PGA Fantasy Golf: Previewing the Greenbrier Classic

John MillerCorrespondent IIIJuly 3, 2012

After winning last week, can Tiger Woods string together two straight victories?
After winning last week, can Tiger Woods string together two straight victories?Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

This week we are at The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic. Scott Stallings is the defending champion. The winner will take home $1,080,000 and 500 FedEx Cup Points.

The Old White TPC is not an easy track. It ranked as the 13th most difficult course (out of 51 courses) on the PGA Tour in 2011. It has hosted the Greenbrier Classic here since 2010.

On this course, we are going to pay particular attention to putting and hitting greens in regulation (GIR). Good scrambling ability and all-around play will also be assets here. I generally don't seek out players who excel in driving distance, but if they are long and accurate, they could have a leg-up here.


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Group A

Webb Simpson (Starting)

If using Simpson here surprises you, you haven't been paying enough attention to golf in the past two weeks. Simpson followed up his U.S. Open victory three weeks ago with a solid T29 two weeks ago at the Traveler's Championship. He finished T9 here last season.

Simpson hits a ton of greens, as he ranks 12th on the PGA Tour in GIR. He also ranks 28th in putting (Strokes Gained, Putting). I would expect Webb to find himself in contention on Sunday with an excellent shot to win the event.

Jim Furyk (Bench)

I went with Furyk last week and he let me down. But he did finish strong on Sunday, winding up with a T34 finish. He has been playing excellent golf in 2012, especially recently. Even counting last week, Furyk has only finished outside of the top 25 twice in his last ten events. Furyk finished T9 here in 2010.

Even after struggling a bit last week, Furyk remains one of the most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour, as well as one of the better putters. He ranks fifth in driving accuracy, 30th in GIR and 23rd in putting. He also ranks a very strong fifth in scrambling.

Also worth using: Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson


Group B

Tiger Woods (Starting)

Tiger's (somewhat) limited PGA Tour schedule is an advantage in this format, in that I still can use Tiger almost whenever I want. Given that he is coming off of a victory last week and he's playing excellent golf, he's in my starting lineup until he gives me a reason to remove him.

For the record, Tiger ranks 34th on the PGA Tour in driving distance, 46th in driving accuracy, 10th in GIR, 14th in putting and 17th in scrambling. Those numbers make him a fit on any golf course. He has not played this event here before.

Brendon de Jonge (Starting)

He was playing excellent golf through three rounds last week before faltering with a final round 77. But De Jonge's last two finishes were T11 and T8, so he is playing consistently good golf. More importantly, he has an excellent history here. He finished T4 in 2011 and third in 2010.

Statistically speaking, De Jonge is not a great fit here, but he does rank an impressive 18th in GIR and a respectable 73rd in putting. There is some blow-up potential with De Jonge, but that's what your bench players are for.

John Rollins (Bench)

Rollins has been inconsistent so far in 2012, but he is coming off of a strong T4 finish last week at the Travelers Championship. Previous to that, he had three top 25 finishes in his last three events.

He is also an excellent statistical fit for this golf course. He ranks 30th in driving distance, 27th in driving accuracy and 20th in GIR. Again, there is blow-up potential here, but there's also a ton of upside.

Dustin Johnson (Bench)

After missing the cut at the U.S. Open three weeks ago, Johnson recorded a somewhat shaky T44 at the Travelers Championship. But before that, Johnson had finished T19 and first in his previous two events. He has not played this event here before.

His overall accuracy issues prevent me from starting Johnson here. But he does rank an impressive 12th on the PGA Tour in driving distance and 24th in scrambling. He is also a respectable 52nd in putting.

Also worth using: Brian Davis, Charley Hoffman and Brent Snedeker


Group C

Seung-yul Noh (Starting)

Noh has been playing excellent golf for several weeks. His last three finishes were: T7, T18 and T4. He doesn't have a history here, but he's golfing as well as anybody else in Group C right now.

He ranks 19th on the PGA Tour in driving distance and a respectable 43rd in GIR. While not a great putter, he ranks 61st on tour in putting.

Ben Curtis (Bench)

I was hoping for big things from Curtis last week, but he wound up finishing T34. Previous to that, Curtis had finished in the top 13 in four of his previous five events. He finished T32 here last year.

Curtis is one of the most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour along with being one of the best putters. He ranks second in driving accuracy, 6th in GIR and first in putting.

Also worth using: John Huh


Picks for The Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge

Group One: Tiger Woods

Group Two: Brendon de Jonge

Group Three: Ken Duke

Group Four: Gary Christian


Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Full Season)

Normally, I would try to choose from a ton of golfers here, but two jump right out at me this week: Webb Simpson and Brandon de Jonge.

But it gets even easier. I'm sure that I can use Webb Simpson elsewhere, while this is De Jonge's "best" course on tour. So I won't find a better week to use him.

I'm going with Brendon de Jonge this week.

Already Used: Bryce Molder, Steve Marino, Bill Haas, D.A. Points, Martin Laird, Hunter Mahan, K.J. Choi, Rory McIlroy, Jarrod Lyle, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, John Senden, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Bo Van Pelt, Fredrik Jacobson, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Ben Curtis, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Moore and Ryan Palmer.


Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Season 2)

With the new season just having begun last week, we have plenty of options to choose from. But the (relatively) small purse here will prevent me from using Tiger or one of the very top options.

But, on the other hand, in a short-season format you don't need to dig deep very often. So just going with Brendon de Jonge here would be a bit short-sighted. So, if I'm not going to use Tiger, I should at least consider Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson.

Both are golfers that I'm sure I can use later in the season. But I need to use somebody here as well. Given his strong play recently and excellent fit on this course, I'm going with Webb Simpson this week.

Already Used: Jim Furyk


Good luck to all this week. If you have any comments or questions, please use the comments feature or reach out to me on Twitter.

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