PGA Tour Fantasy Golf: The 2012 PGA Championship Preview

John Miller@SportsSomethingCorrespondent IIIAugust 7, 2012

Is this the week that Tiger Woods puts it all together and adds another major championship to his Hall of Fame resume?
Is this the week that Tiger Woods puts it all together and adds another major championship to his Hall of Fame resume?Andrew Redington/Getty Images

This week we are in Kiawah Island, South Carolina for the 94th PGA Championship, the final major of the 2012 season.

The tournament will be played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort. The winner will take home $1.445 million and 600 FedEx Cup Points. Keegan Bradley is the defending champion.

Remember, the PGA Championship more or less marks the beginning of the end for the 2012 season.

Sure the addition of the FedEx Cup Playoffs will keep some golfers playing into October. But who knows how many more times we will see Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy this year. The point is, don't hold anything back. Use your best players because the future is now.

You would think that something called the Ocean Course at a resort wouldn't be that difficult. Try exactly the opposite. This is one of the toughest tracks that the PGA will ever play on. Not to mention that the course will be playing at 7676, which is the longest EVER for a major championship.

The Ocean Course has it all. Strong, shifting winds, tons of sand and incredibly difficult greens. We are going to be looking for the best overall golfers here. Strong recent play is important as not many golfers will have much of a history here. Ball striking and scrambling will be very important. As per the usual, we like accurate golfers more than big hitters.

Yahoo! Weekly Lineup Game

Group A

Luke Donald (Starting)

Donald is currently the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world and he's coming off of a solid T8 finish last week. And a nice T5 finish at the U.S. Open in his event before that. No reason to shy away here.

There's lots to like about Donald. He ranks 18th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, 4th in strokes gained—putting, 15th in the all-around ranking and 12th in scrambling.

Matt Kuchar (Bench)

Kuchar has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four events. He's been one of the most consistent golfers on tour this season and he should shine on a difficult golf course.

Although he isn't extremely strong in many statistical categories, Kuchar is extremely well-rounded. On the PGA Tour, he ranks 30 in GIR (greens in regulation percentage), second in scoring average, eighth in the all-around ranking, 11th in sand save percentage, 33rd in ball striking and 13th in scrambling. All of these assets should serve him well this weekend.

Also worth using: Keegan Bradley, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Robert Garrigus, Zach Johnson, Nick Watney and Adam Scott

Group B

Tiger Woods (Starting)

I started Tiger last week and I thought he was gonna screw me over again. But I stuck with him and he wound up finishing a respectable T8. He's won two tournaments since the beginning of June and he has three top-eight finishes in his last four events.

Statistically speaking, Tiger is where it's at.

On the PGA Tour, he ranks 37th in driving distance, 36th in driving accuracy, 13th in GIR, 39th in strokes gained—putting, first in scoring average, fourth in total driving, ninth in the all-around ranking, fourth in ball striking and 14th in scrambling. Pretty impressive for a guy who isn't playing his best golf, right?

Bubba Watson (Starting)

Its funny, but I for some reason I felt that Watson hadn't been playing very good golf. Upon further review, outside of two consecutive missed cuts back in June, Watson has not finished worse than T23 in 2012. Pretty impressive, right? He's coming off of a solid T19 last weekend at Firestone.

Watson's power will be an asset on a course playing so long. Watson ranks first on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He also ranks first in GIR, 10th in scoring average, 27th in total driving, seventh in the all-around ranking and 10th in ball striking.

Rory McIlroy (Bench)

McIlroy started out 2012 playing lights-out golf, but he's struggled since May. Recently it seems that he's gotten his game back, as evidenced by a T5 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last weekend.

Distance off of the tee will be an asset here and McIlroy ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He also ranks fourth in scoring average and 12th in the all-around ranking.

Lee Westwood (Bench)

Westwood hasn't been playing great lately, at least by his standards. But there will be limited chances to use Westwood from here on out. So it makes sense to throw him on the bench in case this is the major where it finally all comes together for him.

Statistically, Westwood is a nice fit here. On the PGA Tour, he ranks 31st in driving distance, fourth in GIR, 23rd in scoring average, 14th in sand save percentage, 19th in total driving, sixth in the all-Around ranking and seventh in ball striking.

Also worth using:  Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Ernie Els and David Toms

Group C

Jason Dufner (Starting)

Dufner continued his excellent play last week with a sevnth place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. That was his fifth top-seven finish in his last seven events. That is very impressive, at least as far as I'm concerned. I'm starting Dufner in Group C until I'm out of starts or he stops playing so well.

Accuracy will help here, and Dufner is one of the most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour. He ranks 19th in driving accuracy and sixth in GIR. He also ranks fifth in scoring average, second in the all-around ranking, 21st in sand save percentage, second in ball striking and 20th in scrambling.

Louis Oosthuizen (Bench)

Oosthuizen has been very solid in his last two events, finishing fourth last weekend and T19 at the Open Championship. He finished second at the Masters, so if he can play Augusta that well, he should be able to handle Kiawah this weekend.

Distance off of the tee is also an asset for Oosthuizen where he ranks 28th on the PGA Tour. He also ranks 17th in scoring average, 33rd in total driving, 27th in the all-around ranking and 28th in ball striking.

Also worth using: Scott Piercy, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell

Picks for The Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge

Group One: Tiger Woods

Group Two: Louis Oosthuizen

Group Three: Robert Garrigus

Group Four: Brendon De Jonge

Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Full Season)

Here are my best remaining options: Keegan Bradley, Robert Garrigus, Nick Watney, Adam Scott, David Toms, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Scott Piercy.

That is a fair number good golfers. Whittling them down to just one is the real problem, as nobody really jumps out at me as the obvious pick. I'm going to start by eliminating Ernie Els. I just can't see lightning striking at two majors in the same season for him.

All of the remaining golfers have been playing well recently. So we need to dig further. Despite his strong play recently, I'm throwing David Toms out based on his poor distance off of the tee (ranks 183rd on tour) and poor putting (ranks 132nd in strokes gained—putting).

While we're on the putting factor, Nick Watney is out too. He ranks a disappointing 92nd in total driving and 142nd in strokes gained—putting.

Scott Piercy is next up on the chopping block. While he has distance off of the tee (12th in driving distance) he's about as accurate as I am (158th in driving accuracy). Plus he just doesn't have any track record of success in majors.

And despite his strong play since the U.S. Open, I'm eliminating Adam Scott. I'm just not sure if he's in a good mental place to go through the grind of contention in another major. It's just too soon after his Open Championship blow-up.

Then, down goes the defending champion. Partially because he's the defending champion AND he won last week at Firestone, it's just too much to expect another Keegan Bradley victory here. Not to mention he wasn't playing very well previous to last weekend.

It's really a toss-up between Robert Garrigus and Louis Oosthuizen. This might seem stupid, but because more people will be taking Louis Oosthuizen, I will take Robert Garrigus this week. Sometimes you need to zig when everybody else zags.

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, Ryan Palmer, Brendon de Jonge, Sean O'Hair, Padraig Harrington, Blake Adams, Brandt Snedeker, Tiger Woods & J.B. Holmes

Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Season 2)

You would think that this would be easier with so many more options available. But its not. Now I just have to choose between a bunch of high-end options.

Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner seem like the most logical suspects. I get the feeling that Kuchar and Dufner will both be useful in the upcoming weeks. So I'm going to choose between Luke Donald and Bubba Watson.

What to do? Do I go with the Power Guy (Watson) or the Putter Buy (Donald). Both will be important assets here. As tempted as I am by Watson's prodigious power here, I'm going to go with Luke Donald. He is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world for a reason and the rest of this game will make up for his relative shortcomings off of the tee.

Already Used: Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, Brendon de Jonge & Bo Van Pelt, Tiger Woods & J.B. Holmes

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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