Fantasy Golf: Shell Houston Open

It is the week before the first and most exciting major of the season — The Masters — but first the players contend at the Shell Houston Open.  A lot of people hope that Ernie Els will win this week because the winner earns a place at The Masters.  I think it would be great if Ernie does win but I’m voting on other guys this week.

Here are my picks for this week:

(1)  Keegan Bradley — Keegan did not play last week and he fell apart during the final round of the Transitions tournament so I’m banking on the fact that he will have a “fire in his belly” to do really well.  He has 2 top 10 finishes and has been in the top 25 in all 8 tournaments he has played in this year.

(2)  Kevin Steelman — Steelman is another player that did not play last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  He did well at the Transitions (tied for 10th) and he has had two top 10 finishes this year.

(3)  Henrik Stenson — I have not picked Stenson before but he looks like a good bet so he is my “what the heck” pick this week.  In his three PGA tournaments in 2012 he has finished in the top 25 and finished third in Puerto Rico.

(4)  James Driscoll — I have picked Driscoll before and decided to go with him again.  He did not make the cut last year at the Shell Houston Open but I am hoping he learned something in 2011 and will know the course better and make the cut this year.

So, you may have noticed I did not pick Phil Mickelson (the defending champion).  Well, I just don’t want to pick him since I feel like every time I do pick him he doesn’t play well — silly, I know, but this is just for fun so “silly logic” makes sense to me!

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: 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.

Fantasy Golf: Northern Trust Open

There are a lot of big names playing, from both the PGA tour and the European tour, at the Northern Trust Open this week.  And some notable players making their season debut (like Adam Scott and Jim Furyk).  I have not picked any of the notable players this week because I want to see how they play before adding them to my roster.  So here are my picks:
(1) Jason Day — He was been a bit up and down in his performance in Dhabi and Qatar but Day is ranked 7th in the world and so I am hoping he does well in the USA this week.

(2) Kevin Na — He was a fantasy golf pick in the first event (the Hyundai) and he ranked 16th — not great.  But the last two events (in Phoenix and at Pebble Beach) he was tied for 5th.  Na has said he likes the Northern Trust Open so I am putting him back in to the mix.

(3) Jimmy Walker — My “what the heck” pick.  He was in the top 10 last week and last year he tied for 4th at the Northern Trust Open.

(4) Jeff Maggert  — I picked Maggert for fantasy golf in week two (the Sony Open) and he only tied for 18th.  Again, not great but for some reason I just felt like picking him. It might be the last time depending on how he performs.

Those are my picks this week and I’ll have my eye on Adam Scott and Jim Furyk.

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.