Greetings all and welcome back to the Open Championship edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier. Outside of the Masters in our home town I have been looking forward to this tournament and especially this course all year long. Royal Portrush is an absolute gem and it’s a great thing for the game that the Open is now back in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. The area was once deemed to small for an Open and also war torn with conflict, but the Open is back and can probably thank the success of its golfing heroes like Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, and Rory McIlroy for the triumphant return to a beautiful country and countryside for that matter. I like to think also that I have some Irish heritage in me, actually, I’m fairly certain I do, but if for some strange reason I don’t I’m going to claim it anyway. The people of Ireland just seem so down to earth, don’t put up with shit, and like to have a good time. I’m down with that any day of the week. Life is just too short to be worried about things all the time and we could all learn a lot from the culture which in my mind is not just a bunch of drunks, but the friendliest people on earth who just want to chat, enjoy company, and yes, perhaps a few beers. I think we’ll see that mentality on full display as well in the atmosphere of the crowd and the players this week once Darren Clarke hits the first tee shot early Thursday morning.
Now usually, as the title suggests, I’m all about talking vino every week in the FGS. Or, at the very least, trying to drop a few nuggets on you in the hopes that maybe something will stand out and you might actually impress a significant other, boss, or if you’re under 18, your parents (just kidding, don’t drink kids, it’s against the law). Anyway, this week I really had a hard time thinking of wine when it comes to being in Ireland and the Open Championship. Proper decorum certainly calls for a little Irish Whiskey talk instead and I see no reason a learned Sommelier shouldn’t delve into other spirits when called upon. Truth be told though, personally I’m not a huge whiskey drinker. I like it, just never been my thing. I sooooo much want it to be my thing though, because as I said, I’m basically Irish and need to uphold the standards of my people. So this week, I’m asking you, the Great Fantastic and loyal readers of the FGS for advice. A way to give back you might say. I’d like to hear your favorite Irish Whiskey’s, why you like them, and your favorite way to serve them up and savor them. Also what makes an Irish Whiskey so good and how is it different from anything else you can buy in the world? So now it’s up to you folks, tweet us @tour_junkies or hit up the contact card in the menu (that hamburger looking thing in the upper right corner) and give me all you got! I’ll send some swag to my favorite suggestions and the ones I actually enjoy tasting the most (totally at my discretion of course and creativity always wins). This will be fun for us all right?! I get to try new whiskey and you get a chance at swag. It’s a win win situation I say. That’s all I got. So I’ll leave you with this fitting Irish toast and say good luck to you all this week, enjoy every moment, and lastly…Sláinte!
“May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
who says, ‘this drink’s on me.'”
Now let’s get into the plays of the week for the 148th Open Championship. 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)
So, here we go, let’s stumble on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf selections for the week…
Xander Schauffele – $9,500 – 95 Points – The X man has been absolutely fantastic in majors this year finishing 3rd at the U.S. Open, 16th at the PGA (including a 76 on Sunday), and 2nd at the Masters. He was also 2nd at the Open last year so I think it’s safe to say that outside of major king Brooks Koepka right now, Schauffele is not too shabby either when it comes to performing on the big stage. Xander has a perfect game for Royal Portrush also being blessed with plenty of distance off the tee, a fantastic ball striker, and most importantly, he’s extremely steady and avoids the big numbers on tough golf courses. Consider X a lock in both cash and GPP lineups this week on DraftKings.
Matt Kuchar – $8,700 – 94 Points – Love him or hate him, Kuch could care less right now and is riding a huge wave of on the course success despite the off the course crap show he’s got going on. He’s been incredibly solid all year leading the PGATour FedEx Cup standings with a win and 10 top 20 finishes in 17 starts this year. You just can’t get much more consistent than that and I’ll definitely have him as a core play in cash lineups this week. It’s not just one facet of the game either where he’s been successful. Kuchar is in the top 15 in the field in Driving Accuracy, Strokes Gained Approach, Ball Striking, Proximity, and Bogey Avoidance. I do think he’ll be chalky as far as ownership, but I’m willing to eat the chalk to get that cash this week.
Pop the Cork on him and Let it Breathe – This is the guy we didn’t mention on the pod but after further review, popped later in the week and is a sneaky good, possibly low owned play.
Louis Oosthuizen – $8,000- 88 Points – I can’t pound it into your heads enough, but I said it for Pebble Beach and I’m saying it again, Oosty comes to play in majors! He came thru for us also at the US Open as well finishing T7 and is poised for another great week on a course that should be a perfect fit. Louis is top 10 in the field in Scrambling and also checking the box in Driving Accuracy and has been putting well this year also. His history in Opens has been inconsistent but he of course has the win at St. Andrews and a 2nd in 2015 and currently is projected less that 8% owned so I’m rolling him out this week in my tournament lineups. BOME!
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Patrick Reed – $7,400 – 92 Points – Hell has certainly frozen over because for perhaps the first time ever in 4 years of recording the podcast, DB and I both Captain America written down as one of our favorite DraftKings tournament plays in the 7K range this week. This is probably a good time to remind everyone also that DB and I never review our picks before the show and Reed showing up for both is as rare as a 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet (google it). Reed’s game has been coming around though and the form is there heading into the Open with top 30 finishes in his last 4 starts including a T5 at the Rocket Mortgage just a couple weeks ago. We all know Patrick is a fiery guy also and loves to compete even in the toughest of conditions and atmospheres. He simply thrives in the arena and is also one of the best scramblers on tour which is one of my key stats for taming Royal Portrush. You may despise the man, but your wallet won’t come Sunday.
Andrew “Beef” Johnston – $6,800 – 86 Points – It is just an absolute joy to see Beef back playing again, happy, and playing well. For those that don’t know he has suffered thru a rough go of it with documented emotional and mental issues lately but he is back now and it showed with his final round 62 at the Scottish Open that vaulted him into the top 5 and a last minute spot in the Open. I was incredibly moved by his thoughts after that round which you can watch here, and I think the lovable crowd favorite is going to ride the positive vibes into a great week in Portrush. Beef also has the game to suit as well as he is typically a great ball striker and terrific around the greens. There’s definitely a little bit of a sentimental side to this pick for me but at $6,800 on DraftKings I think he represents a significant value opportunity for you lineups.
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).
Francesco Molinari – $9,400 – 78 points – I hate to do this to the defending champion golfer of the year, but I’m just not feeling Francesco (aka DB’s Doppelganger) this week in a year that he’s been pretty inconsistent despite the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in early March. Molinari is definitely a good fit as far as driving accuracy, but has been way off with his ball striking and terrible with his putter lately ranking 101st in the field over his last 24 tournament rounds. Francesco has been a Great Fantastic and deserving champion and will probably make the cut this week, but I think he underperforms his price tag and has a disappointing defense of his title.