Fantasy Golf: Travelers Championship Preview

08-02-16

Nothing like teeing it up at a 6,841 yard course the week after a major! The pros get a week to exhale this week as long as they are on the right side of the FedExCup bubble’s top 125.

One of the BIGGEST misnomers that new fantasy golf players assume is that guys outside the FEC Playoffs or Ryder Cup will suddenly play better with the deadline for both looming.

It doesn’t make any sense.

Why wouldn’t they have played better earlier in the season with less pressure?

The other part of this which makes no sense is most guys have had 20 or so starts and there’s a probably a few reasons why they aren’t playing better than their current level indicates. One more start isn’t fixing where they aren’t.

 

 

 

2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)

Youngsters

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; Frys.com
  • 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 (21 players from 22 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
  • Jimmy Walker, 37, PGA Championship

 

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

Stenson was game for 69 holes (T-7) but he just turned 40 in April. Padraig Harrington was T-13 and John Senden was T-18.

 

Rookies

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; Frys.com
  • Smylie Kaufman; Shriners

 

After winners in the first two events of the season, it’s been 37 straight events without one of the newbies collecting a trophy.

Let it be noted that Grillo has:

  • Changed his pronunciation of his last name to Gree Low halfway through the year.
  • Made the cut in all four majors.

 

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 (Frys.com)
  •    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!

 

Cookies

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.

Hudson Swafford: When guys don’t qualify for majors it doesn’t mean they take the week off and drink beer. I mean, I would, but those with momentum are chomping at the bit to get back out. Swafford has made eight cuts in a row and his best finish during this run, T-14, was last time out at Glen Abbey.

Daniel Berger: I’m going to give him another week to mend. But if there’s a format where you’re desperate, he makes an excellent risk-reward on a ball-strikers track this week. The risk is he could aggravate his shoulder injury and WD or be worn out after a major. Ahhhhhhhh, fantasy golf…

Jamie Lovemark: Every week there’s a guy who comes out of nowhere and throws up a big finish. Big power, decent around the greens and makes birdies.

Aaron Baddeley: Faded at the end of the PGA but is playing very solid golf and didn’t disappear after his win at Barbasol.

Soren Kjeldsen: Slow green speeds and shorter track will feel like a European Tour event.

Russell Henley: Hit it too well last week to not make a bit of noise on a track like this.

Patrick Rodgers: Improved the last two years and last year included a 63.

 

Hot hands

Big finishes at the PGA Championship last week

Daniel Summerhays: 3rd

Branden Grace: T-4

Brooks Koepka: T-4

Tyrell Hatton: T-10

Paul Casey: T-10

Padraig Harrington: T-13

Webb Simpson: T-13

Patrick Reed: T-13

John Senden: T-18

Kyle Reifers: T-22

Russell Henley: T-22

Russell Knox: T-22

Louis Oosthuizen: T-22

 

Short course this week that will take a bunch of birdies to win. That will open the door to ALL kinds of players this week! All the other details you can find below!

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