Jason "hold on, Imma let you all finish, but I'm really the best player here this week" Day edged out J.B. Holmes, Scott Stallings, and Harris English in a four-way playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open for his third career win. In other words, easy stuff. After all, he was number one in my Power Rankings last week, so of course he was going to win. Anyone know the HTML tag for sarcasm? That last line needs it.
If your eyeballs didn't roll out of your head from a Kanye West reference in a golf article, we're leaving foggy San Diego and heading north to Pebble Beach in foggy Monterey, California. Much like the Humana Challenge in Palm Springs, the AT&T Pro-Am features a three course rotation for the first three rounds, then a 54-hole cut, then a final round back at Pebble Beach.
The hardest of the three courses is Spyglass Hill, followed by Pebble Beach, then Monterrey Peninsula Country Club as the easiest. MPCC is sort of like the North Course at Torrey Pines and a lot like showing up to high school in your dad's Porsche, you're almost guaranteed to score (unless you're Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods last week, in which case, you've already got a Porsche). The down side here, is that it is much harder to game the system in leagues where player swaps are available.
For those of you not familiar with my Power Rankings, I'll be listing the Top-15 with their Total Aggregate (TA), a number that combines recent performance with course history and some select other metrics, and the change (CHG) from the last tournament they participated in. Total Aggregate is out of 100, with a lower number indicating a better ranking.
- Jimmy Walker - TA: 10.33, CHG: (-0.6) - Start him. Don't argue, don't hesitate, do not pass Go or collect $200. Unless you're using him in DFS for real money, because he might earn you $200 (though he'll be exceptionally expensive). Seriously, since missing the cut in 2010, he's finished T9, T9, T3, then won last year. Add in his sharp form recently, with a win, playoff-loss, a Top 5, Top 10, and Top 15 in his last six starts, perhaps only Jason Day is playing the same game.
- Jason Day - TA: 10.83, CHG: (+1.2) - Right now, there's Jimmy Walker and Jason Day, then everyone else. At least, until Rory McIlroy shows up or Tiger Woods finds the secret to eternal youth. The edge for Walker comes from his course history, since Day has a couple poor finishes mixed in with his strong finishes. Still, he's a solid threat to go back-to-back.
- Jim Furyk - TA: 12.41, CHG: (+2.6) - Furyk was just about the most sure bet nearing the end of the season last year. Grinds, grinds, and then grinds some more, but the benefit for fantasy players is that his grit almost always pays off. Riding a made-cut streak dating back to The Open Championship in 2013 and has only ever missed two cuts here in the nearly 20 tries. Unless his swing finally dislocates a shoulder or something, he'll have a solid finish.
- Shane Lowry - TA: 13.67, CHG: (+1.8) - Hasn't moved in the rankings since a T7 last week at the Farmers. Jumped from 44th to 40th in the world. I'd expect him to build on his current success and continue to hunt for his first PGA Tour win. If his success continues, his relative unknown status could disappear rapidly.
- Patrick Reed - TA: 16.67, CHG: (-2.8) - Well, he's in the Top 5 in these rankings. And, no, if I have my way, he'll never live that comment down if he never makes it to the OWGR Top 5. Though, if I had my way on everything, mustard would be currency and I'd be king hamburger. Still reading? Just checking. Reed's form seems to be coming together, as his extremes don't seem as detrimental as they were last year, when he bounced between solid finishes and missing cuts by miles. Still an MC risk, but he hasn't done that since The Open Championship last year.
- Hunter Mahan - TA: 17.67, CHG: (-1.4) - He struggled due to injuries for much of last year before landing a win at The Barclays and hasn't missed a cut since. His scores seem to be improving overall, too, with a T30 at the Waste Management Open being his worst finish this year. A T30 isn't great, but I wouldn't call it garbage either (sorry, couldn't resist). His last four starts here are as follows: Solo sixth, T16, T15, solo second.
- Jordan Spieth - TA: 20.83, CHG: (-13) - Surprisingly missed the cut last week after a torrid start to the year. Spieth is almost always a contender when he tees it up, so a single missed cut does not a pattern make. Add in T4 last year and a T22 the year prior, and its very possibly that he finds a way to win. Or he'll miss the cut.
- Ryan Palmer - TA: 20.83, CHG: (+2.4) - If there was an award for the best start to the season by any player without a win this year, Palmer would probably earn it. In fact, he could probably take that award for any year dating back to 2010, the season with his last win. He hasn't placed worse that 22nd in his last nine worldwide starts and finished T2 at the Waste Management Open. He'd be higher this week, but he's got a few missed cuts here in the past. In a limited Yahoo! Group A, he's still a must-start behind Jim Furyk.
- Ian Poulter - TA: 24.33, CHG: (+0.8) - Almost as if to rub my subtle skepticism of him in my face, Poults came out an put together a solid T19 that would have been even better were it not for the obscenely difficult fourth round conditions at the Farmers. Look for Pebble Beach to play more into his skill set, since it is shorter and will require him to rely more on his excellent short game.
- Ernie Els - TA: 29.25, CHG: (-1.8) - It's pretty late as I'm writing this, but I still did a double take upon seeing The Big Easy land this high. Not that he doesn't deserve it, since he's made his last 17 cuts worldwide. The four time major champion hasn't played here during, so there's no history to speak of, but so long as his current form continues, he'll make the cut and place decently.
- Chris Kirk - TA: 29.25, CHG: (-3.6) - While he struggled on the difficult South course last week, he continued to demonstrate that he's figured out how to avoid the disaster round that has plagued him for much of this season. His T32 last week was, again, not very exciting, but marked his 11th consecutive made cut. Finished solo second at Pebble Beach in 2013.
- Jamie Donaldson - TA: 31, CHG: (0) - Its obviously a stretch to call Donaldson a dark horse coming in to any tournament these days, but he's playing well enough to score but not so well to be making a ton of noise. He's an excellent putter and plays Par 5's exceptionally well (3rd and 7th respectively). Much like Lowry last week, Donaldson can be picked up while your opponents might not readily recognize him, giving a slight edge if he finishes well.
- Alexander Levy - TA: 32.67, CHG: (-3.6) - Taking out a Missed Cut at the Qatar Masters, Levy has finished no worse than 29th in his last 10 starts worldwide. Levy doesn't play a ton of PGA Tour events, and subsequently hasn't play here before either. In the same mold as Lowry and Donalson, Levy has shown considerable form of late, and shouldn't be written off too quickly.
- Kevin Na - TA: 32.83, CHG: (-4.8) - I was thinking about starting his blurb with a joke, but I thought, "Na, its not needed". It's a blessing that tomatoes aren't digital. Na's been searching for sharper form so far this season, but he hasn't been missing cuts either. Factor in his recent past at this course and it's easy to see why he's gets the nod, finishing T4 last year, T22 in 2013, and T5 in 2012.
- Daniel Berger - TA: 33, CHG: (+5.4) - Narrowly missed out on the Power Rankings last week but played his way to a solid T24 despite the snub. Could have been much better if he didn't post a 7-over 3rd round, but he did, and still managed to come back on Sunday with a 2-under 70 to jump up a few places. He's playing solid golf and should be an excellent value in DFS leagues.