“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
Greetings fellow golf enthusiast and welcome to this weeks edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the 120th playing of the Unites States Open. If you haven't noticed I've been a big fan of quotes about wine in the past in the FGS, and I think the one above from Ernest Hemingway is a great lead in to this week's topic. Especially in a week where the "greatest perfection" has to come in the form of your golf game if you want to win at Winged Foot. I absolutely love it when the best in the world get a test like they should this week. Carnage on the course isn't great to see every week, but it's how it should be for a US Open and I for one can't wait to watch.
In a week where "perfection" must be obtained in order to come out on top, I also started wondering about wine and what the makeup of a perfect wine would be. To be honest, I don't think it really exists. I mean, no one ever perfects the game of golf either. As good as someone might play a round, there's always one or two shots they would like to have back. It's just an unobtainable goal. However, there's definitely at least close to perfection, and I gotta believe you can get pretty damn close with wine as well. When I'm judging players I list in the FGS based off the wine scale every week, you will notice I almost never rate anyone near perfection when it comes to the confidence factor. On the contrary, there are actually quite a few wines in the world that have ranked close to perfect and their traits are fairly common. So let's dive into that before we get into the plays this week.
One of the first things that shocked me when I did some research on deconstructing the perfect wine was that they tend to be blends. I thought for sure it would be a single varietal like a Cabernet Sauvignon but actually one of the top scoring Cab's in the world had small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot thrown in there as well. Location is key as well. If you haven't picked a good location for your vineyard then you aren't producing a close to perfect wine. That also reminds me of some of the best golf courses in the world. The land was chosen for a reason, with vision and forethought that they could use the terrain to build something great that would stand the test of time.
My favorite part (and probably no surprise to any of you that listen to the show) is that most perfect wines also contain the highest alcohol percentage. As a matter of fact most every wine that scored out close to perfection had alcohol content over 14% ABV and most were even closer to 15%. There's a pretty good reason for that as well because if you've ever had alcohol of any sort, not just wine, there's no doubt it definitely intensifies your sense of smell. Finally, the perfect wine always has some age on it. You see folks, things actually do get better with age. It's why I'm mostly never offended when DB calls your FGS old. Instead I just embrace it! So I guess that means Phil Mickelson is winning and should be the perfect play this week right?! Probably not, but either way, let's embrace the strive towards perfection this week. The belief, effort, and constant work that goes into something that's so unattainable yet oh so close, is what makes wine, and the game of golf, some of the greatest things in the world.
Ok, that's all I got this week so cheers, happy drinking, and let's get into some fine plays for the 120th US 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 meander on down into the Sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Justin Thomas - $10,700 – 94 Points
Currently JT is projected less than 15% owned in DraftKings tournament which I think is fantastic leverage vs the other top end guys. I mean, it's not like the guy is in that bad a form coming off a second place finish at the tour championship. I think the reason for the lower ownership is that JT was very underwhelming a month ago at the PGA Championship and hasn't been all that great in US Open's in the past. My gut is that changes this week as he has all the tools to win this week and conquer Winged Foot. His approach and ball striking are one of the best in the game and in this field (4th and 2nd respectively) and he's historically putted very well on firm and fast greens when I run that model on FantasyNational. I like the savings as well jumping down to JT from Rahm and DJ and will have a lot of shares in my tournament lineups.
Tyrrell Hatton- $8,100 – 91 Points
It seems the Hat has had one of the more quiet great seasons of anyone on tour right now including a win at the Arnold Palmer and several top 10 finishes this year (6 to be exact). He's also got a pretty damn good track record in his recent US Open starts with a T21 last year and a T6 in 2018. The missed cut at the PGA was disappointing but I think this course will suit him much better and he's pretty much checking all the boxes this week with a fantastic approach game, scrambling, and he typically putts well on Poa greens like we have this week at Winged Foot. I love the price also at $8,100 which allows you to plug a guy in cash or GPP lineups with win equity and a lot of upside.
The $10 Wine Special | Priced like a sutter home, plays like a caymus!
Louis Oosthuizen - $7,600 – 90 Points
Louis can be a tad bit scary to play at times, but DB and I both love him this week at Winged Foot. He's just got the calm and cool demeanor to play well in US Opens. Oosty has shown that as well with 5 straight finishes no worse than T23 and two top 10 finishes in that time frame. Louis has always been a good ball striker, accurate off the tee, and has plenty of distance to tackle big golf courses like this one. With projections of less that 10% in DraftKings tournaments also I think he will be a good cheaper play for leverage in your GPP lineups.
Sebastian Munoz- $6,600 – 86 Points
I think there are several plays in this under 7K range that are extremely viable options this week and Munoz is one of my favorites. We've seen him play very well lately with two straight top 10 finishes and a T18 a few weeks ago at the BMW Championship. Munoz is about middle of the field in Driving Distance, but he's very accurate off the tee and great around the greens. Sebastian also doesn't tend to get himself in a whole lot of trouble and ranks in the top 30 in the field in Bogey Avoidance which I think will be key this week.
Pop the cork & let it breathe
Justin Rose $8,000 - 88 Points
You're FGS has been pretty hot most of the year with the pop the cork play and while he scares me a little, I think Rose is the in a great spot to have a good week at pretty low ownership. Justin is currently projected to be about 8% owned in DraftKings GPP's so you can definitely gain some leverage taking him. He's also fared pretty darn well in US Opens with a win at Merion and two straight top 10 finishes last year and in 2018. The Scrambling has not quite been there (like we saw last year at the US Open when he had a chance to win), but every other part of his game is trending in the right direction. Rose missed the final two legs of the FedEx playoffs as well, so with time to rest and work on his game, I think he's a fine selection from the cellar to add to your player pool this week.
boone's farm fade of the week
Bryson DeChambeau - $9,900 - 78 Points
Well we've already seen it with Bryson this week in practice rounds, taking crazy lines off the tee and trying to cut corners. I just don't think that's a great game plan and could get him into a ton of trouble off the tee. Outside of the obvious distance factor, DeChambeau isn't checking a single box for me and is near the bottom of the field in Driving Accuracy and Scrambling which are the two main things you HAVE to do well in at Winged Foot. Is it fun to fade Bryson and watch him whine and cry his way around the course this week? Absolutely. It's also fun to fade him and save me the pain of losing money because of him.