Monday, April 7, 2008

Deep In The Rough: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

So you’re not a fantasy golfer? Or a real golfer for that matter? Well my friends, now is the time that you need to unzip your bag and tee it up. This week brings us the greatest golf tournament in the world, The Masters at Augusta National. Not only is it laden with a healthy purse, but its tradition reaches back to 1934 and the greatest amateur player of all time, Bobby Jones. Only the greats emerge victorious at this event, and this year is surely set to be special.

My name is Dave, by the way, and I will be your go-to guide for fantasy golf on a weekly basis. My golf expertise is far-reaching, having finished in the top 10% of yahoo’s fantasy golf for years running, you can bet that my advice and formulas will help you dominate your pool. I consider myself the Tiger Woods of fantasy golf, which means my salary is just as lucrative, obviously.

Every week I am going to give you lists of players to consider, players to avoid, and the players that I will be selecting for my team. In yahoo’s format, you select 8 players. Two come from the “A” List, 4 from the “B” and 2 from the “C”. You then start 1 “A” list player, 2 “B” list players, and 1 from the “C”. You can change your starters in between each round. As you would imagine, the lists represent the whole spectrum of talent, so you have to be as mindful about Dicky Pride as you are Phil Mickelson. What, you haven’t heard of Dicky Pride?

In selecting players, I look at a player’s track record at the venue, and also look at their current pace. Many veterans have been playing well and many young stars are being born. Allow me to help you sift through the field and find this week’s gems.

Without further adieu, here are the players to consider for the week.

Players to Consider

Tiger Woods: Ever hear of this guy? Even my dog is picking him to win this week. While he hasn’t won it since 2005, he has still finished in the top 3 the past two years, and he has even said that he is now playing better than he ever has before. Make sure you unleash the 4-time champ this week, as he goes for the first leg of the grand slam.

Geoff Ogilvy: Ogilvy is one of those “natural” players who legitimately could be one of the best golfers in the world. He has a major under his belt, and has been playing lights out the last few weeks with 4 top 15’s in as many outings, including a win at the WGC. He has finished 24th and 16th in his two years of competing at Augusta. If Tiger somehow does not win this thing, Ogilvy has the game and the nerves to become a Masters champion.

Justin Rose: Justin is a serious “A” list sleeper pick this week. He busted out last year and finished in a tie for 5th in this event. He has also played very solid this year posting 3 top 15’s in 4 events. Don’t be afraid to nestle him next to Tiger in your lineup.

Stuart Appleby: Stuart has put together a solid season; only missing 1 cut thus far. He also finished 7th here last year, and there’s no reason to think that he can’t out duel most of the other “B” listers this week.

Retief Goosen: Retief has been up and down over the last several seasons, but bet on him this week. The key to his game is his putter, and he sure found it again at the WGC, and if that continues he could be a legitimate contender to Woods. He is a proven champion and there is no reason that he will not have a shot at slipping on the green jacket.

Fred Couples: Why not? Freddy is finally back to life after missing most of last season with an injury. He came in 4th last week in Houston and we all remember 2 years ago when he went toe-to-toe with Phil Mickelson in the final round. Freddy may be 48, but he’s won here before, and has much more experience than most of the other “C” listers.

Players to Avoid

Phil Mickelson: Am I crazy for saying the crowd pleasing Mickelson should be skipped this week? Maybe. But the ’06 champ still seems to be in “major” shock after blowing the US Open 2 years back. His finishes leading up to the Masters this year are almost a mirror image of last year in which he finished 22nd with a last round 77. I’d stay away.

Justin Leonard: Justin has been a popular “B” list pick this year, but despite not missing a cut in 8 events, I’d leave him off your squad. He has finished out of the top 30 in his last 3 events, and has not shown that he can stay consistent. If you have to, go for it, but I’m staying away.

My team:

A list:

Tiger Woods*
Geoff Ogilvy

B List:

Stuart Appleby*
Stewart Cink*
Retief Goosen
Mike Weir

C List:

Fred Couples*
Luke Donald

* - Starting for round 1

Well, you obviously have to start Tiger. Cink is usually hit or miss, but he has a good track record at Augusta. I am leaving Goosen on the bench until I see that he has his putter for the later rounds. Mike Weir is a former champ and always shows up for this event. Freddy is getting the nod, and Donald is the best of the rest in the “C” list so I’ll keep him stashed on the bench.

Thanks guys, good luck this week, and make sure to keep it out of the rough.

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