Greetings fellow golf enthusiast and welcome back to the Tour Junkies cellar for another fine addition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier. This week we are at the Genesis Invitational in lovely Pacific Palisades California just outside LA and just like Hollywood, the stars are definitely out this week in one of the better fields we’ll see all year outside of the majors and the Players Championship. I’m pumped for the week and can’t wait to get started, but before I glide on down to the TJ cellar for the plays this week, we have some wine to discuss and this week I’m feeling like we need to get into a couple random things I’m noticing with wine these days.
Here’s my first discovery. Did you people know that canned wine is actually becoming more and more of thing? Yep. Freaking CANNED wine. I even read in a recent article on hot new trends in the wine industry that canned wine is becoming the “new normal”. That’s just ridiculous crazy talk. I know why this is happening also. It’s White Claw. That shit is taking over the world like weeds on your local muni golf course and I don’t know if I’m a fan. Now, have I had many many White Claws whilst drinking with friends all day hanging out in the sun on the beach, boat, or pool? Absolutely, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m still worried about the disruption it’s causing in our world and especially now that I’m seeing canned wine become a thing. It’s funny also because I was playing golf just this past weekend and when I stopped in the clubhouse to grab a beer at the turn a buddy of mine immediately pointed out canned wine they were offering and we both looked at each other with astonishment. “What the fuck is that? Canned wine? Get out of here” I believe is what was said. Anyways, I’ve yet to try canned wine and I’m not sure I ever will. I blame millennials for this (and White Claw for that matter). If any of you 18 readers though do happen to try it, please let me know your thoughts. Then go wipe your mouth out with soap.
*drinks White Claw once* pic.twitter.com/L7w8Dny4MV
— Trevor Wallace (@TrevWall) June 26, 2019
Second thing I’ve noticed but more on a positive note. Cheaper wines are becoming MUCH better than they used to be and that’s great news for us wine lovers on a budget. I’m not exactly sure why this is becoming the case, perhaps it’s just that wine makers are using technology that’s helping develop fantastic wines and selling at a lower cost, but I’m all about it. One of the first things people think about outside of the vintage when buying wine is definitely the cost, and it’s OK to actually peruse those lower shelf wines these days. Don’t get carried away though and start thinking Sutter Home and Boone’s Farm have magically figured out how to make an acceptable wine. They still suck. That being said you can definitely fine great wines under $20 and I recommend taking the time to ask someone at your local package shop which ones are “popping” at the moment (to use one of our golf tout terms). I have even…shit…maybe I shouldn’t say this…alright F it, I will say it…I have even found some boxed wines that I actually like and aren’t all that bad! Seriously. Try a Bota Box Red Blend or a Black Box Cab and tell me you at least didn’t immediately spit it out and drank the entire glass. Be careful though kids with the boxed wine. There’s like 3 bottles in one of those things and you can get into deep trouble if you aren’t careful. I feel like I need a shower now. By the way, if you ever needed confirmation that I’m far from a real sommelier, you just got it. Sorry to disappoint.
Alright folks! That’s all I got for this week. Let’s dive in to the Genesis 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 waltz on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Dustin Johnson – $10,000 – 98 Points – This price is just an absolute steal for DJ this week, which probably means he’s chalk for sure, and maybe a sucker play, but you can just call me Mr. Chalk because I’m eating it all this week on DJ. He has absolutely lit up Riviera over the years with a win, T2, solo 4th, T16, and T9 in his last 5 starts gaining over 51 strokes on the field during that time frame. While I do think he will most likely be chalk, you may just happen to see a few folks lay off DJ with his disappointing T32 at Pebble and ownership should be fairly spread out in this range potentially giving you a great DraftKings tournament play with DJ. We all know he can definitely bomb it around this course, but he’s also historically very good on Poa Greens ranking in the top 10 over his last 100 rounds. This might just be the gift of the year so far when it comes to pricing so I say take advantage of it and get those green screens!
Tony Finau – $9,100 – 94 Points – First off, if you haven’t seen the video on twitter from @sam_golf on twitter with his song about Tony after his loss a couple weeks ago, it’s incredible and you need to go check it out. Here’s the link in case you need it. Now, back to Tony. I think this is another week where we could see him near the top once again with a chance to win. His history is spotty at Riviera with 2 missed cuts in a row in 2015 and 2016, but after gaining a little experience Tony has definitely shown he know how to play here with a T2 and T15 the last two years. Finau is also very much like DJ when it comes to checking boxes this week as he is literally ranked in the top 20 in the field in almost every stat category I’ve mentioned. I do think Finau will be fairly high owned but I’m loving him as a cash or tournament play 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.
Jon Rahm – $11,200- 94 Points – Typically I like to pick guys in the 8 and 9K range in this section, but the more I looked at him the more I just love the look of Rahm in my DraftKings tournament lineups this week. Rahm played here for the first time last year and had a solid T9 finish despite little experience on this course (something I did say on the podcast I thought would be key at Riviera). Rahm has been about as solid as they come every week also with 3 top 10 finishes this year including a 2nd at Torrey Pines just a few weeks ago. I think Torrey is a very comparable course to Riviera despite being much longer and would expect Jon to contend again this week. If you want some boxes to check he’s doing that as well ranking in the top 20 of almost every category I looked at over the last 24 rounds including Strokes Gained Approach, Driving Distance, and Par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards. Yes he’s expensive, but there’s a ton of value in the low 7K and even high 6K range that should allow you to wedge Rahm in there and hopefully take down some GPP’s this week.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Jason Kokrak – $7,100 – 86 Points – For a lack of a better way to put it, Jason has definitely been my bugaboo player this year as I just can’t seem to pick him the right weeks. Here I am again though, back on the Kokrak train this week at Riviera. This a course that sets up well for him and he’s historically had some great successes having made 5 straight cuts here with two top 25’s and a 2nd place finish to Bubba back in 2016. I know the form has been spotty with 2 missed cuts in his last 3 starts, but he did play well on a much more comparable course in Torrey Pines (T21) and is his distance should be a huge advantage this week. Kokrak is also 21st in the field in Ball Striking checks the box also in P4 scoring from 450-500 yards out. It’s a risk for sure but one I’m willing to take this week in my DraftKings tournament lineups.
Carlos Ortiz – $6,800 – 88 Points – DB and I are both huge fans of Carlos this week as he has fared extremely well at Riviera with a Top 10 last year, a T26 in 2016, and a T20 in 2015. He’s also in decent form making 8 of his last 10 cuts including a great back to back stretch in the fall finishing 2nd at Mayakoba and 4th at the Houston Open. Poa Greens are by FAR his best surface to putt on (ranked 8th in the field over his last 100 rounds on Poa), and he’s also checking the box in scrambling and ranks 2nd in the field in P4 scoring from 450-500 yards. I am seeing a slight ownership bump with Ortiz this week at around 8%, but I still think he is a great value play for tournament 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).
Brooks Koepka – $9,400 – 78 Points – The thought of fading Brooks in any event makes my stomach feel queasy, but we do know he has a history of only showing up in majors despite this field being one of the best we’ll see all year. Brooks is still battling back though from injury and while I expect him to be full go by spring and the Masters, I’m going to fade him until I see some form. Koepka has played Riviera once in the last 5 years with a missed cut, so that doesn’t exactly make me feel all that great either about him. We all know he has the distance needed to kick this courses ass, but he’s been awful around the greens lately and doesn’t historically putt well on Poa. All that said, just like the pic above, I’m going to snub Brooks this week in favor of some of the better 9K plus options.