There was a lot of groaning on golf Twitter on Feb. 2 when Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open before the second round, citing injury.
Matsuyama, who was the two-time defending champion at TPC Scottsdale, was the ubiquitous pick for One and Done fantasy golf players this week. His track record there is obviously great, and there are plenty of players who might not slot Matsuyama for one of the top four or five tournaments during the year, so he wouldn’t get used at the majors or The Players. It made a lot of logical sense.
However, under the rules of One and Done fantasy golf, Matsuyama’s withdrawal meant every fantasy golf player using him this week got no money or points because he didn’t finish the tournament. Even worse, they had now used Matsuyama for their season and can’t use him again. That seems an awfully tough blow to take, and this was one of those rare situations where the chalk pick for the week withdrew and caused a lot of fantasy pain.
Of course, pro golfers — Hideki’s not on Twitter, but still — hate this whining. They’re not playing golf for our benefit, fantasy or reality. They’re playing for their own motivations, so they don’t want to hear about them costing us fantasy points or DFS golf money. Fair.
But in some pools and contests, there is a lot of money on the line. That means a misstep — by you or the golfer you pick each week — can have serious implications for the standings. We have to come up with some kind of fail-safe in the event an Hideki-type WD happens again, crushing a pool.
So, here’s what I’m proposing:
In One and Done fantasy golf pools, players should be able to select two players each week.
The first player is your lead player, and, if they don’t withdraw from the tournament during the pre-cut rounds, the One and Done player gets credited with their full earnings or points for that week. If that first player completes the tournament, the One and Done player can’t use them again for the remainder of the contest or season. If that first player makes the cut and then withdraws, the One and Done player would get the equivalent of last-place money or points for the tournament and couldn’t use the pro again for the remainder of the pool or season.
The second player is the emergency backup, which will only be used in the event the lead player withdraws in the pre-cut rounds. In that case, the second golfer becomes the One and Done player’s golfer for the week, with the One and Done player only earning half of the points or money that second golfer earns for the tournament. In the event the second golfer is used, the One and Done player can’t use them for the remainder of the season. As for the first golfer, that player goes back into the selection pool but can only be used one more time — either as a first or second choice — and can only earn half of the money and points they would otherwise have earned at their next selection (meaning either half-money or half-points in the first slot, or quarter-money/points in the second slot).
This seems like a fair way to not crush a whole One and Done pool for a massive withdrawal, but it also would help One and Done players who select a withdrawing golfer through no fault of their own.
One and Done is a great fantasy golf format, but this particular facet of the game creates some serious problems in these rare instances. Having a backup possibly in the wings removes that issue.