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NBC Predictor: THE PLAYERS Championship

by Josh Culp

Golf Channel (NBC Sports Predictor App)

The Golf Channel has a fresh 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 the weekly prize of $1,500. 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: 
Brooks Koepka over Tiger Woods
Rickie Fowler over Phil Mickelson
Dustin Johnson over Rory McIlroy
Justin Thomas over Justin Rose
Sergio Garcia over Francesco Molinari
Webb Simpson over Jordan Spieth

Winner: 
Dustin Johnson (-13)

 

Josh's Notes: 

Tiger Woods says his neck is fine but also says the issue popped up at Riviera and bothered him in Mexico, as well. That tiny chance of it becoming a longterm problem is enough for me to side with Koepka this week. 

Fowler has gained 2.8 or more strokes approaching-the-green in seven of his last 11 ShotLink starts. That elite iron play is crucial here at TPC Sawgrass, a course that Fowler won at just four years ago. 

DJ said this back in 2015, "Bermuda’s always very tricky, especially the rough. The rough is always tough playing out of Bermuda rough." He should be one to enjoy the move back to March which means the rough is overseeded with ryegrass instead of having to deal with that tricky bermuda. 

JT really likes the course here in Ponte Vedra Beach. "It really is one of my favorite courses to play when it gets in this tournament condition. You just can’t fake it around here."  Thomas hasn't been faking it in early 2019 with 5.7 or more strokes gained on approach in four of his last six starts. 

Recency bias may attract many to last week's winner, Molinari. However, it's Garcia who has done the heavy lifting over the last six months. The Spaniard has now rattled off top 10s in nine of his last 11 worldwide starts. 

Spieth is slumping and has also lost strokes to the field in seven of his last 11 rounds played at TPC Sawgrass. Not an ideal venue for someone that is struggling with the big number recently. 

 

Mo Yoshimoto 
@BearsGolf3423” 

Top Weekly Score: 65 pts

Matchups: 
Brooks Koepka over Tiger Woods
Rickie Fowler over Phil Mickelson
Dustin Johnson over Rory McIlroy
Justin Thomas over Justin Rose
Sergio Garcia over Francesco Molinari
Webb Simpson over Jordan Spieth

Winner: 
Sergio Garcia (-14)

 

Mo's Notes: 

I have a strong inclination to go back to the well with last week's pick to win Rory McIlroy. For the seventh time since his most recent win at Bay Hill last year, he was 2nd or T2 after 54 holes before another final-round letdown out of the final group for T6, his fifth consecutive top-10 finish.

I'm still going to find places to roster the Ulsterman elsewhere, but instead, am switching gears and going with another major champion this week, Sergio Garcia.

Along with being a past PLAYERS champ (2008), the Spaniard also owns two runners-up, including a playoff loss in 2015, and was the 36-hole leader and 54-hole co-leader in 2013 (T8). His last three visits have been uninspiring, but featured on halfway leaderboards before fading on the weekend.

The 39-year-old checks in off back-to-back top 10s at the Honda (T9), where he ranked 2nd in SG: Tee-to-Green, and a T6 at the WGC-Mexico. Overall, he's recorded nine top 10s in his last 11 worldwide starts, including his 15th career win on the European Tour back in October, a successful defense at the Valderrama Masters. 

I also like Sergio's draw of early/late, the same as the last four PLAYERS winners.

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