Fantasy golf will never have the popularity of fantasy football or fantasy baseball, but that doesn't mean it can't be done as well as those other two. And thanks to the PGA Tour, that day might finally be here with a new fantasy format that incorporates more than just scoring.
Think about it. In fantasy football/baseball, you are rewarded for a variety of statistics. It's why you watch a meaningless game to see if one of your running backs can squeeze out a few more yards or if one of your pitchers can rack up a couple more strikeouts.
But in golf, score, placement and money -- three things that are highly correlated -- have been the standard of how to evaluate a fantasy golf team. If your guys aren't all over the leader board heading into Sunday, there's no reason to pay attention. In PGA Tour Fantasy Golf driven by Avis, though, there are a lot more ways for your team to rack up points. Sure, shooting a good score is still a huge part of the equation (as it should be), but if you pick guys who play well despite their score, there are other ways for your team to have success. Let's explain.
Throughout a tournament, PGA Tour Fantasy Golf uses five categories: score related, driving, approach, short game and penalties (-3 points for hitting into a water hazard and -5 points for going OB). In each of the categories other than penalties there are ways to both gain and lose points. For example, a player gets 5 points for hitting a 300-yard drive in the fairway, but loses 3 points for missing the fairway on a drive that travels less than 240 yards. As he should. Get that weak stuff out of here.
There is also a sixth category that awards a bonus at the end of an event based on how many FedEx Cup points your players earned that week. Hey, now you might actually care about the FedEx Cup race! Here's a look at how the complete scoring system works.
You can sign up now for free on PGATour.com. The rest of the 2014-15 season is divided into two segments with the first beginning this week at the Players and ending with the John Deere Classic. The second segment starts with the British Open and wraps up with the Tour Championship. Knowing when these segments run is important since you can only use a golfer three times in a given segment. In other words, you can't play Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth every week.
Prizes range from Titleist drivers to winning a round of golf with your weekend foursome at a TPC golf course. Or, of course, you can set up your own league with your own stakes. Go ahead, we won't tell the Feds.