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Fantasy Golf: Two Guys One Cup
Highlights: No, it's not the name of the next viral video of questionable taste. It's Mark Strausberg and Wade Alberty (Two Guys) talking about the Tour Championship, the final tournament for the FedEx Cup (One Cup.)
Mark: So Wade, you just got back from the BMW Championship, right? How was it? I'm sure you have some insight for our readers.
Wade: Of course I do. Are we doing our Tour Championship draft? I'll save my insight for after we've made our picks. While the FedEx Cup might as well be sitting on the fireplace mantle in Vijay Singh's house, there is still one more tournament left beforehand. Camilo Villegas still has an outside shot at stealing the cup away. For the most part though, the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA, will just be a "regular" tournament, but limited to the top 30 golfers from this season.
Mark: Okay, enough background, first pick is yours...
Wade: While I am not a Camilo Villegas fan, I'll make him the first pick. I know you like him enough--you rode Villegas to first place overall in the CBS Sportsline fantasy golf game last week. He really showed me something at the BMW. That was the first tournament where he went into the final round leading the field. I figured he would crack under the pressure, but Villegas played some brilliant golf and made some terrific shots at key times. I look for him to ride the wave of his first tour win into the Tour Championship.
Mark: Great pick, but Villegas may suffer from the victory "hangover" effect. As I often say, you don't usually win because of your first pick, but you can lose because of it. So, I'll go with the safe choice of K.J. Choi. He would have been hard pressed to duplicate 2007, but Choi still has four Top 10s, 11 Top 25s, and a tournament victory this year. Plus, he's playing extremely well right now. He might or might not win it, but "dollars-to-donuts" says he is more likely to be in the top five than at the bottom of the ranks.
Wade: I have to agree with you Mark; Choi looks poised to win. He finished strong at the BMW, and I think that success will carry over. So, who are you taking with your wraparound pick?
Mark: Anthony Kim. He's had a great year and is still playing well. If he's not careful, the Tiger Woods comparisons might start.
Wade: Mark...go ahead...steal my man crush! I have been singing Kim's praises all season long, and after he finished in the final group at the BMW, my love for him has only grown stronger. If he can finish off this season with a win, watch out in 2009!
Mark: Yup. So, who are you going to steal from me?
Wade: My next selection is Jim Furyk. As I watched Furyk at the BMW on Sunday, he seemed to be fighting with his swing, but he still put up a good fight. Based on his performance at the BMW, I know the guy is playing some good golf. If he gets the gremlins out of his swing before the Cup, I think he could leave the field in the dust.
Mark: (no response)
Wade: Mark, you still there? What's going on?
[Editors Note: We later learned that Mark jumped up from his chair and started destroying all furniture in sight in an expletive-laden tirade]
Mark: Sorry. Just doing some rearranging here. Yes, that would've been my pick. I still can't believe Jim Furyk hasn't won a tournament this year. The reason? He was ranked 124th in putting this year. However, he was second in putting for the week at the BMW. He finished T-11 at East Lake last year but was 2nd here in 2006. I think he gets off the schneid this week and wins his first tournament of the year. So, you leftist, who else are you gonna steal from me?
Wade: That's lefty, not leftist. No need to get surly. Maybe my "feel good" pick will also make you feel better. I have to say... I was rooting for a couple guys to falter at the BMW so Chad Campbell could make it to the Tour Championship. He had to withdraw after the first round to be with his wife, who was about to give birth. Campbell was 14th in the FedEx Cup standings when he took his WD and received zero FedEx Cup points for the tourney. He put his family first, and in the end, he was rewarded with a new baby and the final spot for the Tour Championship. A victory at East Lake would warm the cockles of my heart.
Mark: As a family man myself, I couldn't agree more. So, I've now got two more picks, right? You know how much I love to go "off the board" with some sleepers. I originally wasn't going to choose the first player who I'm about to take, but the more research I did, the more I liked him. Look at the four Top 10s posted by Ben Curtis: T-2 at Wachovia, where he finished ahead of Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Singh, and Sergio Garcia. He just happens to be chasing all of those players here. Even if the PGA is fourth among the four majors, a T-2 in a major is still a T-2 in a major. He also tied for fourth at the Barclays, a tourney that is recent and a playoff field as well. A T-7 at the British Open is always impressive, especially with the often-brutal conditions. Remember, he did win the British Open two years ago, so it is not like he can't handle pressure. If Curtis can get to the greens in regulation (he's only 126th in driving distance), he's 17th in total putting, so he should be very high on the leaderboard at The Tour Championship.
Wade: Hmmm. Interesting. And your last pick?
Mark: Okay, no one from this field is really a bad pick. I'll go with the 29th guy in the Fed Ex standings: Bubba Watson. He probably won't win, but Watson loves playing in these Southern tournaments. His length off the tee is perfect for the 7,154 yard course. Here's a little tidbit - the last non-TPC major tournament played at East Lake was in 2001, which was the 101st US Amateur Championship. That tourney happened to be won by a guy named Bubba (Dickerson).
Wade: Sure, whatever you need to justify your picks, Mark! For my last selection, I take Steve Stricker, another one of my man crushes. After a strong start to the season, Stricker went on to miss five cuts in six tournaments. Since that time, he has started playing more consistent golf and looks like he is on the verge of playing some great golf. Okay, so we know who we like. Let's talk about who we don't want on our teams, guys who will probably disappoint.
Mark: Billy Mayfair. I've actually chosen Mayfair to do well a few times this year. He won the Tour Championship in 1995 (albeit at Southern Hills), and Mayfair is ninth in two of my favorite stats: driving accuracy and GIR. But as the saying goes, you drive for show, putt for dough. Mayfair is 182nd in putting average. That will not get it done in this tournament.
I don't see Mayfair being a popular pick. Stewart Cink, however, might be a popular pick to round out a roster. Yes, he had a great year, but his best finish since the Travelers (in late June) was a T-33. I'm staying away.
Wade: At least Mayfair and Stewart have experience at this level. Andres Romero, however, appeared to be in over his head at the BMW Championship. He's played some good golf this season, but this won't be his time to shine. As mentioned, I had the pleasure of attending the BMW Championship, where I watched Stuart Appleby scramble for a double bogey on Saturday. He was not striking the ball well, and I'm not confident in him getting his swing back in time for the Tour Championship.
Mark: I definitely agree about Appleby. I just can't hitch my wagon to a guy who is 142nd in GIR. Any last thoughts? Make like Villegas and finish strong, my friend!
Wade: This is a bit of a tricky tournament to predict. The three weeks between FedEx cup events could play tricks on some guys, while giving others a chance to recuperate. Regardless, whenever you get the top 30 together for an event like this, some great golf will ensue.
Wade "Southpaw" Alberty is a lifetime golfer. He's worked in the golf industry and played intercollegiate golf. He can help you set your weekly lineup, fix your swing, tweak your short game, and decide what clubs to buy. You can find more of his work in the RotoExperts.com baseball section. You can also find him hacking up the links in St. Louis or watching his Cardinals. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Drop Wade a note at Southpaw@RotoExperts.com
Mark Strausberg once shot a 68...on nine holes! But he's a lot better at predicting golf than he is at playing it. If you want more of his predictions, email him at email@example.com.