Fantasy PGA Preview: Valspar Championship
I know I say it every time we face a non-cut event or a multi-course event, but it is sure nice to get back to some regular golf. As I wrote last week, Notorious and I are alternating our articles to cover both Draftstreet and Draftkings. This week I will be focusing on Draftstreet prices and plays.
WGC – Cadillac Championship
There are not many super villains in sports but Donald Trump may have just become one in the eyes of PGA athletes. His course redesign at Doral was an example of the dark side of the force. If his course wasn’t sending players balls into the sand of “Tatooine” he was sending them into the swamps of “Dagobah”. Either way there were plenty of penalty strokes handed out to the entire field who all must have been wishing they had their own Yoda to draw advice from. In fact, on Friday only 3 players in the entire field managed to dodge a penalty stroke. It was a mini US/British Open out there and players had to hold on tight and face the wind that sent their rounds to pieces. In the end Patrick Reed outplayed the field and held onto a one stroke lead over Jamie Donaldson and Bubba Watson.
I will not say my article last week was helpful. Besides saying Friday will be a tough day (not that it helped any one particular golfer) and stating that I expected Charl Schwartzel to have a bounce back tournament (T-9). I am going to say I was disappointed on every front last week. Though picking for an event that features the top 70 players in the world is probably the hardest thing in fantasy sports.
Before I get into this tournament we have to address the name. I had to google Valspar and once I did I found that an international paint company is the perfect name for this tournament. Why? Because in 2000 it was the Tampa Bay Classic, In 2002 it was the Tampa Bay Classic presented by Buick, in 2003 it was the Chrysler Championship. In 2007 it was the PODS Championship. In 2009 it was the Transitions Championship, last year it was the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. Finally this year’s coating is the Valspar. You can give a tournament many layers of names but in the end with it following the Cadillac and slotted right before the Arnold Palmer you are not going to make this a tournament you circle on your calendar. Thank heavens for fantasy.
The course is a gem and last season it played out to be the 7th hardest on tour. It is a PAR 71 track that runs 7,340 yards long. When this course was played in October the rough was not as long or lush. Now it is played in March, hitting the fairways should be something to look for. There have been several changes to this course over the years that changed the length of the holes for the PGA players off the tee. There are 63 bunkers and 8 water hazards. The weather should not play much of a factor, but as always, remember to check the forecast Wednesday night.
|So far this season Harris English has finished in the top 10 six times, including a win. It has been a great run this year for players that went to college in Georgia and I don’t see this trend slowing down with Harris. He placed 16th last week at the Cadillac. Last season he placed 7th here at Copperhead. He is 2nd in all-around ranking, 6th in greens in regulation and 11th in ball striking. He is a solid option to build a team around.|
|Haas has been the model of consistency all season. His worst finish was a 43rd at the Farmers insurance. Other than that, his finishes have all been solid enough to warrant a 21K tag on him. His history here has been spotty—going from most recent: MC, 16th, MC, 30th, MC, 58. If he follows this pattern he might be in for a top 10 finish. Though I would say his current form would be the main factor behind that.|
|Knox has been climbing up the the world rankings this season. He is currently sitting at 119th after his 2nd place finish at the Honda Classic. Knox played college golf in Florida and resides in Florida as well—always a plus. He has only missed two cuts this season and has two top 10 finishes in his last four starts. When Knox has played this course before in 2011, he failed to make the cut. His game has improved a lot since then.|
|Hadley might be more of a tournament play since he is highly inconsistent this season. If you throw out his 72nd at the Frys Hadley has made 4 top 25’s (3 of those top 10’s) or missed the cut (6 times). He did win last week at the PGA Tour’s B grade tournament (Puerto Rico Open). Going back to the first time the PGA played the Puerto Rico Open in 2008, four golfers have played the following week in Tampa and three of them went on to make the cut at that event, with an average finishing place of 39th.|
|Leonard is my steady pick. He has played at this event nine times. He has an average finishing position of 29th, good for 11th best in this field. If you through out the players that have only competed here once, he actually owns the 7th best average finishing position. Leonard has only missed one cut this season and should be a solid choice to add some flexibility to your roster.|
|Richard H Lee||$9,855|
|Here is my sleeper of the week. Lee has the ability to go on streaks of decent finishes. Last season he had pockets of finishes in the 40’s or better. His missed cuts came in events that traditionally had a strong field. He is coming off a 4th at last week’s Puerto Rico Open, so here is a chance for him to go a little run of strong finishes. The field isn’t strong which will suit him quite nicely.|
So there you have it folks, my picks for that tournament they play in Tampa, Florida (whatever it’s name is this year).
Good luck to all.