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Playing the Tips

Expert Picks: The 146th Open

by Josh Culp
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to Playing the Tips! 

Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our fantasy staffers at Rotoworld.com. 

Here is a quick rundown of what sites and formats we will cover each week: 

Page 1 will feature all of our selections for GolfChannel.com and Yahoo! Fantasy Golf.

Page 2 will go over One-and-Done as well as Daily Fantasy Golf picks. 

Page 3 will take a look at the European Tour, with the Fantasy Race to Dubai.

Before we look ahead, Mo Yoshimoto takes a look at last week's action in his John Deere Classic Recap.


Now for the picks... 

GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
Josh Culp


Last Week: 328.5 points

Last Week Rank: 7,402

Jordan Spieth ($33,300)
Matt Kuchar ($29,800)
Andy Sullivan ($12,900)
Steve Stricker ($11,300)
Ian Poulter ($10,700)
Maverick McNealy ($1,400)

ANALYSIS:  Going with McNealy to save salary. The youngster is trying to make a push toward a PGA TOUR card. If he doesn't flash any big finishes than we may see him enter the business world. Other than that, I'm going with course managers who don't rely on their driving distance.

Ryan O’Sullivan


Last Week: 481 points

Last Week Rank: 495


Sergio Garcia ($33,300)
Rickie Fowler ($33,000)
Lee Westwood ($15,500)
Zach Johnson ($11,700)
Ernie Els ($2,300)
Mark O'Meara ($1,400)

ANALYSIS:  Grabbing a few veterans (Els, O'Meara) to load up at the top. If Els and O'Meara at least make the cut, this lineup will be in great shape. 


Mori Yoshimoto

Last Week: 428.5 points

Last Week Rank: 1,900


Rickie Fowler ($33,000)

Charl Schwartzel ($28,300)

Andy Sullivan ($12,900)

Zach Johnson ($11,700)

Ryan Fox ($8,200)

Matthew Southgate ($4,900)


ANALYSIS: Riding some recent links success with Fowler, Fox, Southgate, and Sullivan who have all played well in the lead-up events. 
Yahoo! Fantasy Golf

*Make sure you check our Twitter accounts for any updates before the first tee ball flies on Thursday. Change in weather, tee times, etc. can always lead to last-minute changes and we will let you know through our social media channels. 

This week's Strategy: Winds are always a factor at The Open. With a slow-release of threesomes throughout the day, there is generally a big draw bias. The problem is trying to determine which side will have the advantage. Keep an eye on the weather, but for now I will be splitting my lineup with half AMers (Thursday tee time) and half PMers (Friday tee time). 

Josh Culp
“Future of Fantasy” 

Last Week Points: 170

Segment Points: 613

Segment Rank: 10,111

Season Points: 3,850

Season Ranking: 5,674

Group A

Louis Oosthuizen (10): Always seems to elevate his game when the major championships roll around. 

Rickie Fowler (6): Playing some of the best golf of his career this season. Despite his increased play, there doesn't seem to be a lot of pressure on him to win a major. It's almost assumed now that he will pick one up over the next year. This is as good of spot as any.


Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Branden Grace, Jason Day

Group B
Jordan Spieth (1): A perfect course fit for Royal Birkdale as it lends itself to the course strategist more than the bombers. I'm willing to use my last Spieth start here.

Justin Rose (5): Going off on the early wave on Thursday, Rose already has some fond memories at Royal Birkdale. It's the site of his near-miss as an amateur, playing in his Open debut.

Matt Kuchar (3): Steady as it comes. Starts his week with an afternoon tee time. Should be good for a grind-it-out top 20. 

Francesco Molinari (4): The Italian version of Kuchar, all he does it pelt fairway after fairway and smother green after green. Has the type of plodding play style that perfectly suits Royal Birkdale.

Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Kevin Kisner, Steve Stricker, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Thomas


Group C
Henrik Stenson (9):The defending champ is rounding back into form lately. Always a threat to contend when you take driver out of the field's hand.

Sergio Garcia (6): One of the most consistent performance when it comes to links golf. I would have guessed The Open would be the spot where he picked up his first major title, but maybe it's where he gets his second.

Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Brooks Koepka, Charl Schwartzel, Zach Johnson, Alex Noren


Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”

Last Week Points: 158
Summer Segment Points: 630
Summer Rank: 6,413

Season Points: 4,013
Season Rank: 947


Group A

Rickie Fowler (5) and Dustin Johnson (4)

Group B

Justin Rose (6), Paul Casey (6), Jordan Spieth (5) and Charley Hoffman (5)

Group C

Henrik Stenson (8) and Sergio Garcia (4)


Mo Yoshimoto


Last Week Points: 142

Segment Points: 578

Segment Rank: 18,716

Season Points: 4,060

Season Ranking: 458


Group A

Rickie Fowler (8) and Adam Scott (5)

Group B

Hideki Matsuyama (7), Justin Rose (6), Phil Mickelson (7) and Jordan Spieth (4) 

Group C

Charl Schwartzel (10) and Sergio Garcia (7)





Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]

I will be giving out selections for one team each week. 

These lineups will be entered into a large-entry Guaranteed Prize Pool. That means we need to take a risk or two, in order to separate ourselves from the field. 

I would also advise you to change a roster spot or two if you are trying to enter this lineup yourself. Duplicate entries are no fun. 

FanDuel Picks:

FanDuel is back and they have a new format. You no longer have to split your lineup into pre-cut and post-cut sections. A very good change, so let's see what we can put together. 

Jordan Spieth ($10,100): Perfectly suited for Royal Birkdale which demands a proper strategy rather than bomb-and-gouge.

Andy Sullivan ($6,400):
A grinder that usually floats to the top of leaderboard when scoring gets tough.

Justin Rose ($8,700): Already has a near-miss at Royal Birkdale, wouldn't be surprising to see him finish the job.

Steve Stricker ($6,500): 
Playing great golf despite the age. Now he heads to a course that is known to suit the straight shooters. Should be good for a top 30.

Branden Grace ($7,500): A links specialist that doesn't break the bank.

Byeong Hun An ($6,000):  
The biggest win of his career came in England (BMW PGA Championship), another course that doesn't allow you to overpower it.

With two spots remaining, we have $14,800 left to work with. Golfers that could fill the final two spots: Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton, and Thomas Pieters.

DraftKings Picks:

Jordan Spieth ($11,600): Might have the best course fit in the field. He doesn't need to pound driver around here, so he can plod his way around and lean on the approach and short game. 

Alex Noren ($7,800): 
Heading across the pond, Noren is the great course fit play with bushels of wins to his name over the past two years. Winning upside for sub-$8K is quite nice.

Justin Thomas ($8,200): If we're looking to diversify our team, a quick way is to mix-and-match player profiles. Thomas is a bomber so that may keep his ownership down. Even without his driver, he can get locked in with his irons. Worth a shot. 

Thomas Pieters ($8,400):
 the Euro Tour version of Thomas, Pieters could shoot 68 or 78 on Thursday and nobody would bat an eye. Like Thomas, his ownership should be lower this week due to the course setup detracting from the bomb-and-gouge methodology.

Andy Sullivan ($7,000): The Englishman arrives with good form including a T9 at the Scottish last week. All we're asking for is a top 20 here. 

Brandt Snedeker ($6,800):  While Sullivan provides a little less upside, Snedeker is generally boom or bust. When his game is clicking, it's hard to pull him off the podium. The slower greens and links-style setup really suit his play style. 

Rafa Cabrera Bello ($6,700): With Snedeker withdrawing, I will plug in RCB who arrives fresh off a win at the Scottish Open. Not many in the field with a better track record on links courses over the last few years on the European Tour.




Each week I think aloud to provide you with my One-and-Done selection as well as a few alternatives. Fade or Follow? You decide!

Steve Stricker nearly missed the cut but pulled through with a backdoor top 5 in the end. Let's keep that momentum rolling...

Links golf is a unique animal so let's see who the tournament horses are: 

Sergio Garcia (16-for-20 with 10 top 10s)
Henrik Stenson (10-for-12 with four PODIUM finishes)
Phil Mickelson (18-for-21 with 10 top 25s)
Adam Scott (13-for-17 with five top 10s)
Rickie Fowler (6-for-7 with two top 5s)
Dustin Johnson (7-for-8 with five top 15s)
Steve Stricker (12-for-14 with six top 25s)
Rory McIlroy (7-for-8 including WIN and THIRD PLACE)
Zach Johnson (10-for-13 with top 20s in five of last six)
Lee Westwood (16-for-22 with five top 10s)

From there, let's hit the magnifying glass backwards to look at long-term performance on the PGA TOUR and Euro Tour since 2014:  

Rory McIlroy
Jason Day
Dustin Johnson
Jordan Spieth
Henrik Stenson
Sergio Garcia
Adam Scott
Justin Rose
Hideki Matsuyama
Jon Rahm


The golfers that check both boxes (tournament history and long-term performance) include: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy.

I have used all five of those options, so time to expand the list to the top 20. 

Golfers that show up on the list if we look at the top 20 in terms of tournament history and long-term performance include: Jordan Spieth, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose, and Jason Day.

Looking back at the 1998 edition hosted by Royal Birkdale we see a young Justin Rose (still an amateur at the time) pop up and finish T4. I will ride those good course vibes and go with Justin Rose this week. 

Season Tracking

Wins: 2
Top 10s: 13
Top 25s: 17
Missed Cuts: 8
Total Picks: 35

Fantasy Race to Dubai

Dave Tindall is our main man in Europe. In addition to his weekly previews of European Tour events on Mondays, he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.


Format: Pick 6 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Captain’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes can be made each week.



Team Tindall (Team name: YESSIR!)


Last week: Way off the mark but tough week for most. Drop of nearly 400 spots.
Pos: 3551
Sergio Garcia (captain): Love Sergio this week. His first Open as a major winner and he’d already had 10 top 10s in this event before getting the big monkey off his back at Augusta. Runner-up in Germany on last start.
Henrik Stenson: Hard to replicate last year’s magic but the defending champ has a superb Open record and made the top three at Birkdale in 2008. Driver taken out of hand this week and that suits him.
Alex Noren: Five wins in 12 months so perhaps the Claret Jug will stay in Sweden. Noren was T5 after 54 holes at Royal Birkdale in 2008 in his very first major. Now the World No. 9.
Justin Rose: Fourth here as an amateur and can now thrive again at Birkdale as one of the game’s leading lights. Runner-up at Augusta and nice warm-up when T4 in the Irish Open.
Ian Poulter: Runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and shone again on the links in Scotland last week. Also second at Sawgrass this year, Poulter can still thrive when the stakes are high.
Branden Grace: Lots of high finishes in majors and decent warm-up in Scottish Open. I’ll give him the nod over out-of-form Rory and also Jon Rahm, who may have a false impression of links golf having shot 24-under to win Irish Open. Last Birkdale Open win with +3!


Matt Cooper is part of our European team. He contributes to player news, and he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.

Format: Pick 6 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Captain’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes can be made each week.


Team Cooper (Team name: NormanStanleyFletcher)


Last week: Oh dear. I actually celebrated Rafa Cabrera Bello winning on Sunday and then checked-in to discover that, even though I originally picked him, I had a last second change of heart and went with Soren Kjeldsen instead. Meh.

Position: 1,985th

Sergio Garcia (captain): A top ten finisher in each of the last three years and flying high post-Masters glory. Happy to overlook his lack of a top ten in two tries at Birkdale – small sample size for a high quality links performer.

Rory McIlroy: Can he finally pull out a performance? I’m saying that he’s not going to complete a dismal hat-trick of three missed cuts. He played well at Royal Troon with a bad draw. It’s not beyond him.

Jon Rahm: The Irish Open win wiped away any thought that he might be a bit green on the links. Would be madness to ignore him, even though I suspect other Open rota courses would suit him more.

Alex Noren: Has two Open Championship top 20 finishes, the first of them on debut in the tournament here in 2008.

Tommy Fleetwood: Was well-fancied for the 2015 Open off the back of his excellent Dunhill Links record, but flumped. Think it is different this time around. Huge good vibes in the town and on the course for him, and he’s loving every minute of it.

Justin Rose: It’s high time he got the luck of the draw and a decent crack at an Open. There will be expectations after the Masters second and his memories of 1998, but he’s good enough to cope with them.

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.