Hello, chalk… my old friend…
After a few weeks of surprise endings, the predictable fairy tale ending returned to the PGA Tour. Kevin Kisner, one of the best players in the world to have not won recently, fired off a final round 66 to claim the Dean & DeLuca Invitational by one shot over Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Sean O’Hair. Third Round overnight leader Webb Simpson couldn’t put anything together Sunday and slumped to a 71, good for fifth place.
Kisner moves up to 22nd in the Overall World Golf Ranking by securing his second PGA Tour win, and now sits eighth in the OWGR amongst Americans. With Rahm moving to ninth, only two of the top 10 players in the world – Spieth and Dustin Johnson – are from the USA.
How did my keyboard kids do last week?
2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 198; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 1,275/1,265th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 3,138/79th Overall
The D&D spawned another solid, unspectacular week for my Electric Mayhem squad. I jumped about 60 spots in the overall ranking to slide back into the top 100, and gained another 1,200 positions in the segment. Not rostering Jon Rahm proved to be a fatal error, as I lost one of my head-to-head matches to an opponent who earned a ton of points from the Spanish superstar. The move to burn a Spieth start paid off, as he rewarded my team with 52 points in the three days he spent in my lineup.
Fairway – Rolling with Kisner was obviously a strong move, but my better calls came farther down the board. I successfully projected excellent finished for Danny Lee and Vaughn Taylor, and was right by fading sexy picks Kyle Reifers, Ryan Moore and Phil Mickelson. I loved Paul Casey, but didn’t use him. Same goes for a few others – all told, not a bad week.
Rough – Adam Hadwin never fired, nor did Jason Dufner or Brandt Snedeker. Fortunately, they didn’t cost me many points. I was high on Tony Finau and Pat Perez, and neither showed up. I still can’t get my starting lineup right, though I didn’t leave too much on the table.
From Texas to Ohio – it’s time for a healthy dose of Jack Nicklaus!
2017 Memorial Tournament fantasy golf picks
- Jason Day (7) – Not feeling it this week… Day has never hit the top 25 here, and his five weekends in eight tries have all gone for finishes of between 27th and 41st. He doesn’t score well on par fours, and his approach game has been putrid. I’ll pass this week.
- Rickie Fowler (5) – I absolutely love Rickie this week… but can I trust him? Stats are beautiful – elite approach game, scores well on long holes, top-10 in strokes gained with the putter. So how has he missed the last three cuts here? No idea. Prior to that, Rickie pounded out finishes of 2-22-52-37. The history scares me off, but I wouldn’t blame you if you rolled the Fowler dice.
- Bill Haas (6) – Finishes of 4-8-18-MC in his last four are intriguing, and he looked good last week posting a T12, but Billy seems like a guy who will finish T23 more than someone who can win. Fade.
- Dustin Johnson (5) – With five starts left, planning enters the equation. It would be foolish to fade him at the U.S. Open, and he defends at the WGC-Bridgestone. Given those two, I have three starts left. There are two other majors and the entire FedEx Cup Playoff slate. Is it worth burning a start this week with other solid ‘A’ options? Two top-10s here in nine tries isn’t elite, but his game this season is. Stats are off the charts – no room to gush over them. I’m firing up DJ this week and I’ll worry about where to use his other starts later. He’s simply too good and too hot to bench.
- Marc Leishman (10) – He’s 7-8 here and the trend is unmistakable – his finishes in order: 58-MC-62-58-41-37-5-11. I don’t like him enough to bump anyone, but another top-20 wouldn’t shock me.
- Patrick Reed (9) – Don’t look now, but Reed has quietly posted four straight top-25 finishes and appears poised to get back toward the top of the OWGR. 26-8 in two tries here, so the course fits his eye. Converging trends are scary, and I’m tempted to dump DJ and mess with the Texan. Stay tuned to my Twitter account…
- Adam Scott (8) – Yep. Like it a lot. Scottie has had a solid season, but hasn’t played here since 2014, when he finished T4, and he shows up with two other top-five finishes here. Nothing really jumps off the page statistically, but he has always had an above average approach game, and if a few putts drop, Scott will contend. Great move this week, as you likely have enough starts left, and you might not need him if DJ runs for four rounds.
- Brendan Steele (7) – Steele is 10-10 this season with three top-10s, but hasn’t popped here – his finish of 20th last year was the first time in six tries inside the top-50. No reason to gamble.
- Kevin Chappell (10) – He has a great approach game and his form is solid, but the gut says stay away. The 2013 runner-up is 3-6 with no top-30 finishes in his other tries here. I have several other ‘B’ players I like a lot better. If you are saving starts, you could do worse, I suppose…
- Adam Hadwin (8) – 12 tournaments this season, 12 weekends. Since winning the Valspar, Hadwin hasn’t made much noise. Yes, he makes cuts, but I need winners. DFS? Sure. Yahoo? Not this week.
- Kevin Kisner (6) – Following a solid win last week, Kisner enters with an eighth-place finish and another made cut in three tries here. There is no reason to believe that he can’t win again, as his ball-striking is select and he rolls in a few putts. I can’t see six other times where I would use Kisner, so he gets a green light this week. Back-to-back trophies? Possible…
- Matt Kuchar (5) – Just plug and play. Kooch is 9-9 here with only one finish outside the top-15. Read that again. Now start him. That’s all.
- Danny Lee (10) – He’s hot. White hot. Course history? One weekend in three tries went for T52. Not impressed. He’s another golfer with a great approach game, but he’ll need more this weekend. I’ll fade.
- Hideki Matsuyama (4) – Interesting dilemma. Only four starts left, yet everything screams to use one here. WIN-5-MC in three attempts here, and he crushes par fours and fives with authority. Hasn’t hit the top-10 in a long time after laying rubber for many weeks in a row to start the season… but I’m not worried. This course suits him better than most, and if I don’t use him out of the gate, I’m sure I will at some point. Fire him up!
- Phil Mickelson (9) – Only reason he’s in the preview is because he torches par fives and he can hit greens when his drives don’t leave the yard. Oh… and he has a few top-five finishes here 100 years ago. Don’t do it.
- Ryan Moore (7) – Seven top-25 finishes in 11 attempts is a fantastic record here, yet he doesn’t get me animated. I really don’t know why. I can’t find anything great to support using him except class, and there is no shortage of class this week. Pass.
- Jordan Spieth (4) – Now, I want to puke. Four starts left, three majors, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. If he can’t keep the driver in the zip code, Erin Hills is out. Royal Birkdale might be scary, too. Basically, I’m trying to justify burning another start. His driver was broken last week and he still finished T2. This week, wayward tee shots make little difference. There’s no reason to think he won’t add another top-3 finish. Spieth has seen all four weekends here, with posts of 63-19-3-57. Not his best event, but hard to sit. Stay tuned…
- Byeong-Hun An (9) – The ball-striking extraordinaire has three straight top-25 finishes on Tour, and he posted a T11 in his trip to Jack’s house last year. I love this guy, but there are better options in ‘C’ this week.
- Patrick Cantlay (10) – Solid little play here. 5-5 this season with two podiums is an incredible start. He has never played here, but that hasn’t mattered in recent history. He’s fantastic tee-to-green, and if the flat wedge shows up, Cantlay could be a sleeper top-20. Maybe he isn’t really a sleeper anymore…
- Bud Cauley (10) – Hard to ignore recent history, though he slumped to a T41 last week after four straight tournaments in the top 10. Cauley is 3-3 here and is a much better player now than before, but I don’t need him this week. 10th on Tour in SG:Approach, so I’m expecting a top-30.
- Jason Dufner (8) – Extremely disappointing MC last week broke my trust in Duf. 19-24-33 in his last three at Muirfield, but I don’t care. We broke up last Friday. Take your crap and get out of my preview!
- Tony Finau (8) – Anyone who shows up with results of T8-T11 in his first two runs at this course has my interest. Finau is among the top ball-strikers in the world, but will he make enough putts to rise to the top this weekend? It’s between Finau and Grillo to ride shotgun with Rahm, and I’m leaning toward Samoa over Argentina.
- Emiliano Grillo (10) – I can’t get away from my crush on this guy, although I haven’t started him in Yahoo! yet this season. Hit ball. Fairway. Hit ball. Green. Repeat. T11 in his maiden voyage to Muirfield last year is beyond solid. I need three ‘C’ spots, but Grillo seems to be the odd man out. Still love him. A lot.
- J.B. Holmes (9) – His fourth-place finish here last year is the only speck of success on his resume. Form has been up and down, and though I like his power fade on this course, I’ll sit Holmes.
- Billy Horschel (9) – He’s 3-3 here and finished T11 two years ago – couple that with hot play in the last two weeks and you have a good gamble. Even bad Billy is a good striker, and that always plays at courses like Muirfield. Another top-30 isn’t out of the question, but I’ll leave him off the team this week.
- Brooks Koepka (8) – His putter was horrid two weeks ago, but that might not matter as much here. Finished T52 in his only trip to Muirfield, and I have better ‘C’ options, but Koepka could sneak into the mix on Sunday.
- Jon Rahm (6) – He’s a superstar. Benching him last week was obviously a mistake, but I don’t think I’ll have any problems using the remaining six starts. His statistics are straight ridiculous, and on a course where missing the fairway isn’t penal, Rahm will have more of an advantage getting to the green, if that’s possible. I think he’s in the top-10 in every statistical category. All of them. Flip the switch and watch him dance!
- Charl Schwartzel (10) – I have no idea what to think here, but his course history is impeccable – in his last seven trips to Jack’s course, Charl has posted 27-22-19-8-8-MC-11. He WD from the Byron Nelson with a wrist injury, which is never good. Although he has declared himself ready, I’d stay away… but he’s definitely a horse for this place.
2017 Memorial Tournament Yahoo! Roster
*denotes First Round Starter
- A – Dustin Johnson* and Adam Scott
- B- – Matt Kuchar*, Hideki Matsuyama*, Kevin Kisner and… not sure… Spieth?
- C – Jon Rahm* and Tony Finau
I can’t make a decision on Spieth. I’m going to wait until the last possible minute. Watch my Twitter account. Gut is saying to put him on the end of the bench.
This is the week Rahm cements his place among the super-elite with a win. DJ is the hot play, and Kuchar has the history, but the course fits Rahm like a well-tailored suit. If Rahm, Matsuyama and Kuchar aren’t in the top-15, I’d be shocked.
The gut play this week is Grillo, although that isn’t much of a stretch. Deeper? Keep your eye on Cantlay.
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 spent that on a new grip for your 60-degree wedge that you can’t hit anyway! Good luck!