Woof. The Florida swing started off with a punch in the gut-check for the PGA, as well as for our fantasy predictions. Rain, lightning, a lot of wind, and a lot of rain all added up into a Monday finish and 5 brutal days of hang-on-for-dear-life golf that at times made the best golfers in the world look downright silly (see: Poulter, Ian).
This resulted in making our picks look downright silly. We knew something had to be going on – we had picked the winner on at least one of our teams in 4 out of the first 6 weeks. Between Hawaii, Arizona, and the California swing, we got accustomed to the relative predictability of the fields, and walked into the Florida swing like big men on campus, feeling like we owned the place. Okay, that may be an exaggeration… we only earned one “A” grade on picks in the first 6 weeks after all, but now we just want to set you up for the sorry grades you are about to see.
So here’s what we did know about the Honda Classic: There was the strongest field by far, with 16 of the top 25 golfers teeing it up. There was also a huge showing of elite European players, including Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, and Victor Dubuisson playing their first U.S. tournaments. Sergio was coming off a T4 finish at Riviera, and Justin Rose, Jamie Donaldson, and Ian Poulter were back in the field.
It would have been wise to target some European players, because the tournament was ultimately won by Padraig Harrington, and Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Russell Knox, Jamie Donaldson, and Luke Donald all finished in the top 10. However, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Graeme McDowell, among other Europeans, failed to make the cut. So even that strategy would have had its pitfalls. As for Americans, much like in the Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed was the only elite player to make a run at it. Mickelson showed some promise before sputtering with a +3 in his final round, finishing in a T17.
And finally, I think it is time we mentioned a guy named Daniel Berger. Have you heard of him? Well, if you’ve been paying attention to golf in 2015 you have by now. Berger is a 21 year old rookie from Florida State who has now had the best overall finishes of any rookie in 2015. Though you hear mostly about Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Carlos Ortiz, and maybe even Nick Taylor, here are Berger’s finishes so far in 2015, starting with the Sony Open: T13, MC, T10, T24, T10, T10, skipped Northern Trust, solo 2 (playoff loss). That is pretty impressive, especially considering all of the talent that did NOT make it into a playoff at the Honda Classic this past week. Berger is definitely a guy to watch out for.
Now, without further ado, here are our results:
PGATour.com: Rory McIlroy (Cut/0 points), Keegan Bradley (Cut/0 points), Charl Schwartzel (Cut/0 points), Billy Horschel (Cut/0 points). Overall grade – F
There it is. 0 for 4. Is that even possible?? Seriously, this might be a more impressive feat than picking Padraig Harrington to win and Daniel Berger to show would have been. Aside from McIlroy, these picks admittedly were far-fetched, but it is still almost unheard of to not have a single guy make the cut. We apologize to anyone who read and comprehended these picks last week.
Golf Channel: Sergio Garcia (T31), Keegan Bradley (Cut), Russell Knox (T3), Mark Wilson (Cut). Total Earnings: $349,652. Overall Grade – C
Russell Knox saved us here. One shining star out of 7 golfers picked. Mark Wilson? WTF?? That pick was like a basketball player taking an ill-advised three. If it goes in you are celebrated, if it doesn’t, you’re benched. Well, we may deserve to ride the bench after this week, but fantasy golf takes no breaks! Let’s see if we can right the ship after such a blunder-filled week.