I have updated the name of this weekly post to reflect the reality of what it will really entail. Pebble Beach nearly saw my first ever complete sweep of missed cuts across each group, and I could only muster a measly $72,000. All of my reasoning the from previous week amounted to basically nothing, meaning you might be better off randomly guessing at each group rather than following my advice.
New this week, please welcome my one and only opponent in my fantasy golf league for the past, oh, 8 years? He would prefer to be referred to be his golf alias, PAR. Whereas my approach is very stat-based, his approach is very feel-based. We hope you enjoy the different approaches!
Recap: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
There are very few contexts in which this photo makes sense..
CLV – Jordan Spieth (T21)
This was a Sunday miracle. After shooting 74 on Saturday, Spieth made the cut by just one stroke, but managed a nice 66 on Sunday to creep up to a T21. Last week I mentioned that he had finished 7th or better in his last 7 starts, and there was really no sign that he would struggle at Pebble. If there was a sign, the fact that I missed it likely speaks to why I am bad at this.
PAR – Dustin Johnson (T41)
“Power player’s game ideal for Pebble. Strong performance (in three rounds) at US Open here in 2010. Will likely play with celebrity father in law, 99, and enjoy the moment enough to T10.” Uncharacteristically bad showing here. Strong performance at Riviera last year, though, so still one to watch.
Best Finish – Justin Rose (T6), Patrick Reed (T6)
Rose hung around for the first two rounds, shot a 72 on Saturday, and then rebounded with a 69 on Sunday. Reed, on the other hand, went 72-65-73-65. It’s a little hard to judge either one. Rose was making just his 2nd PGA start of 2016, with his previous being an MC at Torrey. Reed sandwiched his 2nd place finish at the HTOC and his 6th place at Pebble with a T56 at PGA West and a WD at Torrey. What to make of either one building off of this week’s performance? No idea.
CLV – Ryan Moore (MC)
His T11 at Phoenix and my hunch that he would play well at Pebble could not have been more off. His 73-74-77 was not close to making the cut.
PAR – Phil Mickelson (2)
“ASU’s favorite golf son will ride his hot play at the TPC Scottsdale to Pebble where he’s had a lot of positive history. Look for Mickelson to finish T5.” Strong prediction. Final putt likely cost a lot of money, though, keeping CLV close in the standings.
Best Finish: Phil Mickelson (2)
And in spectacular Phil fashion, nonetheless. I had Phil in Torrey for his home game, and he proceeded to miss the cut. He followed that with a T11 at Phoenix and then the big letdown on Sunday. In past years, Phil in top form would be an easy pick to overcome his disappointment and continue to play well, but it’s harder to tell with the Phil we’ve seen prior to the past few weeks.
CLV – Jon Curran (MC)
Another whiff. Was never really in any danger of making the cut after a 74-70-72. My other thought for this group last week, William McGirt, did even worse.
PAR – K.J. Choi (MC)
“Choi’s name has found itself to the top of many leaderboards early in calendar year 2016. The strongest of the tier 3 candidate pool.” As Johnny Miller might have guessed, perhaps he’s too old to sustain a solid run for that long. Anything above 40 and you’ve got the kiss of death in Johnny Miller’s world!
Best Finish: Jonas Blixt (3)
Tough to predict where he will go next. MC at the Sony, T28 at PGA West, T6 at Torrey, MC at Phoenix in his past 4 starts. If he stays available in Group 3, though, he might be a good pick in a sometimes weak selection of players.
CLV – Paul Dunne (MC)
I felt really smart about this pick after a first round 67. Sadly, Paul went 76-76 over the next two rounds. I think he still has a bright future, though, and will continue to look out for him as long as he remains in Group 4.
PAR – Kyle Stanley (T41)
“Young. Athletic. Usually plays well to start the season. A strong candidate to get a T25 finish from Tier 4.” An uneventful T41.
Best Finish: Vaughn Taylor (1)
I mean… how am I supposed to see this one coming? The guy only even got into the field on some kind of past exemption and didn’t even have a Tour card. I assume anyone who picked him last week must know him personally, or maybe went to his alma mater or something, but certainly not because he was trending.
Bad Fantasy Picks: Northern Trust Open
(Aug. 1, 2014 – Source: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America)
CLV – Sergio Garcia
Normally a lock to be picked by PAR, so I’m surprised we have different picks here (Rose is his other boy, though). Going with good feelings from last year, which was a T4 in his first US start of the year. Similarly his first US start this year, and coming off a T7 in his only Euro start of 2016.
PAR – Justin Rose
The most efficient blend of power and precision in today’s game. Sunday charge at Pebble stalled late in the back nine. His iron game will carry the day at demanding Riviera and you can bet he won’t let another late opportunity slip by.
CLV – Paul Casey
Continuing the 2015 theme, Casey lost in a playoff at Riviera last year. It was his second start of the year after missing the cut at Torrey, and he added a T3 the next week at the Honda Classic. Casey’s first start this season? MC at Torrey.
PAR – Charl Schwartzel
Quick. Who won last week’s European Tour event at the Tshwane Open? This guy.
CLV – Hiroshi Iwata
Felt like reaching for a first timer here. Had a top 25 at the PGA last year, then floundered a little during the Fall series. Coming on strong with a top 20 at Torrey, and a T4 at Pebble.
PAR – Luke Donald
Did you know Luke Donald always plays well at Riviera? Former World #1 seems to be rounding into shape with a T26 at Pebble. A steal to be in Tier 3.
CLV – Kyle Reifers
Tough group here. Reifers hasn’t missed a cut yet this season, if you dismiss his WD in Phoenix. Also had a top 8 at Riviera last year. Good enough for me!
PAR – John Huh
Top tens in his last two events leads me to believe there should be no questions about his game right now and makes him the safest pick from the Tier 4 grouping.