Greetings golf enthusiasts and welcome back to the Pebble Beach edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier. We move out of the dry desert and into the beautiful coastline of the Monterrey Peninsula which perhaps is the mecca of golf in our great country (outside of Augusta National of course). This week is always a fun one, not only because of the iconic host course in Pebble Beach, but also the many celebrities that provide us with some pretty good entertainment playing alongside the tour pros as opposed to just a bunch of rich dudes we typically see in Pro-Ams. We also get treated to three spectacular venues this week with Pebble Beach being the crown jewel, but don’t sleep on the other two as Spyglass Hill and Monterrey Peninsula Country Club are fantastic and beautiful in their own right. One of the things I mentioned a couple weeks ago in the FGS was taking the time to actually watch golf to gain an edge on selecting players, as your eyes are sometimes the best predictors of performance over stats, and anything else we may look at. This week, I also would ask that you watch for another reason, the beauty of these courses. It’s literally a living canvas of golf at its finest. If you’re new to the game, perhaps strictly for the purpose of playing on DraftKings, Fanduel, or maybe even just listening to us ramble on week after week, put down the phone, close the PGA Tour App, hell, Shot Tracker will only be on Pebble this week anyway, and turn on the TV so that you can actually appreciate the splendor of all three courses. Believe me, you’re missing out if you don’t (Bonus: On TV, there’s also no annoying pop up ad where the closeout “X” head fakes you into actually clicking the ad instead of closing it out with a quick jerk to the right side of the page, but that’s neither here nor there).
So far in four weeks of writing this article I haven’t had the slightest idea what I’m going to write about when my fingers hit the keyboard, much less, try and figure out how I’m going to try and tie in some form of wine discussion into fantasy golf. This week was no different, but it ended up being the courses that guided the theme. Like I mentioned above, what you will see this week are three courses that beyond a shadow of a doubt are stunning. There is no debate to be had on that. In contrast, If you’re a frequent listener to the Tour Junkies podcast, you know that DB and I typically always have some sort of disagreement. It may be a player, a stat, the grass surface, or more than likely, something totally meaningless that absolutely will not help you fill out a lineup for the week. We see things thru a different lens, like everyone, but who’s right and who’s wrong is always up for debate (DB would say he’s always right of course, but humor me here). If you take a glass of wine and tilt it against the light, preferably with a white background, you can tell a lot about it. Is it old or young (in reds, dark purple like if young, a little lighter and brick like color if as it ages), what kind of grape was used, you can even tell whether it came from a cool or dry climate. It’s just one more example of all the intricacies that make wine so compelling. What you see though, especially if you’re somewhat color blind like me, is still somewhat subjective or maybe not quite so clear unless you have a keen eye for it. So you have to train the eye, you have to know what to look for, and then what it means when you see it. It’s a constant learning process, and, what you see is still almost always up for debate. That’s all part of the fun of PGA DFS golf. Picking players and the reasons behind it are always inconclusive and left to the eye of the beholder. There are no absolute answers and nothing is ever cut and dry. Of course, there’s always an element of luck involved, but as they say, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”, and I feel certain that when all is said and done for the week, just trust your gut and the research you’ve put in, leaving the only debate left to chance…Tito’s or Rose’.
Now, on to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am plays of the week. As we always do in the FGS, 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)
So, here we go, let’s peregrinate our way into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Jason Day - $10,900 – 96 Points – Day comes in this week in good form with a top 5 finish a couple weeks ago at Torrey Pines. He’s also been incredibly consistent at Pebble with 3 top 5 finishes in the last 4 years including a second place finish just last year behind Jordan Spieth. On the stat front, Par 5 scoring is one of my favorites this week as these guys will get an entire round if you think about it of par 5’s if they make the cut and you will have to score well on those in order to contend in the tournament . Day is top 10 in the field in Par 5 scoring and in my opinion should be a lock in cash and GPP lineups this week.
Tommy Fleetwood - $10,300 – 96 Points – Fleetwood! Bome! If you can’t tell I’m pumped to have Fleetwood back in a PGA DFS field for the week. He’s a ball striking machine and number one in the model I ran on Fantasy National when I include Par 5 scoring, Strokes Gained Approach, Driving Accuracy, and Scrambling. There’s a chance also that we could get slightly lower ownership this week also as Tommy has never played here before and hasn’t played in the states yet this year.
Shane Lowry $8800 – 93 Points - Both DB and I are huge fans of Shane Lowry this week coming off a win just a couple weeks ago at the Abu Dhabi Championship. He also has fantastic course history having never missed the cut in four tries at Pebble. Lowry is solid across the board in corresponding stats, especially ball striking and should be able to grind it out in what could be some pretty difficult weather conditions this week.
The $10 Wine Special - Priced like a Yellow Tail, plays like a Caymus!
Kevin Kisner - $7,800 – 90 Points - If you know Kiz, we should probably change the tag line on him to “priced like a Naty Light, plays like a craft brew” but either way, I expect him to far exceed expectations this week on these tracks. If you listened to the pod you’ll know that we are YUGE on driving accuracy this week as the USGA has already started preparing Pebble for the US Open by narrowing the fairways and raising the rough. We expect it to be that way at Pebble and the other two courses this week, so you will have to be accurate off the tee to set yourself to score. Kiz is one of the more accurate drivers on tour and also typically plays well on shorter than average tour courses like we will see this week. Ignore the noise also that he doesn’t like Poa Annua greens because when you really drill it down, he’s actually top 20 in the field putting on them.
Roberto Castro - $6,900 – 89 Points - In rare occasions when we’re guaranteed at least three rounds of play before a cut like this week and the desert classic a few weeks ago, I love to take flyers on some under 7K guys on DraftKings who have some great upside and check the stat boxes for the course. Roberto is one of those guys for me this week. He has played well here in the past with two top 20 finishes, and is checking boxes in Par 5 scoring, driving accuracy, Strokes Gained Approach, and Scrambling. He’s also made 5 of 6 cuts on tour this year so there’s a good chance we will get to see him all four days and he will allow you to fit a couple studs in your lineups. And who knows, maybe he’ll shock the world like Ted Potter and Vaughn Taylor have done here with wins coming out of nowhere two of the last three years.
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).
Patrick Cantlay - $9,900 – 78 Points - The PGA DFS darling that is Patrick Cantlay makes his first appearance in the Boone’s Farm winery this week despite some fairly good play lately. He is coming off a missed cut though and in my humble opinion, the price just isn’t right for me to hop back on the Cantlay train this week. He also ranks 42nd in the field in Driving Accuracy, 62nd in Opportunities Gained, and 52nd in Scrambling which just isn’t where I want to see a guy who is the 6th highest price guy on the board. Ownership will be down somewhat this week on Cantlay, but I’m betting he’s still 15% plus owned and I’ll gladly fade Mr Cantlay for the week.