Sometimes we forget just how difficult this game really is. We get accustomed to seeing names like Day, Fowler, Spieth & McIlroy toward the top of leaderboards, and as such it can give the impression that the game is somewhat “routine”. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the players aforementioned are incredible talents, they compete every week against a plethora of players with world-class talent themselves. One such example is last week’s champion, Charley Hoffman. Charley himself admitted that his last win, the fourth of his career, was the most difficult for him to obtain. He has been continually putting himself in contention, but struggled to get the job done; something I'm sure many others can relate to.
As the Tour heads to Louisiana for this week’s Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, defending champion Justin Rose serves as another example of just how hard it really is to claim titles out on the Tour. Rose has risen to #10 in the Official World Golf Rankings, but he has done so with only one victory in the last year. Although he is constantly in contention, this is a further reminder of just how competitive todays fields are. Last week’s champion, along with this week’s defending champion serve as great reminders of just how difficult and competitive the game of golf really is.
Let's take a look at some of the players to keep an eye on this week.
Jason Day - T4 finish at this event last year. Despite disappointing weekend performance at last event (RBC Heritage), he is still currently playing some of the best golf on the planet.
Justin Rose - Defending champion. In my opinion one of the most underappreciated players of the past twelve months. Continues to post incredible numbers on a very regular basis.
Rickie Fowler - Very disappointing performance at the Masters where he missed the cut. Seems to be relaxed, having just posted pictures of himself having fun on vacation. I expect this to be a very good week for him. He’s relaxed, and wanting to atone for his poor play at the season’s first major.
Smylie Kaufman - His play at Augusta a couple weeks ago made me realize that Smylie is more than a one-hit wonder. He may not have had the finish he had hoped for, but to make the final pairing on Sunday of your inaugural Masters reveals that you have some serious game.
Danny Lee - A young gun whose game often doesn’t get enough credit. Partly because he is more streaky than you often expect from great players.
Charley Hoffman - Great win last week in Texas. Not a surprise to see him claim a title, after strong play over the course of the last 12 months. A fantastic ball-striker.
Marc Leishman - Has not had many high finishes this season, but is one of those players who you should never be surprised to see on a weekend leaderboard. Posted a second round 63 at this event last year.
Jamie Lovemark - Having a solid year with some strong finishes. Having difficulty closing out events, but with the experience he’s been gaining, one has to think he will continue to come close.
Charles Howell III - A solid fantasy pick. Has only missed one cut dating back to October, and posted two top-10’s in last four starts.
Cameron Tringale - Second place finish last year at this event. Still searching for his first Tour win. Has a ton of game, but is working on developing greater consistency in his performances.
Nick Taylor - game continues to improve this season. Flying under the radar, but beginning to find himself getting closer and closer to contention. Already has one PGA Tour win under his belt (2014 Sanderson Farms).
David Toms - The Louisiana native, is playing in this event for the 23rd time, having won it back in 2001. While that was a long time ago, and I don’t expect to see him claim this week’s title, his experience makes him a solid fantasy pick. Coming off a T14 finish at the RBC Heritage.
Let’s examine my DraftKings lineups for this week.
I’ve taken two different approaches with my lineups this week. While I spent to draft Jason Day, the remainder of my team are dark horses. This will certainly be a “make or break” lineup. I drafted much more conservatively with Team B. Each one of these players are much more calculated picks - I expect each of them to have decent postings. Probably the greatest value of anyone available on the board is David Toms. At $6,700, he has been playing well, and is coming into his home state for an event to which he is very familiar.
Jason Day - $12,500
Keegan Bradley - $7,700
Jamie Donaldson - $7,600
Harold Varner III - $7,300
Will Wilcox - $7,100
George McNeill - $7,000
Justin Rose - $11,800
Charles Howell III - $8,700
Cameron Tringale - $8,600
Aaron Baddeley - $7,800
David Toms - $6,700
Steve Wheatcroft - $6,200
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.