Well, here we are, it’s Masters week. The most magical week of the year and in my mind, the greatest sporting event in the world. I am extremely lucky and blessed to have attended the Masters for about 35 or so years of my 42 on this earth, and believe me, it never gets old. The feeling of being out there amongst the Azaleas, pimento cheese sandwiches, “domestic” beers, and cigar smoke is the same now as it was when I first experienced it as a kid. There’s certainly a lot that has changed over the years, but the smell of the grounds (sort of a ryegrass/pinestraw/cigar/pollen/pimento cheese/egg salad scent all whisked together), the aura, pretty much everything about the tournament itself is exactly the same. On almost every pod we do, DB will typically start by asking what I’m drinking. My answer often varies but for the most part it’s either Tito’s with some sort of mixer, or Rose’. This week in the FGS though I’m drinking Cabernet Sauvignon, or more popularly known as just, Cab. Why you may ask? Because as they say, Cab is widely considered the king of wines, and when I hear the word king, I’m reminded of two things…Arnold Palmer, and the Masters. Both are second to none in class, character and stature. Now, I’ve already written during the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational about my affection for Arnie if you want to go back and read it, but the Masters is, like Cab is to red wine, the king of golf tournaments.
One of the things the folks at ANGC do incredibly well is simply in how they run the tournament and cover almost every single detail. I mean, they have a freakin guy in the bathroom spraying down the crapper after every single ass cheek touches the porcelain throne. If that’s not paying attention to detail I don’t know what is. Similarly, Cab is considered the king of red wines because the varietal is extremely responsive to care, detail, and longevity. It’s usually aged much longer than other reds before bottling in order to bring out the most complex flavors. Cab is extremely versatile and adaptive as well. Always changing with the times, almost exactly like we see time and time again with Augusta National to produce the most special experience anyone can imagine. In that light, the spirit of the Masters is embodied in a Cab, and with that unique formula you will get a wine that ages to perfection, that when opened, perhaps just once a year, on a special occasion, like maybe Masters Sunday, you are treated to perfection in a bottle.
Now, on to the Masters 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 stroll on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf selections for the week…
Rory McIlroy – $11,600 – 99 Points – I just can’t avoid the odds on favorite in Rory this week on a course that is suited perfectly for his game. We will hear all week about the pressures of trying to win all 4 majors that have been laid upon him, but I think we’ve seen a much more laid back yet driven Rory this year. He said from the very start of the season that he will play more in the states (which he has, including a win at the Players), and he’s primed to show off again that when he’s on top of his game, there’s nobody better than him in the world. I think Rory also learned a ton playing in the last group on Sunday with Reed last year. He admitted to being way more tentative down the stretch than he should have been so I think we see a much more aggressive Rory this year. That means more birdies, eagles, and DraftKings points! Rors is doing everything right also as far as his game is concerned right now, leading the field in Strokes Gained off the Tee, Ball Striking, and Par 4 scoring. He’s also 2nd in the field in Proximity which I believe is important also because you half to hit these greens in the right spots and Rory has shown he’s very much in control of his ball on approach shots. Ownership will be up there for sure but I love Rory as a core play in my tournament lineups.
Louis Oosthuizen – $8,100 – 94 Points – After missing the cut in his first 3 attempts in Augusta, Louis has definitely learned how to golf his ball around here with 4 top 25 finishes including a 2nd to Bubba in 2012 and a T12 just last year. Oosty is also coming in on good form with a 2nd place finish at the Valspar and making a ton of birdies at the WGC match play before bowing out to eventual winner Kevin Kisner in the Quarterfinals. Just like Sneds below, Louis isn’t going to be bombing it off the tee, but he is accurate and has plenty of distance. He’s also extremely solid in scrambling, Proximity to the hole, and Par 4 scoring. I also think a balanced approach will be the the strategy to deploy this week making Oosty an attractive play in both cash and GPP 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.
Brandt Snedeker $7,200- 90 Points – Brandt has been a steady player year in and year out in Augusta but you almost never see him touted all that much. He’s just not a flashy guy, but he absolutely loves it here having made the cut in 8 out of 10 appearances that includes 4 finishes inside the top 10. Sneds won’t wow you off the tee with his driver, but he can get it out there when he needs to. What gives Brandt a great chance to surprise here is with scrambling around the greens and his putter. Over his last 24 rounds, Brandt ranks 1st in Scrambling, and 7th in putting so it appears he’s certainly trending in the right direction on two key aspects for the week. He’s also been playing well this year making 10 of 11 cuts with a top 5 finish just a few weeks ago at the Players Championship. Don’t be afraid to pop that cork this week on on ole Sneds as a potential low owned GPP play on DraftKings with Great Fantastic upside potential.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Cam Smith – $7,400 – 90 Points – Cam Smith is yet another guy who’s not going to fit the bomber mold, but is playing very well this year and has the perfect game for Augusta National. If it weren’t for Jordan Spieth’s magnificent final round last year, everyone might be talking about Cam Smith’s phenomenal 66 that led to a top 5 finish for the Aussie. Cam has always been known as a great scrambler, but he’s also a good putter as well which certainly shows in the stats where he is ranked 8th in the field in Strokes Gained Putting. If you drill down a little more on Cam, he ranked 5th in the field in Strokes Gained Tee to Green, and 16th in putting at last years Masters so if you believe history might repeat itself, Cam has an excellent chance to far exceed his value this week.
Matt Wallace – $7,100 – 86 Points – So in keeping with the theme that seems to be developing in the FGS this week in not picking Americans, I’m also going to pile on to that with a first timer. Perhaps I’m nuts, but in such a small field where you really have to have some differentiation in your lineups (especially the DraftKings Milly Maker), it might just make sense to take a flyer on a first timer this year of which there are 17 in the field. Matt has been in great form lately as well finishing T20, T6, and T30 in his last 3 tour events and has a 2nd place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic in late January. He’s also checking boxes for me ranking in the top 30 in the field Off the Tee, Scrambling, Ball Striking, and he’s also an excellent putter. Wallace may be a new vintage at Augusta, but I think he plays like a fine aged wine 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).
Bryson Dechambeau – $9,300 – 77 Points – On the pod this week one of the first things I said in the course preview about Augusta National was that you have to be a great thinker around the course in order to do well. What I didn’t say is that you need to be an over thinker which is exactly what Bryson is. Look, he’s as smart as they come, but it’s not all about mechanics and science on this course. I think you have to have some imagination to win here and I think science get tossed into Raes Creek this week. I also just don’t feel comfortable playing Dechambeau with so many great players around him who are in better form. We saw Bryson go on a tear in the fall but he’s always been a little streaky and lately he hasn’t been all that great other than a top 20 at the Players but before that was 46th at the Arnold Palmer, and 56th at the WGC Mexico. He has been pretty good off the tee, but his scrambling and par 4 scoring have been awful and those are two of my favorite stats this week. All that said, just toss Professor Dechambeau down to the bottom shelf this week as he might need a little aging before contending at Augusta.