending champ Graeme McDowell. Me included. You’d be crazy not to. And, you’re not crazy, are you? GMAC was sent packing from Augusta Friday. But, don’t worry about that, he did the same thing last year. Harbour Town Links is windy, tight and has some thick rough. It’s essentially a euro-style layout. I mean, it has “links” in the name. All this sets up perfectly for the world’s 14th ranked player. Doesn’t hurt he’s first in Strokes Gained and second in GIR-percentage from 150-yards in, the most common approach distance on the course. We know McDowell’s going to roll in his 5-footers, David Toms? Not so much. He’s one of the worst putters on Tour. This season, at least. Toms has missed five of his last six cuts and there’s seemingly no reason to have him within a 3-Iron of your team this week. No wait, there is. Because GMAC’s about the safest player in the field, you have the ability gamble a little on your bench. And I assure you no one else is going to have Toms. He’s giving up an average of .807 strokes on the green per round. Trust me, it looks even worse when you juxtapose his number with McDowell’s - GMAC gains 1.189 for each 18. However, Harbour Town Links does play to Toms’ strengths. Despite his awfulness on the greens, he is second on Tour in driving accuracy and sixth in greens in regulation. That’s going to translate at The Heritage. And if ya like to wager, you can find Toms as deep as 200/1 on some books, 150/1 on most. I can think of a worse way to use your cash. Heroin.
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