PGA Insights: Farmers Insurance Open

Editor’s Note: Jason Day is struggling with the flu. There was question whether he’d play in the Farmers Insurance Open, but he IS out on the range warming up. According to Ryan Lavner, Senior Golf Writer at GolfChannel.com, Day will “give it a go.”

As you do your research and read blurbs and excerpts of analysis about your fantasy options for this weekend’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines GC in San Diego, one stat that comes up all the time is the All-Around ranking. Being ranked highly in something like that certainly sounds impressive, but it’s helpful to know exactly what it is.

The All-Around ranking is basically a congregation of several different statistics: Scoring Leaders, Putting Leaders, Eagle Leaders, Birdie Leaders, Sand Saves, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy. The great thing about this stat is that is combines statistics about the way a player is actually hitting the ball as well as traditional scoring stats. Hitting fairways and greens and even putting efficiently doesn’t necessarily mean you are holing birdies and eagles – slow and steady can get you great ratings in those kinds of statistics and lead to underwhelming fantasy performances. Early in the season, these courses give up some low numbers, and you want guys who are putting it all together at every opportunity.

But at this time of year, you have to keep in mind that these stats are always presented on a yearly basis, and the PGA season is not that far along right now. In other words, small sample size. Some guys have 6 or 7 qualifying PGA rounds in, while some guys only have 2 or 3, and have played as many tournaments outside the US as in it. And so, like every other stat for golfers right now, the most value comes from seeing how players’ rankings are changing week to week. A strong spike in something like the All-Around could mean a hot streak and make for an interesting GPP play, as opposed to a steadily high ranking for someone you don’t expect, which might mean he’d make for a good cash option.

A medium-priced option like Jamie Lovemark jumping from 69th to 26th could be interesting, for example, as could the fact that Rickie Fowler has been sitting comfortably at #2 since before his last outing. And if you want some proof that the stat works, the top ten last year included Day and Spieth in the top three and guys like Matsuyama, Rose, Koepka, Fowler and Stenson filling out the rest. Makes sense, right?