Greetings fellow golf addicts and welcome FINALLY to the latest edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Covid-19 has been a bitch and we continue to need to do the right things to suppress it, but damn it feels good to have golf back. It’s been a long 3 months and I think the world needs a little distraction in the form of real live sports. I’ve always thought of sports as one of the great connections that can bring people together. Even though we may pull for different teams, players, coaches, or whatever, we’re all still unified when it comes to just loving sports and the passion we feel and love about them. Some of my best friends now and growing up were all cultivated thru either playing a sport like golf or watching my dawgs on a Saturday. DB and I met thru work, but the friendship was born out of passion and love for golf. We announced on the pod this week that Chalk Bomb extraordinaire Ben Little is now an official partner in Tour Junkies. Guess how we met in person? Yep, thru sports, at the National Championship game Georgia played (we won’t discuss the outcome here) in 2018. In the same light, I think you can make an argument that sharing a good bottle of wine is another great way to just come together, relax, put all the worries and strife away, and just do what David Wooderson told us all to do and that’s just keep livin, L-I-V-I-N!
So here we are, starting to get some normalcy back to life, and I’m excited and dying to talk some real live golf and damn good wine. I thought this would be a good week for a little refresher on tasting and perhaps understanding what makes a wine good. That said, for all 5 of you new readers this week. Please remember always that I am NOT a real wine expert. As a matter of fact, If you had to give me a GHIN handicap I would probably be about a 10 as far as pure wine knowledge, but I love it and like passing along at least the little bits and pieces I’ve learned along the journey since my very first sip. This week at Colonial the common and overlaying theme is definitely that we have no recent form to go off and stats are from as far back as the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March so we have to rely on the data a little more (mixing in a little Course History) in order to make our decisions. Perhaps maybe even trust our guts also on some guys and just role with it. Similarly, knowing a good wine is pretty much the same. We have to really pay attention to our sense of taste, smell, and even a little gut when it comes to enjoying and knowing a good wine when we taste it. It also take a little time to to develop a good wine palate. It’s like I can tell you a really good boxed wine, but it took some experience to get there. Kind of like Colonial this week!
In all seriousness though there’s no real one way to go about learning and experiencing what makes a good wine, but there are four basic rules to start from and that’s look, smell, taste, and think. The color of the wine can give you an idea of it’s quality, so if it’s a little hazy and not clear, it’s probably not going to be that great. The lighter it is the more it’s probably aged as the grapes have had more time to break down and lighten the color. I think smell is probably the most critical of senses for identifying a good wine. You need to really swirl that shit around in the glass and then inhale it as much as possible. I mean, dig that big schnoz of yours deep down into the glass and give it a good whiff like it’s the last one of your own farts you’re ever gonna smell. Only then can you really start to get a proper first sense of the wine. Figure out what your first impressions were at that point. Do you smell citrus, berries, flowers, other fruits, or oak? What about those smells do you like and not like? Ask yourself that almost every time you break out a new wine because that’s the process of developing your palate. Then of course you got to taste it. I always say take a big swig at least the first go around. Don’t be a sipper off the bat, nobody likes that guy. Be bold! At this point the wine will really start to take shape and you’ll want to pay attention from when it hits your lips and tongue all the way to the “finish” which is the lingering aftertaste of the wine. So many things will start firing off in your brain now as far as what you as the flavors you’re tasting, how acidic or non acidic it is, the alcohol content, and generally you’ll want all those to mesh together so that you can appreciate (or not appreciate) it’s balance. Lastly, you think, it’s kind of like finalizing your player pool for the week in PGA DFS. You might even take notes on what things “popped” and what didn’t after tasting a new wine. Perhaps decide if it pairs well with certain foods, or adversely, if it’s crap you would only serve to the friends you don’t want to come back to your next dinner party. Either way, through it all, you have to sit back and enjoy the experience of wine tasting. We often say there’s no better sweat in dfs golf and a part of that is because of the fun process of it all right up until the last putt drops on Sunday. I enjoy that too about wine and try to treat each new wine I experience the same from the start so that I can sincerely relish the wine I’m tasting. Then after that I just drink it way too fast and pass out. But that’s neither here nor there. Cheers folks, let’s have us a hell of a week.
Alright! That’s all I got for this week. Let’s dive in to the Charles Schwab Challenge 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 saunter on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Webb Simpson – $9,800 – 96 Points – As DB likes to say often on the pod, I am definitely willing to eat the chalk that will be old Webber this week at Colonial. This is a perfect course fit for his game and he’s shown that with two top 5 finishes in his last 3 starts here. Webb is a grinder who hardly ever lets anything get to him so I don’t think the 3 month break is really going to affect his game all that much. I also like the fact that he has an extremely experienced caddy in Paul Tesori on his bag which should help tremendously coming out the gates after the layoff. Webb is also checking stat boxes for us in Strokes Gained Approach, Scrambling, and Ball Striking. All that said I would play him in both cash and GPP lineups this week on DraftKings.
Xander Schauffele – $9,600 – 92 Points – It’s a rare occurrence but DB and I both came out the blocks in the podcast with the same two favorites, Jon Rahm was one, but Xander was the other and I was a little surprised we both agreed so much on him. He fits the bill for Colonial though despite not having the greatest history here with two missed cuts and a T48 his first time on the course. Experience on this course definitely matters though and we’ve heard from multiple players that it’s definitely a track you can improve greatly on once you figure out the nuances and greens. I feel Xander is primed to prove that point this week and should be a relatively low owned GPP play on DraftKings. Taking a look at the stats he’s rock solid ranking in the top 20 in the field in Ball Striking, Approach, Scrambling, and Greens in Regulation. Lock in our boy X this week and let’s get some green screens!
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.
Gary Woodland – $8,800 – 91 Points – I said I would probably take a few more risks and “gut” plays than normal this week just based on how variable this field is coming off a 3 month break and while Gary hasn’t played here in a minute, I have a good feeling he comes out hot this week and plays well. Before the break, he was also playing quite well with two straight top 15 finishes and I think he continues that play at Colonial. We know he can score and definitely take advantage of only two par 5’s on this course with his length. Woodland was also striking his ball very well before the break and ranks in the top 25 in the field in that category plus Approach and Greens in Regulation. Hopefully he’s still on his game in that department though because if he’s off his Scrambling sucks and we could be in for a long week. I’m taking the gamble though that Woodland will be a great low owned play in my tournament lineups.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Abraham Ancer – $7,300 – 89 Points – In any normal week that this tournament is usually played you would find Ancer priced much higher than where he is this week, but with the strength of the field where it is we are getting a stud cheap player that I think is viable in both cash and GPP lineups this week. Ancer has played here twice having made the cut both times and as I’ve mentioned several times the more experience you have at Colonial the more you can improve your finishing position on this course. Abraham’s game is is tailor made for this course as well as he pretty much the full package when it comes to the things you have to do right on this course in terms of approach to the green and scrambling. He’s also very accurate off the tee, which isn’t a must here but certainly doesn’t hurt. If you look at his betting odds compared to those around him he’s basically priced $6-700 cheaper than he should be so take advantage of the break we’re getting and plug him in player pool this week.
Adam Long – $6,800 – 88 Points – Adam is one of my favorite guys in the 6K range this week and you might even say he’s got a little bit of that nappy factor edge to him this week with having a baby during the break. Long was also having a pretty solid 2020 before the pandemic struck mostly due to his iron play that will be key this week. In his first start at Colonial last year Adam finished a very respectable T19 so he’s obviously shown even very early on that Colonial could be a good spot for him. All that said, it’s proven science that the nappy factor is real folks! Trust in it with Adam Long this week!
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).
Jordan Spieth – $8,000 – Ok so yeh, he’s a course horse, he’s value priced, he’s had a 3 month break to “fix” everything that’s been wrong with his game, and he’s got a chance for a new beginning! Blah blah blah. I’m not buying it this week with Jordan. I’m already seeing projected ownership of over 15% which is just too high for me and I’d rather gain an edge elsewhere in my lineups. I mean, literally the only stat that he checks the box in his scrambling (top 15 in the field) and everywhere else that matter he ranks no better than freakin 125th the field (Approach). By all means, if you want to play him that’s fine, hell, I want Jordan to play well and get his game back, but I’ll gladly fade and take a wait and see approach.