Fantasy Golf: Transitions Championship

Here we go with the third tournament in the “Florida leg” of the PGA Tour.  The Transitions Championship is being played at Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead · Palm Harbor, Florida.  It is a PAR 71 course and looks more like a course in North Carolina than Florida.

Here are my picks for this week:

(1) Charl Schwartzel  — Schwartzel is from South Africa and won the Masters last year.  He tied for 4th last week at the Cadillac and tied for 5th at the Honda Classic.  I’m hoping he will have a good week and win the Transitions Championship.

(2) John Senden — Senden is from Australia and also playing well this year. In the five events he has played, he has 3 top 10 finishes (including a tie for 6th place last week).

(3) Padraig Harrington — I have been a fan of Harrington for years and I’m hoping that picking a player from Ireland is a good strategy; after all, Saturday is St. Patty’s day!  Yes, I would have picked Rory McIlroy but he is taking the next three weeks off to get his “rest” before the Masters.

(4) J. J. Henry — My “what the heck pick this week.”  Henry has not played well this year but last year he tied for 20th at the Transitions Championship. I am hoping for another top 20 position this year.

Fantasy Golf: WGC Cadillac at Doral and Puerto Rico Open

Another week of two PGA tournaments for Fantasy Golf.  The WGC Cadillac Championship at Dural and Puerto Rico Open.

The WGC Cadillac Championship is the one to watch.  All the big names are in the field this week.  It is really hard to pick with everyone shooting so low last Sunday at the Honda.  I’m sticking with players I have picked in previous weeks.

WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral

(1)  Rory McIlroy — He is the number one player in the world so how can I bet against him this week.

(2)  Keegan Bradley — Bradley has been very consistent and he is from New England so I felt it was time to put him on my roster again.

(3) Rickie Fowler — One of the “golf boys.”  Last time I picked a golf boy (Ben Crane) he played horribly.  Let’s hope Fowler does not do the same.

(4)  Charles Howell III — So he hasn’t been in the top ten since his second place finish at the Sony in January but I am hoping for a comeback into the top 10 this week.

Puerto Rico Open

The WGC events are exclusive and so it is nice that the PGA has an alternative event for all the other PGA players during the same week.   This week they are in Puerto Rico!   Here are my picks:

(1)  Ryo Ishikawa  — This player is from Japan and very popular.  He is playing well and just got a sponsors exemption to play The Masters.  He finished tied for 20th at The Masters in 2011.  So, I’m betting on him this week.

(2)  Erik Compton – This is a sentimental pick.  I have to cheer for the man with the amazing off-course story (double heart transplant recipient.)

(3)  James Driscoll — He has played six events and made three cuts so it is a 50/50 chance he will play the weekend.  I picked him based on the fact that last year he had two top ten finishes.  I’m thinking he might do well in a field that does not include the top players in the world.

(4) Graham Delaet — He missed the cut last week but again I’m going with the Canadian.  Hoping my “what the heck pick of the week” will do well in this field.

Fantasy Golf Results: Match Play and Mayakoba

Most of my players did not do well this week but the one heartbreak was when Rory McIlroy lost in the final round of match play against Hunter Mahan.  Mahan is an excellent golfer, but up until now he is probably better known as one of the “golf boys,” so it was fun to see him win.

WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

(1) Luke Donald — Number one player in the world taken out in the first day by Ernie Els (a player that only got into the tournament because Phil Mickelson went on vacation with his family).

(2) Ben Crane — So much for being the number one putter on tour (based on PGA Stats.)  He was taken out by Bubba Watson on day one.

(3) Rory McIlroy — My favorite European player.  If he had won in the final match he would have been the new number one player in the world but it did not happen.

(4) Tiger Woods –Tiger did not have his “A-game” this weekend and lost in the second round to Nick Watney.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

You have to love the name of the winner of the Mayakoba — John Huh.  Fans are already wearing T-shirts with Huh? on the back.  Not only is his name a good “story” but his year so far is a good story.  He qualified for the tour via Q-School and he has made every cut in the 5 tournaments he has played — culminating with a win this weekend.  It was not an easy win — he won in an eight-hole playoff against Robert Allenby.  My picks, on the other hand, ended the weekend very far down on the leaderboard.

(1) Johnson Wagner  — Tied for 30th with a final of four under par.

(2) Brian Gay – Tied for 54th place with one over par.

(3) Jerrod Lyle — Tied for 37th with two under par.

(4) Cameron Beckman  — Tied for 63rd place shooting a 4 over par.

These are awful scores given the leader was at thirteen under par.   I had good reasons for these picks but you never can tell how players will perform from week to week.

Fantasy Golf: Match Play and Mayakoba

There are two PGA tournaments going on this week.  The Mayakoba Golf Classic in Cancun Mexico and the World Golf Championships (WGC) Accenture Match Play Championship.

This is an interesting week because of the WGC Accenture Match Play.  Basically the top 65 players in the world play in head to head matches.  If a player loses his match, he goes home.  So day one —  65 players in the field, day two — 32 players, etc. Until it is down to the final two players on Sunday.  Match play is exciting to watch because anything can happen but it is really hard to pick for fantasy golf.  But, here it goes.

WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

(1) Luke Donald — He is the number one player in the world.

(2) Ben Crane — He is the number one putter on tour (based on PGA Stats.)  Match play is supposed to be “won or lost” in the putting game so that is why I pick Crane.

(3) Rory McIlroy — My favorite European player.  He did not do that well last year but I think he has what it takes to win it all.

(4) Tiger Woods — He loves match play and did well at the Presidents Cup.

Update on match play — the first round is over and Luke Donald and Ben Crane are out.  I can’t believe the number one player in the world is out.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

So none of the top players in the world are in this tournament so it gives other players a chance to make their name. 

(1) Johnson Wagner  — He is the defending champion and is playing well this year so I am hoping for back to back wins.

(2) Brian Gay – Won Mayakoba in 2008 and was tied for 5th last year.

(3) Jerrod Lyle — Tied for 5th last year at Mayakoba.

(4) Cameron Beckman  — Tied for 12 last year at Mayakoba.  He is my “What the heck” pick this week.

TV viewers help get a golf player disqualified

Well I can’t believe I am writing about the European tour after such an exciting finish to the Northern Trust Open, but I just have to give my “two cents” on the bizarre trend of viewers involving themselves in tournament play.

This weekend Peter Whiteford was playing a shot on the 18th hole of the 3rd round in the Avantha Masters in New Delhi, India.  He thought perhaps his ball might have moved after he addressed it (if this were true he would need to take a one stroke penalty unless the rules official ruled differently).  He asked his caddy, another player, and a TV camera man if they saw it move. They were not able to confirm if the ball had moved so he played on and signed his 3rd round score card.  He went into the final day three shots behind the leader (after shooting rounds of 66, 68, and 72.)

Apparently, overnight, a number of TV viewers emailed the tour and said that Whiteford’s ball had moved.  Then next morning, although they let Whiteford start his round, the rules officials decided to check the video from the previous day.  On the third hole of the final round, the head official walked up to Whiteford (he was only one shot behind the leader) and told him he was disqualified because his ball did move and he signed an incorrect score card.

First of all, every player is responsible for following the rules.  Whiteford’s only real mistake was that once he questioned if his ball moved he should have asked for an official ruling (thus avoiding any ambiguity.)  I don’t believe he was trying to cheat.  He is human and he made a mistake; but it seems unfair that folks sitting at home rewinding their tv’s over and over again can then impact the tournament by calling to tell the officials the ball did move.  Can you imagine in football or baseball, the result of the game being changed the next day because viewers called with their opinion?

But what I really question is the fairness of how the officials handled this the next day.  At some point in time a round should be considered “final.”  If in fact there was any question, then the head rules official should never have let Whitefield start the fourth round.  They should have reviewed the tape and made the judgment before the start of the last round. Basically, I think a precedent should be set that once the next round begins the previous round is considered “final and closed for review.”  Maybe it doesn’t completely address post-round viewer input but at least it would be a start.

This is a complicated situation but in the long-term, I don’t want to see viewers of golf inserting themselves into the rules process of a tournament.  Other sports fans have to accept missed calls, bad calls, or just stupid mistakes (that’s part of what makes the water cooler discussion so much fun the next day).  Why should viewing golf be any different. Anyway, that’s just my “two cents.”

Fantasy Golf Results: Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Dubai Desert Classic

The big news from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is that Phil Mickelson, my favorite player, won.  It was a big deal for Mickelson because it marks his 40th win. Only eight other PGA players have won 40 or more times in their careers.  Plus this was the 4th time he won at this tournament.  And he won “in style” with a great come from behind victory (i.e. he was eight shots behind the leader when he started his day.)

Yet, did I have him as a pick this week?  No, because he was playing so poorly.  But I don’t care if my fantasy results suffered because it was so much fun to see Lefty playing great shots.  I’m just hoping he plays as well at the Masters (which is when I planned to consider him again for fantasy golf).  I’m now hoping “four” is Lefty’s lucky number (at least this year) because he has won the Masters three times. If he wins this year, it would be his 4th Masters.

How did my picks do?  Well, Tiger Woods did not have a good Sunday shooting a 75 (which was a shame since he was under par for the rest of the tournament).  It was a double whammy for Tiger because he was playing with Mickelson who shot a 64 (11 shots better than Tiger).   Tiger ended tied for 15th which was better than D. A. Points (tied for 67).  Both Bud Cauley and James Driscoll missed the cut and did not play on the weekend.

My Omega Dubai Desert Classic picks did much better.  Stephen Gallacher tied for 2nd (which surprised me), Rory McIlroy tied for 5th at 14 under par (a disappointment since I was sure he would win), Branden Grace tied for 51st, and Ricardo Gonzalez tied for 66th (at least Grace and Gonzalez made the cut).

Not a great week for my predictions but watching the “Phil and Tiger” show was great!

Fantasy Golf: Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Dubai Desert Classic

This will be the last week that I have to pick players for two tournaments during the winter segment of Fantasy Golf.

Starting with the PGA tour event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.  My Picks are:

(1) Tiger Woods — I just feel he is going to do well this week.  He had three great rounds in Abu Dhabi but in the final round Robert Rock beat him.  I’m guessing Tiger is very motivated to win.

(2) D. A. Points — I had Points as a pick at the Farmers and I’m still going to go with him now. Plus he won this tournament last year.  I don’t expect Points to win because it is difficult for defending champions to win the next year. Even thought I do not expect him to win, I am betting he will do well.

(3) Bud Cauley — He was my first rookie pick this year and the only reason I did not pick him last week was because he was in the same group as D.A. Points.  So, I’m going back to Cauley.  I will keep my eye on Harris English (the rookie that did well for me last week).

(4) James Driscoll — I picked Driscoll because he tied for 13th place last year at Pebble Beach.  He is my “what the heck” pick this week. I’m also hoping the fact he has played the course before will help him.

Now for the European tour — The Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

(1) Rory McIlroy — He is my favorite European player and he has done well so far this year. I expect him to win this weekend.

(2) Branden Grace — He won the first two events of the 2012 European tour so that is why I picked him.  I’m giving him another chance even though he did not do well in Abu Dhabi.

(3) Stephen Gallacher — New to my roster.  Again, it is hard to pick players in group 3 and 4 because the majority of players in these groups are not known entities (at least not for me.)  Gallacher was 10th last year in Dubai so that is why I picked him.  I’m hoping he will have another top 10 this year.

(4) Ricardo Gonzalez — New to my roster.  He was tied for fifth place last week in Qatar and he was tied for 20th at Dubai last year. These are fair scores for a player in group 4 and that is why I picked him.

Honestly, I’m glad this is the last week for picking players in a European event because the ladies tour starts and I’d like to focus more on the LPGA in the next few weeks.