No professional golfer wants the title of “Best Player Without A Major” on his business card, and while Colin Montgomerie is the Holder Emeritus, the role of current honoree could be debated. One star commonly brought to that conversation was Sergio Garcia, who had registered 22 top-10s in major championships and more than a dozen more in WGC events without winning either.
The Spaniard took himself out of the running last week by winning the Masters with a beautiful performance on Sunday. Sergio defeated Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose on the first playoff hole, winning a cool $1.98 million and a much-earned place amongst the best players of his generation. The pair pulled away at the end of the tournament, and outpaced Charl Schwartzel by three shots, and finished four ahead of Matt Kuchar and Thomas Pieters.
So how did my electronic team do?
2017 Masters Tournament recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 176; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 327/2933; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 2,190/77th Overall
Fading the eventual champion at the Masters is never a good idea, and I didn’t like not having Sergio on my team last week. I justified it by remembering he had hit the top-10 just three times in 18 previous appearances at Augusta, but this is the new Sergio. Gonna-get-married Sergio. Mature and proud Sergio. I should have known.
What worked? What didn’t?
Fairway: Thomas Pieters. Yes, he shot 75 on Saturday, but if I was going to leave out Sergio, Pieters was about as good as I could have done in the ‘C’ group. Fading Day, Mickelson, Stenson, and Matsuyama proved correct, even though the latter shot 67 on Sunday to backdoor a T11. My gut play of Paul Casey finished T6 with a 69-68 weekend and Bill Haas came through with a T36, his eight consecutive Augusta finish between 12th and 42nd.
Rough: Besides not rostering Sergio, I didn’t believe in Adam Scott or Matt Kuchar, and they both posted top-10 finishes. Brandt Snedeker had my eye in the preview, but only one sub-70 round didn’t get it done. Charley Hoffman played right to my inconsistency comments, but I could have used his 20 points on Thursday before he played the rest of the week nine over par.
As we wave goodbye to Augusta, the Tour takes us to Hilton Head… from the Green Jacket to the Plaid Jacket! Onward!
2017 RBC Heritage Yahoo! fantasy golf picks
- Luke Donald (10) – The ‘A’ group is a bit thin, and so Donald belongs in the conversation even though there is no way you should ever use him in fantasy golf. Ever. Unless you are at Harbor Town. Six podium finishes in eight years without a win is insane. His other two appearances were 37-15, so that’s eight straight years in the top-40, same as most Katy Perry albums. The stats don’t work whatsoever, but they never have and he’s always at the top. Roster if you want, but if he doesn’t medal again, he’s useless.
- Branden Grace (10) – Grace has done absolutely nothing prime this season, but the defending champion seems to enjoy Hilton Head, and finished seventh in his first trip here in 2015. His stats look terrible, and he didn’t inspire anyone at Augusta, but his course history and relative class is enough to warrant a spot on the team.
- Bill Haas (8) – My only concern is his lack of accuracy off the tee. Well, that’s not my only concern, but that’s the major one. His finishes of 24-WD-31-14 in the last four years showed vast improvement over a previously horrible course history. He’s scrambling as well as he ever has, and if he can find a fairway and make a few putts, he’ll contend.
- Marc Leishman (10) – He can’t keep the ball in the fairway with the driver, so clubbing down might help him. Peel back another layer and his approach game hasn’t been sharp, ranking 96th on Tour in SG:App. I’m not feeling it this week, as those are two major red flags at Harbour Town. Pass.
- Graeme McDowell (10) – His form is decent of late, posting three top-30 finishes before missing the cut in Puerto Rico. He loves Florida but we aren’t there. His approach game is off and he ranks 164th this season in par four scoring. 164th. Brutal. Pass.
- Jim Furyk (10) – Last week’s MC at the Masters wasn’t a huge surprise; he never really took to Augusta and his form is fading. Father Time is catching up, and I’m not going to be around to save him. Yes, I know he has two wins and several other top-10s here… don’t tweet me about it. I just don’t care.
- Lucas Glover (10) – Here’s the gut play of the week. Glover was in phenomenal form until his MC at Houston. The stats all work here, as he sits in the top-16 in par four scoring, SG:App, and bogey avoidance. He just can’t get it together at the Heritage; he plays here every season and has missed four of the last seven weekends. I’ll pencil in a top-30 finish and hope to keep a clean eraser.
- Adam Hadwin (9) – He finished 30th in his second trip to HTGL last year, and his form is excellent, including a T36 in his virgin Augusta experience. He avoids bogeys with the best of the pros, and his approach game has been solid all season. No surprise here if he medals – I’ll happily take the bonus points.
- Charley Hoffman (10) – Can he escape the emotions of his letdown at Augusta? If so, Hoff will have a chance here. Statistically, he’s like a fish out of water at Harbour Town, but he sports three top-15 finishes in the last five years. His last five tourneys have gone 4-MC-2-23-22, but he’s playing for the third week in a row, and in three different states. Hot is hot, and he could show up one more week, but I’ll play the fade here.
- Kevin Kisner (9) – Kisner is my pick to win the tournament. 43rd at the Masters was a bit disappointing, but he survived. Form has been phenomenal. Finished as the runner-up here in 2015. All he does is hit fairways and stripe beautiful approach shots. His game seems to be built for this type of course, and though his record at HTGL is choppy, he is primed for a victory. Bring it!
- Russell Knox (8) – Three loops through Harbour Town with finishes of 9-18-2. How do I fade without even thinking about it? Knox has been vexingly inconsistent, and other than his accuracy off the tee, the rest of the numbers don’t add up. We broke up a long time ago, but he keeps hanging around to see if I fall for him again. Not this week, Russell.
- Matt Kuchar (9) – Kooch is the name at this tournament, and with good reason. He backdoored a fourth-place finish last week with a hole-in-one on 16, and his course history is elite; 1-5-9 his last three years has him near the top of my rankings this week. Don’t overthink it. Fire away!
- William McGirt (10) – Two top-10s in the last three years has my attention, and his game has been solid lately, but I have to fade McGirt this week. First, there is no room. Second, his approach and putting game have been less than good. Not a terrible gamble, but you can do better.
- Kevin Na (10) – Purely a course history play, he has hit the top-10 in four of his last eight trips to the Heritage. He looks off lately, and three MC in his last four tournaments are loose evidence. I’ll sit this one out.
- Francesco Molinari (10) – I absolutely love this play at the Heritage. He hits fairways. He gets to the green. His putting is there sometimes. He slays par fours. If he had anything other than MC-45 in his two appearances here, I’d take a chance. He doesn’t, so I won’t.
- Brandt Snedeker (7) – His stats are a good fit and his form is excellent, so why hasn’t Sneds performed at the Heritage? Not too sure, but in the last 10 years, he missed the cut three times and his win in 2011 was his only top-15. This should be the week it all changes, as I expect Snedeker dancing on the front page on Sunday.
- Wesley Bryan (10) – This is a deep gut play, as nothing really lines up here besides his exceptional approach game. He caught fire for a few weeks, and then tailed off recently. He obviously has never played here, but I feel he could find some form again and have a great Spring. No clue why.
- Bryson DeChambeau (10) – You have to at least look his way following his fourth-place finish here last year. BDC is rounding back into form and… well… that’s about it. I’ll pass.
- Jason Dufner (9) – I’m convinced Dufner is falling into the Kuchar/Haas class of solid performers who might never win again. Duf has made seven cuts in a row with nothing in the top-10. He has also played seven straight weekends at the Heritage with only one finish in the top-23. If T19 is good enough for you, then be my guest. I’ll keep him away from my stable of winners this week.
- Matthew Fitzpatrick (10) – He’s in great form, but this week will be six tournaments in seven weeks. I know he’s young and in great shape, but that volume of activity usually doesn’t equal success. His putter has been white hot, but that likely won’t matter this week if he can’t hit a green.
- Tyrrell Hatton (10) – Like many others, Hatton crashed and burned last week at Augusta. He ranks seventh in SG:App and his putting is elite, but nothing else really excites me. If you think Hatton will recapture the magic, then proceed. I’ll be hopping away.
- Russell Henley (9) – I just like this play. He only 2-4 here, but his two weekends resulted in sixth and 23rd. Statistically, he looks great; he burns up par fours and he’s been excellent getting to the green. Henley finished 11th last week after his win at Houston, so I’ll ride the statistical fit and hot hand.
- Billy Horschel (10) – He’s 4-4 here with a ninth-place finish four years ago, but Horschel is wildly inconsistent of late and can’t be trusted. He’s actually a pretty strong statistical fit, but I just can’t wake up Thursday morning knowing Billy Ho is on my roster.
- Martin Kaymer (10) – Kaymer is in such good form that he cracked his awful Masters history with a 16th-place finish last week. He’s hitting fairways and his putter has been hot lately. Kaymer hasn’t played here since 2014, but had finishes of 66-23 in his only two tries. He’s classy enough to win, and you won’t run out of starts.
- Pat Perez (9) – Perez will be my second ‘C’ player, but I could have picked five other guys. His stat lines don’t jump off the page, but since his WD at the Phoenix Open, Perez has been rock solid. Posts of 6-18-18-26 in his last four trips to the Heritage means he likes the course. Paint me convinced. I’d love to see him win, but I’d settle for a top-15.
- Ian Poulter (10) – Nah. Don’t do it.
- Kyle Stanley (10) – The statistics are almost too good to be true. Every category I’ve studied this week has included Stanley. He’s 10-12 this season, and he has cashed each of his weekends at T39 or better. He hasn’t won since 2012 and has only registered two top-10s in the last 32 months, and Stanley has only seen two of the five weekends that he’s play at the Heritage. Like Pieters this week, he’s a gamble, but I’ll run with Stanley opposite Henley this week.
My Yahoo! fantasy golf lineup
(* - denotes first round starter)
A – Branden Grace* and Luke Donald
B – Matt Kuchar*, Kevin Kisner*, Adam Hadwin and Brandt Snedeker
C – Russell Henley* and Kyle Stanley
There are a ton of players in ‘B’ and ‘C’ who could warrant a roster spot, and that’s dangerous in the Yahoo! format. I chose to go with a mix of course horses and guys who have great statistical profiles. I’m actually fairly confident in the squad, so long as Henley isn’t too tired and Stanley shows up. It takes a little more homework on these weeks, and I like to think we outwork everyone when there isn’t obvious chalk.
I love Kisner to win with Molinari and Glover to sneak into the mix. This field is wide open, so finding the gems amongst the clutter is difficult. That’s what makes this game great!
Hit me up at @commishjoe on Twitter with questions, comments or emotional outbursts. Follow along for last-minute changes. If you aren’t a GNN Plus member, sign up today! $10 for the year! You spend that on girl scout cookies from the daughter of the annoying lady at work! Good luck!