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.


Fantasy Golf Results: Phoenix Open and Qatar Masters

One of my main goals last week was to not have any of my picks miss the cut.  I am happy to report that all of them played the weekend.  This strategy did well for me because even though none of my picks won, they all contributed to the money points so I maintained my rank overall.  Here are the results.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

(1) Web Simpson — Tied for 8 with 10 under par.  He was doing well until Sunday and then he shot a 72 which took him out of the running.

(2) Brandt Snedeker — Tied for 50 with 2 under par.  Not a great week for Snedeker. His first three rounds were bad but he did recover with a 68 on Sunday.

(3) D. A. Points — Tied for 45 with 3 under par.  He had an up and down tournament.  One round under 70 and the next round over 70 — inconsistency will get you every time.

(4) Harris English — Tied for 15 with 8 under par.  This is great because I took a chance on him as my rookie pick for the week.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

(1) Graeme McDowell — Tied for 59 at one under par.  Really?  I’m a bit disgusted with G-Mac because I had high expectations (I guess we always have high expectations for our favorite).

(2) Francesco Molinari – Tied for 69 at one over par.  This was a big surprise to me because I picked him due to the fact he won in Dubai in 2010.

(3) Felipe Aguilar — Tied for 47 at two under par.  This is my “what the heck” pick so it is funny that he did better than the big name picks of McDowell and Molinari.

(4) David Drysdale — Tied for 47 at two under par.  What can I say.  My educated guess that his third place finish in the Joburg Open last month would translate into doing well in Qatar did not pan out.

Fantasy Golf: Phoenix Open and Qatar Masters

Once again I have to pick four players in both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.  This time it is for the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.  I thought I would be nice and give the sponsor names.  Does anyone really care? Yes, sponsors do.  Actually, sponsors are important but that is a topic for another day.  On to my predictions…

Picks for the Waste Management Phoenix Open

(1) Web Simpson — I had him as a pick for Sony and he didn’t do as well as I had hoped but I am giving him another chance.  Why, because he is talented.  He is ranked 6th in the world, 2nd in the USA, and last year in Phoenix he was in the top 10.

(2) Brandt Snedeker — He did well last week so I am keeping him on my roster.

(3) D. A. Points — This was a tough pick because he and Bud Cauley are in the same group and both did well last week. I went with Points because he tied for 8th last week and Cauley tied for 13th.

(4) Harris English — Like, Bud Cauley, English is a rookie.  I did well with picking a rookie last week so I am going with one again.  English has played in three tournaments and made all three cuts; so I am hoping to minimize the number of my picks that miss the cut.

Picks for Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

(1) Graeme McDowell — His nickname is G-Mac and I watched him win the US Open in 2010 so I know a bit about him.  I debated between G-Mac and Sergio Garcia because they both played well last week. In fact, they both got holes-in-one on the 12th hole in Abu Dhabi.  I went with G-Mac because he is ranked 5th in the European rankings (Sergio is ranked 6th).

(2) Francesco Molinari – Won in Dubai in 2010 so I thought he was a good guess.

(3) Felipe Aguilar — This is my “what the heck” pick this week.

(4) David Drysdale — He came in 3rd in the Joburg Open last month so I’m hoping for another good showing. However, this is another big guess for me.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my picks do well this week.

Fantasy Golf Results – Farmers Insurance and Abu Dhabi HSBC

I did much better with my fantasy golf picks this week.  In fact the winner for the Farmers Insurance Open was Brandt Snedeker, my pick for group two.  But his win was not the big news.  The big story was the melt down of Kyle Stanley who lost to Snedeker in a playoff.

Kyle Stanley had a three shot lead and on the final hole could shoot a seven (or two over par) and still win. It should have been a “piece of cake” but his shot into the green rolled into the water and that was the beginning of the end.  He shot an eight — unbelievable!  I get eights (or as we call it in golf, a “snowman”) on my scorecard. Pros rarely get eights. The best way to describe it is that it is like watching a kicker missing a field goal that would win the game.  Stanley’s fate was all on him and in the end his miss forced a playoff which Snedeker won.

As much as I am happy that my pick won this week’s tournament, it’s hard not to feel bad for Stanley.  Here are how my picks did overall this week:

Farmers Open: Brandt Snedeker won, D. A. Points T8 (-10), Bud Cauley T13 (-9), and Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

Abu Dhabi HSBC: Rory McIlroy came in second, Darren Clarke, Branden Grace, and Colin Montgomerie all missed the cut.

My final thoughts this week are about Rory McIlroy.  He actually could have been the winner but on Friday he brushed sand off the fringe of the 9th hole (just off the putting green) which resulted in a two-stroke penalty. He lost by one stroke so if he had not had the penalty, he would have won. The rule is that you can move “loose impediments” but “sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.” So McIlroy could brush the sand that was on the green but not on the fringe.   McIlroy said he knew the rule but just wasn’t thinking. That’s a tough penalty for a lapse in concentration; but that’s golf.

Fantasy Golf: Farmers Insurance and Abu Dhabi HSBC

This week two events are on the radar.  Frankly, I’m not sure what the criteria is for the Golf Channel Fantasy Game to have two events but it might be because the top ranked players in the world are playing in Abu Dhabi.

Starting with the PGA tour event, the Farmers Insurance Open — My Picks are:

(1) Phil Mickelson — Yes, I know he did poorly last week but I’m hoping for a big recovery.  The event is at Tory Pines and “Lefty” has won it three times, had 7 top 10’s in 22 starts, and was second last year. Not to mention the fact he lives near by so he should have home field advantage. I will admit, if he has a poor showing, I’m taking him off my roster for the rest of the spring.

(2) Brandt Snedeker — He has had 3 top 10s in 5 starts at the Farmers and did well last week at Humana finishing tied for eighth.

(3) D. A. Points — He has 2 top 10s at Tory Pines and tied for sixth at the Sony this year.

(4) Bud Cauley — He is my “what the heck” pick this week.  He is a rookie but a lot of people are talking about him so that is why I picked him.

Now for the European tour — The Abu Dhabi HSBC.  This is really an exciting event to watch on TV because the top three golfers in the world (Luck Donald, Lee Westwood, and Rory McIlroy, respectively) are all playing; and so is Tiger Woods.  It made my pick a tough call for group one:

(1) Rory McIlroy — He is young and has an amazing swing. He also won the US Open last year after falling apart at the Masters.  He is playing in the first two rounds with Tiger and Luke Donald and I don’t think he will be intimidated.

(2) Darren Clarke — An older player with a good record. I saw an interview with him and he said he has lost weight and stopped drinking so I am thinking that might help his game. Or not.

(3) Branden Grace — He won the first two events of the 2012 European Tour so that is why I picked him.

(4) Colin Montgomerie — Another older player with a good record. He is my “”what the heck pick” this week.

Well, in all truthfulness, other than McIlroy the other European players are all really “what the heck” picks since I don’t really follow that tour.

Fantasy Golf — Humana Challenge

This is week three — is three times the charm for me?  Will my fantasy golf picks do well?  Who knows but here are my picks for the Humana Challenge.

(1) Phil Mickelson — what can I say he is my favorite golfer so this is a loyalty pick.  Let’s hope “Lefty” gets off to a strong start for 2012.

(2) Charles Howell III — His nick name is “Chucky Three Sticks” which is funny because he does not look like a “Chucky.”  Anyway, he was tied for 2nd last week at the Sony Open and he was 13th last year at the Humana Challenge so I’m hoping he does well this week.

(3) Kyle Stanley — He is my “What the heck” pick this week and the only reason I picked him is because Gary Williams, Golf Channel, Morning Drive host picked him. I like the Morning Drive show and so I thought I’d go with one of the host’s picks.

(4) Erik Compton — This is a long shot but Compton’s personal story is so amazing and  inspiring.  Compton is a double heart transplant.  Can you imagine having had one heart transplant let alone two; and on top of it being a good enough golfer to make the PGA tour.

Fantasy Golf – Sony Picks

My rank on the Golf Channel fantasy golf leader board is miserable against the full field of participants.  Ok, full disclosure, my rank is 5550 (yes, I have a long way to go).  However, comparing myself to the “Expert Leader board” for the Golf Channel (GC) Experts, I’m tied with Annika Sorenstam ranked at 14. Annika may not like her rank against her peers but I’ll take it as a positive sign that I am in the mix and not lower than any of the GC Experts.

Now for my Sony picks:

(1) Web Simpson — He is one of my favorite younger players and he tied for third last week at the Hyundai. I think he will win this year and I’m hoping for an early start with picking him for Sony.

(2) Rory Sabbatini — My gut is that he is going to be really motivated after what happened to him at the Hyundai.  What happened?  He was 20 seconds (yes, seconds) late for his tee time and he was hit with a two-stroke penalty.  This is a significant penalty if you think about the fact that Steve Stricker won by one stroke over Martin Laird.  The fact that Rory recovered (by that I mean got his composure back to shoot a 73 even par round that day) and that he finished with a 68,68 on the final two days makes me think he is capable of winning this week.  Motivation and capability makes me pick him from group two.

(3) Heath Slocum — no one inspired me in group three.  So this is my “what the heck” pick this week. He is a middle of the pack player but at least he has played before (versus trying to pick one of the 25 or so rookies playing their first time on tour.)  But I do have my eye on two rookies to pick later in the season.  I’ll blog about them later.

(4) Jeff Maggert — So I am going “old school” on this one and it is a risk but to be honest I picked him because he has been on tour since 1986 and has won in the past. However, 2011 was not a stellar year so I’m hoping he has a decent start to 2012. But, it is a risk because he could also miss the cut.

Being new to this fantasy golf game, I think I will learn something new each week.  Lesson from week one — the group format is tough. I thought I’d be able to pick any 4 players each week which would be easy to pick my favorites.  But now it is clear that the groups are based on performance (with top performers in group one and moving down the ranks to fill-in the other groups) and picking in Group 3 and 4 when you are “deep in the field” with average or low ranking players is a big challenge for me.  I might have to start actually looking at statistics like driving accuracy, GIR (greens in regulation), and putting averages. But that seems like too much work so let’s not go there yet.

Fantasy Golf 2012 Starts Today

This year, for the first time, I have entered a Fantasy Golf League online.  It seems appropriate that this be my first post.  Why?  Well, because it is winter in New England and so I don’t have any “on course” antics to share.  So, I am going to share my golf expectations for how well I will do in the Fantasy Golf League.

My expectation is optimistic – if you are a numbers person, a 7 out of 10 that I will do reasonably well (or will be in the top 10 in the leader board and will win one week sometime this season). Now, I have never participated in a fantasy league. I’m sure those that I am competing against for the weekly, sectional,and year-end grand prize have all kinds of statistics and knowledge they use to pick their predictions; but I will start with just my gut (basically players I know and like to watch or maybe throw in a golfer just because I feel like it)

The first tournament is the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and my guys are:

(1)  Bubba Watson – because he is a lefty, and Phil is not playing. Plus he just had a round of 58 on his home course so I take that as a good sign that he will play well this week.

(2)  Keegan Bradley – because he is from New England and his aunt is Pat Bradley, one of the LPGA’s finest (in her day, won 31 tournaments and is in the Golf Hall of Fame).

(3)  Kevin Na – because he won Justin Timberlake’s tournament last year and I actually like the fact that Justin supports golf as a sport.  Timberlake is the owner of  Mirimichi, an eco-friendly golf course and Callaway Golf just named Timberlake as creative director (and I’m a Callaway fan.) I guess Callaway is hoping he will “bring sexy back” to golf and young fans to Callaway.

(4)  Brendan Steele — to be honest I don’t really know anything about Brendan but I had to pick someone from the list in “group 4” and I recall seeing him play. This is my “what the heck” pick.

Now, you may look at my picks and think to yourself that my optimism is crazy but this is only the first tournament and the field is only 28 players (so many of my favorite players are not in the running because this tournament is for golfers that won a tournament in 2011.)

I have many, many tournaments to improve my predictions.  Check out the next post to find out the results.