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, my weekly selection for One-and-Done players plus DFS love from Josh Culp and European Tour insight from Dave Tindall.
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
THE PLAYERS Championship
2015 Earnings: $9,582,141
2015 Rank: 11,817
Bracket Busted! Whew, glad that’s over with and only once a year! Congrats to McIlroy for persevering when he wasn’t destroying his opponents. He showed an impressive knack to grind and blow guys out. No wonder why he’s No. 1 in the world!
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Sergio Garcia
Group 3: Daniel Berger
Group 4: Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: The dumpster fire burns on brightly here in 2015. Most weeks I’m not shocked if I couldn’t pick the winner in a two-man field with one guy WDing. Group 1 should be the toughest to pick from with that loaded lineup and it was. Garcia has this place figured out and wouldn’t surprise me if he won another one. I went with an upstart in Group 3 and Berger has earned the call. Woods has never MC here so we’ll put that streak to the test this week. Maybe his wrist will pop out of place. Maybe it will be his back. No girlfriend. Maybe he’ll just focus on golf!
2015 Earnings: $14,459,092
2015 Rank: 339
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Hideki Matsuyama
Group 3: Russell Knox
Group 4: David Hearn
ANALYSIS: All four of Bolton’s players have a combined 10 starts on this track. McIlroy’s five leads the pack as Hearn as three and Matsuyama and Knox have one a piece.
Ryan O’ Sullivan
2015 Earnings: $17,259,177
2015 Rank: 9th
Group 1 - Jordan Spieth
Group 2 - Hideki Matsuyama
Group 3 - Marc Leishman
Group 4 - Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: I can’t argue with Groups 1 and 4! Go O Go! He’s still in the top 10 IN THE WORLD so I’m disappointed I didn’t match him across the board.
2015 Earnings: $12,988,447
2015 Rank: 1,395
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Hideki Matsuyama
Group 3: Luke Donald
Group 4: Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: I’m the only one of us not playing Matsuyama in Group 2. Uh-oh. We all have a different player in Group 3 as Ned goes with the course horse in Donald. It’s Woods vs Hearn in Group 4.
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.
Points – Zurich: 148
Points – SPRING Segment: 630
Rank – SPRING Segment: 14,708
Points – SEASON: 2,734
Rank – SEASON: 1,890
Rory McIlroy: He looked great in his win at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and he is a very streaky player, so I’m hoping to ride the wave again this week. His recent history at THE PLAYERS is very good with a T8 in '13 and a T6 last year.
Jim Furyk: I've literally flipped back-and-forth a half dozen times on this picks. It's a true pick-‘em between Henrik Stenson and Furyk. Furyk is playing a little better, but I'm concerned over fatigue after so many matches last week. I'm hoping that this being a home event for him and his solo second place last year gives him that little extra edge.
Lee Westwood: Clearly, Spieth is the number one player in Group B, but I've run out of starts with him. Instead I'm going with Westwood, who beat Spieth last week in the Match Play. He finished the Match Play in a tie for ninth place and before that he posted a championship at the Indonesian Masters. His recent record at THE PLAYERS is solid with three top 10s (T4 in '10, T8 in '13 and T6 last year) in his last four starts.
Hideki Matsuyama: Normally, I would go with Jason Day or Dustin Johnson in a big tournament but I'm a bit low in starts with them and they don't have strong records here. Matsuyama is playing very well right now with a solo fifth at the Masters and T9 last week at the Match Play. He played in his first PLAYERS last year and came away with a respectable T23.
Justin Rose: He’s rolling as of late with a T2 at the Masters and a championship at the Zurich Classic, which was played on another Pete Dye course. His record at THE PLAYERS was unremarkable until last season when he T4.
Paul Casey: I think this spot is a real coin flip between Kuchar and Casey. I'm halfway through my starts on Kuchar, so to save a start I'm using Casey. Recently Casey has been on a roll with a solo ninth at the SHO, T6 at the Masters and T5 at the Match Play. He did suffer food poisoning on Saturday evening but his quotes on Sunday morning lead me to assume that he be fine this week.
Louis Oosthuizen: It's nice to see Oosthuizen playing well after a series of injuries. Last week's T5 at the Match Play was his fourth top 10 in his last seven starts on TOUR. His recent record at THE PLAYERS is only one made cut in four starts so I’m playing the hot hand.
Kevin Na: He played very well this year on the Florida Swing with T9 at Doral, T10 at Valspar and T6 at API. His record at THE PLAYERS is solid with two top 10s (T3 in '09, T7 in '12) in eight career starts.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Points – Zurich: 164
Points – SPRING Segment: 654
Rank – SPRING Segment: 8,931
Points – SEASON: 2,847
Rank – SEASON: 154
Jim Furyk (8)
Rory McIlroy (9)
Jordan Spieth (4)
Hideki Matsuyama (7)
Zach Johnson (6)
Justin Rose (8)
Brendon Todd (9)
Louis Oosthuizen (9)
Points – Zurich Classic of New Orleans: 164
Points – SPRING Segment: 646
Rank – SPRING Segment: 10,481
Points – SEASON: 2,694
Rank – SEASON: 2,930
Rory McIlroy (7)
Henrik Stenson (9)
Paul Casey (10)
Hunter Mahan (10)
Hideki Matsuyama (8)
Justin Rose (7)
Sean O’Hair (10)
Louis Oosthuizen (10)
Points – Zurich: 172
Points – SPRING Segment: 612
Rank – SPRING Segment: 19,890
Points – SEASON: 2,670
Rank – SEASON: 3,819
Rory McIlroy (8)
Jim Furyk (8)
I wouldn’t talk you out of Stenson or Garcia in this spot either but these two give me more balance as their current form is inarguable.
Jordan Spieth (4)
Justin Rose (9)
Lee Westwood (7)
Paul Casey (10)
Plenty to choose from here if coming from off the pace is necessary but also if saving starts is required. There are no less than 10 guys in this group that I could easily argue that need to be included. My home run is Berger if that’s a play you need to make.
Louis Oosthuizen (10)
Russell Henley (8)
This is the group where ground can be made up this week on the field or you could be left pointless like Group A at Zurich. Most pro gamers will slide Oosthuizen in here but it’s the second pick that’s the interesting one. I went Henley because he got low here twice last year and mixed in an 80 all in the same weekend. I haven’t checked the tee times but Henley would be the first change out.
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
Josh Culp is our resident DFS guru. Every week, he’ll publish his lineup and alternatives for DraftKings.com.
Josh has compiled the recommended roster below for this week's $3 Pressure Putt contest on DraftKings. Mix and match the golfers below to test your skills turning three dollars into a potential $10,000.
It's about time to start taking some practice swings before the big U.S. Open event next month.Draft your entry now:
Matt Kuchar ($9,400) ... He is generally priced above $10,000 and now he's below $9.5K on a track where he's previously won (2012). What a bargain! He was slumping by his standards before a fifth-place finish at the RBC Heritage snapped him out of it. Time to jump back on the train.
Jimmy Walker ($8,800) ... Finished T6 here last year after a disappointing 3-over 75 to open the week. He hasn't missed a cut all year and is one of the safest options week in and week out.
Zach Johnson ($8,200) ... If you had to pick one course horse this week, ZJ would likely be that guy. He's collected eight top 25s in 10 tries. That includes a co-runner-up in 2013.
Luke Donald ($8,000) ... If he could play Pete Dye courses every week, he would still be near the top of the OWGR. Fortunately, he does get to play a Dye design this week, so lock him in.
Kevin Na ($8,100) ... He's playing the best tee-to-green of his career and his putter always cooperates. His scrambling ability is almost unmatched and that will be very handy on these small greens at TPC Sawgrass.
Russell Knox ($7,400) ... As a Jacksonville resident, this venue is very familiar to him, although the PGA TOUR records may not tell that story. It helps that his tee-to-green game doesn't rely on distance. The wildcard, as always, will be the flat stick.
Other Picks to Consider
Alternate for Knox: Daniel Summerhays ($6,500) ... Has a pair of top 30s in two tries at this venue. Given his 2014-15 form, a third looks fairly probable this week.
Alternate for Donald: Patrick Reed ($7,600) ... He will be a very popular pick based on his salary. He has shed his inconsistent tag this year but on a course like TPC Sawgrass, it will be interesting to see if he improves upon his disappointing 2014 debut.
Alternate for Walker: Lee Westwood ($8,400) ... He knocked out the golden boy, Spieth, in last week's Match Play and it goes to show how well he's been playing as of late. With top 10s in three of his last four trips to TPC Sawgrass, it's safe to say this ball-strikers paradise is very kind to the Englishman.
2015 Fantasy Race to Dubai
Dave Tindall is our newest contributor, but he’s been a fixture in Europe. In addition to his weekly previews of European Tour events on Mondays, he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.
Pick 10 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Star player’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes and unlimited star player changes are available each week.
Ouch. Yes, I had WGC-Cadillac Match Play winner Rory McIlroy but so did everyone else and many of those had him as star pick too (I gambled on G-Mac and he flopped). It means a nasty drop of over 2,000 spots. Let the rebuilding job start here.
Current position: 4,107
Team Tindall (Team name: YESSIR!)
Star Player: Kevin Phelan
The young Irishman is knocking on the door and his game should be a good fit for this course
• George Coetzee: Played well in the WGC-Match Play and excellent recent strokeplay form
• Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Playing at a different level to most of these rivals. Fine win in China
• Thomas Bjorn: Great Dane found his touch again in Indonesia last time. Proven winner
• Thomas Aiken: Plenty of good recent form and has an extra touch of class
• Prom Meesawat: Top three in China last time and should like this track
• Matt Fitzpatrick: Keep the faith with the youngster who has some bonus form in Mauritius
• Victor Riu: Has played in Mauritius before and not shot over 72 in last 16 rounds
• Jbe Kruger: Strong recent run in Sunshine Tour events gets him the nod
• Max Orrin: Brand ambassador for sponsors, decent form and has won event in Mauritius
Each week I painfully writhe and wretch trying to figure out the proper strategy to find a player that will hit the top 10. Wins are great but aren’t likely so I’m satisfied with having a CHANCE to hit the big money. Missed cuts are absolutely the death in this game but even the surest of things don’t always happen in the reality world of fantasy golf. Remember, fade or follow, it’s up to you! I’m going to leave my 2013-14 results up for a few weeks so if you have any questions “mapping” your season, you can learn from my plays from last year.
Those who don’t recall history are condemned to repeat it.
Frys.com: Brooks Koepka. Let’s get this started off on the right foot. Koepka, playing without any status last year, led on Sunday by three shots at the turn. He finished T3 and learned a valuable lesson. His recent form has been scintillating as he has four top 15s in his last four worldwide starts, including the PGA at Valhalla (T15). He was T9 last week at the Dunhill. Koepka, T8, did what was expected and racked up a top 10 for $168,000.
Shriners Open: It came down to Moore, Watney and Piercy for the OAD place this week. Laird was also in the conversation but I’m going with the best putter of the group mentioned above and there’s not a place that Moore HAS TO BE USED later. Sure, he beat Gary Woodland in a playoff last year at CIMB but I don’t use defending champions. #WeakSauce. He shares the tournament record has three top 10s in his last four. More Moore please! ANY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THREE OTHER THAN MOORE would have been just fine. Moore has wiped me twice in eight events. The good news is I don’t even have to CONSIDER his presence again until October of 2015.
McGladrey Classic: This is the CLASSIC HEDGE MOVE for gamers. I’m going with Kuchar above but Simpson down here to cover my ASSet. Look, save Simpson for Greenbrier, Sedgefield or TPC Boston, but I’m going with a guy who is hot NOW and will find someone else later. HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG, RYAN MOORE??? Nothing like a T41 to back up a MC; $19,600.
CIMB Classic: I’m loading up on Charl Schwartzel since I can’t play him on the Sunshine TOUR at the Dunhill or Joburg. His course form is overwhelming and in a limited field with limited views of this track, his experience and successes here are huge. He’ll probably WD. He couldn’t catch up after his opening round 74; T19, $94,500.
WGC-HSBC Champions: I’ll go with the guy who holds the course record, the 2011 title plus two other top eight finishes in four starts, Martin Kaymer. Did I mention he made 29 birdies here last year? Ok, good. If I was a casual golf fan and just picked up the newspaper on Monday morning to see that Kaymer finished T6 I would have been thrilled…$216,337
Sanderson Farms: It came down to Tony Finau or Hudson Swafford and I went with the Georgia ‘Dawg. Both are hot so I’ll go with the local-er of the two and the better ball-striker. I should be required to take the “Silly Season” off. BOTH missed the cut. I’m ready for 2015…
OHL Classic: Can I just pass? Since I couldn’t pull the trigger on Jason Bohn in the Golf Channel game, I’ll hedge him here with Stroud and Sabbatini right behind him. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? I need a vacation. I was gun-shy but the hedge paid off with T7 and $196,275
HTOC: This is a good news/bad news event. The good news is that there are only 34 players and this is a track that requires previous experience. The bad news is if the guy you pick doesn’t finish in the top five it’s a complete waste of time. For the conservative/saver this is THE ONLY WEEK TO PICK Ogilvy since he’s won here twice. For the throw-caution-to-the-wind player, Kuchar, Day or Watson should lead the line. I’ll find myself right in the middle with Chris Kirk. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? Kirk needed to tie the course record on Monday to hit six figures. Yeah, that’s all I needed to pocket $110,000, 11 birdies and 62. Day pulled the same trick but he finished T3.
Sony Open: I’m going with the man who has eight top 10s in 13 career starts, Charles Howell III. He’s hit the top five in five of the last six years and I’m not going to find that anywhere else on TOUR. #EasyChoice. Make it top five in five of the last SEVEN years. T26 paid $42,280.
Humana Challenge: Ryan Palmer gets the nod this week as he’s shown form on these tracks and has no problem getting low, yo! He’s a member at Colonial, FYI. The pain. The suffering. The life of a fantasy gamer. If reading from top to bottom it’s easy to see why my pain is prevalent. Shut up. T10 isn’t great but isn’t terrible, $136,000.
WMPO: This week, Hunter Mahan takes the wheel. With his wife due shortly, he knows his time, for the moment, is limited and it’s time to make hay. It doesn’t hurt that his game sets up for most layouts and it doesn’t hurt he won here in 2010 and was T4 last year. I’m not confident pulling the trigger on Watson, Spieth, Fowler or Mickelson just yet. THERE’S NOTHING WORSE than playing defense but these gentlemen are more valuable in majors/WGC than here in the desert. Brendan Steele was the backup plan. Mahan = T30 $36,729 but cashed more $$$ than Phil or Rickie! NOBODY CARES!!!
FIO: I’ve ridden Fowler here the last two years and he responded with T6 and MC so let’s hold off on the ticker tape parade. I’m throwing caution to the wind this week and sending the No. 1 player in the FedExCup to do work. With T2 and WIN in his last two Jimmy Walker is the play this week. I can’t use him next week at Pebble Beach where he is the defending champion (and I had him in OAD!) and his record at Riviera isn’t as strong as it is here. DO WORK, SON! One shot out of the lead entering Sunday resulted in a, for him (and me) a disappointing T7 and $189,787. Yep, that’s how high the bar is now set with him on the California coast.]
Pebble Beach: Day is tempting but if he keeps playing like this he’ll have chances in bigger paydays so he’s out. I’m saving Johnson for his redemption song next week at Riviera so he’s out. Walker was played last week plus he’s the defending champ so that leaves Patrick Reed. Hit it a mile. Find it. Make everything. Win. Kevin Na, Aaron Baddeley or would be a nice fill for a TOAD. Imagine if Reed didn’t close with 67 to finish T29 and pocket $44,200? Wait, it could have been WORSE? Blimey…
NTO: I’m a romantic so Dustin Johnson gets the call this week. His six months on the sideline were spent playing and practicing in his adopted home town and his form at Riviera is better than most. He lost in a playoff to James Hahn. That sums up my career in OAD. P2 $589,600. I liked when he was solo second last year when I had him…#MOARMONEY
Honda: I’m going to keep the big hitter motif going this week as I sent Keegan Bradley to bat. I’m looking to grab a guy who’s hot and has course form and he checks both boxes. Dead-beat MC. Wow. #NaeDollars
WGC-CC: There’s no point for me to start “saving” anybody for anything as this season is slowly slipping away. Plus, this is a WGC and the prize pool is only bigger in a couple events (PLAYERS/Open Championship). Bubba Watson is being sent out to stop the bleeding. Go on son! Bring the General Lee if necessary! HELP ME BUBBA! Other considerations would include Day (any event) or McIlroy (any event) and for TOADYS, I’m not sure how I’d talk anyone out of Jamie Donaldson. Watson finished solo third for $540,000. WHO TOLD HIM ON THE BACK NINE THAT I HAD HIM IN OAD?
PRO: I’ll give Overton a chance to keep up the heat on a track where he’s had success in the recent past. T27; $18,736.
Valspar: Time to strike while the iron is hot with Luke Donald. His four trips around here have been quite tight. He’ll be happy to be inland this week and he’ll also be happy to see a yardage book with familiar marks on it. I’m not sure he has a better course history anywhere else and that’s been his calling card the last two years: course form. Well that streak of course form is over; T53, $13,468.
API: Orlando residents Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell or Henrik Stenson work this week. Kevin Na is also a tasty angle if he’s still available. Since Match Play is all jacked up different this year, this will be the spot I burn Poults. Hopefully he bought another Ferrari this week and feels he needs to pay for it immediately…Poulter opened with 67 and got worse from there with 70-71-72 to close and watch the field lap him on the weekend. T21 for $59,141. The only way I’ll accept this is Stenson winning when I finally pull the trigger on him.
Valero: Laird gets the call this week as I’ll gladly save the heavy hitters for down the road. The list of winners here is odd so it’s not the week to burn a big name. The winner last week wasn’t odd but he wasn’t available for me anyhow. Laird has finally burned out as his T50 for $14,838 feels just like a MC.
SHO: I’m not one of those weirdos who selects the defending champ once a year so I’m playing J.B. Holmes this week instead of saving him for Quail Hollow. I don’t love that he’s coming off a MC his last time out but his numbers at GCH are very nice. I hope the course is soaking wet and long as it can play. BINGO. BANGO. BONGO. First oversized check of the year!
Masters: Mickelson was a tempting choice this week as was the blazing hot Spieth but I’m going to load up on Jason Day for the second consecutive year. Except this year he’s not hurt. I’ve played Watson, DJ, Walker already on courses where they have excelled in the past and have had decent success. Day fits that bill this week. Please read the first sentence over and over and over and over and over and over again. I’m wondering how I left Rose out! Day opened with 67 and faded away to T28 and $68,000 while the first two names on the team sheet made $880,000 and $1.8 million respectively. All I can do is laugh. Again.
RBC Heritage: Since I can’t see the forest from the trees, Charley Hoffman gets the ball this week. His current form is excellent and he has plenty of scar tissue at this even that can help him down the stretch. If Spieth wins… HEY AT LEAST SPIETH DIDN’T WIN LAST WEEK!!! And neither did Goldilocks; and neither did I. Twhocares and $12,054
Zurich: With six of the last nine at TPC Louisiana going to a first-timer, I’m going with youthful exuberance in Morgan Hoffmann. Other considerations were Berger and Thomas. Hoffmann began the final round T9 and finished T36 for $31,099. If you’re scoring at home, this is the THIRD tournament in a row that my “other” selections have done just a bit better. See above for details as Berger was T6 and Thomas was T12.
WGC-Match Play: Reading this has angered me so I’m sending Paul Casey to the bat this week. I don’t care if it’s a cricket bat. It's a big tournament so it deserves a big player. Stupid food poisoning. Stupid putter. Stupid McIlroy. T5 $285,000.
THE PLAYERS: I’m going with Ponte Vedra’s adopted son, Jim Furyk. His form has been excellent and his course knowledge is second-to-none. Stenson, Garcia and Westwood would be my next three.
SEASON TOTAL: $3,482,628; 25 events
Wins: Holmes, SHO
Seconds: Johnson, P2, NTO
Thirds: Watson, solo, WGC-CC
Top 10s: 9
Top 25s: 12
T53: 1, Donald on a course where he’s never finished worse than 6th.
MC: 3, Moore (Shriners), Swafford (SFC) & Bradley (Honda)
Thermometer: Too many potholes in the road to perfection.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at 12 ET. We will be breaking down the field at THE PLAYERS and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.