Last year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was the site of an historic victory. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia's duel to the end made quite a spectacle, however, the Ulsterman's win is not the one of which I reference. No, I'm regaling the tale of my first significant victory in fantasy golf, netting more than 300 times my investment. The sweat was real that day, as the final three points required for outright first came as McIlroy logged his fourth straight round under 70, netting me enough points to edge the only person in my way. Glory, it seems, is fraught with anxiety and fear. Oh, and Cheetos. A man's gotta stay fueled up for a hard day on the couch.

Last Week - Quicken Loans National


Before you all start fawning over the reemergence of Tiger Woods, recall that he continued to struggle after his T17 at The Master. Eldrick has worn out my optimism. I need some Top 10s and cashed check strung together before I jump back on the band wagon. I'll still be watching with bated breath as he works for number 15 at the PGA Championship, just don't expect to see him in my lineups.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Club brought more surprises than a sleeping predator slowly shaking the grasp of surgery and slump. Who had Troy Merritt pegged for a win last week? Anyone? Bueller? After five straight cuts, its hard to believe he was on many radars, but I'm not all that surprised at his course-record 61 on Saturday. That epic round is his second 61 of the season, the first coming in April at the RBC Heritage. He'll likely never make cuts and bag wins with the consistency of a top Tour pro, but if he keeps catching fire, this won't be his last victory.

This Week - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational


The annual trip to the South Course at Firestone Country Club is one of my favorite tournaments for more reasons than just fattening my wallet. At 7,400 yards, it is one of the few venues measuring a nice, round number. Count that as useless fact #1,212,294. Craig Parry is the lone exception to the WGC-Bridgestone's warm, fuzzy embrace of long hitters, as names like Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, and Rory McIlroy adorn the trophy. To win here takes more than length, though. Indeed, a great week with a putter isn't just a nicety, but a necessity.

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: 14.67, CHG: (-0.4) - What's there to say about Jordan Spieth that I haven't already said this season? Rather than bloviate over is successes and obvious values in fantasy golf, I'll try to deter you. He finished T44 in his hold appearance here. For arguably the best putter in the world, that's abysmal for a course that favors the strongest putters. There's also... wait... that's it. That's all I've got. He'll be pricey and in everyone's lineups, so there's some strategy in leaving him off rosters, but you may also get left behind.
  2. Hideki Matsuyama - TA: 16.14, CHG: (+1.6) - The best player without a victory this season, hands down. That includes you, in the back, put your hand down. He's only finished twice out of the Top 25 this season with 8 Top 10s. Judging by the values I've seen him at in various DFS leagues, expect high ownership percentages and a high possibility of victory with a 12th place finish last year and 21st place finish the year prior.
  3. Justin Rose - TA: 17.38, CHG: (+6.8) - Scary good when he's on, and he's on right now. His 4th place finish at an unfamiliar RTJGC chased down a T6 at The Open Championship, rounding out his form as he heads into an event where he's never finished worse than 33rd. His game has all the right components for success here.
  4. Matt Kuchar - TA: 19.00, CHG: (+6.4) - Not exactly a bomber or even what might be called a ball-striker. Instead, Kuchar gets it down with a wicked short game and excellent putting. Basically, his game travels anywhere (except, apparently, majors), evidenced by his solid track record at Firestone. Kuch is coming of a T7 at the RBC Canadian Open where, in his a tournament effort rather metaphorical for his play style, he bagged four rounds of 69. Consistent golfer is consistent.
  5. Zach Johnson - TA: 19.25, CHG: (+3.6) - Seems to be the Rodney Dangerfield of golf, he never quite gets enough respect. Even after winning his second major for his 13th professional win, the commentators were reluctant to call his career hall-of-fame worthy. Certainly, there's a debate to be had there, but for both announcers to dismiss him, on the day of his win no less, furthers my point. Needless to say, the guy is playing pretty darn good right now and, like Kuchar, has a solid track record here despite lacking the distance to overpower this course.
  6. Billy Horschel - TA: 23.83, CHG: (-3.4) - Horschel hasn't missed a cut since the Masters and has only finished outside the Top 30 once since then. Not much in the way of history here, just a lone T44 to his credit, but don't write him off. Statistically, he's long enough, hits tons of greens, and is in the Top 25 in Strokes Gained:Putting. If he continues on his current form, he'll contend.
  7. Jim Furyk - TA: 25.88, CHG: (+10.4) - Say what you will about Jim Furyk, but is game travels better than the flu in a kindergarten class room. His record at Firestone is lacking only a win, as he's finished inside the Top 25 in all but two of his 15 attempts, including nine Top 10s. Find a way to get him in your lineup, as he's coming off a T4 at the RBC Canadian Open.
  8. Keegan Bradley - TA: 26.25, CHG: (-15.6) - It would be easy to dismiss Bradley this season, as his putting stats have taken a beating commensurate with his transition back to a traditional putter. It should go without says that Bradley is one of the best drivers of the golf ball on Tour, as he ranks 4th in Total Driving, and his putting isn't Lucas Glover bad. Having won here just three years ago, Bradley's other three starts here have finished 2nd, 4th, and 15th. If his putter blows up your weekend, though, you can send your hate mail to whoops@mybad.com.
  9. Francesco Molinari - TA: 27, CHG: (+2.2) - Nothing about Molinari screams success here and it would be pretty easy to say that about his entire season heading into each tournament. Still, come Sunday, he can be found hanging around, occasionally threatening to do something crazy but never quite making the move. His game reminds me of my grandfather's, not the longest, but easily the most accurate player you'll likely meet. Molinari might play old-man golf, just know that his results are anything but.
  10. Brandt Snedeker - TA: 27.63, CHG: (0) - Here's the thing about Brandt Snedeker. He's hurt. Maybe. Reports of a hip injury followed a withdrawal from the RBC Canadian Open with indications the injury was sustained at the U.S. Open. Sneds is no stranger to pain, given his bone condition, but I'm ambivalent about his ability to play to the top of his ability. That said, if he's feeling fine, his putter alone could carry him to victory.
  11. Ryan Palmer - TA: 29.67, CHG: (-6.2) - Scratched and clawed his way back in to the WGC-Bridgestone this year after missing every single one since his only appearance in 2010. Of course, Palmer placed solo-second then, shooting a 63 in the third round to surge into a tie for first. He would later be edged by Hunter Mahan's final-round 64, but don't discount that Palmer was able to contend in his only appearance here. Hits a long way and putts well to back it up, making him a dangerous combination for Firestone.
  12. Dustin Johnson - TA: 30.13, CHG: (-6.4) - Already has one WGC victory this year, why not two? Johnson has always been incredible tee-to-green, but its the shortest of shots, those pesky putts, that have hampered his plans for world domination all along. His victories come and go more with his flat-stick than any other part of his game and it shows in his track record here. That is to say, its adequate and occasionally very good, but needs work. Favor him for his ability to over power Firestone Country Club and cross your fingers he can stay focused on the greens.
  13. Henrik Stenson - TA: 30.13, CHG: (-4.6) - Tied Total Aggregate with Dustin Johnson and, similar to his statistical compatriot, Stenson seems to be under performing a rather impressive stats profile. Unlike Johnson, Stenson has cracked the Top 10 at the Bridgestone, doing so as he finished T2 behind a dominant Tiger Woods. Hard to write him off but just as hard to throw complete confidence behind him. Nevertheless, he's a great fit for the course and definitely good enough to win.
  14. Sergio Garcia - TA: 30.25, CHG: (-0.8) - Last year's runner-up doesn't play a pretty version of golf, but tee-to-green he gets it done better than the vast majority of Tour players. Having played in 14 of these, Garcia has plenty of experience here, but he'll need to figure out how to putt with any measure of consistency if he's to win this week. Coming off yet another Top 10 in a major, Garcia should be motivated to bring home a victory.
  15. Adam Scott - TA: 30.38, CHG: (+8.4) - Re-emerged after going back to the long putter. Whether the anchored stroke bothers you or not, an Adam Scott with one is an Adam Scott that should be in lineups. Owns a 10th place a The Open Championship, 4th place at the U.S. Open, and a 24th at the Crowne Plaza Invitation prior. Factor in a victory here in 2011 and three other Top 10s at Firestone in his career and Adam Scott could easily become the only player not named Tiger Woods to repeat as champion here.
Thanks for Reading!

Kyle Donovan
@RiskRewardGolf