“In victory, you deserve Champagne. In defeat you need it.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
Greetings fellow golf enthusiast and welcome to another edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier. It’s Farmers Insurance Open Week, Tiger is back, and we have a tremendous field playing on one of the iconic and breathtakingly beautiful courses in America that is Torrey Pines. As a matter of fact, this week has a champagne like feel to it. Think about it. Champagne is boisterous, right from the very start when that cork bursts out of the bottle like a cannon. It’s unique, sparkling unlike any other wine bringing with it tons of personality. Then there’s the best part about champagne, it’s almost always associated with victory, celebration, and special occasions. It just brings excitement, anticipation, and a great atmosphere wherever it’s served. That’s exactly what we have this week also when it comes to the field, venue, and of course, Tiger.
I took my wife to Napa Valley in June of 2015 for our 10 year anniversary. It was our first trips to Napa and it far exceeded our expectations. Of all the wineries we visited and toured, my favorite was the one I was least excited about as far as the wine itself because they were most known for champagne which I never was really a huge fan of in general. By the way, yes, I know it’s technically sparkling wine, unless it comes from the Champagne region in France, but for the purposes of this article and going forward, the shit is champagne to me because that just sounds better. Anyway, it was Schramsberg Vineyards and it was unreal. The steps they go thru to create the perfect bottle is extremely meticulous down to the most extreme detail. On top of that, the entire process occurs in massive caves with stacked bottles within the caverns that seem to go on for miles. One of the coolest things though is the Riddler. No, not the character in the Batman series, the Schramsberg Riddler has one of the most important jobs in the champagne making process which is to slowly turn every single bottle in the entire cave, ever so slightly, one by one, in order to settle the sediment towards the cork. He does it fast as shit also so it’s like he’s playing a damn piano or something. It’s incredible to watch and an amazing technique that is unique to champagne but extremely important to achieving the desired outcome in every bottle Shramsberg produces. I can’t imagine being this riddler guy though. He must have some amazing patience to do this day after day in a cold, moldy, and dark cave. I admire patience. It’s a quality I have very little of and one that we all could probably use a little more in this day and age where everything is right at our finger tips and we hardly ever have to wait for anything. The Riddler knows that his patience, coupled with dedication and a proven process, will almost always result in satisfying results. If you play PGA Tour DFS golf you probably have learned a little about patience. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when it seems like it should be so easy to get 6 freakin guys thru the damn cut line every week. Patience without process will almost never bring consistent results. You may not think it, but even If you’re reading this, you have a process, or at least a desire to try and learn as much as you can about DFS golf and the players to help make the best decisions you can every week. In the end, whatever process you use, even if you’ve started off slow for the year, try to throw in a little patience. The results will eventually have you basking in that champagne bath of sweet victory.
So let’s pop the cork on this weeks picks for the Farmers insurance open on the beautiful coast of La Jolla (Hoya), California. As always, we are going to use the classic Wine Spectator 100 point scale for the picks (think of it like a confidence factor):
95-100 Classic: a great wine
90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: a solid well-made wine
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74 Not recommended (or a very shitty wine)
Alright folks, here we go, let’s perambulate on in to the sommeliers’ cellar of vintage golf plays for the week…
Rory McIlroy – $11,100 – 94 Points – Rory arrives this week on his maiden voyage to Torrey Pines with a lot of question marks still as to where his game is in what I think is a pivotal year for him. He’s dedicated himself though to playing an extensive PGA Tour schedule this year as we’ve already seen at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and as far as I’m concerned thats a good sign on his confidence and his focus for this year. Torrey Pines will be a huge test for every player in the field this week, but Rory has the perfect game off the tee to be aggressive and score on both the North and host South Course. He should also be one of the lowest owned over 10k guys on DraftKings so I’ll look to take advantage of that in GPP’s this week.
Tony Finau – $9,900 – 96 Points – Tony is my favorite play this week and as far as I’m concerned, the Dom Perignon of the field. He’s checking all the boxes for me as far as the stats are concerned ranking in the top 10 in the field in Stokes Gained off the Tee, Approach, DraftKings scoring, and opportunities gained. He’s also got the history to go along with the stats having finished in the top 10 the last two years. Lock him in your cash or GPP lineups this week as a core play.
Charles Howell III – $9,100 – 90 Points – Old Chucky three sticks is literally the perfect example lately of a fine wine that just gets better with age. He’s been playing fantastic recently starting with his win at the RSM and continuing on as usual for him on the west coast. This week should be know different as CH3 has ridiculous course history finishing no worse than 16th in the last 4 years with three top 6 finishes in that time span. Charles is always great off the tee which is important this week, but throughout his career he has always struggled with the putter. That said, 2018/19 are looking to finally be vintage years for Charles with his putter as he has been extremely solid on the greens ranking as on of the best putters on tour in the last 6 months. I think that continues this week and I’m going to lock our friend Charles into Cash and GPP lineups this week.
The $10 Wine Special - Priced like Andre’, but playing like Dom Perignon!
Harold Varner III - $7,200 – 90 Points - HV3 is coming in hot this week having played extremely well in the Desert and recently with top 25 finishes in his last three starts. As usual with big courses like Torrey Pines, you have to have guys that can take advantage of the par 5’s and score and Harold fits that mold perfectly. Course history hasn’t been great, but hopefully that just throws off some ownership and we’ll gain a littler leverage playing HV3 in DraftKings tournament lineups this week.
Jason Kokrak- $7,100 – 88 Points - I have a hunch about Kokrak this week and whenever you have one of those I think it makes sense to go with your gut and fire the guy up in a few lineups. Kokrak is a big hitter who’s game suits this golf course and he’s also a guy who typically fares well on the west coast. He comes in the week with a sneaky 18th place finish in the Desert Classic where he was in the the top 20 in the field in Opportunities Gained, DraftKings scoring, Strokes Gained off the Tee, and Strokes Gained Approach. Looks to me like he’s a vintage Shramsberg with a cheap label wrapped around him. Bome.
Boone’s Farm Vintage Fade of the Week - Boone’s Farm is basically convenience store wine we drank in college and possibly could kill you (not really, but it’s gross).
Marc Leishman - $9,700 – 78 Points - Here’s the deal. I love Marc, great player, great guy, and extremely consistent. I’m just not in love with the price this week amongst all the other great players around him. I would much rather save some money with CH3 than pay of for old Leish this week. Despite the good history here, Leishman isn’t really checking many boxes at all ranking 138th in Opportunities Gained and outside the top 50 in Strokes Gained off the Tee.
“Champagne is appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”
― Madeline Puckette, 2010