The PGA Championship didn’t disappoint, as many were in the hunt over the weekend, only to watch Justin Thomas shake off a first-round 73 to post 66-69-68 for a two-shot victory and his first major title. JT was the total package, ranking fourth for the week in SG Putting, 11th in SG T2G, and 15th in Driving Distance. He secured his first Wanamaker Trophy with an incredible back nine only blemished by a meaningless bogey at 18. His seven iron to 15ft on the 223-yard 17th hole, and the drained putt, will be replayed for many years to come.
The traffic jam behind him included Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen at T2, while Rickie Fowler posted a 67 on Sunday to climb to T5 with Hideki Matsuyama, who had five bogeys on the back nine including a water ball on 18. 54-hole leader Kevin Kisner shot 74 to fall to T7.
Quail Hollow was a worthy opponent for the world’s best players, and many of them will take the week off before the opening of the FedEx Cup Playoffs next week at The Northern Trust, held at the Glen Oaks Club on Long Island.
As for us, we have one more week of the regular season left to build our Yahoo! scores up before chalk reigns supreme… but first, let’s close the door on last week’s fantasy team.
2017 PGA Championship recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 176; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 1,183/20,180th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 4,683/885th
All told, it wasn’t a terrible week. I gained more than 2,000 spots in the segment ranking, and 76 spots in the season ranking, which is acceptable considering I didn’t earn any bonus points. I did mention in last week’s preview that Thomas “could get hot and grab the trophy” but I left him off the roster for Kevin Chappell, who didn’t contend, and Phil Mickelson, who failed miserably.
Fairway – My biggest success of the week was saving my final Rickie Fowler start. I ran Rory McIlroy out there all four days, and was finally rewarded with a final round 68. Matsuyama was an automatic start, and I milked T13 out of both Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka.
Rough – Phil. Really rough.
One more week before the FedEx Cup Playoffs takes center stage – welcome to Greensboro!
This short par-70 has hosted the tournament since 2008 after previously presenting the event on and off since 1938. Course history will only be used over the last nine events, and not much has changed on the track. The fairways are still narrow, and the Bermuda greens still roll true. Making birdies will be key, as the average winning score over the last nine years has been 262, or 18 under par. The field is weak, but big names like Reed, Sergio Garcia and Webb Simpson are recent winners here. The defending champion, Si Woo Kim, is not in the field.
This Week’s Yahoo! Selections:
2017 PGA Championship Yahoo fantasy golf picks
A Group –
- Luke Donald (10) - Any time a Don Ross or Pete Dye course is in play, I’m at least slightly interested in Donald. The former World #1 has visited twice and posted T26 in 2015 before finishing second to Si Woo Kim’s runaway win last year. His form is sour; since he finished runner-up at the RBC Heritage, his results have gone MC-MC-65-MC-MC-MC-58-MC. The group is incredibly thin, but I don’t know if I can actually click the box next to his name.
- Bill Haas (5) - He comes in with mediocre results this season, but you are here for the course history. Since returning to Sedgefield in 2008, Haas is 7-9 with four top-10s and the other three in the top-30. Don’t hurt yourself diving any deeper. Go.
- James Hahn (10) - Hahn makes an interesting case to ride shotgun in the Haasmobile. He has played four rounds in seven of his last eight attempts, including four top-13 finishes, and he was unspectacularly solid last week in his T13 run at the PGA Championship. His two trips here have resulted in MC-57, but he has risen to 63rd in the OWGR and he sits 23rd in Total Driving. Hahn ranks 51st in FedEx Cup Points, so he’ll be looking to add cushion before the BMW Championship. Everyone in ‘A’ has risk, but Hahn could emerge as the best option.
- Shane Lowry (9) - He went for T42 in his debut here last year, but Lowry was ranked 25th in the OWGR after the 2016 U.S. Open, and now sits 83rd. He has looked generally miserable this season, and has just one top-10 in his last 28 tournaments. Despite all that, he sits 19th on Tour in SG Tee and SG Putting. 91st in GIR isn’t good when you are 188th in SG ATG. Yikes. He probably won’t be on my team.
- Graeme McDowell (10) - GMac has been on a bad run of late after making 16 of 18 cuts earlier this year. MC in five of his last six, including 73-76 last week. Why include him? His T5 here in his first try is impressive, and he put all four rounds in the 60s including a third-round 64. He’s eighth on Tour in Driving Accuracy and ninth in SG Putting, so there’s that, and he wasn’t in good form entering the tournament last year, either. Seems like a better DFS value click than Yahoo! play, but who knows?
- Kevin Streelman (9) - Ready for the (almost) converging trend play? Streels has played the weekend in 11 of his last 12 tournaments, with top-20s in four of his last six. The other side is that he’s 4-4 here with a T6 and T18 thrown in there. Why are the trends “almost” converging? He hasn’t played here since 2012, and hasn’t played at all in five weeks. Do the trends spoil when left out too long? Time will tell. Solid numbers until he gets to the green; 14th in Total Driving, 52nd in GIR. Again, in an emaciated ‘A’ group, any combo will do because none of them will win.
B Group –
- Jonas Blixt (10) - His third-round 62 in 2015 helped him to T10 here, and four rounds in the high-60s earned him T33 last year... T55 in his only other appearance here (2012) makes him 3-3. Still among the best putters in the world, if he ever gets to the green. Course history equals good. Putting equals good. Everything else equals bad. Fade.
- Scott Brown (10) - He’s all or nothing lately, as evidenced by last week at the PGA Championship, when he posted 68-70 in between bookend 73s. Last seven starts have given us 12-MC-52-MC-25-MC-13. On that pattern, he MC this week. However, he finished T3 here two years ago with all four rounds at 68 or better, and fired a 65 on Sunday last year to move up to T33. Boom or bust? Hit or miss? Can’t think of any others. Up to you.
- Chad Campbell (10) - Each of his last 10 cuts made have gone for T34 or better. I like that a lot. He’s 4-6 here with a T4 in 2012. Decent. Believe it or not, Campbell ranks 11th on Tour in Scoring Average and 12th in GIR. Strong. ‘B’ is almost as thin as ‘A’, so there’s a solid chance he ends up on the roster.
- Harris English (10) - English is 3-3 here with a T10 in 2012. His depressed season has left gamers to guess whether he’ll post a top-30 or MC. Good course history, but nothing screams that he will contend.
- Lucas Glover (10) - He has played here all nine times since the move back to Sedgefield, and other than one MC and one WD, all seven weekends have resulted in top-30 finishes, with a T7 in 2010. Glover sits 23rd in SG Tee and 52nd in SG Approach, and at nearly 70%, he ranks fifth on Tour in GIR due to his elite ball-striking. Shook off an opening 75 last week to play solid golf the rest of the week. One podium finish since 2011 isn’t the type of history that wins Yahoo! leagues, but he should play four rounds and there isn’t much meat in this group, so he might make the team.
- John Huh (10) - Huh is 5-5 here and posted a T3 in 2013, but there isn’t much else to fall in love with. MC in four of his last six starts is bad, and his statistics look worse. Don’t bite on the course history here.
- Kevin Kisner (2) - Here’s the million dollar (literally) question - does Kisner recover from a demanding week at the PGA Championship where he led after 54 holes only to come up short? Or does heh succumb to the pressures and emotion of the moment? Nobody knows. What we do know is that hes in excellent form and has finished T8-T10 in his last two trips here. He hasn’t exactly lit up the FedEx Cup Playoffs, so I’m not worried about running out of starts. No matter your feelings, you have to roster Kis this week. The group demands it.
- Russell Knox (8) - His recent form is abominable, save for a T5 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He doesn’t have much history at Sedgefield. Why consider Knox? He’s always in the fairway and he leads the Tour in Approach Proximity from 125-150 yards, which is where many second shots could be hit from this week. I’m not using him, but if you need a deep gamble, here’s your man.
- Danny Lee (7) - Lee looks out of sorts lately and he has missed the cut in each of his last three trips to Sedgefield. Pass.
- Ryan Moore (7) - His T13 last week signals that he’s all the way back from a shoulder injury that has nagged him all season. The 2009 Champion also finished T10 two years back, and he has seen two other weekends in six total tries. 35th in SG Approach will help gamers feel safe, and his rank of 39th in Total Driving means he’ll have chances to attack the greens. This whole tournament is a crapshoot, so you might as well go with a guy rounding back into form who likes the course. Fire!
- Kevin Na (10) - T18-T10 in his last two attempts here, but his recent form is all over the place. He’s simply ghastly off the tee, but his approach game has been on point. If the rough at Sedgefield is swallowing golf balls, and it likely will be, Na will have no chance.
- Chez Reavie (10) - He hasn’t responded well since the Bermuda greens were put in during the 2012 season, missing the cut in all three tries. Reavie does have two top-10s, but those were years ago. For some reason, I like the play. Fifth in Driving Accuracy and 23rd in SG Approach should lead to plenty of birdie chances. He isn’t a terrible putter, and if he can roll a few in over the weekend, you never know what might happen. Strong chance to make the cut and create some noise.
- Webb Simpson (8) - His course history is superb, with four top-10s in the last seven years. Current form is excellent, posting top-40s in eight of his last 11 starts, including five times in the top-20. Webb sits 24th on Tour in SG T2G and 27th in Scoring Average, but like many above, he has to utilize the flat stick in order to win. His record here is too good to ignore, and the hot pocket Webb is in now is enough to click the box. Home games can go either way, but the Carolina boy shines on this stage and I’m all-in.
- Robert Streb (10) - Streb is 3-3 here, all in the top-40, but his form is scary. He either hits the top-30 or falls off the map completely. His stats don’t look good, likely because of the inconsistency in his play. I can’t take the chance.
- Daniel Summerhays (10) - Somebody tell this guy to take a nap... he has played every week but one since The Players, which was held in mid-May. Sitting squarely on the bubble at 124th in the FedEx Cup Points race, he needs four rounds badly in order to secure his spot. Summerhays is 2-5 here, and there is no reason to draft him.
C Group –
Note: There are 112 players available in the C Group this week. I counted. I will not preview all of them… if you have questions about a player you are eyeing, send me an email or a Tweet.
- Byeong Hun An (9) - This is my darkhorse pick to win the tournament, and I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose the main reason is his phenomenal ball-striking; he sits 16th on Tour in SG Tee and 28th in SG Approach. His putting woes are no big deal, as no winner here has finished the season in the top-100 in SG Putting since 2013. An hasn’t had a top-20 in his last eight starts, but I like that he posted T18 in his only try here in 2015 with all four rounds at 69 or better. Just 25 years old, I think he will win several times in his career, and it could start this week.
- Keegan Bradley (10) - Keegs has made six straight cuts, and while he didn’t break 70 in any round last week en route to a T33, he generally looked solid. The driver is still his most potent weapon, as he leads the Tour in Total Driving and, as a result, sits 21st in GIR. His only visit here was last year when his T46 didn’t scare anyone. In a weak field, a top-25 isn’t out of order.
- Bud Cauley (10) - Along the same lines as Keegan, Cauley has made cuts in eight of his last 10 tries, including four top-15 finishes. He also finished T33 last week, but had two sour rounds in the middle. Sedgefield has been a mixed bag for him, as the 27-year-old has posted 52-3-MC-MC-10 in five visits. Cauley ranks 13th in SG Approach, and that could lift him to another top-15 this week. He’s on the Yahoo! bubble.
- Jason Dufner (8) - Since winning The Memorial, he has made three of five cuts, with only one top-40 finish. His last three trips around this track have resulted in 7-51-22, and his statistics across the board are very good... but I’m just not feeling the Dufman this week. He has only had two top-10 finishes in the last 14 months and he never got comfortable last week on the way to a T58. I’m fading.
- Martin Flores (10) - Three top-20 finishes in a row is exciting, but his record here is two weekends in five tries, with only a T16 in 2013 on the good side. Not worth the risk.
- Emiliano Grillo (10) - Grillo hasn’t played here, and his recent form is ugly, but he ranks 19th in Total Driving and he’s been known to be a wizard with irons. I can’t see him winning, but a top-25 is in play. If he’s cheap in DFS games, I’d roll the dice.
- Chesson Hadley (10) - His game has been superb lately, but he’s just 1-5 here. Course history wins this one. Fade.
- Brandon Hagy (10) - Hagy will be a sexy pick to stand on the first page on Sunday, but I don’t see it. Yes, he arrives in top form, having made six straight cuts and posting T5-T18, and yes, he’s third on Tour in Driving Distance, but on a course with doglegs and blind shots, that might not give him a huge edge. What concerns me is that he ranks 140th in GIR, 175th in SG Approach and 190th in Driving Accuracy. I think all those will come into play at Sedgefield, making his first experience less than desirable.
- Billy Horschel (9) - His general form and his course history here mirror each other; completely inconsistent. Last nine stars: WIN-34-MC-4-MC-26-MC-74-48. Five trips here: 30-46-47-MC-5. For a guy who strikes the ball exceptionally well, this course should work for him. It did last year... I’ll let you decide if it will again. I say no.
- Martin Laird (9) - Laird is 6-6 here, but the trend is going the wrong way. After his T4 in 2008, he posted 67-34-14-59-63 since. His only cut made in his last five tournaments was a T3 at the Quicken Loans National, and his 77-72 last week doesn’t make me want to take a chance.
- Haotong Li (10) - He looked wonderful at the Open Championship, but I have no idea how he will perform in the U.S., even against a subpar field. There are more safe options in the group. I’ll wait.
- Davis Love III (10) - He won here two years ago at age 51, and so I listed him out of respect. He won’t win this week.
- Peter Malnati (10) - Malnati hasn’t missed a cut since The Players Championship, rattling off nine straight weekends, but his OWGR has fallen almost 200 spots since then. He also made the cut in both of his trips here. That’s all. Next...
- Ben Martin (10) - Three top-15s in his last six starts is excellent, but when you factor in that none of those were majors or WGC events, it takes something away. This week also isn’t a major or a WGC event, so he could jump toward the top again. T10 here two years ago doesn’t hurt, but his other two visits were MC. Nothing statistically stands out, so I’ll fade gently.
- Grayson Murray (10) - Murray won the Barbasol and played well last week before a 75 on Sunday dropped him to T22, but the rest of his season has been a rollercoaster, both on and off Twitter. 12th in Driving Distance, but who knows where the ball is going? I’ll pass this week.
- Carl Pettersson (10) - The horse of all horses... he wasn’t here last year, but his other eight trips have yielded a WIN in 2008 and three other top-six finishes. The problem is that since his T6 here in 2015, he has seen the weekend in just 12 of his 49 tournament starts. Not a typo. I can’t do it. Fade.
- Seamus Power (10) - He arrives for his maiden voyage at Sedgefield on the heels of top-26 finishes in his last four starts. The pressure is on this week, as he checks in at 123rd in FedEx Cup Points. Power has been finding more fairways lately, but it was hard to find fewer, as he still sits 181st in Driving Accuracy. This group is up for grabs, so nobody will scream at you for running Seamus out there. I have other plans.
- Rory Sabbatini (10) - These are the moments when I love fantasy golf. Four of Sabbatini’s last five starts have gone for top-25. He posted a T8 here in 2013. He seems to heat up for a bit toward the end of every season. He’s 31st in Total Driving and 49th in GIR. Lots of things to like. Why am I hesitant? Because he’s Rory Freakin’ Sabbatini. He hasn’t hit a podium in four years. He’s 448th in the OWGR. Whew. Not that guys can flip a switch, but at 148th in FedEx Cup Points, he’s not playing next week unless he performs. Will that be enough?
- Sam Saunders (10) - Believe it or not, Saunders profiles out similarly to Sabbatini; 25th in Total Driving, 127th in FedEx Cup Points, T14 here two years ago. He has top-25s in three of his last four starts, and four of his last eight rounds here have been at 67 or better. I’m not rostering Sabbatini, and I’m not rostering Saunders, but if both finish around T22, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Ollie Schneiderjans (9) - Form isn’t great and he MC in his only try here two years ago, but I think Ollie is the real deal. He’s a wonderful iron player, and leads the entire Tour in Proximity from more than 200 yards. He hits enough greens to make up for his wild driver, and his touch on and around the green has improved as the season has aged. He’s on the bubble with Cauley for the second ‘C’ spot... stay tuned.
- Kyle Stanley (7) - No top-40 finishes in four tournaments since his win at the Quicken Loans National is no good. He posted MC here the in his first three trips, then rattled off 51-14 the last two years. Stanley leads the Tour in GIR, ranks sixth in SG Tee and 11th in SG Approach. He missed the cut badly at the last two majors and his 76-76 last week wasn’t inspiring. Ranked 19th in FedEx Cup Points, he isn’t playing for a spot, and likely will be alive for all four playoff events. I’ll rest him this week.
- Henrik Stenson (6) - Henrik has been Henrik-like lately, posting top-15 finishes nearly every week. The flipside of that coin is he’s 0-3 here. Having withdrawn in 2012, he hasn’t played on the Bermuda greens, and that might make a difference. As many have pointed out, he needed to play this week to meet the requirement to keep his Tour card for next season, so he might not be terribly enthused. I’ll reluctantly fade and hope that I’m right. If he performs, many will pass me in the standings having not dug deep and being drawn to the name.
- Chris Stroud (10) - His form is great, but his best finish here in eight tries is T37, and five MC don’t look good. Pass.
- Kevin Tway (10) - He makes a lot of cuts and he hits the ball a mile. Since that doesn’t make much difference this week, and he ranks 119th in GIR and 184th in Driving Accuracy. I don’t need that stress this week.
- Camilo Villegas (10) - I know he’s a past champion and a good course horse, but you didn’t come all this way for me to roster Camilo Villegas, did you?
2017 Wyndham Championship Yahoo! Roster
- A – Bill Haas and Kevin Streelman
- B – Kevin Kisner, Webb Simpson, Lucas Glover, and Ryan Moore
- C – Byeong Hun An and Bud Cauley
Several of these players might be dropped before lock… I’m considering moving Keegan or Ollie in for Bud. Streelman and Hahn is a toss-up in ‘A’. I might still make a last-minute move, so make sure to follow me on Twitter @commishjoe for updates.
My picks in this section didn’t go well last week, but I’ll get back on the horse. I like Ben An a lot, and I could see someone like Cauley winning, but in reality, there are 100 players who have a chance this week. I’ll stick to the research and throw in a sprinkle of gut feel.
I will Tweet out my starters on Wednesday night – I would imagine everyone will start Haas and Simpson, and the rest are TBD. Make sure to hit me up @commishjoe with questions, comments, or emotional outbursts. If you still aren’t a GNN Plus Member, what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up for $10 for the year. $10 for the year! I just donated $20 to a fund for a retiring employee at work! This is better! Good Luck!