What a week it was at Oakmont Country Club, I’m a bit surprised the golfers made it out alive after facing such a difficult challenge. We’re moving on and looking forward to another week of PGA as the Tour moves on to Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club. I’ve compiled a list of golfers I love, like and hate for help when building lineups this week.
Golfers I Love
Patrick Reed ($11,700) – Patrick Reed has the most top tens on the PGA Tour and is priced accordingly this week. His strong suit is his short game around the green, and I’m choosing to ignore the missed cut from last week because with the rough as his as it was last week scrambling was nearly impossible for all. Look for his game to be sharp following the missed cut on a much more playable course. I like his chances to win more than anyone in the field.
Charley Hoffman ($10,500) – I will be going as close to 100% on Charley Hoffman as I comfortably can this week. His all-around game which has led to his recent run of ten of eleven made cuts will suit him well at Congressional, and his lengthy course history makes him a seasoned vet at Congressional. The last few points are just the icing on the cake since my statistical projections have him nearly ten points higher than any other golfer in the field this week.
Brendan Steele ($9,900) – Steele has quietly been on a run of excellent play four top twenties in five starts including what was a solid fifteenth place finish at the U.S. Open last week. At $9,900 I’m very comfortable with Steele’s price, and his upside is more than enough to make him a GPP consideration this week.
Tony Finau ($8,500) – Granted, Finau is coming off a missed cut at the U.S. Open last week, Oakmont could not have suited his game worse. He definitely won’t find his way onto any of my cash game teams; however, Finau did find his first PGA Tour win at the Puerto Rico Open which had a similarly weak field to this week. Look for Finau to have a shot at supreme upside that he just didn’t have the course fit for last week.
Harold Varner (III) ($7,100) – Varner’s price has me a bit confused this week after his seven straight made cuts including two top tens in that span. Varner is a rookie and has never won on Tour, but I expect him to make a serious run in contention before the season lets out. With most of the heavy hitters taking the week off following the season’s second major Varner will be looking to take advantage.
Golfers I Like
Jim Furyk ($11,300) – I’ve said in past articles that it was a matter of time until Jim Furyk was priced amongst the top golfers in the field, and my prediction has come true this week. While I don’t love the idea of rostering Furyk at over $11,000, up over $3,000 in salary from last week, I do like the prospect of what I expect to be incredibly low ownership for Furyk in GPPs due to sticker shock. My only concern is whether or not this future Hall-of-Famer has the winning upside he needs to roster him at this price.
Ryan Palmer ($10,200) – I may be falling head first into the Ryan Palmer trap here, but he has shown recent top five upside, and has made the cut in his last five appearances on this course. My biggest concern is that all his finishes have trended downward since 2012 which is a trend I don’t typically like to target. Despite the concerns I think Palmer presents a decent option in GPPs with good potential upside.
Smylie Kaufman ($6,700) – Smylie Kaufman falls under the rookie category, and while it’s a bit far-removed, Kaufman is already a winner on Tour, and is at a very enticing price at under $7k. While sometimes labeled as a bit of a bomber, it’s easy to forget that Kaufman has above average stats in strokes gained around the green, and tee-to-green. As a player with the sheer talent to win on tour I really like Smylie’s upside this week.
Michael Kim ($5,800) – Michael Kim is a very interesting play at what is nearly minimum salary as one of the more aggressive players in the field. My projections model is showing some interesting results in that this course is showing as one that should reward aggressive players. Michael Kim’s 266.3 average going for it shot distance means he meets the criteria, and, as such, I’ll be rostering Kim particularly in GPPs.
Golfers I Hate
Rickie Fowler ($12,000) – There are very few times I would ever consider playing a golfer who is priced in the $12k range after coming off of three missed cuts in a row. As such, I will not be rostering any of Rickie Fowler this week despite what I expect to be very low ownership. Fowler just hasn’t shown the upside we’re looking for at this price.
Justin Thomas ($10,700) – Justin Thomas is in a very similar situation as Rickie is, but at a lower price. Thomas just has not shown the upside I’m looking for recently to be shelling out over 20% of my spending money on a guy who has finished better than eighteenth only once in over fourteen weeks. I’ll definitely be rostering Thomas again before the year is up, but this week is not the week.
Bill Haas ($9,200) – Despite being a past winner at Congressional, Bill Haas is not on my target list this week primarily due to upside. For many of the same reasons I liked Haas last week at $6,900 I don’t like him this week at $9,200. In my article for the U.S. Open I mentioned the fact that Haas has top twenty-five finishes in nearly half of the events he’s played this week. However, he hasn’t shown upside despite all those opportunities. At over $9k I don’t think Haas has the upside we are looking for, and I’ll be moving past his name when building rosters this week.
Billy Hurley ($6,400) – With an eighth place and fourth place finish in two tries here it’s hard to overlook Hurley’s impeccable course history. However, don’t be fooled. In Hurley’s last top ten performance he was coming off of five straight made cuts and was in great form. This season, however, he enters this week with six missed cuts in eight events, and his ownership is going to be high enough that I fear there is too much risk of ruin by rostering him even in GPPs.
K.J. Choi ($6,800) – There are very few places where K.J. Choi does not have at least some sort of course history. Congressional is no different as he was a champion at this course way back in 2007. However, for nearly a decade since Choi has fallen outside the top 50 with missed cuts in four of six tries since then. Don’t expect to find K.J. Choi back in the winner’s circle this week despite his history here.
Do you have questions about golfers who aren’t in this article? Get more weekly analysis and answers to any of your questions by following me on Twitter @BradMessersmith