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Risk and Reward - Northern Trust Open

Mardi Gras and its full carnivale glory is coming to an end across the world, but if you're here, you're not looking for beads. You won't find them here anyway, unless their beads of sweet, sweet fantasy wisdom. If you read last week's column, the you'll know that some of that wisdom was missing, though I blame the Magic-8 ball. I did mention at the end that it might be broken.

On any note, I've been getting fired on all day for some glaring omissions from the Power Rankings over on the Golf subreddit. Notably, over a one Dustin Johnson, who you'll find below. I can't promise that I'll get everyone, or that they'll make the cut, but I do promise that everyone in this piece with not be playing on the this week.

The only notable Withdrawal to this point is Victor Dubuisson. So make sure he's not on your rosters.

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, while Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. 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. If the idea of Lay-Up may contain players 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, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.


Dustin Johnson - TA: 45.58, CHG: (0) - There! Happy now? Good, me too. DJ didn't look too far off at the Farmers Insurance Open, and looked much more like his old self at Pebble Beach, coming in with a T4. Placed 2nd here last year and has a T3 and T10 in the past. He's already averaging 315 yards off the tee and hitting over 62% of his fairways, plus, at +.379 strokes-gained, he's been making good use of the flatstick as well. If he contends, he's definitely back.

Brandt Snedeker - TA: 33.08, CHG: (+1.8) - Sneds would have hit the Power Rankings, but his mixed history here kept him just outside. He's 2-for-5 at Riviera, though he's converted both made cuts into Top 20s. The argument for him is compelling though, with a win, three Top 10s, and a Top 20 in his last six starts. I don't think he misses the cut this week and he should land a solid finish.

Keegan Bradley - TA: 31.83, CHG: (-5) - Knowing when to play Bradley is more art than science, and I've never been an artist. In fact, I called him a hazard a few weeks back and he still made the cut, though he settled for 41st place. Since missing the cut here in 2012, he's lost a playoff to Bill Haas, and found two other Top 20s. 


Graham DeLaet -  TA: 46.42, CHG: (-9.2) - Bookened rounds of 64 and 65 with 76s at Pebble Beach. While I would kill to shoot any of those rounds, they don't add up to a solid finish on the PGA Tour and DeLaet earned himself a 57th place finish for his troubles. Between his inconsistency and propensity for injury, its hard to call him a sure bet, but he doesn't seem to be playing bad enough to warrant Hazard status. If his putter heats up, his length and ball-striking should put him in contention.

Sang-Moon Bae - TA: 49.83, CHG: (-6.2) - Bae has an excellent history here, with a T8 and T12 in his only two attempts here. My concern with Bae is two-fold, however. First, he tends to flash in the pan then disappear, and you can look no further than his season after his first win. He had zero Top 10s until he won again. That was a full season and change. He's had two this year, but his form has started to slide the last few weeks, which would be concerning enough if it weren't for my second concern. His current legal battle with South Korea is continuing unabated, and its looking more and more like it could be a distraction.

Charlie Beljan - TA: 58.67, CHG: (+19.4) - Ever long and ever inconsistent, Charlie Beljan appear to have found some form just in time for his best tournament. With a T12 last year and a playoff loss the year before, Beljan's T3 at Pebble Beach bodes well for his success. He's not much of a value in DFS leagues as a result, but might be worth a flyer in some formats.


Andrew Svoboda - TA: 60, CHG: (-4.8) - You know, it's hard coming up with clever comments and snarky remarks sometimes. I'm a little short on them tonight, and I'm definitely shorting Svoboda. Sure, he's made three straight cuts and they include at Top 20, but he's never played here. While that isn't a problem for top-tier players, Svoboda is far from a lock even when he has solid history.

Rory Sabbatini - TA: 51.33, CHG: (-18.4) - Sometimes, players just need to pack it up and head home. On rare occasion, that should happen before the tournament even begins. Yes, he's won here, but that was nearly a decade go, and he's missed the cut in his last three attempts. He's a different player now, and while he makes cuts, his game is no longer suited to Riviera. 

Chris Stroud - TA: 75.5, CHG: (-4.4) - I'm not sure what's happened to him since his solid season last year, but he's off to a slow start. I wouldn't write him off all season, but keep him on the bench for now until he shows some form, there are better options out there.

My Picks

PGA Tour - 23rd of 733 - Experts League
  • Bubba Watson
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Charl Schwartzel
  • Jordan Spieth 
 Yahoo! - 4th of 50 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 93rd Percentile, 4170 Overall
  • Sergio Garcia (S)
  • Bubba Watson
  • Jimmy Walker (S)
  • Dustin Johnson (S)
  • Bernd Wiesberger
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Charl Schwartzel (S)
  • Robert Streb
Golf Channel - 13th of 100 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 3643rd Overall
  • Bubba Watson
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Shawn Stefani
  • John Peterson 

Thanks for Reading!

Kyle Donovan