Fantasy Golf: PGA Championship Preview


Baltusrol’s Lower Course will be hot, steamy, long and difficult this week as it hosts the 98th PGA Championship.


For the 17th time Baltusrol will host a major championship.

Not bad.

Phil Mickelson won here in 2005 when exactly NOYNE players finished in red figures for the week.

It’s bizarre to think that there was a 63 during that event but Thomas Bjorn defied the odds and did just that.

The course is back for its second crack as host for a PGA Championship but this time in July rather than August. By looking at the extended forecast anyone will hardly notice a difference!

Let’s look backwards to look forwards:

2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)


In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.

Under 30 Winners (10 different winners from 13 events)

  • Emiliano Grillo, 23;
  • Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
  • Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
  • Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
  • Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
  • Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
  • Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
  • Danny Willett, 28; Masters
  • Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
  • Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC


Prime-Time Players

The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.

Winners 30-39 (20 players from 21 events)

  • Russell Knox, 30; HSBC Champions
  • Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
  • Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
  • Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
  • Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
  • Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
  • Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
  • Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
  • Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
  • Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
  • Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
  • Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
  • Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
  • James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
  • Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
  • William McGirt, 36; Memorial
  • Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open
  • Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
  • Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
  • Jhonattan Vegas, 31, RBC Canadian Open


Old Guard

There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.

Winners 40-plus

  • Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
  • Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship

Alex Cejka, Jim Furyk and John Senden were the only ones to hit the top 25 last week outside Toronto.




Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.

Rookie Winners

  • Emiliano Grillo;
  • Smylie Kaufman; Shriners


After winners in the first two events of the season, it’s been 36 straight events without one of the newbies collecting a trophy.


First-Time Winners

Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.


 First-Time Winners on Tour

  • 2013: 12
  • 2014: 10
  • 2015: 11
  • 2016: (15 and counting)
  •    Emiliano Grillo (
  •    Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
  •    Justin Thomas (CIMB)
  •    Peter Malnati (SFC)
  •    Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
  •    Kevin Kisner (RSM)
  •    Tony Finau (PRO)
  •    Jim Herman (SHO)
  •    Danny Willett (Masters)
  •    Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
  •    Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
  •    William McGirt (Memorial)
  •    Daniel Berger (FESJC)
  •    Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
  •    Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!



Each week, when possible, I’ll try and reward those of you who take the time to read my columns with thoughts on a few players who didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, in my preview column.


David Lingmerth

LIKES: Oakmont (12th) and Firestone (T-7)

DISLIKES: When he’s not on, he’s gone. Massive risk-reward play in a huge field such as this is not for the weak of stomach.


Chris Kirk

One of the many that I would fire on an old-school, par 72 PGA layout as he doesn’t have much trouble making birdies and going low. He’s 11 from 19 in 2016 and nine of those are T-23 or better. But, he’s just 4 from his last eight and three from his last six including MC in all three majors.


Jhonattan Vegas

He’s set for two more years after this one so he’s on planet IDGAF right now. That’s super for HIM but I’m not so sure how well that suits gamers. This is not a resort course like the Barbasol or an easy bomb-and-gouge layout like Glen Abbey. Be careful.


Russell Knox

After MC in his first two, full-field events of 2016, he’s calmly rattled off 10 of his last 11 weekends. Gamers will point out that he only has two top 25’s in that run. I’ll point out one was at a very difficult Harbour Town (T-2) and the other was at THE PLAYERS (T-19). Guys who can keep it in play this week should prosper.


William McGirt

Did himself no favors scoring last week but he was third in fairways on a notoriously difficult track to hit them plus he was T-14 GIR. His career-year hasn’t translated to the majors but he’s hardly playing poorly.


Beef Johnston

Popular guy. Completely awesome on social media. Getting tons of attention on and off the course because of his big personality and deservedly so I might add. Remember, his solo eighth at Royal Troon was his cup final. Don’t get your heart broken.

All the other details you can find below!

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