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NBC Predictor: PGA Championship

by Josh Culp

Golf Channel (NBC Sports Predictor App)

The Golf Channel has an exciting fantasy golf game for 2019.

The format is simple as you pick six head-to-head matchups. Then you pick a winner and winning score. 

The winner/winners split this week's top prize of $4,000. Anyone that earns 60 points for the week is also given an entry to the FootJoy $100,000 Championship which is a multi-week elimination-style contest that will take place later in the season. 

We will provide our picks for the format below and then provide some notes about why we chose our matchup picks or why we like a certain golfer to win. 

Josh Culp 
@FutureOfFantasy

Top Weekly Score: 85 pts

Matchups: 
Tiger Woods over Brooks Koepka
Dustin Johnson over Justin Rose
Rory McIlroy over Francesco Molinari
Phil Mickelson over Jordan Spieth
Jason Day over Justin Thomas (WD)
Rickie Fowler over Jon Rahm

Winner: 
Dustin Johnson (-10)

 

Josh's Notes: 

Koepka has become the most recent major killer but that is what Tiger's done his entire career. I have them both ranked inside the top 10 but Tiger has a past win on the course and that gives him the slight edge for me in this close matchup. 

Rose disappointed at the Masters so I'd expect him to have his full attention on Bethpage. That being said, DJ is the best golfer in the world right now, in my opinion. His length should serve him well on a rain-soaked course this week. 

Rory versus Moli is the easiest on the board for me. We are looking at a long golf course at Bethpage this week. Molinari has picked up some yardage over the last year but McIlroy is one of the best drivers in the world. McIlroy has gained 61.1 strokes off-the-tee in measured events over the last 12 months. That is the best in the field. 

Mickelson versus Spieth is a battle of struggling stars but Mickelson does have a win this year so he's not in a deep rut like Spieth. Mickelson's win came on poa annua greens (the grass we'll see this week). Mickelson has also gained the most total strokes at Bethpage Black if we count the last four events held there. 

The last matchup is a tough one. I have Fowler sitting at #5 in my rankings this week and Rahm is just two below at #7. These are two of the best golfers in the world without a major to their name. Fowler has been attempting it for much longer and it's just a matter of time before they start falling his way. The tiebreaker for me? Again, it will be history as Fowler finished 24th at the 2012 Barclays and 7th at the 2016 Barclays (MC at the 2009 U.S. Open). Rahm will be making his course debut this week. 

 

Mo Yoshimoto 
@Bears3423” 

Top Weekly Score: 65 pts

Matchups: 
Brooks Koepka over Tiger Woods
Dustin Johnson over Justin Rose
Rory McIlroy over Francesco Molinari
Jordan Spieth over Phil Mickelson
Justin Thomas (WD) cancelled Jason Day
Jon Rahm over Rickie Fowler

Winner: 
Jon Rahm (-8)

 

Mo's Notes: 

Near-miss last week with Scott Piercy finishing T2 in Dallas despite 72 holes of bogey-free golf.

Had Tiger Woods in this space to win the Masters so let's see if we can go 2-for-2 in majors.

Small gamble here with Rahm making his course debut at Bethpage Black, but he won the 2017 Farmers on debut (on similar grass types) and arrives off a win three weeks ago at the Zurich (teamed with Ryan Palmer). The layoff is a bit longer that I'd like but let's go with it.

Overall, Rahm is tied for the season lead in top-10 finishes with eight (in 12 official starts) and also won the unofficial Hero World Challenge back in December.

He also checks in off consecutive top 10s, preceding the Zurich with T9 at the Masters.

Rahm withstood the hype/pressure to claim the 2018 Open de Espana for his third Euro Tour victory and now owns six worldwide wins in the past three calendar years, including the 2017 DP World Tour Championship en route to Rookie of the Year honors.

Dating to 2017, Americans have won seven of the last nine majors, but I envision the Spaniard joining countryman and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia in picking up his first major title. Three of the last four PGA's were won by first-time major winners, so the PGA seems a good launching point.

Rahm finished T4 in last year's PGA (Bellerive) which tied his major best of 4th at the 2018 Masters. 

At 24 years of age, the ASU alum is a bit young -- the average winner's age of the last 17 majors is 30.35 years old, but 20-somethings have won three of the last four PGA's. 

Rahm ranks 13th on TOUR in SG: Tee-to-Green, 15th in Par-4 Scoring, and 7th in the All-Around.

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