Golf

2018 PGA Championship Predictions: Fantasy Golf sleepers, fade picks

dustin-johnson-pga_usat.png
USA TODAY Sports

2018 PGA Championship Predictions: Fantasy Golf sleepers, fade picks

The final major golf tournament of the season takes place this weekend at Bellerive Country Club in Town And Country, Missouri. Bellerive last hosted the PGA Championship in 1992 when Nick Price captured the first of his three major titles.

Will Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka or Francesco Molinari claim their second major title of 2018? Can Dustin Johnson, the world's top golfer, capture his first major title since 2016? What about Tiger Wood? There are so many questions that will get answered between Thursday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 12.

If you are looking for the best insight and analysis to help you win at fantasy gold, you've come to the right place. 

The panel of golf experts offering their predictions, picks and analysis are:

Chris Garosi, The Fantasy Fix
Geoff Fienberg, DraftKings Live/The PME Experience
Kenny Kim, Fantasy Golf Degenerates Podcast
Doug McKinney, NBC Sports Washington/Sports Junkies

PGA Championship 2018 Fantasy Golf Picks and Predictions

PICKS TO WIN

Geoff Fienberg: Dustin Johnson
The No. 1 player in the world has four Top 5 finishes in his last five5 starts and I expect another outstanding finish this week. I don’t want to live in a world in which Dustin Johnson has the same amount of majors as Keegan Bradley and a cavalcade of others so I’m looking forward to him getting No. 2 this week.

Chris Garosi: Dustin Johnson
I’ll stick with the favorite this week and go with Dustin Johnson. He’s finished in the Top 10 in five of his last six tournaments, missing the cut at The Open Championship. He may be in the best form of his life and perhaps the best form of anyone in the field.

Kenny Kim: Rory McIlroy
McIlroy is in solid form entering the 2018 PGA Championship. He was in the final pairing last week at Firestone and was in contention on the back-nine Sunday at Carnoustie. His length off the tee should be helpful at a wet Bellerive and the soft conditions should help with his approach game as well. The course favors golfers who hit a draw off the tee and McIlroy does that with the best of them. If he putts like he did last week, he could run away with it.

Doug McKinney: Brooks Koepka 
Why not? All Koepka does is compete at golf’s four prestigious in-season events. Since whiffing in his first two major appearances, Koepka has only made 17 straight cuts, including 11 Top 15 finishes and seven Top 10’s. Oh right, he also has two U.S. Open titles. The Florida State product has gone T-15 / T-5 / T-4 / T-13 in his last 4 PGA Tour visits. Bellerive is built for Koepka’s profile: long off the tee, maintain strokes gained tee-to-green and greens in regulation.  

SLEEPER PICK

Geoff Fienberg: Bryson DeChambeau
 The only player at Firestone to improve his score all four rounds. He'll never stop grinding for us and when you believe it is the Summer of Bryson how can one resist odds being posted as high as 80/1? Alex Noren was a close second for me here flirting in that 50-60/1 range.

Chris Garosi: Patrick Cantlay 
Since I went with chalk at the top, let’s dive a bit deeper for a sleeper. Patrick Cantlay tees it up for his second PGA Championship this week off a T6 at Firestone last week. He has three top 15 finishes in his last five events. He’s No. 31 in Strokes Gained: Approach, No. 11 Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and No. 8 Strokes Gained: Tee to Green on the year.

Kenny Kim: Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau impressed me last week by improving every round after shooting an abysmal 75 Thursday at Firestone. He could have given up but instead grounded out a Top 30 finish. He has all the tools to win here: length off the tee, sharp long irons, good approach stats, and his putter has improved the back half of this year. He’s also one of the top golfers on Tour at long par 4s. He has a lot to play for as he is one spot out of automatically making the Ryder Cup team and a strong showing this week will go a long way in his bid to make the team.

Doug McKinney: Paul Casey
I really wanted to slot Jon Rahm with the sleepers, because rarely anyone is giving him a shot to win…but I’ll play the game and go with someone who is even less talked about. The two-time PGA Tour winner – cough, cough he has 13 European Tour victories, mind you – is an older, British version of Rickie Fowler. Consistently making the weekend at Majors, usually near the top of the leaderboard (Nine Top-10’s on his record) and just has not put together four rounds together at the same time. 

Sound familiar right? The biggest difference between the two is that Casey is older and Fowler flashes a lot of orange. Casey’s iron play has been impressive this season and his tendency for higher than average ball-flight should come in handy this weekend.

LONGSHOT PICK

Geoff Fienberg: Beau Hossler
 The young Hossler is a brick house filled with immense talent and I’ve been sucked into the 150/1 price tag. Luke List and Gary Woodland also have my attention at numbers north of 100/1.

Chris Garosi: Kevin Chappell
 Kevin Chappell sits No. 27 in Strokes Gained: Approach and that’s enough for me to risk him this week as a longshot. I also always look at Cameron Smith on any par 70 course. Even though it’s been an up and down season for the youngster, he’s had a small uptick in play recently and perhaps it’s the start of something. 

Kenny Kim: Kyle Stanley
Stanley had a strong showing last week and his game should fit the needs of this course. He hits a ton of fairways, has excellent iron-play, and he is longer than you might think off the tee. Last week he averaged well over 300 yards with his driver. He hasn’t had too much success at Majors but has shown the propensity to do well in strong fields this past year. He has two Top 5s in the WGC events this season and has a runner-up finish at The Memorial. A Major breakthrough is not out of the question for him.

Doug McKinney: Gary Woodland
I picked “Woody” as my longshot for the U.S. Open and he “rewarded” me with a T-36. Two great rounds sandwiched in with two bad ones. He is coming off a solid performance in Akron and is fifth in strokes gained off the tee this year. He catches flack for his short game, but I think the other facets of his game will mask that problem this weekend.

FADE PICK

Geoff Fienberg: Francesco Molinari
Winning at Wentworth changed his career but winning at The Open has changed his life forever, from a strictly to win prospect I’m going to say ‘Cesco has run out of W's for 2018. 

Chris Garosi: Justin Rose
 Rose should be near the top of every card this week, but he withdrew last week with a back injury which gives me pause. You can find any number you want that will point you to Rose being a true contender, but I’m not risking it with him this week. 

Kenny Kim: Tiger Woods
It hurts my soul writing this but I think Tiger is a fade this week. This is his first full season on Tour in FIVE YEARS! There is no way his body can be used to the amount of golf he has played this season. His average swing speed has decreased in each of his last five tournaments and we’ve seen him struggle on weekends his last few outings. I don’t see a miraculous energy boost in his game this week no matter how much Monster he drinks.

Doug McKinney: Sergio Garcia
I don’t think he’s going to be a popular pick in the first place, but the 2017 Masters winner has missed the cut in his last four Majors. He hasn’t been able to drive the ball accurately this year. I wouldn’t roster him in any of my 30+ line-ups or betting plays.  

BARGAIN BUILDER

Geoff Fienberg: Ricky Fowler ($10,200)
It seems like many golf people are getting Fowler fatigue but he’s going to have a great week on a ball strikers/putters course.

Chris Garosi: Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($7,300), Eddie Pepperell ($7,000)
At $7,300, Cabrera-Bello is an outrageous bargain. You want stats? Ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach (if you like fancy stats) and 12th in GIR% (if you’re more of a simple stats kind of player). How about 31st in Total Driving? He’s coming of a T17 at Bridgestone and form at Bridgestone has seemed to be a good indicator for success at the PGA Championship. Maybe even play him as your top Spaniard if you’re into such things.

Kenny Kim: Jason Day.
I would consider Jason Day a Top 5 favorite to win this week but he is only the twelfth highest priced golfer on DraftKings. This is by far Day’s best Major and he is coming in with good form. We all know how good he is with the putter and out of the bunkers but what makes him a favorite for me is his improved iron play. If he gains anywhere near the 4.7 strokes he gained with his irons last week, he’ll be in contention on Sunday.

Doug McKinney: Jordan Spieth ($10,700), Rickie Fowler ($10,200).
Not a lot of love for the 2018 Masters winner, but I’ll roster him a bunch at that price. Patrick Reed could end the Majors season the way he started it.

 

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

tiger_mad.png
Golf Channel

The Open Championship 2019: Tiger Woods is playing poorly and it's stressing us all out

Tiger Woods carded a front-nine five-over-par 41 during his first round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It looked bad from the very beginning as he pulled an iron off the first tee into the fescue on the left and grimaced.

That's not just any "Aw shucks, I hit it in the rough" grimace. That's the grimace of a 43-year-old with a fused spine playing golf in cold, windy and rainy weather after not playing competitive golf since the U.S. Open about a month ago.

Woods said that the chilly, damp weather at Pebble Beach made it difficult for him to get loose during the U.S. Open, which would make it a fair assumption that the 15-time major winner is struggling with his back in similar weather at Royal Portrush.

But if there's anybody who can overcome physical issues on the course, it's Tiger Woods. He did, after all, win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg. He seemed to weather the storm with a world-class par on the first after two poor shots. He had makeable birdie opportunities on the second and third holes, but missed both.

Then the squares on the scorecard came. Woods went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey between the fifth and 10th holes. He hasn't looked particularly comfortable at any point during the round.

That reality has drawn reactions from just about everybody watching. 

It hasn't gone much better for Big Cat since. As somebody who moves the needle more than anybody else in the sport, nobody wants to watch him play like this. There's still some time left in Round 1, but things aren't looking good for Woods.

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

rory_mcilroy_usopen_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

2019 Open Championship: How to watch, TV Channel, Tee Times, Groupings, Odds

For the first time in 68 years, the golfing world will convene in Northern Ireland for a major championship, as Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the 148th Open Championship.

The final major of the season will provide an unfamiliar test for players of all ranks, as many have never before played this links course nestled along the northern Irish coast.

Rory McIlroy will be competing for a major title in his home country for the first time. The world No. 3 is having one of his strongest seasons in recent memory, winning two tournaments and finishing inside the top-10 at the most recent two majors. McIlroy, looking for his first major title since 2014, is the betting favorite in Vegas (8-1). Why not win the next one on home soil?

As with any major, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods. He has never played Royal Portrush, but his three Open Championship titles illustrate that he knows how to win across the pond. Woods has not teed it up for a competitive round since last month's U.S. Open, but many will anticipate a strong showing this weekend.

World No. 1 Brooks Koepka will continue to be a favorite in every major until he proves otherwise. The bomber has won four major titles since June of 2017 and has finished no worse than runner-up in this year's three previous major championships. Although his results have fallen off since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, Koepka can never be counted out on the big stage.

With many other tantalizing storylines and plenty of golfers with a realistic chance to win this week, sit back, relax and watch as many hours of golf as you can:

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP HOW TO WATCH:

What: The 148th Open Championship

When: Thursday, July 18th – Sunday, 21st

Where: Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland

DAY 1 COVERAGE (Thursday, July 18):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 2 COVERAGE (Friday, July 19):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 1:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Golf Channel)

DAY 3 COVERAGE (Saturday, July 20):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 5 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. (NBC)

DAY 4 COVERAGE (Sunday, July 21):

Time (ET)/TV Channel: 4 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Golf Channel), 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. (NBC)

All four rounds of the tournament can also be streamed online at GolfChannel.com, TheOpen.com and NBCSports.com.

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES (ET), GROUPINGS (ALL OFF No. 1):

1:35 a.m. -- Darren Clarke, James Sugrue (a), Charley Hoffman
1:46 a.m. -- Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang, Thomas Thurloway (a)
1:57 a.m. -- Andy Sullivan, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Alexander Levy
2:08 a.m. -- Chan Kim, Zander Lombard, Brandon Wu (a)
2:19 a.m. -- Richard Sterne, Romain Langasque, Matthias Schmid (a)
2:30 a.m. -- Padraig Harrington, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam
2:41 a.m. -- Bubba Watson, Eddie Pepperell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
2:52 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Branden Grace
3:03 a.m. -- Alex Noren, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Sam Locke
3:14 a.m. -- Webb Simpson, C.T. Pan, Sergio Garcia
3:25 a.m. -- Ryan Palmer, Andrea Pavan, Dylan Frittelli
3:36 a.m. -- Kyle Stanley, Andrew Johnston, Robert Macintyre
3:47 a.m. -- Mikko Korhonen, Oliver Wilson, Curtis Knipes (a)
4:03 a.m. -- Ian Poulter, Sungjae Im, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
4:14 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, Graeme McDowell
4:25 a.m. -- Haotong Li, Russell Knox, Bernd Wiesberger
4:36 a.m. -- Jason Kokrak, Connor Syme, Austin Connelly
4:47 a.m. -- Zach Johnson, David Duval, Corey Conners
4:58 a.m. -- Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
5:09 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Gary Woodland, Paul Casey
5:20 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner
5:31 a.m. -- Jim Furyk, Si Woo Kim, Jimmy Walker
5:42 a.m. -- Luke List, Alexander Bjork, Paul Waring
5:53 a.m. -- Shugi Imahira, Nate Lashley, Benjamin Hebert
6:04 a.m. -- Mikumu Horikawa, Callum Shinkwin, Garrick Porteous
6:15 a.m. -- Prom Meesawat, Matthew Baldwin, Jack Senior
6:36 a.m. -- Tom Lehman, Joaquin Niemann, Miguel Angel Jimenez
6:47 a.m. -- Ben An, Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood
6:58 a.m. -- Joel Dahmen, Adri Arnaus, Dimitrios Papadatos
7:09 a.m. -- Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Innchoon Hwang
7:20 a.m. -- Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Jake McLeod
7:31 a.m. -- Ryan Fox, Shaun Norris, Dongkyu Jang
7:42 a.m. -- Tyrrell Hatton, Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters
7:53 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Shubhankar Sharma
8:15 a.m. -- Billy Horschel, Aaron Wise, Jazz Janewattananond
8:26 a.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Danny Willett, Marc Leishman
8:37 a.m. -- Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, David Lipsky
8:48 a.m. -- Paul Lawrie, Chez Reavie, Justin Harding
9:04 a.m. -- Takumi Kanaya (a), Tom Lewis, Brandon Stone
9:15 a.m. -- Lucas Glover, Joost Luiten, Nino Bertasio
9:26 a.m. -- Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Abraham Ancer
9:37 a.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Brian Harman
9:48 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Lucas Bjerregaard
9:59 a.m. -- Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
10:10 a.m. -- Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace, Patrick Reed
10:21 a.m. -- Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar
10:32 a.m. -- Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, Robert Rock
10:43 a.m. -- Adrian Otaegui, Yuta Ikeda, Isidro Benitez
10:54 a.m. -- Patton Kizzire, Sang Hyun Park, Yuki Inamori
11:05 a.m. -- Yoshinori Fujimoto, Doyeob Mun, Andrew Wilson
11:16 a.m. -- Gunn Charoenjul, Yosuke Asaji, Ashton Turner

2019 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP-10 ODDS & NOTABLES (as of July 16th):

Rory McIlroy: 8-1
Brooks Koepka: 10-1
Dustin Johnson: 16-1
John Rahm: 16-1
Tiger Woods: 16-1
Justin Rose: 20-1
Francesco Molinari: 25-1
Xander Schauffele: 25-1
Henrik Stenson: 28-1
Tommy Fleetwood: 28-1
Justin Thomas: 30-1
Matt Kuchar: 30-1
Rickie Fowler: 30-1
Jordan Spieth: 35-1
Phil Mickelson: 100-1