Hooray for Dustin! Hooray for Golf! Hooray for Fox refusing to take the camera off of Dustin and Paulina during the walk to the clubhouse, despite what Paulina Gretsky was wearing! Not so much hooray for the USGA, though… Seriously, the USGA was the biggest loser at the U.S. Open with how they chose to handle DJs potential rules infraction. Rory McIlroy, too, was a loser at Oakmont when he missed the cut by two strokes, but I guess we’ll hold on talking about him until next week at the WGC Bridgestone.
But with or without the USGA’s unfortunate intrusion into DJ’s final round, Dustin could not be stopped en route to finally winning his first major. Electrifying with his tee ball as usual, and uncommonly in control of his short game led to a 3-shot win for the South Carolina native.
And now it is on to the Quicken Loans National. After deviating from its usual venue, and place in the calendar, the QLN returns to Congressional in late June. Unfortunately, the shuffling in the PGA schedule has moved the WGC Bridgestone up to next week, which has caused this field to be abnormally weak. Rickie Fowler, coming off of 3-straight missed cuts (starting with his Players title defense), headlines a very ho-hum field.
Justin Rose, the most recent winner at Congressional, is still nursing an injury that has caused him to WD, so Bill Haas will come in as the reigning winner at this track. Other notables in the field include Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, and Jim Furyk who comes off of a rallying T2 at the U.S. Open.
So without a lot of fire power to choose from, let’s talk chalk, good plays, and wise fades.
Best High End Plays
I actually do like Rickie Fowler this week – you just don’t expect a player of his caliber to keep missing cuts, and he is by far the best player in the field. However, when prices are so inflated that Marc Leishman (who has done virtually nothing this year) costs 10.9K, I will be looking at mid range lineups featuring golfers in the 7-10K range.
The first of whom I will endorse is Byeong-Hun An. An emerging talent in the PGA world, An had his first win last year in the European Tour’s flagship event, and has had success this year including a playoff loss at the Zurich, a T11 at the Memorial, and a T23 at the U.S. Open (his last two starts). Congressional is another U.S. Open track with lots of challenges, and a player like An should separate himself from the pack. Finally, I like Jamie Lovemark at 8.2K. He is having a hot season, he’s rested since the Memorial, and his stats line up well – 10 in driving distance, 50 in strokes gained tee-to-green, and 37 in strokes gained overall.
My pick of the week is going to be Mr. Ryan Palmer. Palmer has been playing well as of late, aside from St. Jude’s which I will chalk up to the pressure of trying to make the U.S. Open. His stats lineup nicely for this former U.S. Open course. If DJ taught us one thing last week, it’s that strokes gained off-the-tee matter, and Ryan ranks nicely at 8 in that category.
Kevin Chappell is my other high end play. What do you do after DJ wins his first major? Roster DJ-lite in a weak ass field. With his high strokes gained tee-to-green and also a top-10 here in the past, Chappell seems poised for another go at CC(Blue). Tom totally jacked my Lovemark pick too – he’s been playing wonderful golf all year, and I wouldn’t bet against him here.
Tom: Again, due to weak field inflation, I’m looking for value plays in the sub-7K range. The first name I come across is Ben Martin at 6.6K. While Martin has had an up and down season (6 MCs in 18 starts), he returns to Congressional where he finished T3 in his only try (2014), and has been relatively better this year on tougher golf courses.
Dipping way down, I really like Luke List as my sleeper pick of the week. Like Lovemark, this decision is influenced mostly by stats. List has only made 9 of 19 cuts on the season, but those include two top 10s, and a T20 at the Northern Trust which is a similar course/challenge to Congressional, and he currently ranks 8 in driving distance, as well as 23 in strokes gained tee-to-green.
Time and time again Tom laughs at me when I say Lucas Glover’s name — mainly because I ask if he’s related to Danny Glover (I’m hilarious) — Glover’s putter is seemingly the only thing keeping him from taking his game to the next level, which I would guess he has heard many times. This course bodes well for a ball-striker, and look no father than the Glove-doctor.
Robert Garrigus also seems poised to play well this week. Once again the stats lineup for someone in his price range: GIR/Fringe rank – 20, SGT2G rank – 28, and SGOT rank – 55. Couple that with multiple top-10’s on the course, and I’ll definitely take him this week.
And for your high risk/high reward play of the week, look no further than Greg Owen. He’s horrible with his putter, but he can hit GIR’s and is a great ball-striker. That said, having a 50% cut’s made percentage does not exactly scream, “Save a roster spot for this guy!” – GPP play only.
**Loupe is $5,600, just saying…
Fades of the Week
Tom: I’ve only got one true fade this week, and it’s one of my favorite golfers: Jimmy Furyk. My reasoning is twofold. 1. He is coming off a huge Sunday at the U.S. Open meaning that his ownership will probably skyrocket as Furyk is typically one of the most reliable fantasy golfers. 2. He has a pretty bad record at Congressional, including it being 1 of only 2 U.S. Open venues where he missed the cut in the past 10 years. Combine those two points, and I am staying away from Furyk, who despite notching another strong U.S. Open showing, has not entirely proved that he’s back into mid season form following his surgery.
Jon: I love Tom’s hot-take. That’s the kind of fade that can make or break you. I’m not going to go so bold, as I’m saying Smylie Kaufman is my fade of the week. Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely stoked to watch Smylie, JT, and Rickie paired together, but just like what I said about Rickie last week, this game takes focus, and I think Smylie will be having too much fun, and to quote a famous professor, “true focus lies between serenity and rage.”