Finally, a field that makes you think about the majors, about Augusta, and the US Open, and dramatic finishes. We’ve got top players from Europe like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, top players from the US, and all over the rest of the world, so much so that you can scroll down the list of available players for your DraftKings roster for several minutes and realize you still like a bunch of the names you’re seeing.
The talent in this field makes actually watching the tournament a lot more fun, and it certainly can make putting together your fantasy team, and then rooting them on all weekend, more interesting. But it does not necessarily make it any easier. You might think, more good choices is always a good thing (because, well, in sports like baseball or basketball or football, it is) but in golf, more choices can also just mean more chances to be wrong. With this many good players competing, it is so difficult to know who is going to blow away the field vs. who is just going to play his normal game, and while, in a challenging tournament like this one, picking a guy who finishes in the top-25 is great, picking guys who finish in the top-5 is how you win big.
Rory McIlroy ($15,700) – He’s super expensive, and for good reason. He won here in 2012, lost in a playoff last year and is, generally, just really, really good at golf. He has played twice in Europe this year, and in eight rounds of golf, he is a combined 40 under par. Thats’s good for a 1st and a 2nd, if you are wondering.
Justin Rose ($10,800) – The reason to shy away from Rose is that he apparently injured his wrist in a fall last week, during the Farmer’s Insurance Open, and then missed the cut. But he says the injury will not be a concern this weekend, so, the reasons to like Rose: other than the obvious talent, how about the fact that he has been in the top 5 each of the last three times he’s appeared here?
Keegan Bradley ($9,800) – He has had over 80 fantasy points in four of his last five tournaments, and, more importantly, never had double digit bogeys in any of those four tournaments. That is the kind of consistency that will keep him in contention this weekend.
Brooks Koepka ($9,500) – A win at the Phoenix Open catapulted him into the top-20 in the world rankings, after a solid debut season in 2014 already had him in the top 50. He is a native Floridian, which should make this feel a bit like a home game, something that could definitely work in favor of a still very young pro.
Graham DeLaet ($8,700) – One of the most solid ball-strikers on tour, DeLaet is the kind of player than can grind along making pars while other players drop down the leaderboard. I’ll be honest – I don’t expect him to win this tournament, but he is a safe play, will likely make the cut, and should finish just high enough to bump up his fantasy total and make all those pars pay off.
Russell Henley ($8,300) – He won here last year, so you know he can compete with this kind of field. Just last month, he had a couple of top 20 finishes, so it doesn’t seem like his win here was a fluke. And he did it on the back of an opening round 64. Last year, the pressure seemed to get to him down the stretch on Sunday, as he shot a 72 to fall back to the pack, but then righted himself in the first playoff hole, despite having to face down Rory. That experience could play very well this year if he plays with more confidence, because that 64 showed that this course could be his for the taking – there were only four other rounds that low shot by anyone in the entire tournament last year.
Fredrik Jacobson ($7,200) – In six trips to this course, he has made every cut, never finishing worse than T29th. He was T12 last year. He has been T7 and T32 in his last two appearances. In other words, for $7,200, what’s not to like?
Daniel Berger ($7,000) – Berger has finished T10, T24 and T10 in his last three tourneys (Phoenix Open, Farmers Insurance, and Pebble Beach). In other words, he has been playing well recently, and closed Pebble Beach with a 69-70 on Saturday and Sunday, on what is widely considered the second most difficult course on Tour, so you’d think he can hold his own here as well.