Greetings golf enthusiast and welcome back to this weeks edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the Waste Management Open in beautiful Scottsdale Arizona. They don’t call this tournament the People’s Open for nothing either as it is one of the more unique events all year where pretty much all the typical reverence associated with golf is thrown out the window and we get a full on party atmosphere. Especially on the Par 3 16th which basically has a stadium built around it. DB may call me the “old guy” and sometimes portray me as your typical old fashioned, conservative golf guy on the show, but if you know me, that’s not necessarily the case. I’m always up for a good party and I LOVE that about this tournament. I think it’s great for the game and while I wouldn’t want it like this for the Masters, I’m all in this week.
With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to talk about parties and wine in the FGS this week. So what do I mean by that? Well, let’s use this week’s Super Bowl Sunday as a prime example. There’s a good chance you’re either going to host or attend some sort of gathering to watch the big game, and if there’s wine involved, you don’t want to fuck it up either as a host or attendee. That pretty much goes for any party for that matter. Let’s start with the attendee side of things. When you’re at your next event and you decide you’re gonna class it up and start with some wine instead of downing 8 vodka drinks or a case of Naty Lights, here’s a helpful hint, don’t drink wine the same way you would those vodka drinks or the beer. Red or White, I don’t care, you gotta sip that shit. Trust me on this, I have a ton of experience and have run multiple tests that prove sipping is the way to go. Unless you want to end up passed out in the bushes somewhere, your significant other pissed off at you, a pounding headache and tons of mental jewelry hanging all over you the next day, then heed this advice for your own good. You’re welcome.
Switching over to the host role, this is a spot you simply just have to get right if you’re going to want people coming back to you’re next little shindig. First off, don’t get all fancy and act like you’re some wine aficionado who knows more than everyone else there about wine. Nobody likes that guy. Especially if you then serve up some crap like Sutter Home or Barefoot Chardonnay barely chilled and in plastic cups. Now, please don’t be mistaken. I’m not for one minute saying you can’t keep it somewhat classy and yet not break the bank on expensive wine just to make you look good. As a matter of fact, I think the key to hosting a good party where wine is involved is serving up 2 whites like a good $15-20 bottle of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, and then throw in a Pinot Noir or Cab along side it. That’s it. Keep it simple and with wines people have actually heard of. There’s one other option as well, just throw all bets out the window and make it BYOB. Then who gives a shit if Todd and Diane want to sip on there $75 bottle Merlot and snicker at all of us peasants. That’s there problem. Alright folks! That’s all I got this week. I know this has been a riveting article with incredible insight so please don’t feel like you owe me anything. Just raise a toast to me the next time you have a SIP of wine at your next gathering.
So with that, let’s dive in to the Waste Management 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 stumble on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…
Justin Thomas – $11,200 – 98 Points – I’ve been on record on the pod since the beginning of the year with the belief that JT will be the player of the year and could win multiple majors. Now, that’s certainly not earth shattering news or anything, but with the resurgence of Tiger who’s probably the odds on favorite, it’s just to show how much conviction I have on what we’re gonna see from JT in 2020. He’s already started off with a bang winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions and despite missing the cut at the Sony (which I think he was just gassed that week anyway), I’m looking for a huge bounce back this week on a course he can dominate on. Thomas is ranked in the top 15 in the field in all my key stats this week including Ball Striking (2nd), Strokes Gained off the Tee (11th), and Strokes Gained Approach (1st). I think bombers also will have another huge advantage this week and JT’s no slouch in that department either (10th in the field). As far as I’m concerned he’s a lock in your DraftKings tournament and cash lineups this week.
Bubba Watson – $9,000 – 94 Points – Yep, I’m doing it folks. I will actually play Bubba this week even though he does scare the crap out of me. We aren’t just here to give you all the safe and less risky plays here in the FGS. Nope, sometimes you gotta select that bold Cab again that can be hit or miss but oh when it hits, it’s heavenly! Bubba has been playing well lately coming off a solid T6 finish at the Farmers Insurance last week. He’s got some pretty good history on this course as well with 3 top 15 finishes in his last 5 starts including a 2nd place finish behind Koepka in 2015 and a T4 last year. I like what I saw last week also with his ball striking as he ranked 3rd and also gained over 8 strokes tee to green. I think these greens will putt similar to bent this week, fast and firm and we all know throughout his history that he is very comfortable in those conditions. So take a deep breath of that bold Cab and hang on for the ride on the Bubba train 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.
Charley Hoffman – $7,400 – 92 Points – First let me say this on the Hoff, no, I am not just trying to stay on brand here and say that because he’s sponsored by Waste Management that will somehow magically make him perform well this week. BUT, he does have a great history here for a guy priced this low having made 5 straight cuts since 2015 with 3 straight finishes inside the top 25. If we can just get another made cut and a decent finished then you’ve pretty much accomplished what you’re gonna need from ole Charley this week. He’s also in good form coming off a top 10 last week and while he definitely won’t check a lot of boxes in the key stats (he hardly ever does), Hoffman is putting extremely well lately (gained 4.5 strokes on the field last week) and will definitely be low owned as he hasn’t garnered more than 2% ownership in his last 5 starts.
The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!
Tom Hoge – $7,400 – 88 Points – It’s not often that you’re gonna see Hoge pop but here we are and I think he presents a great opportunity to outperform value this week especially in your tournament lineups. The form has definitely been there also as he has top 15 finishes in his last 3 events including a solo 5th last week at the Farmers and a T6 the week before at The AmEx. He’s checking stat boxes as well this week ranking 11th in the field in Ball Striking, 5th in Strokes Gained Approach, and 18th in Proximity. Side note, Tom’s brother Charles has also followed and supported us for a long time so we’re hoping for a big week in the Hoge family. Bome.
Harry Higgs – $6,900 – 89 Points – While he’s a relative newcomer, Higgs has played extremely well since graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour in the fall making 7 of 11 cuts including a 2nd place finish in Bermuda and a very impressive top 10 last week in a stacked field. Harry won’t necessarily wow you with his distance, but he’s a fantastic ball striker and also checks in top 10 in the field in Proximity which has shown to be a stat you want to fare well in this week on these large greens. We’ll see a slight bump in ownership on him this week as he was less than 1% owned at the Farmers, but I still expect nothing more that 5% making him a great low end tournament option on DraftKings.
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 – $9,400 – 76 Points – About the only thing positive I can say about Kuch this week is I do actually think he’ll be relatively low owned (currently projected around 10%), but I’m still gonna fade him regardless. He’s coming off a missed cuts at his last two full field events (Sony and RSM), and despite good course history, I just don’t like where the game is at statistically. Kuch is currently 109th in the field in Ball Striking, 116th in Strokes Gained off the Tee, 75th in Strokes Gained Approach, and 123rd in Driving Distance. That’s just no bueno for me and I’ll pass on the penny pincher until he starts showing a little more form.