Greetings all and welcome to this weeks addition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the Arnold Palmer Invitational! We’re getting into a stretch now with some of my favorite tournaments including this week, The Players next week, and then obviously the Masters just a month away. It’s a fantastic time for golf and especially PGA DFS golf as we steadily move into the spring and warmer weather. Oh, and guess what else?! Daylight Savings starts this Sunday so we get even more time to play golf and of course enjoy the sunset with a nice glass of wine! That said I thought this week I’d throw out some wine recommendations that “check the box” you might say for those perfect spring days we’re about have the opportunity to experience (well, most of us, sorry folks who are so far up north that it takes longer to get to spring weather, that’s on you not me).
Let’s start with some reds to be thinking of this spring. First off, in my opinion you want to look for a more lighter bodied red in the spring as we are moving away from the more full bodied and rich warming wines of the winter and into the light chillable wines that pair well with warmer weather. That reminds me also, and just another reason I’m loving the Nut Hut Chat. An astute and avid wine drinker reminded me in the chat last week that reds are actually quite good chilled and not just served at room temperature. It was recommended to throw a red in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so before serving. I love that advice, especially for Spring and Summer and will definitely try it out. That said, I’m a huge fan of Pinor Noir in the spring and it’s a definite go to for me. One in particular I’ve loved for awhile now that’s not only quite tasty, but on the cheap side as well and that is The Pinot Project. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s smooth, less acidic, more dry than sweet, and a solid option whether it’s a dinner party or just a normal evening chilling outside enjoying the weather. If you want a food pairing to go with it, you can’t go wrong with a nice seared or grilled tuna. Damnit. Now I’m salivating. Another red wine to try this spring is kind of a staple for me, but you can never go wrong despite a slightly higher price tag and that is the Meiomi Pinor Noir. It’s actually a blend of Pinot grapes from Sonoma, Monterrey, and Santa Barbara wine countries and just like The Pinot Project is smooth and balanced making it a perfect spring option.
Moving on to whites, and you just know I’m a huge fan of Rose’ which is the ultimate spring and summer white (I don’t care what you people say), but I’m going to this in a slightly different direction, while still sticking with Rose’ of course, and that’s actually sparkling Rose’. My wife is a Chardonnay drinker, but she’s just recently become a huge fan of sparkling Rose’ so I’m going to help some of you gents out (and ladies too, I know we have some lady readers as well!) with a straight banger of a spring wine. Now this one is a little on the pricey said but the Shramsberg Brut Rose’ is definitely the favorite here and totally worth the price. Shramsberg Vineyard (which I have toured and it’s amazing), is THE vineyard when in comes to Champagne, or American Sparkling wine I guess I should say, in the country and they don’t disappoint with this sparkling Rose’. This vintage is as good as they come with the traditional fruity flavors you get with Rose’, dry with a clean finish and has that extra little kick you get with anything that’s sparkling. I would suggest Sushi as a food pairing on this one as well and perhaps a little Barry White playing in the background. Bome.
Alright folks! That’s all I got for this week. Let’s dive in to the Arnold Palmer Invitational plays of the week. 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 strut on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Hideki Matsuyama – $10,600 – 95 Points – Hideki just HAS to win soon right?! I mean, he’s playing really well right now with top 10’s in his last two starts (T6 in Mexico, T5 at the Genesis), and has been lights out in pretty much every aspect of his game outside. Hideki is 2nd in the field in probably my favorite stat to use this week (Strokes Gained Approach), 22nd in Par 5 scoring, and 1st in the field in Opportunities Gained. The deal with is always the putter but after 6 straight events losing strokes to the field in putting, Hideki actually gained strokes in his last event in Mexico so perhaps that’s a sign that his putter might just heat up and we see a great week out of him. We’ll see, but I love him for DraftKings tournament lineups this week.
Justin Rose – $9,000 – 92 Points – I broke the pod rules a little bit and snuck in Rosie as a DraftKings GPP play in the over 9K range this week but just couldn’t resist because I think he will be extremely overlooked and good far exceed value this week. I know he’s been pretty average this year and coming off a missed cut at the Honda where he squashed a lot of green screens, but as we know EVERY year at the Honda, there’s almost always carnage at the top and it happened once again including with Rose. That being said, Justin is still one of the best players in the world and he could easily break thru with a big week at any time. Bermuda greens are also Justin’s best surface he putts in as he ranks in the top 35 in the field over his last 100 rounds. Throw in 3 top 15 finishes over his last 4 starts at Bay Hill and I believe we got us a low owned (currently projected around 8%) stud this week in my man Rosie.
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. Berger traditionally putts well on Bermuda and is also popping over his last 24 rounds in Ball Striking, Driving Accuracy, Scrambling, and Greens in Regulation.
Bubba Watson – $8,300- 90 Points – Bubba has definitely been a favorite of mine this year so I might just be a little biased, but it’s for good reason as he has played pretty well (outside of a MC at the Genesis) with a T6 at the Farmers, T3 at the Waste Management, and a respectable T18 in Mexico. Bubba’s history over the past 5 years hasn’t been great, with a T17 last year, T66 is 2018, and a T34 in 2017 but he’s checking a lot of boxes including Strokes Gained Approach (34th), Par 5 Scoring (30th), and the fantasynational.com stat Opportunities Gained (5th). Ownership projections currently have Bubba at around 5-6% owned in tourneys so I think throwing him in your tournament lineups gives you a great chance at some leverage and green screens!
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Ryan Moore – $7,400 – 88 Points – This is definitely not a flashy pick, but I’m going with the caddie bump and picking Moore here because we interviewed his incredibly entertaining caddie this week, Brett Swedberg, and he’s also popping as a pretty good cheap play. Ryan has played 4 straight years hear dating back to 2016 making the cut all 4 years with a T5 in 2018 and a T33 last year. We haven’t seen him since a T30 at the Genesis, but I like that he’s rested and also checking stat boxes in Strokes Gained Approach (11th), Driving Accuracy (7th), and Opportunities Gained (4th)
Patrick Rodgers – $6,600 – 86 Points – I think we all know by now that I just can’t quit Rodgers when it comes to the pod and here in the FGS, but I’m loving him again this week coming in to the API in good form making 4 of his last 5 cuts and no worse than a T35 finish at the Peurto Rico Open outside of that missed cut. That’s some pretty damn good form to go off for a guy priced as cheap as Patrick is this week. His stats won’t jump out at you outside of Par 5 scoring (very important here though), and Strokes Gained Off the Tee, but he does putt well on Bermuda (30th over the last 100 rounds in this field) so with this being a short field event and my affinity for taking a little more risk this week I am loving me some Rodgers in 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).
Tyrrell Hatton $8,100 – Ok so typically I like to take a higher priced guy as the Boone’s Farm fade of the week, and I know DB is huge fan of the Hat, but I’m seeing him projected as high as 20% owned this week and I’m not buying the hype. I know he played well in Mexico coming back from an injury, and has history here to justify playing him, but I think he’s a guy you can pivot off this week based off ownership and it might just be the secret to winning that big GPP you’ve been dying to take down. In general he is priced pretty well on DraftKings, and I will say his overall stats don’t look all that bad for this course, but he’s been putting terribly when you look more recently and I’d rather play guys in good putting form on this firm and very quick greens. This is a bold one for sure folks but I’m sticking to my guns and fading Mr. Tyrrell this week!