It is the final week of Yahoo! Fantasy golf as we head to the TOUR Championship. We have just 30 golfers left chasing the top prize of $10 million. The PGA Tour takes a break until October 13th when the 2016-2017 season starts at the Safeway Open. And maybe, just maybe we get to see Tiger Woods on a golf course!
The final tournament of the year is the TOUR Championship where the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings battle for $10 million. Those 30 golfers head to the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The course is a Donald Ross course (he re-designed it in 1913 and it was restored in 1994 to the original Ross design).
In 2008 there were additional changes made with the biggest change moving the greens from bentgrass to Bermuda grass which we have today. As with most Ross courses on Tour, it's a par 70 course. The course runs over 7,307 yards and has been a host to this tournament 15 times and every year since 2004.
The only other Ross-designed course on regular rotation on the Tour is Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards) in Greensboro which hosts the Wyndham each year. So, we'll certainly look at history at Sedgefield as part of analysis this week.
Ross' most famous PGA Tour course is Pinehurst No. 2 (par 72, 7,588 yards) in North Carolina which hosted the 1999, 2005, and 2014 U.S. Opens and the 2008 U.S. Amateur. Ross also designed Plainfield Country Club (par 70, 7,091 yards for the 2015 Barclays) which held the 2011 Barclays as well (rain-shortened to 54 holes; par 71, 6,964 yards).
Where should we focus our statistical microscope this week?
Par 4 Scoring Average (P4SA): We have 12 par 4s this week and you could look at efficiency scoring if you'd like as well. There are seven between 390 and 442 yards and four between 455 and 481 yards.
Par 5 Scoring Average (P5SA): It's a par 70 and usually we don't care about par 5 scoring, but so much of the scoring comes on those two holes that we do need to have guys who can score.
Driving Accuracy (DA): It's a course where accuracy has been rewarded over length so we want to keep it in the fairway. And if a golfer can't do that he better be good at…
Scrambling: The players are going to need to get up and down this week no matter what – they can't be in the fairway all the time.
Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green (SG:APP) – This is will be a second shot course again this week so we'll go with SG:APP again. Recall that SG:APP is a part of SG:T2G so there is a bit of double counting going on here.
And of course, we examine Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with more weight on SG:T2G again this week.
As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This week it looks like the weather will not play a factor this week which is a nice respite from a season that has been plagued by weather issues for much of the year. We should have high temperatures in the mid to upper 80s with little chance of rain and calm winds.
As for the Yahoo! game, we have a few land mines in Group A that I'm going to attempt to avoid. I will likely play one safe play and one with a bit more downside risk.
Group B is going to be full of chalk for me - it might be the top four players based on average scoring for this season on my roster.
In Group C I have three of my top ten players for the week and so I see a lot of value here. It's where I hope to make up some ground on my competitors in the final week.
Thanks for reading all year and good luck this week!
1. PATRICK REED [YAHOO CLASS B] - WORLD RANKING: #14
Reed will probably be chalk this week and for good reason. Reed is a perfect four for four in cuts made at the Wyndham including a win in 2013 and three straight top 25s. He’s not had success here as he’s finished T19 and 27th in the last two years in his only starts here. However, the stats like him as he’s eighth (26th in SG:T2G, 37th in SG:P, 15th in P4SA, 10th in P5SA, 152nd in DA, 4th in Scrambling, and 73rd in SG:APP) as he can make up for his wayward drives with excellent scrambling. He hasn’t finished outside the top 25 since the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational – a string of nine straight events which included two majors and the Olympics along with the three playoff events.
2. DUSTIN JOHNSON [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #2
So, DJ has found a putter and that just doesn’t seem fair. He won the BMW for his third win in his last eight starts and has eight top 10s in his last 10 events overall. The bomber finished outside the top 20 in his first three starts at East Lake, but has put up three top 10s in his next three starts including a T5 last year. DJ withdrew from the Wyndham in 2008 in his only career start. He looks to have everything working for him as he’s fifth in my model (3rd in SG:T2G, 30th in SG:P, 1st in P4SA, 4th in P5SA, 135th in DA, 68th in Scrambling, and 22nd in SG:APP).
3. PAUL CASEY [YAHOO CLASS C] - WORLD RANKING: #28
Casey is seventh in my model this week (9th in SG:T2G, 77th in SG:P, 15th in P4SA, 68th in P5SA, 31st in DA, 35th in Scrambling, and 16th in SG:APP). He’s also five for six at the Wyndham with top 20s in 2014 and 2015 including a T3 in 2015 and has finished T4 (2010) and T5 (last year) in his only two Tour Championship starts. He’s coming in off back to back second place finishes and has four top 20s in his last five PGA events.
4. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA [YAHOO CLASS B] - WORLD RANKING: #19
There’s no concern about Hideki making the cut this week and he actually lines up nicely for the week as he’s fourth in the model for this week (4th in SG:T2G, 125th in SG:P, 15th in P4SA, 21st in P5SA, 59th in DA, 53rd in Scrambling, and 2nd in SG:APP). And on a course where I’m not too concerned with putting, he has to be a consideration. The Japanese superstar is two for four at the Wyndham with a T15 in 2013 and a T3 this year sandwiched around back to back missed cuts. He’s finished T22 and T12 (last year) in his two starts at East Lake. He’s the kind of risk I’ll take in a no cut event.
5. JORDAN SPIETH [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #3
At the start of the season, those in one and done pools saved Spieth for this week based on his record at East Lake (win last year and T2 in 2013). He also finished second at the Wyndham in 2013 in his only start there as he lost a playoff to Patrick Reed. However, Spieth hasn’t looked to be on his game at least like he was last year. He has three top 15s in his last five events which would be enough for most, but for the former world number one, it’s a bit disappointing. He’s second in my model this week (15th in SG:T2G, 2nd in SG:P, 2nd in P4SA, 6th in P5SA, 119th in DA, 5th in Scrambling, and 70th in SG:APP) and I have a feeling he might be lighter-owned than he should be.