Fantasy Golf: Shriners Preview


Only one stop this week as Smylie Kaufman (middle, top row) tries to defend his Shriners Hospital for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.


With the new season underway, I will keep these historical numbers up until Thanksgiving so we can look back to forecast ahead.

2016-17 Winners (at time of victory)

Brendan Steele (Safeway), 33
Justin Thomas (CIMB), 23
Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), 24
Cody Gribble (SFC), 26*

*Rookie, first-time winner

2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)


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;
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 who fell in this category.


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;
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, journeymen, 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 (
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 but should not be dismissed. With the help of technology, trainers, analysts, psychologists and the rest, there have never been so many with so much.


This Week — TPC Summerlin

TPC Summerlin has been the exclusive home since 2008 and put up its most rugged defense last year with 16-under being the winning score. With perfect conditions on the fairways, rough and greens and weather to match, I would suggest scoring returning to days of yore. Prior to last year, 19-under was the lowest winning total and birdies rang out like slot machines on tilt. Over the years we’ve seen veterans and youth winning but you’ll see the latest trend(s) below.

Top Finishers  from 2015

01 Smylie Kaufman
02 Patton Kizzire
02 Cameron Tringale
02 Jason Bohn
02 Alex Cejka
02 Kevin Na
02 Brett Stegmaier
08 Chad Campbell
08 William McGirt
10 Russell Henley
11 Morgan Hoffmann
11 Nick Watney
13 Patrick Rodgers
13 Jamie Lovemark
16 Tony Finau
16 John Senden
16 Fabian Gomez
16 Michael Kim
16 Kevin Streelman
16 Scott Stallings
16 Daniel Summerhays



ONE field will make this section relevant again! I always find some guys that could be or could not be in the preview so when space is tight, I’ll throw them in here for those of you who take the time.

Xander Schaffuele: T-5 last week at SFC will stand out but I’ll point out that he was eight-under after 54 at Silverado before his 77 ruined those three previous rounds. He’s hot.

Troy Merritt: Two outings this season, T-15 and T-11, and only one round over 70.

Harold Varner, III: His MC last year will be taken out of context as he came to Vegas the week after throwing away massive cash at Silverado with a final round 79. He went back to Silverado and finished T-15 with a closing 66 and then added T-39 at CIMB.

Mackenzie Hughes: Caught my eye with T-13 at Safeway and didn’t hurt his case with T-26 at SFC last week.

Seamus Power: It’s never easy playing late on Sunday and his 77 proved that theory last week. I’m more interested in the 65-69-70 in the first 54.

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