2016 season is here! And with it means our own custom version of fantasy golf. Not wanting to deal with choosing teams every week, and also wanting to reward long term forecasting, we’ve spent the last 3 days picking a total of 150 players who may or may not actually play full time on the PGA Tour.
The winner of this exercise is calculated by summing the total money earned on the PGA Tour starting from this week’s Sony until and including the TOUR Championship in September. What follows are everybody’s picks, and analysis looking back on their drafts. We’ll update throughout the year with standings and other insights from the participants. On to the analysis.
Jack’s Picks — “Team Reed’s 4th Member”
Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Emiliano Grillo, Danny Lee, Bill Haas, Ryan Palmer, Russell Henley, Harris English, Brendan de Jonge, Brendon Todd, Peter Malnati, Scott Brown, Troy Merritt, Fabian Gomez, Scott Stallings, George McNeill, Chris Stroud, David Hearn, Jason Kokrak, Byeong-Hun An, Alex Cjeka, Rory Sabbatini, Tyrone Van Aswegen
Making a group of picks over the course of 3 days is a little daunting. Everytime you decide on a player to be honored with being on my team, I thought to myself “Yes. What a great pick”. Now I look back and wonder why the hell did I pick BDJ so early on? Why is my team mostly middle age white guys (in before that’s the entire PGA Tour) who haven’t ever really been that good? Why did I pick a guy who had to change putters and hasn’t proven he can putt?
My other concern is the number of picks where I literally had no idea who they were before seeing their names on the 2016 money list. I’m looking at you Peter Malnati and Tyrone Van Aswegen. But hey, what are two guys out of 25.
In fact, now that I look at my picks, I’m making my top guys Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed? Both relative unknowns in terms of how they’re going to play. Fowler has one big win at the Players last year, and Reed, well, hasn’t proved much either. And oh my god apparently I picked Rickie Folwer over Rory McIlroy. Sure McIlroy doesn’t play full time on the PGA Tour, but he wins majors!
Some might say I’m pessimistic, but I just try to manage expectations so I’m not disappointed in the end. But once the competition starts, I expect to win.
Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Zach Johnson, Russell Knox, Billy Horschel, Martin Kaymer, Anirban Lahiri, Jaime Donaldson, Gary Woodland, Jason Dufner, Sean O’Hair, Cameron Tringale, Joost Luiten, Geoff Ogilvy, Johnson Wagner, Marcel Siem, Stephen Gallacher, Matt Every, Pat Perez, Brett Stegmeir, Bronson Burgoon, Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradhech Aphibarnrat, Peter Uihlein, Kyle Riefers
Strategy — I keep it pretty simple – I pick players that I actually like watching, or who have cool names. If there was any strategy, it was to identify players who would play a lot in the states, or could at a minimum conceivably do some monetary damage in the majors. I also had the first pick, which was pretty hard to screw up this year. This is especially true when you routinely wish for Rory to walk of golf courses in his trash neon Nike gear. Jason Day could have worked but when in doubt, I go with a fellow American.
Excited about — I am really stoked about my Matsuyama, Horschel and Dufner picks. I think Matsuyama has a real solid year and I am excited to see what Billy and Jason have in store this year after inconsistent or injury plagued seasons from a year ago. Billy is also a great twitter – I love his intensity and honesty.
I also have a lot of love for Anirban and Kiradech. Anirban after watching him at the 2015 PGA and Kiradech because you call tell he was well loved by his momma.
Not Excited about — Zach Johnson.
Parting thoughts — Having the first pack, and assuming he stills healthy and in good form, Jordan Speith covers up for a lot of my weaker areas. Frankly, I think I took a too few many Europeans in the middle rounds with the hope of some solid major pay days versus taking more average US players who are grinding it our on the Tour every week for paychecks.
Being honest, thank god I have Speith because I look at the other teams and think there are some really good squads out there.
Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman, Ryan Moore, Shane Lowry, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Brendan Steele, Daniel Summerhays, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Charles Howell III, Freddie Jacobson, Francesco Molinari, William McGirt, Martin Laird, Scott Pinckney, Chesson Hadley, Retief Goosen, John Peterson, Bryson DeChambeau (a)
Strategy — I didn’t put any predraft thought into what direction I wanted to go, but it appears that I’m hoping for big things from non-Americans, including several part-time PGA Tour guys. At a glance there are six guys who will have limited American schedules. This could really come back to bite me, but out of those six guys I really think it’s possible to see four or more wins. I realized this about halfway through the draft and focused more on guys who are likely to play in a lot of events this year who may have been overlooked. Two real wild card picks (guess which two) that could net zero (0) money for me, but I want to root for guys I want to watch and most of my picks are guys I like to watch.
Excited About — Of the 25 guys on the roster, I’d say that I really enjoy watching 15 of them play. Not that I don’t enjoy watching the others, but if I see one of those 15 on TV I’m rooting for them. Very excited to see what DeChambeau decides to do after the Masters, because he’s currently not in school, but hasn’t stated that he’s planning to turn pro. He’s already proven he can hang with the pros, and will likely get plenty of opportunities to do so if he’s inclined.
Not Excited About — Here’s a short list: the likelihood of the Euros on my squad skipping events on this side of the pond to focus on Ryder Cup qualification, the inevitable season-long wait for Tiger to be healthy, Lee Westwood failing to live up to my expectations but I picked him anyway because I like him.
Parting Thoughts — There look to be four contending teams here, but I’m confident my squadron will outperform Grant’s and Jack’s. Fight me, boys.
James’ Picks — “Bubba & Friends”
Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Jones, Daniel Berger, Luke Donald, Smylie Kaufman, Steven Bowditch, Kevin Chappell, Graham DeLeat, Bernd Wiesberger, Jon Curran, Ryo Ishikawa, Cameron Smith, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington, Hiroshi Iwata, Carlos Ortiz, Michael Kim, Zac Blair, Camilo Villegas, Si Woo Kim
This may have sounded like an easy task when the draft began but I can assure everyone that it is not as easy as you may think. Once you get past the first 40 or so selections, it’s really a crapshoot. Throw a bunch of names in a hat and you might have as much success as the person who did research and prepared multiple spreadsheets. At the end of the season, it really comes down to the team that has the most wins. You want wins. You want guys that win. You want Jordan Spieth.
However, when you’re stuck with the last pick in first round, you have an array of solid but not spectacular options. With the first 7 picks the strategy was to focus on guys who can win (meaning they have in the past) and are often on the first page of leaderboards. The next 10 picks are tricky, so you’re just picking guys with some momentum, some who can’t be as bad as they were last year and guys who play a lot on the PGA Tour. (Bernd Wiesberger doesn’t really fit any of those – I just like the name). The last 8 picks are more than likely going to be inconsequential because they are not going to win. You might as well have fun with these picks and pick some old guys who have won in the past, some young guys you’ve never heard of, and guys with unique names.
Highlights: Justin Thomas has a lot of potential. Phil Mickelson is risky but he’s due for a win. Steve Stricker is a nice guy so that’s a plus.
Lowlights: None, that’s why I selected everyone.
Go team go!