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
Glass ($18,101,748; Rank: 1,803)
Sometimes you lose even when you win. I gained on my competitors in this column as Keegan Bradley did the business over Jim Furyk. But anyone who had McIlroy or Garcia in Group 1 sent me to the slaughter as I dropped 600 or so points.
So much for having three guys in the top 10!
Look where that got me!
What did we learn? Better pick the winner this week!
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Marc Leishman
Group 4: Robert Karlsson
ANALYSIS: I was asked by my friend Laura Diakun on Fantasy Sports Today on Tuesday if it was crazy to think McIlroy could win three in a row on TOUR. HELL NO was my answer. He’s cut from a different cloth and he’s on complete tilt at the moment. I’ll back off when he crashes and burns, not in the middle of THIS! I’m throwing Bradley right back out as well as he is built for courses like Valhalla. The Aussie is on fire and to get him in Group 3 is excellent in a massive field. The long-hitting Swede is right back into my lineup after his T12 at The Open. I understand 10 of the 95 previous winners have been American but four of the last six (Harrington, Yang, Kaymer, McIlroy) haven’t been.
Rob Bolton ($16,148,953; Rank: 5,507)
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Ryan Moore
Group 4: Scott Brown
ANALYSIS: Rob couldn’t relive his RBC magic where he had first AND second place in his lineup. Last week we matched Scott and Moore but he went Furyk in Group 2 so I’ve held him at bay. This week we’ll battle in Groups 3 and 4 only as we match the top two players.
Ryan O’ Sullivan ($17,481,180; Rank: 2,711)
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Marc Leishman
Group 4: Kevin Chappell
ANALYSIS: His Furyk-Simpson-Cabrera triad didn’t fire for him last week so this week he has mirrored my top three picks! Our battle will be between Karlsson and Kevin to see who K’s first.
Ned Brown ($18,972,037; Rank: 977)
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Phil Mickelson
Group 3: Marc Leishman
Group 4: Robert Karlsson
ANALYSIS: Ned and I matched Scott and Moore last week so I made up some ground with Bradley in Group 2 as he also had Furyk. This week, it’s Bradley v Mickelson as we match on the other three picks. Ned is going to hop on and ride those 10 birdies and 62 last week from Firestone!
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.
WGC-BI Points: 196
Summer Segment Points: 1,022
Summer Ranking: 10,019
Season Points: 4,717
Season Ranking: 2,738
Adam Scott: He was in the hunt at Firestone, but poor inward nine in the final round dropped him to T8. Still, Scott has been playing great with five consecutive top 10s on the TOUR, including his championship at Colonial that started this run.
Phil Mickelson: I think this pick is a real tossup between Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Fowler overall has played better of the two, but Mickelson's game seemed to gel in the final round at Firestone, where he poured in 10 birdies due to his sparkling iron play. It remains to be seen if Phil can put four good rounds together, but he loves this course and has done well on it in the past.
Rory McIlroy: He is as hot as I've ever seen him right now with back-to-back victories at the British Open and the WGC-BI. I have only one start left with him, but he is so dialed in right now that I can't see any point in saving him this week.
Justin Rose: He notched back-to-back championships at the QLN and the Scottish Open and he showed last week that he still is form with a T4 at the WGC-BI. He has had some success at the PGA Championship in the past with a T3 in '12 being his best result.
Jim Furyk: He has played so well this season that his T15 at the WGC-Bridgestone seems like a letdown. He still is in great form right now and he has a strong record at the PGA with five top 10s in 19 starts, including his second place finish last year.
Keegan Bradley: The 2011 champ has been playing well with a T19 at the British Open and T4 at both the Greenbrier and the WGC-BI. He has an impressive short history at the PGA with a T3 in '12 and a T19 last year.
Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard is playing some of the best golf of his career right now. He was T2 at the Travelers and British Open, plus a solo second place last week at the WGC-BI. The person that he has finished second to the last two times out is Rory McIlroy and I wouldn't be surprised if the same duo were in the hunt on Sunday again.
Graeme McDowell: The lighter schedule at the start of the year seems to be working out for him because he has racked five consecutive top 10s including a championship at the Open de France. I was very impressed with his T8 last week at Firestone because it is a course that he has had minimal success.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
WGC-BI Points: 200
Summer Segment Points: 1,113
Summer Ranking: 466
Season Points: 4,947
Season Ranking: 67
WGC-BI Points: 200
Summer Segment Points: 1,114
Summer Ranking: 427
Season Points: 4,757
Season Ranking: 1,758
WGC-BI Points: 206
Summer Segment Points: 1,031
Summer Ranking: 8,373
Season Points: 4,742
Season Ranking: 2,089
Solid effort last week as I was the high man in the group as the premium players, well, played like premium players! It’s an easy game when the guys do their job. Just like last week, there shouldn’t be too many, if any, surprises on most rosters this week so those of you who are trailing, it’s a great week to try and pull the upset or long shot. Why? Not many guys have played this course and hardly any of them have seen much of the new greens. The bad news is that usually results in the chalkier players doing what they do. With only a handful of events left, starts can be thrown out the window but it shouldn’t be hard filling the roster from 99 of the top 100 players in the world.
Adam Scott: Copy and Paste from last week. He’s remarked the course is right in front of the players and he expects plenty of birdies this week. I’m enthralled to see how he reacts being knocked from No. 1 in the world. Unlike the GolfChannel.com game, we can have BOTH Nos. 1 and 2 in the world on the roster in Yahoo!
Phil Mickelson: Since I’m playing Scott for the final time, I plan on using him all four rounds. In case of emergency, break Glass. Mickelson is my insurance policy this week and only two things are gonna happen: one, he shoots a million and can’t hit the driver while on my bench or he continues his run of form from his 62 at Akron and I collect bonus points on Sunday.
Group A is absolutely loaded with the likes of on-fire Fowler, Leishman, Moore and Kuchar. I could make eight guys from Group A alone without using Bubba Watson or Tiger Woods. That’s deep woods OFF deep! The counter this week is Stenson, Snedeker or Westwood if a large comeback is needed. Kevin Stadler is the walk-off-two-outs-two-strikes-grand-slam-game-seven home run.
Rory McIlroy: If he’s not in the lineup, the ONLY acceptable excuse is there are no more starts left to use.
Justin Rose: He’s in the same spot as he was last week and after his T4 I see absolutely no reason to affix him to my bench.
Keegan Bradley: See above, copy and paste.
Hideki Matsuyama: Furyk hits the bench with only one start remaining as I’ll use him at East Lake. The Japanese has been very solid over the last year and a half and with Rose and McIlroy on fire, he might not even see the lineup.
Group B is a bunch of chalk, barf and injuries. I would bang Furyk and Zach Johnson into the lineup with no worries but I only have one start a piece on them. This group is so top heavy that taking a flier on Kaymer (up and down), Stricker (down, down and downer), Graham DeLaet (WD with flu last week), Jason Day (dizziness, always hurt) or Jason Dufner (neck problems) just doesn’t make sense unless a combo of McIlroy/Rose/Furyk is the foundation. Brian Harman would be my long-shot poke here.
Sergio Garcia: He’s finished T2 or second in his last three starts.
Graeme McDowell: With baby on the way it looks like GMAC is dialed in and free as a bird. His results show it with a win, T9, T9 and T9 in his last four worldwide.
Since this two-man jam is the same as last week, I’ll mention that Schwartzel should be looked at if starts are an issue as he’s hit the top 10 in two of his last three starts (one major, one WGC). J.B. Holmes will be the sentimental pick but take a look at Scott Brown if a DEEP SLEEPER is needed.
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
The Open: Adam Scott: T5
WGC-BI: Keegan Bradley: T4
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. Stricker, Johnson and Spieth all cashed nice checks but ZJ was the winner on solo second. Stricker’s T11 was good for $112,800 or about $830,000 less than I expected with him in the final group.
The Open: My top two players are available this week and that has been by design. I have put off using Rose and Scott for occasions such as this and now comes the difficult decision of picking the “right” one. There is no wrong answer this week for my money. I’m going with Scott as he is fresh, focused and has been at Hoylake practicing since last Thursday. Rose is the hottest player on the planet but The Open is far and away his weakest major and until last week, links golf hadn’t been very kind to him as a professional. The world’s No. 1 player didn’t win but he cashed another top five for me in a big tournament. Bueno.
RBC Canadian: With Kuchar, Snedeker and Mahan my only choices from the top 10 remaining, I’m going to fire Kuchar. I don’t like defending champions, even though the course is at another site. Mahan hasn’t shown enough form that THIS week will be the week he finally finds the top 10 again. Kuchar didn’t win but he did cash a T5 so no complaints here.
Barracuda Championship: Brendan Steele has finished in the top eight twice in two career starts so he fires this week. I won’t mention that he began Sunday T4 or that he was just one of nine players to have NEGATIVE points in the final round. That would sound greedy. His T25 is what it is and I add $25,200.
WGC-BI: Part of me really wants to pull the trigger on Tiger Woods on course he’s dominated but I could have made the same argument at Torrey. People were shooting 65 on Sunday at Hoylake. He was 10 shots worse. I guess the good news is I will have him for down the road since Keegan Bradley gets the billing this week. BANG! Another top five performance keeps the fire burning as Bradley was T4 and pocketed $308,000.
PGA: With Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner injured, my insurance policies are dwindling with six events remaining. I’m saving Rose for East Lake, that’s a done deal so he’s out. In a major, I need a guy who can hole some putts so I’m putting the WHITE HOT Ryan Moore in the driving seat this week. #CrossesFingers as Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Reed also had my attention.
Top TOUR Players Left (according to OWGR)
Justin Rose (4)
Matt Kuchar (7)
Tiger Woods (9)
Keegan Bradley (23)
Jason Dufner (25)
Patrick Reed (30)
Brandt Snedeker (35)
Bill Haas (36)
Ryan Moore (39)
Kevin Streelman (40)
Chris Kirk (43)
Hunter Mahan (44)
Jonas Blixt (45)
Harris English (48)
Matt Every (49)
SEASON TOTAL: $5,724,756; 39 events
Wins: 1; Jimmy Walker (AT&T Pebble)
Seconds: 1; Dustin Johnson (NTO)
Thirds: 1; Sergio Garcia (PLAYERS)
Top 5s: 8
Top 10s: 12
Top 25s: 21
Thermometer: Results of T5, MC, T11, T5, T4, T25 and T4 equals a very solid summer. The pickings are getting slim with six events to go.
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 PGA Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.