Fantasy Golf Preview: The Honda Classic
The PGA Tour will finally be heading east this week as the Honda Classic is next up. Rory McIlroy is the defending champion with a 12 under par, 268 total on the 7110 yard par 70 PGA National Champion Course. The course is most famous for the “bear trap”, holes 15-17, which is named for Jack Nicklaus after he renovated the course. It is a very tough, exciting stretch to end the round and fireworks could happen in your fantasy leagues coming down the stretch Sunday afternoon.
Before I get into some picks, I’d like to talk about last week. I would disregard how most of the golfers did. Sure, you can ride someone hot like Matt Kuchar or Hunter Mahan (neither of whom are playing this week), but match play is a completely different ball game.
For instance, a golfer could shoot 6 under in his first round and still lose the match. You can say, well I’ll just look at the scorecards, but that doesn’t work either. Holes are conceded left and right. If Player A missed a long par putt and Player B has a 20 foot putt for birdie, the hole would be conceded and a birdie written down, which Player B probably wouldn’t have made. On the opposite side, maybe Player A hit in the water and instead of attacking the flag, Player B hits a safe shot to the middle of the green which results in a par instead of birdie. There are plenty more examples, but you get the point. The only true way to base last week’s performance is to have watched all the matches and saw the ball striking for yourself. Furthermore, this doesn’t include the change in temperature, the different types of grasses, and the wind among many other variables going from the West Coast to the East Coast. In fact, going from a snow delayed match play tournament in the west to a medal (stroke) play tournament in sunny Florida is about as far apart you can get between two golf tournaments.
With all of that being said, let’s take a look at a few players:
DraftStreet Golf Picks: The Honda Classic
Rory McIlroy ($30,418): McIlroy is ranked #1 in the World and as I said, the defending champion here. All signs seem to point to another big week going head to head against Tiger in the Thursday and Friday pairings. Given the huge price ranges this week, it is possible to still have a solid team risking 30% of your bankroll on him, but I wouldn’t do it for one reason… equipment. Since changing to Nike, McIlroy has a missed cut in Abu Dhabi after shooting 75-75 and a 1st round exit last week. Until he shows consistency with the new clubs, I will not be trying to make a GPP team with him. I’m sure he will get in the “groove” soon, but until he is or priced a lot cheaper, I’ll have to pass.
Graeme McDowell ($19,302): If you aren’t in a GPP, you will most likely skip the top 4 golfers due to price tags, but the guys around 20k have a few question marks as well. Aside from the T5 finish last week, he has only played one event on the PGA tour which was a missed cut at the Northern Trust Open. I’m taking GMAC here though, solely based on his past performances at this event. He managed a T31 in 2010 but followed it up with a T6 in 2011 and a T9 in 2012. The term going around all golf websites and the Golf Channel is “horses for courses”, and McDowell definitely fits here.
Robert Garrigus ($18,896): When I think of the top 30 or so players in the World, I wouldn’t mention Garrigus. But when you look at his stats, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone playing better than him. He ended last year with two T2s in his last three events. In 5 tournaments this year his worst finish is a T22 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. This stretch includes a T6 at the Farmers and a T5 at last week’s WGC Match Play Championship, losing to the eventual champion Matt Kuchar. He is 1st in the early yet ever important all-around ranking . At just under 19k, he could be matched with someone else around the same price tag.
Billy Horschel ($12,270): Horschel has been undervalued all year and this tournament is no exception. He is 5 for 5 in cuts made with one top 10 and an 11th place finish at the WM Phoenix Open. He is consistently near the top in ball striking. Horschel is 6th in total driving and 5th in the all-around ranking. The University of Florida golfer could shine brightly in his home state this week.
Geoff Ogilvy ($11,280): When you scroll down Draftstreet’s lineup page you might notice how low Ogilvy is priced for his very respectable 79 World Ranking. Don’t let this fool you though. The Former US Open Champion has been playing poor lately. After a T27 at his first event of the year, he has posted four consecutive missed cuts with his best aggregate score being +3. In his last 8 rounds, he has broken par a total of 1 time.
Good Luck this week and don’t forget to check for withdrawals Wednesday night since the tee times will be much earlier because of being on the East Coast.