Greetings fine golf enthusiasts and welcome to this weeks edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier. It’s PGA Championship week and I can’t wait to get things going on the iconic and beastly course that is Bethpage Black. I don’t know about you folks, but for me it feels like there should be some deep and dark battle scene music like in the movie Braveheart on every lead in to the coverage. It’s definitely going to be just that this week for the guys teeing it up on Thursday and Bethpage will have a tremendous atmosphere with not just the difficulty and beauty of the course, but also the raucous crowd we’ll surely get being just outside New York City. You might even say the course this week is often how we describe some wines, Bold and Full-Bodied. Being bold is certainly necessary to play well and win a major and “full-bodied” just seems like the right wine like description for a course that so difficult and long AF. So with that, I wanted to talk about what actually does terms like full-bodied mean, and, for that, I’m going to break it down using actual golfers in the field as examples.
So there are three types of “bodied” wines if you will which are Light, Medium, and the aforementioned Full Bodied wines and basically what we are referring to in each of these is the level of alcohol. Keep in mind also that the body profile of a wine can refer to both Reds and Whites and can mean different things as far as tastes are concerned between the two. We’ll start with Light Bodied, and I’m gonna go with Francesco Molinari as the golfer who most resembles a light bodied wine with the obvious reason being he’s just kind of a light bodied guy you know? Sort of smallish in figure and off the tee. He won’t wow you ever with the stats, but the guy is as solid as they come and always underrated. Light-bodied wines are kind of similar. They aren’t really all that exciting and bold you might say like the more full bodied wines, they also have the least amount of alcohol content which by very nature just makes them boring. They do, however, typically have a refreshing, crisp taste that is very easy to drink. Next we have medium bodied wines, and while there’s a lot of choices in the field this week that represent medium bodies, I’m gonna role with my the legend that is John Daly. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Shouldn’t Daly perhaps be more associated with a Full Bodied wine?” Ok, I hear you on that, but medium bodied wines are often thought of as “food wines” and I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure Daly is a big fan of food, maybe not wine, but surely food. They do have a slightly higher alcohol content than light bodied wines also and we all know Big John ain’t afraid of a beer or ten. Lastly we have the granddaddy of them all, Full Bodied wines. These are of course the highest as far as alcohol content but also the boldest and most flashy with “personality” you might say. Thus there really is no other choice in golfers than Kiradech Aphibarnrat. I mean facts are facts here in the FGS people and Kiradech is quite literally the embodiment of a full bodied wine with his bold and beautiful self. The guy loves fast cars, a flashy life style, and ripping his vape dart on the golf course. He’s doing life right and there’s no doubt in my mind he will partake in a good full bodied glass of red wine after a loop around one of the toughest golf courses in the world in Bethpage Black. Cue the music.
Now let’s get into the plays of the week for the 101st PGA 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 slide on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf selections for the week…
Dustin Johnson – $11,100 – 98 Points – I’m basically just going all in on DJ this week across the board. He’ll probably be my highest owned player in my DraftKings lineups, and I’m throwing him into my one and done pool also. Bethpage is a great track for him and his skill set when you include almost everything you have to do well here including off the tee, approach, and around the greens. DJ also has traditionally putted very well on Poa Annua greens which we will have this week. Oh and good lord is he due to finally win another major. It’s amazing that he’s only got one and I’m throwing all my chips on the table that he gets number 2 this week.
Tommy Fleetwood – $9,200 – 94 Points – Long locks Tommy is flying a little under the radar this week despite a solid year but just not quite as hot as he was in 2018. Like DJ though, Fleetwood is showing up stellar in my favorite stats including Ball Striking (16th), Off the Tee (5th), and Scrambling (7th). He’s also top 20 in the field in Driving Distance so he’s no slouch when it comes to a little bit of pop off the tee which you’ll definitely need this week. If you’re rolling out some tournament lineups on DraftKings this week, Tommy is showing up less that 15% as far as projected ownership which is one of the lowest projected ownerships of the guys over 9K so I think you will get some excellent leverage with him in your lineups.
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.
Emilliano Grillo $7,100- 86 Points – Going cheaper than normal in the let it breathe section this week but the more and more I looked at Grillo, the more I liked the look of him in my lineups this week. He will be low owned and the stats over his last 24 rounds look good for him to outperform his price this week when you consider his Ball Striking (15th), Off the Tee (14th), Driving Accuracy (10th), and Strokes Gained Approach (20th). The worrisome part has been scrambling and putting which will definitely be key, but I like the gamble on his overall game coming thru for a big week. Also, and I will throw out the disclaimer that I’m not sure it matters a ton, but Emilliano did play well at the Barclays in 2016 at Bethpage finishing 2nd and one stroke behind Patrick Reed.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Byeong Hun An – $7,100 – 86 Points – I just can’t quit my boy Ben even when he’s coming off a withdrawal from an injury just a few weeks ago at the Wells Fargo. It makes him a risky play but one I’m willing to take after a couple weeks of rest. After last weeks last minute Leishman withdrawal everyone get nervous about injuries, but that was really a rare occurrence and usually these guys just don’t even attempt to tee it up if they aren’t close to 100%. Hell, look at Kiradech Aphibarnrat last week, he apparently had a freakin ACL issue throwing everyone off him, but then proceeds to top 5 it at the Byron Nelson. It’s just so tough to predict, which is just one reason I’m taking the gamble on An as his game has been really good this year especially with his ball striking and scrambling ability where he ranks 2nd in the field. This will certainly be a hold on for dear life play this week so lets buckle up and enjoy the ride kids!
Corey Conners – $6,800 – 88 Points – Absolutely love the Canadian Conners this week as he’s having a career year with a victory and I was somewhat impressed by his play at the Masters with a last minute entry thru his win the week before. He didn’t contend, but we all know first timers in the Masters don’t typically fare all that well and Corey at least made the cut and provided some value in DraftKings lineup. I think the same thing happens again this week so if you’re looking for an under 7K guy to fill out your lineups Conners is definitely worth a look. He’s 6th in the field in Ball Striking, plenty long, and also 3rd in Strokes Gained approach which will serve him well at Bethpage. Another little sneaky thing to look for with Conners is he ranks 4th in the field in Opportunities Gained so he’s definitely at least giving himself chances to score week in and week out. If the putts drop this week Conners will be a huge lift to your DraftKings tournament lineups. 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).
Rory McIlroy – $10,900 – 78 Points – I really hate to do this to you Rory because as a lot of people know you are one of my favorite players on tour, but as we mentioned on the pod you just can’t play everyone, and in majors especially, bold stands can win you all the monies so I’m going to fade Rory this week. Now, I can’t possibly sit here with a straight face and give you any true stat reasons to fade Rory as he literally checks almost every single box, but he hasn’t been all that great with the putter this year (61st in the field) and I think he might have a little trouble on these Poa greens at Bethpage. If you think about it, Rory used to setup his schedule starting on the east coast in Florida so basically avoiding Poa surfaces in the past. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s terrible on them, but it at least makes you wonder. That all being said, we also just haven’t really seen Rory actually live up to the hype lately when it comes to majors and I think that trend continues this week in New York.