With the US Open now clear, the road to the FedExCup Playoffs is devoid of stoplights.
There is one open tournament every week from the Travelers Championship to the Wyndham Championship. In all, there are nine tournaments remaining in seven weeks, but the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship will have unique courses closed to many PGA TOUR players. The Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship serve as concurrent contests, respectively.
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This is not insignificant just for golfers. For those of us involved in full-season formats, we’ll take advantage of the game time that has eluded add-ons from our list in the last month especially. Consider yourself again at full strength for the duration. No weeks off! At least in theory.
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, your roster building and long-term strategy should include the Scottish-Open Championship double in July. Both will feature as wild cards for different reasons, so take each one as it comes. There is no urgency in charting starts for either as there already are for the Playoff events and quadrupled bonus points that anchor Segment 4 and the 2021-22 season.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Denny McCarthy (+250 for a Top 20) … Crashes with a T5 (Memorial) and a T7 (US Open) are the closest objects in the rearview mirror. Though he’s in his fifth straight season on the PGA TOUR, he hasn’t made as deep an impression on the competition thus far. This means that the 29-year-old’s career promises that he will post his personal best at TPC River Highlands. Honestly, it shouldn’t be that hard either. In four previous attempts he has cashed just twice, the best for a T47 in 2018.
tommy floats (+200 for a Top 20) … One down, two left. With Matt Fitzpatrick breaking through, that leaves Will Zalatoris (see NOTABLE WDS below) and Fleetwood as arguably the best without a PGA TOUR victory. Fleetwood didn’t make the cut last week, but he’s been a gem throughout this season, so he’s within arm’s reach in every format at TPC River Highlands. In his only previous trip, he finished T13 in 2019.
Kevin Streelman (+400 for a Top 20) …Despite judgment betrayed over and over again with the guy, I am leaning on a plethora of positive results at TPC River Highlands. Naturally, it includes his historic victory in 2014 when he prevailed by one by walking away with seven straight birdies, but it was only two years ago that he finished second alone. He has a total of five top-10 finishes and hasn’t missed an edition since arriving on the PGA TOUR in 2008. Just resist investigating his form upon arrival, or if you do, brush him aside as an influence.
Harold Varner III (+200 for a Top 20) … Forgive and forget the stumble at the US Open. Loyal readers know that I’ve always said to ignore failure on the biggest stages. Now it is our job to exploit it for our benefit. He has been a force otherwise for three months, in part because he has been worth the scoring opportunities he has generated. Also 3 of 3 at TPC River Highlands as of 2019.
mackenzie hughes (+400 for a Top 20) …He’s sneaked up on Kryptonite this year, but this should be a doddle. With improved form in his last three starts, including a T24 at the US Open, he is 5-for-5 at TPC River Highlands, where he posted a T3 (2020) and a T17 (2017).
Webb Simpson (+240 for a Top 20) … But hardly. Giving him the benefit of the doubt based on comfort and success in this tournament. A second-round 77 in his last appearance of 2018 blew what would have been his ninth payday in as many trips. It was his first score of worse than par in the first two rounds in any appearance. He’s still struggling to complete four rounds since his neck injury, but he hasn’t done himself any favors by showing up on tough tracks; rather, the timing of his return aligned with the most challenging stretch of the schedule. However, TPC River Highlands is the kind of setting where you can find his game.
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Harris English… There has been no shortage of celebration and drama since the start of the 2019-20 season, though there has been plenty more of the former. Still, it was only three weeks ago that he was back on the ropes after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in February. He, too, wasted no time jumping to the deep end, with starts at Muirfield Village (MC) and The Country Club (T61). In that sense, it seems so much more than just a year ago that he survived the lengthy playoff to prevail at TPC River Highlands. If you’re a long-term investor, you can at least exhale and embrace the game time, but weekly players are advised to let their opponent explore the possibilities.
Brooks Koepka… Anyone else play Whac-A-Mole with him? I have to think even course history buffs are holding their breath at TPC River Highlands, where he’s 5-for-5 with a couple of top-10s and a T19.
Kramer Hickok… He set the tone with a starting 63 last year, but he was 139th in the FedExCup coming in, so paying him to get into the playoffs came out of nowhere. Today, he is ranked 120th in the FedExCup and with only three top 25 finishes since the call closed. In his last nine starts, he has missed six cuts and hasn’t hit a single top 60.
Tony Finau… It’s not that he can’t contend, it’s that TPC River Highlands has been his biggest challenge. After opening his career with a trio of top 25 finishes here, he has missed each of the last three cuts. There’s a lot more overlap in that than the trend suggests, but you can’t claim the same kind of recent drought in any other tournament, including THE PLAYERS and the majors.
Keith Mitchell… Coming in as a trap coming off a flurry of T18-T7s to open the month, but is only 1 for 3 with a T56 (2018) at TPC River Highlands. He has also dispersed his loudest performances over time. The conservative in me advises abstaining.
RETURN TO THE COMPETITION
Chad Ramey… The rookie quit after one round at Memorial with a sore back. Since his big win at Corales in late March, he is 4-for-8 with just two top-40 finishes, neither of which are top-20 finishes.
Andrew Landry… Has been sidelined for three months trying to recover from impingements on both shoulders. He has cashed only twice in 10 starts this season, but both were in the top 10, making him 151st in the FedExCup. Even if he’s fully healthy, he’s doing better completing the deepest full-season rosters and as a starter for aggressive DFSers, just not this week.
Will Zalatoris… His tournament debut will have to wait. Addition by subtraction is that PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf players don’t need to worry about burning another opening on the heels of their co-runner-up at the US Open.
Russell Henley… Has limited his playing time the last six weeks to just majors. He is currently 39th in the FedExCup and exempt from the Open Championship, so he has earned a chance to rest. Still, it’s surprising that he’s staying out of the Travelers. In five appearances, he came up for a T6 and two other top-20 finishes.
Erik van Rooyen… Just 1 of 6 since the Masters and now 127 at the FedExCup. He endured a similar rough patch at this time last year until his daughter was born. The new father burst into tears. In this results-driven quest of ours, it can be hard to keep your patience in full-season formats, but you have to do what you have to do.
Patrick Rodgers… This will be his first week off in the last five. He sat just two shots shy of the 36-hole lead at the US Open, then faded to finish T31. A solid season overall has him in 75th place in the FedExCup, so he will return to the Playoffs.
SUMMARY – US Open
Golfer Result Power Ranking
1 Justin Thomas T37
2 Rory McIlroy T5
3 Scottie Scheffler S2
4 Sam Burns T27
5 Jon Rahm S12
6 Xander Schauffele S14
7 Shane Lowry MC
8 Jordan Spieth T37
9 Matt Fitzpatrick Wins
10 Cameron SmithMC
11 Patrick Cantlay S14
12 max Home T47
13 Colin Morikawa S5
14 Tony Finau MC
15 Will Zalatoris S2
16 Joaquin Niemann T47
17 Corey ConnersMC
18 Daniel Berger CM
19 Billy Horschel MC
20 Hideki Matsuyama 4th
Wildcard Brooks Koepka 55.
Golfer Result (bet)
MJ Daffue (+1000 for a Top 20) S31
Harry Hall (+1200 for a Top 20) MC
Víctor Pérez (+650 for a Top 20) MC
Seamus Power (+260 for a Top 20) S12
Scott Stallings (+600 for a Top 20) MC
Bet: Talor Gooch, Keegan Bradley, Davis Riley and Brian Harman – Make the cut (+500)
Result: MC, T7, T31, T43
BIRTHDAYS BETWEEN ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
June 21…Matt Kuchar (44); William McGirt (43); Russell Knox (37); Sangmoon Bae (36); Wise Aaron (26); Scottie Scheffler (26)
June 25… John Rollins (47)