Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Fantasy Fix: Phil Mickelson is back, but should you put him back in your lineup?

January 21, 2015

What was the best part of Jimmy Walker going all "Beast Mode" last week at the Sony Open? We had him in our lineup. Hopefully, you did too. Walker is taking the week off after shooting 44 under and collecting $1.7 million over the past two weeks in Hawaii. Now that's a dream getaway. With Walker out, who will we turn to this week? Here's a look at our weekly Yahoo! lineup:

Starters -- (A-List): Bill Haas. After not playing in the Hawaii Swing, Haas hopes to hit the ground running in 2015 in the event where he's had the most consistent success. Haas won his first PGA Tour title here in 2010, lost in a playoff in 2011 and finished T-6 last year.

(B-List): Matt Kuchar. Coming off a T-3 in Hawaii, Kuchar returns to a tournament where he has a final-round scoring average of 65 over his past five attempts. Unfortunately, he's never been close enough to the leaders heading into Sunday to snag a victory, but there's a good chance that ends this week.

(B-List): Zach Johnson. ZJ has shot under par in every round he's played in this event. OK, so that's not that impressive, but he has averaged finishing 21 under since the tournament became a four-day (instead of five) event in 2012. The "B" player we're staying away from? Phil Mickelson. We know his off-season fitness regiment is befitting of an event that promotes good health and that he's won here twice, but there are simply too many question marks following a very disappointing 2014 campaign.


(C-List): Patrick Reed. A year ago, Reed earned the nickname "Mr. 63" for becoming the first PGA Tour player to shoot three consecutive 63s. Incredibly, he needed to hold off a Sunday charge from Ryan Palmer to seal the win, but he did. Now he returns as a defending champ and looking to make it two wins in a row to start 2015.

Bench/Backups: Ryan Palmer, Charles Howell III, Patrick Rodgers, Justin Thomas.

Knockout/One-and-done pick: Ryan Palmer. We're going with Palmer over Haas here since he's actually played a competitive round in the past two months. Palmer is coming off a T-17 at the Sony Open and he has finished in the top six in Palm Springs in three of the past four years, including a runner-up last year when he shot a final-round 63. Much more amazing is that he came that close to winning despite a Saturday 70, which is like shooting 77 at another event. A two-under-par round at the Humana? Ugh. Hopefully, he got that out of his system.

Previously used: Charles Howell III (Sony), Geoff Ogilvy (Hyundai).