Fantasy Fix: If not Tiger Woods, then who at Bay Hill?
By Alex Myers
OK, Bay Hill, you've got next. Can the Orlando course keep the longest streak of single digits under par winners (not counting majors or opposite-field events) the PGA Tour has seen since 1990 going at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational? Probably not considering single digits under par has earned a victory hug from tournament host just three times in the past 20 years. Then again, those three times all occured in the past seven years. In any event, here's our lineup for the last big event before the Masters.
~~Starters -- (A-List): Tiger Woods. Call us suckers, but Woods has won this event eight times, including four of his last five tries. Sure, he's limped around the course with a bad back on back-to-back Sundays, but we think him wanting (needing?) to have a good full week under his belt before next month's trip to Augusta will drive him to a solid finish. Actually, this might be one of the only times Woods is undervalued in fantasy golf. Yep. Call us suckers. . . ~~
UPDATE: Turns out, we were suckers. Shortly after posting this, Woods pulled out of the event with lingering back pain. Lucky for fantasy owners, he gave us plenty of time to adjust our lineup (how considerate of him!). We'll move a red-hot Bubba Watson, who has a win and two runner-ups in his past three stroke-play events, into the starting lineup.
Woods won't be joining Palmer on the 18th green this year.
(B-List): Justin Rose. Faltered in the final round at the Valspar Championship, but the T-8 was a good sign for someone coming back from a shoulder injury. Last year's runner-up here looks healthy and ready for another run in an event where he's finished in the top 15 four of his last six attempts.
(B-List): Matt Every. With four top 10s already in 2013-2014, Every is easily on pace for his best season ever. His best finish at Bay Hill is only a T-24, but he seems to have good vibes at The King's place. Check out the shot he pulled off here last year! Oh, and his middle name just happens to be King. . .
(C-List): Graeme McDowell. He's been all over the map with two runner-ups (2012 and 2005), two T-40ish performances and two missed cuts in his six career starts at Bay Hill. Based on his four top 10s in five PGA Tour starts this season, we're inclined to expect one of his good weeks.
Bench/Backups: Henrik Stenson, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, and Harris English.
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Graeme McDowell. Doesn't it feel like this guy should win more? We're predicting PGA Tour title No. 3 for this grinder -- especially if the winning score remains in the single digits.
Previously used: Keegan Bradley (Doral), Tim Clark (Sony), Graham DeLaet (Phoenix), Luke Donald (Valspar), Rickie Fowler (Honda Classic), Bill Haas (Farmers), Charles Howell III (Humana), Dustin Johnson (Northern Trust), Martin Laird (Kapalua), Jimmy Walker (Pebble -- winner!).