PGA Championship Fantasy Golf Power Rankings

I'm not going to lie, its hard to work when it is both a Monday and Lazy Day, which should really be a national holiday. No matter my lackadaisical mood or general complacency, however, the fourth major of the year is abound and that means yet another opportunity to watch Dustin Johnson cataclysmically fall apart in some fashion or another. That might sound entirely harsh and almost unfair, but considering that he added yet another dubious honor to his major record at St. Andrews by being the worst finisher after holding a 36-hole lead and it certainly doesn't seem that way.

Last Week - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Continuing my Washingtonian disposition for the evening in providing the truth, I'll admit, I slept on Shane Lowry. Much like Fabian Gomez before he, too, picked up a win, Lowry was centered in my radar after a solid start to the season. After getting burned a few times to many, and with his Total Aggregate looking more like one of my golf scores, he slipped to the back of my mind. Of course, I had both Justin Rose and Jim Furyk queued up, only to suffer though both of them participating in a folding contest.

I would have been fine, however, if Hideki Matsuyama hadn't forgotten how to play golf for his second and third rounds. Oh, and if the aforementioned Dustin Johnson didn't essentially take the weekend off, tanking faster than my quickly dwindling positions in my fantasy leagues. Basically, my lineups decided collecting a paycheck was enough, fantasy points be damned.

This Week - The 97th PGA Championship

First, indulge me some incredulity. The PGA is 97 years old?! There. Now onto business. If there's a running theme today, it's Dustin Johnson, and return of the Tour's final major to Whistling Straits makes it nigh impossible to avoid further mention. Perhaps his most infamous mistake, Johnson grounded his club to play a shot in a lie he thought was not considered a hazard. The subsequent penalty kept Johnson from a playoff which was ultimately won by later world-number-one Martin Kaymer. No matter, according to PGATour.com, the offending bunker will be covered by a grandstand this year.

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.

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Power Rankings

  1. Jordan Spieth - TA: 3.8, CHG: (+4) - Another week, another Jordan Speith mention at the top of the Power Rankings. One number says it all, really--19. Nineteen the number achieved when adding together each of his last five tournament finishes. By comparison, the next player in this list, who I'll get to in a moment, totals 55. While a fair portion of the field has experience at Whistling Straits, Spieth's relative inexperience has certainly not hurt him throughout his ascendance to the position of second-best in the world.
  2. Brooks Koepka - TA: 11, CHG: (+9.2) - There should be no doubt that Brooks Koepka will achieve a major victory at some point in his career. The question, as I often allude to, is when. Combine his prodigious length and ability to hit a green from just about anywhere in spite of poor driving accuracy with his top-echelon putting and Koepka is a frightening proposition for any opponent. His worst finish since a T52 at The Memorial? T18 at the U.S. Open and RBC Canadian Open. Did I mention he finished sixth at an extremely difficult Firestone Country Club as well?
  3. Robert Streb - TA: 16.2, CHG: (+2.6) - Sneaky good is how I'd describe Robert Streb. He's not especially flashy or considerably dominant with any aspect of his game, but he just gets it done. The trick for Streb, it seems, is consistency, posting just one over-par round in his last 16 trips around a course. The question mark, which isn't one for the above two players and certainly is here, is whether he'll begin finding a footing in the majors.
  4. Hideki Matsuyama - TA: 17.4, CHG: (-1.4) - All good things must come to an end, so bitterness does not preclude a fair ranking, as Matsuyama's 37th place finish is just his fourth outside the Top 25 all season. When he's down, he doesn't stay down long, evidenced by his fourth round 66 to launch him back toward a somewhat respectable finish. With a few day off to re-tune, he'll be a solid choice at Whistling Straits this weekend.
  5. Jim Furyk - TA: 18, CHG: (+19.4) - Call it a fold or just bad luck, the fact is that with just about any other player a third place finish would only be slightly disappointing. With Furyk, though, its another taste of what could have been given how many attempts he's had at victory. Still, he's the first in the rankings this week with experience at Whistling Straits, pulling out a T24 back in 2010. Even better, his third place finish at the WGC is his second consecutive Top 5. Keeps knocking, someone has to answer soon... right?
  6. Matt Kuchar - TA: 19, CHG: (+0.2) - With a Top 10 back in 2010, Kuchar's chameleon-like game seems to mold to disparate courses. Sitting 7th in sand-saves, Kuchar has a slight edge given the absurd amount of bunkering around Pete Dye's treacherous layout. His T25 at Firestone is not completely confidence inspiring, since Top 25s are business as usual for Kuchar, but solid form with a good history is hard to ignore.
  7. Zach Johnson - TA: 19.67, CHG: (-5.6) - Faded on the weekend finish 33rd at the WGC-Bridgestone. I give my assurances, though, that a disappearing act is not in the cards at this week's PGA Championship for Johnson, as Whistling Straits is home to his best non-winning finish in a major. Considering that so few have ever won back-to-back majors, it is definitely improbable, but winning a major at all is unlikely as it is anyhow.
  8. Bubba Watson - TA: 20, CHG: (+19.6) - Hotter than a red dwarf right now. His back-to-back runner-up finishes might be hard for him to swallow, but coming back to the site of his 2010 runner-up might shorten his memory. Clearly, something at Whistling Straits fit his eye. For those in the know, Bubba plays well at two places - where he darn well pleases and at courses that suit his eye.
  9. Dustin Johnson - TA: 21.67, CHG: (+3.2) - Redemption is a cruel mistress. It is not bought but with the tears and blood of sacrifice, hard work, and Cheez-Its. Okay, so I'm a little hungry, though no doubt less so that Johnson to expel the demon monkey from upon his back. The storyline is intriguing, were he to win, it would certainly cap off a rather unusual past 365 days.
  10. Jason Day - TA: 22.67, CHG: (+17.6) - Pay no attention to his positioning this low in the Top 15 in the field. Day is returning to the site of his major championship coming out party, where he took home his first Top 10 before placing second in the next two majors. If you hadn't noticed, he's been really good since ridding himself of vertigo, placing no worse that 12th in his last four starts. Find a way to get him in a lineup.
  11. Danny Lee - TA: 22.8, CHG: (+3.8) -  As an amateur golfer, Lee foreshadowed his current abilities. With four finishes of sixth or better in his last five starts, including a win, Lee is undoubtedly in excellent form. For fantasy owners, his new found confidence and success seems require just one more item to truly arrive as a world-class player--competitiveness in golf's most challenging and coveted tournaments. 
  12. Billy Horschel - TA: 24.2, CHG: (-4.4) - Now I don't know too many folks that would call Billy Horschel consistent. Talented, for sure, winner? That too. Consistency, though, appears to be what Horschel has found in the second half of this season, making every cut since the Masters while placing in the Top 30 in all but three of those 11 tournaments. For all his success this year, Horschel is still missing a win and his impressive resume still lacks a major victory. Two birds with one stone?
  13. Paul Casey - TA: 30.17, CHG: (+5.2) - There's little else to say about Paul Casey this year other than that he's been solid but just short of exceptional. In yet another runner-up, Casey is second only to Kevin Kisner for playoff losses this season, with a pair to his name. With his putter being a primary barrier to success, it should help considerably to return to a site where the flatstick takes a backseat to Tee-to-Green play. It doesn't hurt that he's got a T12 here from his visit in 2010.
  14. David Lingmerth - TA: 30.6, CHG: (-1) - Any regular reader of these pieces knows that I enjoy a good dark horse. Considering Lingmerth current form, its a little hard to call him that, given four Top 6 finishes, including a win, in his last six starts. Statistically, he's unremarkable except for the fact that he is remarkably better in just about every category over his 2014 numbers. May be just enough under to radar to warrant some clever play.
  15. Henrik Stenson - TA: 31.33, CHG: (+10.4) - Really needs to get out of his own way, as Stenson ranks as the best driver and ball striker in the game right now. At 13th in Strokes-Gained:Putting, it is somewhat confounding that Stenson hasn't brought home the hardware more often. Coming off a solid sixth place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone, where he kept all four rounds at par or better for the first time since a solo-second at Bay Hill, Stenson is poised to challenge for his first major trophy.
Thanks for Reading!

Kyle Donovan
@RiskRewardGolf