Fantasy games aren’t solely the province of football and baseball fans.
Golf lends itself as a warm-weather alternative for all of you numerologists (if you read Golfweek starting in the Scoreboard section, raise your hand and proceed).
To help you get started in 2010, Lance Ringler and Alex Miceli will give you some of their favorite games, relevant numbers and personal picks.
GAMES TO PLAY: Fun formats
Pick a winner
How it works: You might know it as “one and done.” It’s one of the easiest fantasy games to manage. Pick one golfer each week and track the player’s earnings. That’s your total score for that week’s game. You can only use a player once. Select a different golfer each week and keep up with your cumulative earnings.
Double down: Add to the game with a Pick Two or Pick Three pool. Same basic game, but count the best golfer of the two (or three). Each succeeding week, pick different players. In the case of a tie between golfers, use the golfer with a better final-round score.
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Select a team by tier
How it works: This is the Old Tom Morris of the fantasy genre. Sure, Old Tom is oh-so-19th century, but this game has some street cred to it, too: It’s simple to follow. Divide players into groups for each tour that you want to follow (Tiger is in a league of his own, so your fantasy members can armwrestle for him). The top 12 money earners are one group, the next 12 a second group, etc. Pick one or two golfers from each group to make your team. Each golfer’s official money totals add to aggregate score for the week.
Double down: Assign a value to each player based on last year’s money list. Give your fantasy-leaguers a dollar amount that they can spend to build a team. Measure your team’s performance by totaling each golfer’s money for the week. Award weekly winners.
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Be a survivor
How it works: It’s much like the NFL survivor and elimination pools. Starting with the first full-field event with a cut, pick one player. If that golfer makes the cut, the fantasy-leaguer advances to the next week. Once a golfer has been picked, he’s out for the rest of the year. The “survivor” (get it?) wins the pool.
Double down: For those of you who believe in mulligans, we’ll offer one up for this game: You get one free shot to skip a week without picking a player to make the cut.
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The four majors
How it works: Interest in golf ramps up during the four majors, and so should your fantasy games. The simplest game: Each fantasy player gets to draft a player. Continue rounds of the draft until the entire field has been selected. Whoever drafts the tournament winner claims the prize.
Double down: Add a consolation prize by combining earnings in that major for each fantasy player’s draftees.
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How it works: Q-School is the ultimate stress test, so who better to stand up to the rigors of your fantasy pool than the guys who have endured a week of survival? Stage a draft of players who advanced from Q-School finals. Track earnings for the year; most money wins.
Double down: Create a bonus pool for top 10s or the ultimate Q-School fantasy, a Tour victory. Y.E. Yang was an ’08 Q-School guy.
TOP 10 FANTASY PICKS: How our experts draft ’em
- Phil Mickelson: Late ’09 shows he can take on the mantle of World No. 1, so it’s nothing but up.
- Tiger Woods: Still the most formidable player, but his ’09 major performance gives me pause.
- Steve Stricker: Showed he can hang with Woods and Mickelson, but can he pass them?
- Padraig Harrington: Must improve from ’09, but he’s too proud not to move back into the hunt.
- Geoff Ogilvy: Which Ogilvy will show up in 2010? I believe it will be the one that played well in early ’09.
- Ernie Els: Has the talent to return to No. 1 but must push himself a little harder.
- Rory McIlroy: He has everything except PGA Tour victories. That should change in 2010.
- Sean O’Hair: He showed he belongs in the top 10 but still is learning.
- Jim Furyk: How is it that he hasn’t won (officially) on Tour since 2007? That skid has to come to an end.
- Zach Johnson: My fellow Drake Bulldog has three victories in 30 events and is entering his prime.
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- Tiger Woods: He’s simply the best and a no-brainer for any fantasy league.
- Phil Mickelson: Lefty can win any given week, providing you a big boost.
- Steve Stricker: His consistency will be a huge plus in any league.
- Sergio Garcia: Spaniard’s value is down, which will make him a bargain pick.
- Angel Cabrera: Pick the Masters champion during the right week and gain an edge.
- Hunter Mahan: Emerging American is poised for a huge year, so don’t miss out on cashing in.
- Luke Donald: A healthy Englishman will be a smart pick, as he comes off a “quiet” year with 13 top 25s.
- Nick Watney: Two victories in three years, and he already has broken into the top 50.
- Jason Day: If you need that sleeper player – the one whom nobody else is going to pick early – here’s your guy.
- Martin Kaymer: Catch your opponents off guard when the German plays in a PGA Tour event.
• Coming up Tuesday . . . Ringler and Miceli tell you which player is most likely to get his first major in 2010, young guns to keep an eye on, and who not to pick for your 2010 fantasy team.
• Coming Wednesday . . . It’s all about stats. Some of these numbers might be just what you need to choose the right guy for your fantasy team.