As much attention as Bryson DeChambeau received after a T-4 in his pro debut, no one seemed to notice when he missed the cut last week. Not that I mind, having made him my one-and-done pick at the Valero Texas Open. But we're forgetting about that and wiping the slate clean for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where two of the reasons DeChambeau was so under-the-radar will be teeing it up. Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman, fresh off their performance at #SB2K16, will be back in action -- only they'll be wearing shirts at TPC Louisiana.
Will all their "practice" at Baker's Bay pay off? Here's who I'm taking on my PGA Tour Fantasy Golf team this week:
Rickie Fowler: The rest and relaxation was nice, but Fowler must be chomping at the bit to play good golf again. After a strong start to the season, Fowler had a rough missed cut at the Masters and hasn't played (for real) since. Fowler has missed the cut at TPC Louisiana the past two years, but that was before he became the top-five player in the world he is now -- and before his life-changing trip to Baker's Bay.
Smylie Kaufman: Despite having his pleas to play alongside his spring break buddy denied, this will be a fun week for the rising star. The LSU product should have plenty of crowd support playing in this New Orleans PGA Tour stop for the first time. Like Rickie, Kaufman is also coming off a rough round at Augusta National, only his came in the final group on Sunday. Already a winner in the fall, Kaufman is in the driver's seat to win rookie of the year honors.
Justin Rose: The defending champ shot a tournament-record 22 under par during his victory last year. Rose has been relatively quiet with nothing better than a T-6 on tour this season, but his track record here (four straight top-15 finishes, including a win) is too much to overlook.
Billy Horschel: Another former champ at TPC Louisiana, Horschel is playing for a fourth consecutive week, but he's also coming off his best finish of the year -- a T-4 at the Valero. Plus, he's got some good karma going for him after this scene from last week:
Oh, and his pants game is on point.
__ Bench:__ Jason Day and Patton Kizzire.
And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:
Yahoo! lineup: Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Danny Lee and Smylie Kaufman (starters); Chris Kirk, Morgan Hoffmann, David Hearn, and Billy Horschel (bench).
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Smylie Kaufman.
Previously used: Bryson DeChambeau (Valero), Luke Donald (Valspar), Jason Dufner (RBC), Matt Every (Bay Hill), Tony Finau (Frys.com), Sergio Garcia (Riviera), Bill Haas (Farmers), Dustin Johnson (Doral), Kevin Kisner (RSM - winner!), Russell Knox (Honda), Anirban Lahiri (CIMB), Graeme McDowell (Hyundai), Kevin Na (Phoenix), Ryan Palmer (CareerBuilders), Patrick Reed (HSBC), Patrick Rodgers (Shriners), Brandt Snedeker (Pebble), Brendan Steele (OHL), Justin Thomas (Sony), Bubba Watson (Masters).