Welcome to Playing the Tips!
Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our group of fantasy staffers from Rotoworld.com. We’ll have all of our selections from the GolfChannel.com, Yahoo! Fantasy Golf plus my new expanded feature on my weekly selection for One-and-Done players.
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
John Deere Classic
Glass ($15,564,599; Rank: 1,242)
Well, I warned about sinking like a stone a few weeks back and where my descent has happened, it feels like death by a million paper cuts instead. Jimmy Walker toasted all of us so I didn’t lose any ground there. Brendon Todd was excellent AGAIN and flew the flag. Steven Bowditch did NOT shoot 61 like George McNeill did as he MDF. Rob Bolton picked the wrong week to abandon Todd and O picked the right week to play McNeill. Ned Brown just continues to plug and won’t let any of us get close. That SHOULD change this week as we have two tournaments to make up some ground!
Group 1: Steve Stricker
Group 2: Chris Kirk
Group 3: Billy Hurley III
Group 4: Steve Marino
ANALYSIS: I’m going with the grizzled veteran over the quiet Zach Johnson and spry Jordan Spieth. Winning tournaments is difficult. He’s won three of these. Chris Kirk should buy me some separation in the Group 2 pending the others selections. BHIII is in the form of his life and his putter should be a fantastic weapon this week. Group 4 SCREAMS Steve Marino after he hit his temporary exemption last week by $174. His 66-67 isn’t scaring me off either!
Rob Bolton ($12,992,113; Rank: 6,706)
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Chris Stroud
Group 3: Bud Cauley
Group 4: Patrick Cantlay
ANALYSIS: Bolton again is investing heavily in the youth on TOUR. He’s going against the grain and leaving out Stricker/Johnson in Group 1.
Ryan O’ Sullivan ($15,938,625; Rank: 911)
Group 1: Steve Stricker
Group 2: Jason Bohn
Group 3: Billy Hurley III
Group 4: Jonathan Byrd
ANALYSIS: After being bailed out with the George McNeill 61 on Sunday, O moved up over 600 points to zoom right pasT me. The b@stard. I like Jason Bohn this week, but not that much! We match Groups 1 and 3 so it’s Bohn v Kirk and Byrd v Marino for second place!
Ned Brown ($17,004,975; Rank: 340)
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Harris English
Group 3: Billy Hurley III
Group 4: Patrick Rodgers
ANALYSIS: We’re all chasing Ned! I need a big week from Stricker and Kirk to make a dent since we match Group 3 players.
Event II -- Scottish Open
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Lee Westwood
Group 3: Rafael Jacquelin
Group 4: Craig Lee
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Jamie Donaldson
Group 3: Michael Hoey
Group 4: Gareth Maybin
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Thongchai Jaidee
Group 3: Robert Karlsson
Group 4: Richard Green
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Jamie Donaldson
Group 3: Danny Willett
Group 4: Padraig Harrington
Yahoo! Fantasy Golf
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. He’ll lead us off each week in the Yahoo! game.
Greenbrier Points: 140
Summer Segment Points: 310
Summer Ranking: 787
Season Points: 4,005
Season Ranking: 1,855
Ryan Moore: Group A is very thin this week because of the upcoming British Open, so Moore stands out among those that are playing this week. He looked great at the Travelers, where he tied for fifth place, and his recent history at TPC Deere Run is solid with a T8 in '12 and a T22 last year.
Charles Howell III: The very weak Group A this week forces me to go with CH III at the John Deere. Howell had a nice T3 at the Byron Nelson, but since then he has four finishes well off the leaderboard. Still, this is light years ahead of most of the Group A players this week. His recent history at the John Deere is just ok, with the highlight being a T5 finish in '11.
Jordan Spieth: I only have a couple of starts left on Spieth because he has been the most consistent player on the TOUR with 15 top 25s in 19 starts. He is the defending champion this week, and given the field this week, is a must-use player.
Zach Johnson: He was red hot at the start of the season, but recently he has been finishing well back in the pack. His recent record at the John Deere is stellar with four top 3s in his last five starts, which includes a championship in '12.
Steve Stricker: He was in the hunt for the title last week, but a closing round of 4-over-par dropped him to a T35 finish. I am a bit concerned by that finish, but his record here is outstanding with five consecutive top 10s including championships in '09, '10 and '11.
Michael Thompson: I feel so good about the first three picks that I'm going to take a flyer in this spot. Thompson played well last week in a T11 finish at The Greenbrier and in his only start at the John Deere (in '11) he finished in a tie for 12th place.
Billy Hurley III: It seems almost all of the players this week are in Group C and one of the hottest in the group is Bill Hurley III. He was able to build on his T8 at the QLN and held the 54-hole lead last week The Greenbrier, a poor final round of 3-over-par dropped him into a tie for fourth place, but the finish did earn him a spot in next week's British Open. His recent history is good with a T8 finish in '12.
Harris English: I think this spot is a tough call between Kevin Na, Chris Stroud and Harris English. I've changed my mind a few times who I should go with, but after sleeping on the question I've settled on English because I thought he looked very good at the Travelers, where he tied for seventh place.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Greenbrier Points: 120
Summer Segment Points: 301
Summer Ranking: 3,673
Season Points: 4,135
Season Ranking: 213
Greenbrier Points: 146
Summer Segment Points: 338
Summer Ranking: 118
Season Points: 3,981
Season Ranking: 2,542
Greenbrier Points: 127
Summer Segment Points: 273
Summer Ranking: 14,904
Full Season Points: 3,984
Full Season Ranking: 2,463
The good news I had Webb Simpson in my lineup. The bad news is he was on my bench on Sunday. Analyze that.
Ryan Moore: If this isn’t the thinnest Group A ever, please alert me to what was.
Charles Howell III: If he’s going to win another tournament, this will be the one.
I’m leaving Summerhays out so thank me later. Russell Henley is a calculated flier here because he’s gotten REAL LOW before. Moore and Howell are the ONLY TWO in this group that have less than 10 starts for me…
Steve Stricker: He’s won this three times and hasn’t finished worse than T10 in his last five:
Zach Johnson: No matter his form, he’s going in the lineup this week as he hasn’t had a round in the 70s here in five years.
Jordan Spieth: Last start of the year for Spieth for me so I hope he repeats his 2013 performance.
Chris Kirk: If Stricker and Johnson don’t do their normal business, it will be good to have this birdie machine as a back-up plan.
Chris Stroud: I’m losing my patience with the chalk so I’m going to back a player who missed so many short putts last Sunday and STILL finished T4. Carryon my wayward son!
Group C has all the “hot” players this week so it just depends on the angle of attack gamer to gamer.
Frys.com: Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!
CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.
WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife. Kaymer’s third round 62 dared me to dream but his T8 and $161,667 is a nice deposit.
The McGladrey Classic: David Toms. He’s finished T3 in 2010 and second last year. His recent form suggests he’s playing well and I don’t see another chance to burn him down the road. It was him or CH III. Well, BOTH of my selections finished T27. I should have listened to O…T27 was good for $39,050.
OHL Mayakoba: Brian Gay. When form meets course history… Well, that was a nice theory but it resulted in T45 and $18,060. I’m glad 2013 is now over.
HTOC: Martin Laird. Since I’m off to a woeful start I see no reason to burn a premium player. Chris Kirk was my second choice but nobody wins in back-to-back starts plus he’s just had another child. Laird is the horse-for-course. The Scot finished T20 in a 30-man field for $87,000.
Sony: Charles Howell III. He plays great in the early part of the season and his record at Waialae has everything BUT a win. If you notice, I saved most of my heavy hitters for the latter part of 2013 last year and that strategy worked out. Hey, a top 10 and $119,000! Feels like a winner!
Humana: Webb Simpson has been on fire to get 2013-14 started and going low has never been a problem. It’s time to start firing at ‘em. Sigh. Another week brings another disappointing selection as I add a whopping $57,000 to my morbid total.
FIO: Same as last year, Rickie Fowler. He’s working with Butch Harmon to get to the next level and he’s played SoCal courses plenty in his young life. He finished up last week at Humana 67-66 and he’s finished T5, T20, T13 and T6 last year in four career starts. I’ll save Woods and Mickelson for down the road for bigger winner’s checks. Snedeker and Walker were also considered and are solid options for this week. Fowler was just as bad as the other four I had listed, save for Woods’ MDF cash. Tough week in OAD for most I’m guessing. MC $0.
WMPO: Ryan Palmer. He’s on fire, can really putt and was fifth here last year. His excellent 64 saw him make the cut but his 70-72 weekend resulted in T48 at $15,772. I finished strong last year because I had a stable full of studs from The Open Championship through the FedExCup Playoffs. I’m not panicking. Yet.
AT&T PEBBLE: Jimmy Walker is the pick this week. He’s a beast on the West Coast and he’s had time to recover from his illness after MC at Torrey Pines. BANG TRISCUITS. Winner, winner, chicken dinner and $1,188,000.
NTO: Dustin Johnson goes to bat this week for Team Glass. His form is excellent and the fact that he’s banged top 10s in half of his trips here doesn’t hurt either. Tacos for everyone! Johnson’s solo second adds $723,600 to the bank! #heatwave
WGC-Match Play: Ian Poulter will be my hedge this week. His recent starts hardly inspire but there’s no doubting his inner fortitude in Match Play. He is the 2010 champ and was fourth last year. I don’t see myself using him anywhere else this season. Hunter Mahan would be choice No. 2 but I don’t like his draw with the sizzling Zach Johnson. Don’t forget Mahan played in the last group in the U.S. Open and The Open in 2013. Ah, Poults…$48,000.
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell is the choice this week. There has been no rust after his time off this winter and I’m encouraged after his result at Pebble and WGC-Match Play. I’m using Mickelson at Pinehurst so this is an easy play. He was three-under heading into the weekend. He was even when the weekend was over. Add $15,600 to the bank. That couldn’t cover Bolton’s Lear jet for the weekend…
WGC-CC: With a massive prize pool, I have no problem pulling the trigger on, as for reasons mentioned above, on an ultra-premium player. GO MCILROY GO! After making a birdie on No. 1 on Sunday, He was just four back. That was his last birdie of the day, sigh, T25, $76,000.
Valspar: It was down to Furyk or Donald, but Donald had only ONE bad round last week! Go Luke Go! Donald finished T4, good for $235,600. Another cash and another top five works for me.
VTO: It came down to Charley Hoffman and Freddie Jacobson last week and the American with the impeccable track record at Valero won the starting spot. He didn’t disappoint as he ground-out a T11 to rack up $136,400. #verynice
Shell Houston Open: The big Swede I should have went with was Freddie Jacobson but instead it was Henrik Stenson. I have now been severely toasted on two premium players in 2014 as McIlroy (T25, WGC-CC) and Stenson (T54) have given me absolutely nothing. Yes, $14,456 is nothing in this game.
Masters: The Westwood for a two-and-done was more solid advice than going with (again) injured Jason Day. He rallied nicely for T20 but that’s not what I need in big events. I’ll add $101,600 to the kitty.
Here are my results in the four big payday events:
Ian Poulter: WGC-Match Play: T33
Rory McIlroy: WGC-CC: T25
Jason Day: Masters: T20
Sergio Garcia: THE PLAYERS: Third
Phil Mickelson: U.S. Open T35; reality checked
RBC Heritage: Donald would obviously be the selection this week but I’ve burned him at Tampa. I’m going with Jim Furyk this week as he returns to a track where he’s had plenty of successes and his game has been in fine form the past month. I also considered Spieth and Kuchar for this spot but after a trying weekend at the Masters, I’ll save them both for down the road. As I mentioned above, I #fantasyfailed in so many ways on Kuchar this week I’ve lost count. Jim Furyk did exactly what gamers would expect, a top 10 (T7) and $187,050.
Zurich Classic: The safe pick this week would be Justin Rose but as I’ve demonstrated above, I DON’T PLAY SAFE. Or smart, sadly, for that matter. Whatever. That was the FIRST SENTENCE I wrote last week. Top 10s are GREAT people! Sadly, T29s are not and that’s what Graham DeLaet racked up for me last week. Sure it’s $44,200 but that’s not what I was looking for from a guy who made only FOUR bogeys on the week!!!
Wells Fargo: Since I’ve burned McIlroy, Furyk, Fowler and Walker, that leaves me Westwood, Moore, Rose and Holmes from my top eight. As I’ve mentioned, I’m leaving Rose for larger fish fryings and I would suggest that Holmes makes a nice choice for TADs this week. That leaves last week’s champion in Malaysia, Lee Westwood and Ryan Moore. Moore’s current form is the biggest concern and that’s the least of my worries with the Englishman. Westwood will fly the flag this week for the S.S. Tirefire. SO CLOSE YET SO FAR as Holmes was the suggestion in the TWO and Done so hopefully Don from the PNW read the column!! As we all know, Westwood MC.
THE PLAYERS: For those of you who didn’t blow Westwood out last week, he’ll make a tasty TAD pick this week to go along with Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk or Sergio Garcia. Since I’ve burned three of the four mentioned above, I’m going with the Spaniard to claim his second title here. Vamos Sergio! Wow. All FOUR of those picks hit the T6 or better last week! I know what that means this week: carnage. Fine. I’m not scared.
HPBNC: I’m going with #SpiethBoner in his backyard. Keegan Bradley would make a fine selection as well and I should hedge but WHAT FUN WOULD THAT BE? I wouldn’t talk you out of Woodland either as I’m really high on him this week as well but I’ve burned him already. For the TOADs (TwOAndDones) in the crowd, Marc Leishman is the no-brainer here. Add Jordan Spieth to the Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day pile of premium players that I have burned with awful results. At least my TOAD pick with Leishman was quality. Spieth finished T37 for $30,403.
CPIC: There are two reasons I like Zach Johnson this week. One, I’ve already burned Jim Furyk. Two, the win pool is almost $300k more than the JDC where I will burn Stricker. LET’S GET GREEDY. There are three chalk players this week and I’ve mentioned two of them. Matt Kuchar is the third. Oh, and Paul Casey was mentioned for the TOAD. O-fer EVERYTHING last week. #awesome. Zach Johnson finished 73rd, or third-to-last, for a whopping $12,416.
Memorial: I’m going with Charl Schwartzel here even though only seven of 38 winners over the years are non-American. He’s a steady-eddy and his last three starts here have all improved and have all been inside the top 25. Well, that worked out nicely as the South African finished T8 for $167,400. This is part of the column where I would mention he was T5 beginning Sunday if I was bitter but I’m not.
FESJC: A thin field leaves me with few premium choices as I am burning Mickelson next week at Pinehurst and DJ has already bagged me a solo second at Riviera. John Senden and Paul Casey are the only two in my Call to Order that I have not played this season. I’m going to keep it simple stupid and roll with Aussie who has been firing all season long. Sendo wento homo earlio with MC. Rubbish. The alternate selections of DJ, Westwood and Palmer fell just as flat. Complete throw away week last week.
U.S. Open: I’ve had Phil Mickelson circled for this event for 364 days. Do I wish he was playing better? No. This week is this week. The U.S. Open is the U.S. Open. I’m looking for some #Philanthropy to get back into the top 500 or so in the GC game. Well, Mickelson was, well, Mickelson but sadly not U.S. Open Phil Mickelson. He was 2014 Mickelson. He was T35. $59,588 will have to do.
Travelers: It’s time for #BubbaGolf! Like Mickelson, this play has been planned out for some time so I hope I’m not a day late and a million or so dollars short. #fingerscrossed #BubbaGolf resulted in T31 or worse for the third tournament in a row. #FadeMe
QLN: I’m sending the quiet assassin Brendon Todd to bat this week to shake it up. He’s better than you think and his game is a solid as it gets. It feels so good to be back in the top five again! Almost like a win!! T5, $237,250
Greenbrier: A very difficult decision this week came down to three players: Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman and Ben Martin. Leishman will get the nod because of his form, barely, over Martin and Reed. Brendan Steele should have been in the conversation but I’ll save him for Reno-Tahoe. The ENTIRE LINE-UP WAS AWFUL unless you consider Reed’s T26 a positive result. Leishman ended up MC for $0.
JDC: This week, there are only two choices for OAD, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson. If you need to be contrarian, this is not the week because of the course history and domination of Stricker and Johnson. If you are new to this format and you’ve already burned these two, take a look at Chris squared, Kirk or Stroud.
SEASON TOTAL: $4,683,517; 34 events
Wins: 1; Jimmy Walker (AT&T Pebble)
Seconds: 1; Dustin Johnson (NTO)
Thirds: 1; Sergio Garcia (PLAYERS)
Top 5s: 5
Top 10s: 9
Top 25s: 16
Thermometer: It’s too bad we all can’t play Brendon Todd every week…
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at The John Deere Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.