Greetings fine golf enthusiasts and welcome to year two of The Fantasy Golf Sommelier. This article received rave review by no less than 5 people on Twitter last year so I’m thrilled to be able to bring it back for year two. First off though, let’s have a quick refresher on the goal, or mission you might say, of your Fantasy Golf Sommelier (FGS). I’m here to help guide you thru the earthy, melon like, oaky, with a slight hint of Bermuda grass twists and turns of each and every golf tournament this season with not only my favorite plays of the week, but also to drop a little wine knowledge along the way. Please do not take this too seriously though, I am NOT a real Sommelier (shocking, I know). Real Sommeliers’ go thru extensive training to learn just about every detail you can possibly imagine about wine. It’s a title that only a few can achieve, and I respect that, so to that end, if you are a fairy and want to defend Sommelier rights across the world, this article isn’t for you. That being said, what is this article? Why am I writing it? What the hell does fantasy golf have to do with wine? Well, actually I think you can make a fun and interesting correlation between the touting of players, and the process of selecting a wine, that could turn out to be as I like to say, “Great Fantastic”, or shitty. Wine, as they say, is an acquired taste, it’s also something varies in taste, consistency, color, and region amongst many other things. Wine is also just so variable in terms of the palate. Not everyone likes the same thing and that’s the beauty of if it. Doesn’t that also remind you of the way professional golf is and particularly fantasy golf? Week in and week out we never know what we’re going to get, golf is the most variable fantasy sport hands down. Just look at the courses themselves, you have short courses, you have long courses, courses with a ton of hazards, lots of trees, no trees, and countless other varying factors. Then there are the players, you have guys that can bomb it, ball strikers, great putters, accurate drivers, short game specialists, wind specialists, and pretty much anything else you could possibly think of. We can look at almost any stat possible, throw in some recent form and course history, but that’s not going to change the fact that James Hahn can miss 8 cuts in a row and then win the freaking Wells Fargo in a star studded field. And I LOVE that about golf and especially DFS golf.
“I’ve been waiting for this weather for 40 years. These pampered fucks need to play, two more holes and we can get a Mai Tai.”
– Patrick Cantlay
So with that let’s get into some wine talk and especially wine and the islands of Hawaii. As the esteemed Patrick Cantlay refers to in the quote above, Mai Tai’s are definitely the drink you think of in Hawaii, and it’s not exactly a place you think of when it comes to any sort of production of fine wine, but there is definitely a deep rooted culture of wine woven into the islands of Hawaii. As a matter of fact, and speaking of sommeliers, there was an article in Wine Enthusiast written just this past fall that mentions of the first 10 Americans to pass the Master Sommelier examination, five called Hawaii home at some point, and they were the ones that established an enduring wine culture across the islands since the 1970’s. I think part of that is probably because of the well known love of great food in the islands, and anywhere you find lovers of food, you’re going to find lovers of wine as well. One of the things I’m always interested in, and you’ll find I write quite often about in the FGS, is local wines in all the many places these guys travel to on tour every week. Well being in Hawaii, the first thing I wondered is do they make Pineapple wine, and sure enough, they do. Now I’ve never tasted any pineapple wine before, but apparently it’s quite good, and as you can imagine, very refreshing. Another thought that popped in my mind when thinking of Hawaii and wine was volcanoes and what those regions with their volcanic soil could produce in terms of great wine. It turns out, volcanic soil wines are definitely a thing and some of the greatest wines in the world are produced in those regions, especially in Italy and the surrounding areas of the famous Mount Vesuvius. I’ve yet to get my hands on either a pineapple wine or one from a volcanic region, but they are definitely on the list now and I can’t wait to try them. Actually, I could probably do without pineapple wine in my life, a dude drinking that just has sort of a douchebag feel to it (yes people, I know I drink Rose’ but this is different damnit). I could definitely get on board with some Volcano wine though. Just had a quick golf synapse fire by the way, if I were to equate a pineapple wine to a golfer it would definitely be Bryson Dechambeau. He seems like a pineapple wine kind of dude, and I’m pretty sure Jon Rahm is without a doubt a lover of volcano wines. So with that, let’s dive in to the Sony Open 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 amble on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Colin Morikawa – $10,300 – 98 Points – Get used to it folks because you’re going to be hearing this kids name a ton all year long. Colin didn’t have quite as much hype as Wolff and Holland had coming out of college and into the pro ranks, but all he’s done is make EVERY cut in the 13 events he’s played as a pro. The kid is a stud and I think has the best all around game off all the new pups on tour this year. I mentioned this also on the pod, but his game pretty much translates well on any course regardless of length, layout, or grass surface and he will prove that this week at Waialae Country Club this week. I’ve mentioned the form, but Colin is checking the stat boxes also ranking 2nd in the field in Ball Striking, 1st in Strokes Gained Approach, and top 25 in Driving Accuracy which are all in my top stat categories I’m looking at this week. I’ll be loading up on him in Cash or GPP’s this week in your DraftKings lineups.
Charles Howell III – $9,100 – 94 Points – The PGA Tour ATM is back at it this week on a course he typically fares very well at regardless of any stat you want to throw out there. As a matter of fact, there’s not a single box CH3 checks this week other than scrambling that would put you on him, but all he’s done is consistently play this course extremely well with 3 top 15 finishes in his last 4 starts. There’s nothing flashy about him but Charles gets it done almost every week, especially on the west coast, and I’m expecting another fantastic week from him once again at the Sony.
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.
Brian Harman $8200 – 92 Points – I gotta say, how the fuck did I miss this guy and not even utter his name on the podcast. This course is absolutely tailor made for Harman I’m praying to the fantasy gods he’s super low owned and over looked this week. I’m not a big stat “model” guy, but if you plug in all my favorite stats on FantasyNational.com, Brian freakin Harman is literally numero uno over the last 36 rounds. Yep, that’s right. He’s top 10 in Ball Striking, Top 15 in Strokes Gained Approach, 9th in Proximity, and top 25 in Driving Accuracy. Harman has also sneaked up on some good form with 4 finishes inside the top 20 this past fall and has done quite well at Waialae CC with 4 finishes inside the top 20 over his last 5 starts. I’m pretty sure there’s not a whole lot of players in the field that could equal that. Yes I know, all you TJ haters will say I’m just touting another Georgia Bulldog, but there’s no denying that Harman is a perfect fit for this course and primed and ready for a great week. I’m so confident in this dude that if you win even so much as your friends league on DraftKings with him in your lineup, send me a screenshot and I’ll send out some free TJ swag. Bome.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Vaughn Taylor – $7,400 – 89 Points – I’m beginning to think of VT as Charles Howell light because not only are they both born and raised in Augusta and have been on tour for years, but they both just show up week in and week out and collect cash. Vaughn is definitely not a guy that sparks a ton of excitement when your constructing your lineups, but this is a great course setup for him and he’s been playing great lately with a top 10 at the RSM and a 2nd in Mayakoba just the week before. VT is also checking boxes as well ranking 12th in Fairways Gained, 5th in Proximity, and 32nd in Scrambling. Again, I know your not doing back flips when you click that plus sign to lock him in your DraftKings lineups, but Taylor has great value this week and should be a fantastic play.
Henrik Norlander – $6,700 – 88 Points – There’s a lot of talk about the young guns and Korn Ferry Tour graduates who could surprise this year, but of those graduates, Henrik is flying a little under the radar despite a lot of experience on the big tour in the past. He’s actually played here twice with a top 20 in 2017 and a missed cut his first time playing in 2016. That being said the course is one that should setup well for him as he is a great ball striker, and was ranked 4th on the KF Tour last year in both Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation. Henrik is also a guy that typically is very steady on the course who’s able to avoid the big numbers and can definitely score. There are several guys in this range I think you can fit in to your DraftKings tournament lineups but Henrik is the my favorite and I’ll be locking him in to several 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).
Hideki Matsuyama – $10,500 – 74 Points – Ok so since this is the first FGS article of the year, let’s go ahead and get one thing straight, A fade in regards to this article is going to be a bold call on a guy that will definitely garner some ownership and is typically highly regarded heading into the week. I’m just not going to write up Zac Blair or some schmuck as my fade and then gloat about it the next week. It’s going to be a BOLD call but I’ll back it up and you can take it or leave it. This week I’m going with Hideki who’s obviously a world class player but I think he will underwhelm this week and just typically hasn’t fared all that well on this course with finishes of 51st, 27th, and 78th in his last 3 starts at Waialae. As far as stats are concerned Hideki definitely checks the box in several categories, but he’s 73d in Driving Accuracy and 106th in Strokes Gained Putting on Bermuda over his last 100 rounds. Not great for me when it comes to playing a guy in the over 10K range on DraftKings. I could easily be wrong but I’ll chug a bottle of Boone’s Farm if Hideki returns value this week at the Sony.