Fantasy Golf Podcast: Will Dustin Johnson get to No. 1 at Riviera?
I hate to say, "I told you so," but, no, that's a lie, I don't hate it. I told you so. OK, so picking Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson at Pebble Beach wasn't exactly revolutionary thinking, but sometimes the most obvious choices are also the best. Anyway, Joel Beall, Stephen Hennessey and I combined to pick four of the top five players on the final leader board, and I'm pretty sure no one out there picked runner-up Kelly Kraft. We'll try to keep that momentum going this week as we discuss the Genesis Open's stacked field, Riviera's (over?)hyped 10th hole, and one of the sweetest/dumbest Valentine's Day stories you'll ever hear. Have a listen:
And if you're more old-school and would rather just read my normal weekly picks, here's who I'm taking on my PGA Tour Fantasy Golf team at Riviera:
Dustin Johnson: It looks like DJ got that missed cut at Torrey Pines out of his system and has returned to being the top-five-finish machine that made him PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2016. Johnson finished in the top 5 in half of his stroke-play events last year and he's got an even better ratio of doing that at this tournament, where he's done it in five of his last seven appearances. And there's extra motivation this week. A first win at Riviera would likely move Johnson to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Hideki Matsuyama: Another guy with a chance to take the No. 1 ranking from Jason Day with a win is the red-hot Matsuyama, who already has two wins and two runner-ups in only six starts this season. In three appearances here, Matsuyama has never finished worse than T-23 and he posted a T-4 in 2015.
Sergio Garcia: Notice a pattern here? I'm going with another great ball-striker. After all, Riviera is known as "Hogan's Alley." Garcia is coming off that win in Dubai in which he held off Henrik Stenson. And yes, the other pattern is that I've picked a lot of big names so far, but that's because this Hollywood field is loaded with star talent. Eight of the top 10 in the world are teeing it up this week -- and it would have been nine if four-time major champ Rory McIlroy wasn't injured.
Bill Haas: Haas is not in the top 10, and, in fact, has fallen out of the top 40. But he has something these other three (and even tournament host Tiger Woods) don't: A win at Riviera. It's also not like Haas has been playing poorly. He's started his 2016-2017 campaign with five consecutive top-20 finishes, including a T-4 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He's not my pick to win (Sergio is), but at 50/1 odds, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, he's the best value bet out there. And he reminds me of a left guard in football. I explain in the podcast. (That's another subtle hint to listen to it. Thanks.)
Bench: Paul Casey and Charles Howell.
And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:
Yahoo! lineup: Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia (Starters); Bill Haas, Charles Howell III, Kevin Chappell, J.B. Holmes (Bench).
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Sergio Garcia.
And here's the podcast link again, if you want to hear Joel, Steve and I jabber: