Welcome into this week's fantasy golf picks for the 2014 Humana Challenge, presented by DraftDay.
Since every fantasy league is a little different, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to rank players. In some leagues, you have to save players for bigger tournaments. In others, it doesn’t matter. Some leagues have you pick four players, or six or one. Instead, we’ll offer 10 picks in two buckets: horses for courses and hot hands.
Last week, we nailed it. Jimmy Walker won for the second time in the 2013-14 season, taking the Sony Open in Hawaii. We also made a very nice call with Harris English.[divider_with_title]Background[/divider_with_title]
As Golf Channel's Todd Lewis aptly calls it, the Humana Challenge -- the erstwhile Bob Hope -- is "golf under a dome." The conditions in the California desert are perfect, scoring is some of the easiest on the PGA Tour and the name of the game is going low. No apple-bottom jeans or boots with the fur necessary.
A year ago, Brian Gay took the title in a playoff over Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth. (I'll bet you didn't remember he almost won this event, did you?)
While the field will play three different courses over the opening three rounds, they are all somewhat similar in that they are short (by PGA Tour standards, all under 7,060 yards), not too punishing and designed for scoring at this time of year. Hit the green and 1-putt, repeat. Guys who make a lot of birdies and aren't gun shy, then, should do well this week.[divider_with_title]Hot Hands[/divider_with_title]
- Harris English: He didn't finish the job at Waialae on Sunday in Hawaii, but English is among the five hottest players on the PGA Tour right now, much less in the field this week. He finished T-65 here a year ago, but English is a much different, more polished player now. English loves tight tracks, which these really are not, but can go low.
- Webb Simpson: Dating back to the 2013 Tour Championship, Simpson hasn't finished outside of the top seven in four starts, including a win in Vegas. Simpson clearly can play some desert golf, but, more importantly, he could play well anywhere right now.
- Zach Johnson: He's still the hottest player on the planet at the moment, so if you're not in a league where you'll be docked future ZJ starts by playing him this week, consider him strongly.
- Charles Howell III: More often than not, Charles Howell III is a good pick early in the season. He comes out of the gate well, and he four top-8 finishes in six starts in the 2013-14 season. He was a part of the playoff here a year ago.
- Brian Stuard: Yeah, you had no idea who he was last weekend, and that's OK. Turns out Stuard is playing some great golf. He's been in the top 15 in three of his last four PGA Tour starts and was T-10 at this stop in 2013.
- Brian Gay: More often than not, I recommend the defending champion at a tournament barring some kind of major downturn in form or health. Gay fits the bill, of course, playing some good golf last week at Waialae after enduring a ride on the Double Bogey Train early in the Sony Open. In his last five Hope/Humana starts, Gay has a win, a top 5 and four top-20 finishes.
- Ryan Palmer: The other Palmer had a nice finish (T-8) to his Sony Open with a hole-out at Waialae, which is a nice little takeaway heading into the Humana. Palmer has found his groove in this event in the last 3 years, finishing in the top six in two out of three starts.
- Brandt Snedeker: Sneds isn't playing his best golf, finishing T-11 in his '14 debut at Kapalua. However, he's playing well enough to lean into his pair of top-10 finishes in the Humana/Hope in his last four starts in this event.
- Brendon de Jonge: The Zimbabwean has never missed a cut here in five starts. That's not a spectacular record in this event, but the birdie-binge format plays into de Jonge's game of lots of circles (sometimes far too many squares) on the scorecard.
- Robert Garrigus: The big man is a big fan of the Hope/Humana. He almost won here in 2012 and has three other top-20 finishes in five starts. He can simply overpower the rota.
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