Quaffable but far from transcending
Greetings fellow golf enthusiast and welcome to this weeks edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the Safeway Open. Welcome back also to a new season of the PGA Tour! It's been a long off season but we got thru it folks and now we get to begin refreshed and renewed in beautiful Napa Valley. If you haven't heard the quote in bold above, it's from the movie Sideways. One of my favorite movies of all time which just happens to be set in Napa and centered around wine. I thought it was a fitting quote as it kind of reminds me of the field this week also. Quaffable typically refers to a good and easily drinkable wine, which is kind of like this field, it's good (ok, maybe decent is a better description), but far from great. I'm excited to be back though with a full field and cut sweats before next week's US Open where we'll definitely have a transcendent group of players.
If you've never been to Napa Valley before I can't stress enough how incredible it is. I'm not just talking about the wine either. It's one of the more scenic parts of the country I've ever been to with breathtaking views and absolutely perfect weather most of the time. Funny thing was we actually spent hardly any time in the actual town of Napa as most of the best wineries to visit are north of Napa running along the Silverado trail. We stayed in the far north portion of the valley in a great little town called Calistoga which I highly recommend visiting as well. Here in the south we like to pride ourselves on how hospitable most people can be in general, but I have to think also if the world was all like that little town we would have a lot less problems.
You didn't come here for the FGS to tell you about quaint little towns and pretty views though so let's talk about how to have a damn good wine experience in Napa. When you visit Napa the main thing I'll say is you have to do your research ahead of time. It's kind of like this highly variable PGA DFS game we all love to play. You can't just pick a winery because of it's "name". There's just so much more too it than that. One of my favorite wineries I visited was actually about a minute from where we stayed called Lava Vine. The place was tiny with a small tasting room and consisted of about 5 people, two dudes playing a guitar, and a dog on the property. You could tell though from the minute you walked in that they put their heart and soul into their wine and their product, and that's what made it so great. You might say they were the Joel Dahmen of wineries. Passionate about what they do and not incredibly flashy, but fun, as real as it gets, and also had some serious game with their vintages.
Don't get me wrong also, I'm not saying you totally avoid the more popular wineries. Just pick and choose carefully and don't be all cowboy about it. In addition to the hidden gem that was Lava Vine, two of the more popular wineries to visit in Napa, Far Niente and Schramsberg, were absolutely incredible and worth the price of admission. Which brings up another point. Some of these wineries, especially the more popular ones, ain't cheap when it comes to a tour. Which is just another reason you need to choose wisely when planning a trip to Napa. No one wants to pay a shit ton of money for a crappy experience. Although the wine does make up somewhat for that. It's a give and take relationship I guess.
Here's another tip. I don't care what the cost is. Hire a driver, and specifically one that knows the area and the best under the radar wineries to visit. You can thank me later for that one for obvious reasons. It will make your experience better and you won't have to worry about driving off into a ravine after your 5th wine tasting of the day. I know what your thinking...the answer is no this did not happen to me, but it very well could have and who knows where TJ would be right now if it had. We all know I carry the show right? Right. Ok moving on. Actually no, let's not move on. I think that's a good note to end on. That's all I got this week so cheers, happy drinking, and let's get into some fine plays for the Safeway Open.
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…
Shane Lowry - $10,200 – 95 Points
Lowry is back in the field this week after a missed cut and getting kicked out of the playoffs at the Northern Trust and he's easily one of my favorite plays of the week. Look folks, this field just isn't all that great, and let's not forget that Shane is still a recent major winner who's been in pretty decent form. The putter has absolutely let Lowry down in his last several starts, but Poa Annua greens are his best surface so they should be a welcome site when he tees it up at Silverado. He's also checking boxes in several of our favorite stats this week including scrambling (31st), Approach (15th), and par 5 scoring (4th). There is one potential downfall as we know Irishmen can drink, so let's just hope Shane gets that out of the way early in the week and leads us to some green screens on Sunday.
Cameron Davis - $8,900 – 92 Points
It was pretty much a love fest on the pod this week with a lot of agreement, and Cam Davis was the man crush of the week hands down. You don't really have dive that deep though to understand why. Davis has been in fantastic form finishing in the top 30 in his last 4 starts including two top 15 finishes. The sweet swinging Aussie has been a scoring machine during that time frame as well ranking in the top 10 in the field in all the scoring stats including Opportunities Gained, Birdie or Better percentage, and Par 5 scoring. He's also been fantastic off the tee ranking 13th in the field and his ball striking has been stellar (14). Ownership may be high on him but I'll eat that chalk all day long in my DraftKings tournament lineups.
The $10 Wine Special | Priced like a sutter home, plays like a caymus!
Taylor Gooch - $7,300 – 88 Points
Your Sommelier is letting the Gooch loose once again this week for the Safeway. Taylor's form was solid all last season having made 18/24 cuts and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. He's also another guy checking all 3 boxes in the scoring stats I'm looking and Poa is by far his best surface statistically. Like Cam Davis, I do think he'll be somewhat chalky, but if you need a solid lower end Cash play, Gooch should be the first guy you look at locking in your lineups.
Adam Schenk- $6,900 – 86 Points
I promise you folks, I am not recommending you play your local CPA this week. Adam Schenk is a real golfer and he's popping for me this week for the Safeway Open. We can start with the form as he has made 6 straight cuts. I would say that's pretty damn consistent for a guy under 7K on DraftKings. He's also finished well here before with a T14 just a couple years ago so he's got that going for him, which is nice. Throw in what should be extremely low ownership and I think we have us a great flyer ply that could win you all that GPP cash this week.
Pop the cork & let it breathe
Kevin Streelman $9,000 - 87 Points
For some reason I'm never a huge Streelman fan when it comes to PGA DFS, but this week I think he has a shot to be a overlooked and low owned play in your DraftKings tournament lineups. With current projections of about 5% ownership you're getting a ton of leverage with a guy who can return that value with a top 10 or even possibly a win this week. Streels has always been a tremendous iron player and while he's not known as a great putter, Poa is still statistically his best surface. He may not be a flashy guy on or off the course, but Streelman can score with the best of them as he ranks in the top 30 in the field in Opportunities Gained, Birdie or Better percentage, and Par 5 scoring. I think it's time we pop the cork on this fine bottle of wine that is Kevin Streelman and let him bring us home some cash this week.
boone's farm fade of the week
Si Woo Kim - $10,800 - 79 Points
I'll admit right away that this pick to fade Si Woo is personal because every damn time I play him I get screwed. So I'm DEFINITELY not playing him as the highest priced player in the field. I get it though, the form has been really good. He's knocking flag sticks down left and pretty much checks all the boxes in the stat categories I like. That said, Si Woo is one of the least consistent players on tour and his recent play is bound to change at some point. I'm betting that's this week. Especially on Poa greens where he ranks 112th in the field in putting. He also doesn't have the greatest history here with a T49 last year and a missed cut back in 2016. So here's to Si Woo shaking that ass to a trunk slam this week.