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The Fantasy Golf Sommelier – Pebble Beach Pro-Am

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 in one of the most beautiful settings in the world for golf and on one of the most iconic courses in the world at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Of course, with this being a pro am event with all kinds of celebrities, we also have two other courses Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula which are great courses in their own right.

As you might expect with California being the state most associated with producing great wines in this country, Monterey County where these fabulous courses are located shouldn’t be forgotten compared to the more well known Napa and Sonoma wine country. Monterey wines are becoming increasingly more popular and have some very unique characteristics compared to those coming from the more popular California wine producers. Monterey grapes, kind of like their golf courses are known to have much more intense flavor meaning the true taste of the grape is reflected in the wine. Chardonnays are the most popular Monterey wines and make up the majority of sales from the area. I will admit, I’m not the biggest Chardonnay fan, but the ladies seem to love it, which absolutely cannot be overlooked, so if you’re wanting to impress that special lady in your life, you can’t go wrong picking a Monterey Chardonnay on your next date night.

Now, I do love some Pinot Noir which is the second most popular wine in the Monterey Peninsula region. Monterey Pinot is known to be more balanced in flavor. Balanced is a term thrown around a lot in the wine world and to be honest I had no clue what it actually meant. I just kind of figured it was like a good ball striker in golf. Great overall with the full swing but might happen to suck on and around the greens from time to time. Well, it’s actually quite similar except the sucking on and around the greens part. A good balanced wine is perfect throughout when it comes to five major components of wine: acid, alcohol, sugar, tannin, and water. For a wine to be considered well-balanced, all these parts must exist in proper ratio and harmony with each another. Each of these five components play a vital role in the creation of a good bottle of wine; too much of one part and the wine will suffer, not enough of a specific component and the wine will be lacking. I don’t know about you but if I’m looking for a good Pinot, and Monterey Peninsula area is known for creating wines that satisfy this whole balance thing, I’m damn sure going to be looking for those in my local package shop. If anything now you FGS readers and I can actually throw around the term balanced and actually know what it means. That brings up another brief point I’d like to make when it comes to making golf selections. Take the time to understand the actual meaning and intent of the stats that you hear thrown around every week (sometimes a little too loosely at times if we’re being honest) and don’t just assume what they might mean. Fantasy National has a fantastic (and easy to understand) glossary of terms and stats that is very helpful if you’re looking for that information and I highly recommend you take advantage of it if you’re a member. Alright folks! That’s all I got for this week. Let’s dive in to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 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 meander on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…

Jason Day – $10,300 – 96 Points – I gotta admit I was a little shocked when the words Jason Day came out of DB’s mouth early in the pod when we were discussing our picks in the 9K plus range. I know he’s a course horse here at Pebble, but DB typically stays away from Day in fear of him getting the sniffles and withdrawing so it was a pleasant surprise that we both had him as one of our top plays this week. The record though speaks for itself on Day with 4 top 5 finishes and a T11 in his last 5 starts. Jason is very comfortable on Poa greens as well ranking 6th in the field over his last 100 rounds and he’s fantastic around the greens and in Par 5 scoring. Current ownership projections have him around 15% owned and I love Day as a DraftKings cash or tournament option this week.

Daniel Berger – $8,900 – 94 Points –  I’m stealing this one from DB this week and while I didn’t specifically mention Berger on the show (DB did) I am a huge fan this week and have been for most of this season so far. Berger seems to have finally got his game back and is proving that with 4 straight cuts made including a top 10 last week at the Waste Management. Almost every aspect of his game has improved this season and he’s checking boxes in Scrambling, Ball Striking, and Poa Annua greens are his best surface as he ranks in the top 20 in the field over the last 100 rounds. I mentioned on the pod as well with 3 guaranteed rounds and 11 par 5’s to take advantage of, you can’t afford not to score on those holes. Well look no further than Berger who is 3rd in the field in par 5 scoring so he should fare well in that department and I think will be a great low owned 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.

Matthew Fitzpatrick – $9,700- 90 Points – There’s always a few guys that no matter how much I try and avoid, for whatever the reason might be, that I just can’t not put in a few lineups whenever they’re in the field. Matthew Fitzpatrick is one of those guys. He’s obviously a world class player but just hasn’t really closed the deal much when it comes to winning. I think he’s due for a big week at Pebble though and I’m loving his projected ownership right now at less than 10%. Fitzy has the game also to play well here ranking 12th in the field in Strokes Gained Approach, 12th in Par 5 Scoring, and top 10 in Ball Striking. He’s played here once last year with a missed cut but with his form (2nd a couple weeks ago in Abu Dhabi), I think we see a different outcome this year and perhaps even get his first PGA Tour win in the books.

The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!

Sung Kang – $7,300 – 88 Points – I’m pretty much always going to have a gut call in the FGS and it will probably be a guy that makes you want to throw up in your mouth, but hell, no guts no glory! Kang is definitely a little bit of a risk as we never know what we’ll get out of him for sure, but I think he is a great option in DraftKings tournaments and should be fairly low owned as well (current projection of about 5%). Kang has 3 starts at the AT&T with a missed cut in 2017, but solid a solid T17 in 2016 and T14 last year. He’s also been in pretty good form as well having made 7/9 cuts since the fall swing started and a solid 16th place finish a couple weeks ago at Torrey Pines. Kang is a great ball striker ranking 8th in the field over his last 24 rounds. He’s also 23rd in Greens in Regulation, and 14th in Par 5 scoring. Throw in the fact that Poa Annua greens are his best surface and I think we’ve found us a steal of a deal on the bottom shelf this week!

Brandon Wu – $6,900 – 86 Points – While we haven’t seen as many PGA Tour starts out of Wu like we have all the other young guns just out of college, Wu has performed pretty well with those limited shots including a very impressive 35th place finish at Pebble for the US Open last year. Brandon has made the cut in all but one (The Open Championship) of his starts including a 17th place finish in his first official PGA Tour start at the Houston Open this past fall. He is also checking boxes for me in Strokes Gained Approach, Ball Striking, and Greens in Regulation. Wu may be about as green as it gets when it comes to these young guns on tour, but I think he’s a great cheap option to get you those green screens 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).

Matt Kuchar – $9,900 – 78 Points – I’m going back to the well again and will have Kuch as my fade on back to back weeks here in the FGS. Hopefully the second time is a charm as he ended up with a decent T16 finish last week at the Waste Management. That being said, I still don’t think he’s worth the price tag this week and their are much better options around him in this price range. Looking over his last 24 rounds he’s not really doing anything all that well in the stats I like this week. Kuch ranks 75th in the field in Scrambling, 55th in Par 5 scoring, 97th in Opportunities Gained, and 101st in Ball Striking. Matt’s course history isn’t all that appealing either with a missed cut, T22, and T62 in his last 3 starts at the AT&T. Bleh. I think he’s more like vinegar than wine if you play him in your lineups this week.

 

Junkie Jargon

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Reach

To select a player who doesn’t provide great value, i.e. a high $/point; reaches typically result in -EV (negative expected value) situations.