Fantasy Golf: Safeway Open Preview

It was sad to see my last post was a tribute to Arnold Palmer but, as The King would want, we carry on.

The new season is just days away and I’ll be back posting my stuff on a regular basis on here for all of you to use.

For those of you participating in season-long drafts and wanting information or rankings, please reach out through Twitter (@mikeglasscott) or email (mikeglasscott) for immediate help. I am an army of one and will get my evaluations out as time permits over the next couple of days. Last year I didn’t get my rankings out until the Christmas Holiday and now I remember why. It’s a beast of a job. If you need help yesterday, check out my boy Rob Bolton at PGATOUR.com as he’s evaluated all 246 players (!) who are eligible to play. That should get you by in a pinch!

As always, I’m looking to freshen up this column along with everything I do. This post will always include my preview for Golfweek.com so that won’t change.

2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)

Youngsters

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

In 2015-16, there were 13 players who accounted for 19 victories over 47 events.

Under-30 Winners

multiple winners in bold

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
Si Woo Kim, 21; Wyndham
Patrick Reed, 26; Barclays
Rory McIlroy, 27; DBC, The TOUR Championship

Prime-Time Players

The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events in 2014-15.

Last year, 22 players accounted for 26 wins in this category.

Winners, 30-39

Russell Knox, 31; HSBC Champions, Travelers
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, WGC-BI, BMW
Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
Jhonattan Vegas, 31; RBC Canadian Open
Jimmy Walker, 37; PGA Championship
Ryan Moore, 33; John Deere Classic

Old Guard

There were only four winners in 2014-15 from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington).

Winners, 40-plus

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

This is a stark reminder that the “name” doesn’t automatically translate in fantasy golf.

No wins from top 100 OWGR players Mickelson, Furyk, Westwood, Stricker or Kelly.

Rookies

In 2014-15 the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor.

In 2015-16, that number doubled after the first two events of the season yet didn’t add one until the final regular season event, the Wyndham Championship, when reclassified rookie Si Woo Kim won.

Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
Si Woo Kim; Wyndham

Rookies in the FEC

Remember, 2014 was the only year a rookie has NOT found a spot in The Tour Championship.

In 2015-16, six players made the leap.

Smylie Kaufman
Emiliano Grillo*
Patton Kizzire
Harold Varner, III
Brett Stegmaier
Michael Kim

*Only Grillo advanced to East Lake

My thought on rookies is quite simple. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Grillo had won on multiple Tours around the world and has done his time. That could be a clue in finding diamonds in the rough to begin the new season.

 

First-Time Winners

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

2013: 12
2014: 10
2015: 11
2016: 16

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!
Si Woo Kim (Wyndham)

Interesting to note that almost one third of the events last season were won by first-timers. The history above points out that this is NOT a normal occurrence and should not be dismissed. With the help of technology, trainers, analysts, psychologists and the rest, it’s never been more wide open.

 

This Week

Johnny Miller’s Silverado Resort and Spa will host for the third consecutive year under a new sponsor, Safeway. Miller has made it no secret over the years that putting wasn’t his favorite part of the game of golf so don’t expect many trials and tribulations on the greens this week. Miller will make you earn it from tee-to-green and that fact wasn’t lost on me as the previous two winners both led the field in SGTTG.

It’s a resort course with four reachable par fives that barely stretches 7,200 yards so everyone who can make birdies will be in with a shout this week. Sangmoon Bae had won before but Emiliano Grillo was playing his first event as a member so it’s nothing short of wide open. It’s a soft landing area to get the new season going before the Tour takes  off to Asia for two weeks.

Enjoy a nice glass of red during the coverage that will be during Happy Hour time (5-8) in the Eastern time zone.

Top 25 Finishers from 2015

01 Emiliano Grillo
P2 Kevin Na
03 T V A
03 Justin Thomas
03 Jason Bohn
06 Patrick Rodgers
06 Kyle Reifers
10 Smylie Kaufman
10 John Vegas
17 Chez Reavie
17 Fabian Gomez
17 Lucas Glover
17 Hudson Swafford
17 Charles Howell III
17 Brendan Steele

 

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.

Zac Blair: Couldn’t rekindle his magic from 2014 last year with MC. He sat four shots behind Bae in 2015 alone in second heading into Sunday but was undone by 74 (T-12).

Aaron Wise: He won the NCAA individual championship last summer when at Oregon and added two more wins on the Mackenzie Tour after turning pro. Guys who win should be on your radar, period.

John Peterson: Making cuts for fun before a hand/wrist injury derailed the start to last season.

Colt Knost: Won’t mind a par 72 on 7,200 yards with a reward for hitting fairways. Downside is he MC in five of his last six to end the year. Super putter.

Daniel Summerhays: His excellent 2016 ran out of gas after his solo third-T-11 double at the PGA and Travelers. His hot putter can flush plenty of birdies if he can find GIR.

 

Good luck!

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