Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Risk and Reward - The Travelers Championship

Risk and reward is the maxim by which many play golf. Hit a snap hook into the forest? Chances are, most will consider wedging back out to the fairway, but proceed to try to hit a high draw through that tiny opening in the trees. At least, that's how I land so many double-bogeys on my card. In fantasy golf, the same concept exists. Take Matt Kuchar this week, for instance. He's almost always good for a Top-15, but everyone knows it, so playing him doesn't give you the opportunity to score points your opponent didn't. Whereas picking up Brandt Snedeker, who flashed some form at the U.S. Open but has been otherwise flat for the season, gives you a player who could just as easily win as miss the cut right now.


In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here, as opposed to the Power Rankings, where I rely strictly on data. Lay-Up may contain players, such as the aforementioned Matt Kuchar, who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.

Lay-ups


Hunter Mahan - Struggled with a hip injury earlier this year, and with that battle over, he's been making cuts and playing solid golf recently. If he hadn't spaced out and played Jamie Donaldson's ball at the U.S. Open, his typically excellent putting could have resulted in something much better than the Missed Cut he went home with. As the all-time money leader at The Travelers Championship, he's hard to ignore now that he's healthy and playing decent golf.

Jason Day - Though he has no track record at this event and has been coming back from injury, let's face it, that T4 at the U.S. Open has erased any doubt his thumb is still a problem. Won the WGC-Match Play in February before missing time. With 31 consecutive cuts made, Day is the definition of a lay-up.

Going For It


Brandt Snedeker - Whereas Day and Mahan have demonstrated definitively their injuries are non-factors, Sneds looked great at the U.S. Open until Sunday, where he battled yet another injury throughout the day. According to Rex Haggard at the Golf Channel, Snedeker underwent an X-ray and MRI on Monday which came back negative. He's been receiving treatment for a "tweaked muscle". He could just as easily win as withdraw this weekend.

Kevin Chappell - A missed cut in 2011 in his only effort here doesn't preclude him from winning, but combined with a missed cut in his last start, I'm not entirely convinced. He's here as a result of a T11, T10, and T26 in the three starts prior to missed cut at FedEx-St. Jude.

Louis Oosthuizen - The sweet-swinging South African has been dealing with a back injury for the better part of the last year, which is the only reason I don't have him pegged as a Lay-Up. He's put together 3 consecutive made cuts with a Top-15 in there. If, as this small streak indicates, he's actually healthy, he'll contend.

Graham DeLaet - The elephant between the lines of this post and the last. Easily one of the best, if not they best, player on Tour without a career win. His recent results, however, haven't quite matched up to his red-hot start to the year, with 2 Top-15's and 2 missed cuts in his last four starts demonstrating his current struggle with consistency. Given The Travelers Championship's propensity for first-time winners, currently a 4 year streak, this could easily be the weekend DeLaet gets his W.

Hazards


Scott Langley
- While he's been fairly consistent of late, he missed the cut last year, and he cuts he's made recently haven't turned in numbers worth making the risk. At 150th in Greens in Regulation, his ball-striking doesn't inspire confidence when paired with a 178th ranking in total driving.

Tim Clark - He has a decent track record here, with a T58 and T4 in his last two starts, but his recent form has been underwhelming. He's missed three cuts in his last five starts, and even though he's found Top-25's the other two times, he sits at 118th in strokes-gained putting going into a tournament where putting will be key.

Harris English - He's clearly lost the form he had earlier this year, going 2-for-5 in his last five starts with no Top-25s. Sits at 119th in strokes-gained putting and 100th in scrambling. Until he finds his short game again, I would avoid him.

My Picks


PGA Tour
  • Ryan Moore
  • Graham DeLaet
  • Jason Day
  • Charley Hoffman
Yahoo!
  • Group A - Ryan Moore (S), Brandt Snedeker
  • Group B - Jason Day (S), Graham DeLaet (S), Brendon de Jonge, Bo Van Pelt
  • Group C - Charley Hoffman (S), Retief Goosen
Golf Channel
  • Travelers
    • Jason Day
    • Graham DeLaet
    • Retief Goosen
    • Chad Campbell
  • Women's U.S. Open
    • Stacy Lewis
    • Michelle Wie
    • Brittany Lincicome
    • Rebecca Artis


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