Fantasy golf: 2017 PGA Tour preview (Nos. 26-50)

Fantasy golf: 2017 PGA Tour preview (Nos. 26-50)

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Fantasy golf: 2017 PGA Tour preview (Nos. 26-50)

As the calendar gets ready to flip to 2017 and fantasy-golf leagues begin, Golfweek fantasy expert Mike Glasscott takes a look at every player with PGA Tour eligibility, touching on player history, form and formats.

Player are ranked how they appear categorically on PGATour.com for 2016-17.

If you have questions, comments or thoughts, feel free to email Glasscott at mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

In this edition, Glasscott highlights Nos. 26-50:

• • •

26. Daniel Berger

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 20
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 31
  • 2015-16 FedEx Cup (regular season): 22
  • 2016-17 FedEx Cup: 17

Berger backed up his 2015 Rookie of the Year season with more loot and his first win in 2016.  He also dropped his MCs from 14 to three while matching his top 10s (6). He makes birdies for fun and makes them on par fours and fives. One of the selected few for the pre-Ryder Cup practice rounds at Hazeltine shouldn’t diminish his confidence. If he didn’t have a sophomore slump I can’t see him struggling this year!

Fall recap: Far East two-step was his only participation and he turned the final stop in Shanghai into big bucks with T-2. He’s a big, athletic kid who should get better and better as he moves through his 20’s.

• • •

27. Sean O’Hair

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 103
  • OWGR: 85
  • 2015-16 FEC: 108
  • 2016-17 FEC: 74

The big finish at The Barclays (T-2) moved him into to the top 30 but it was only his second top 10 of the year. He hasn’t posted more than three top 10’s in any season since 2009 and two of his last five have been in the Playoffs. He’s won four times on Tour but none since 2011. Top 75.

Fall recap: Headed to Europe after East Lake but MC at the Dunhill Links. His next stop was Shanghai in the WGC event where he finished in the bottom third. He returned to the States with T-10 at Shriners to rack up some valuable points to end his year.

• • •

28. Kevin Na

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 44
  • OWGR: 43
  • 2015-16 FEC: 9
  • 2016-17 FEC: 48

For the third season running he was top 30 entering the FEC Playoffs. It was also his third year in a row 23rd or better in scoring. For a guy who has only one Tour win, he cashes tons of big checks and plays over 25 events a year. That’s gold in fantasy land so I’m on board. Ride that trend.

Fall recap: His solo seventh in Wine Country was the highlight of four events as he progressively faded along with the daylight (T-29, T-54 and MC).

• • •

29. Jhonattan Vegas

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 68
  • OWGR: 74
  • 2015-16 FEC: 31
  • 2016-17 FEC: 61

Career year included five top 10s and just as important to gamers, 12 top 25s. He’s a powerful GIR machine and if he can just be average with the putter, he’ll be fine. He finished the season on 10 made cuts in a row. Next step is backing up his career season with another big one. Top 50.

Fall recap: BUSY boy as he played five stroke play events and the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf with his brother, Julio. He got stronger as the fall went on with a pair of top 10’s to finish at Mayakoba and the Emirates Australian Open.

• • •

AKRON, OH - JUNE 30: J.B. Holmes plays a shot on the second hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on June 30, 2016 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

30. J.B. Holmes

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 56
  • OWGR: 28
  • 2015-16 FEC: 38
  • 2016-17 FEC: 142

Top 45 the last three seasons in the FEC Playoffs points him in the right direction moving forward. The big hitter didn’t win for the first time in three seasons last year but forced his way into the top 30 in the end. His best finished included a top five at the Masters and The Open but also had MCs at the U.S. Open and PGA so hang on. He should be as confident as it gets after getting a Ryder Cup Captain’s pick. Top 50.

Fall recap: Flashed 64 to open at the Hero but that was his only round in the 60s of eight played in two events.

• • •

31. Rickie Fowler

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 32
  • OWGR: 11
  • 2015-16 FEC: 28
  • 2016-17 FEC: 58

Buy all you can get. And then buy some more. He’s never been worse than No. 42 in the regular season. Massive bounce back is coming as he has BAGS of talent (top 10 in SGTTG, SGT).

Fall recap: Reinforces the message above as he picks up T-6 in Shanghai and has another podium finish at the Hero (T-3). I’d mention that he and Walker were T-2 in the team game as well because good golf is good golf.

• • •

32. Sergio Garcia

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 12
  • OWGR: 14
  • 2015-16 FEC: 20
  • 2016-17 FEC: 44

Fantastic player but the down side is he usually plays the minimum so I can’t lead with him. Weekly gamers will wear him out, rightfully so, in most formats because he only plays the tournaments he wants. He’s been 12th or better the last three years SGTTG and has been 17th or better in scoring the last six. Of those six seasons, his three best were Ryder Cup years. #NotShocking.

Fall recap: His annual romp around the world had him pick up T-17 in Malaysia, T-9 in Shanghai and T-19 in Dubai. Right on schedule.

• • •

33. Jason Kokrak

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 65
  • OWGR: 89
  • 2015-16 FEC: 65
  • 2016-17 FEC: 54

Well, so much for sneaking him in the back door after THAT finish in the FEC Playoffs! He closed his season T-7, T-8 and T-17 to just miss out on making his first Tour Championship. Career best season by almost $1 million and he’s played 28 events the last two years. Big upside but you’ll endure a few MCs so be patient. Top 50.

Fall recap: Rust got him at Safeway (MC) but rallied for four weekends in a row to close the year with a couple of more top 15’s to add to his collection.

• • •

34. Ryan Palmer

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 13
  • OWGR: 71
  • 2015-16 FEC: 63
  • 2016-17 FEC: NR

His worst regular season in the FEC since 2013 but three very solid finishes in the Playoffs salvaged his season. Two of his three top 10s were in his native Texas including solo third at Colonial, where he’s a member. He hasn’t been outside the top 35 in scoring in the last five years. Add him a very steady support staff in season-long leagues.

Fall recap: Finished his year T-4 at Crooked Stick and disappeared! He’ll be ready for the Sony where he annually rakes.

• • •

Brooks Koepka, pictured during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club

35. Brooks Koepka

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 7
  • OWGR: 17
  • 2015-16 FEC: 19
  • 2016-17 FEC: 11

I’d take him over no less than 20 guys in front of him on this list. He pounds it and putts it and that’s led to 19, 11 and 9 in scoring the last three years. He ran out of gas in the Playoffs but is an absolute steal at $3.3 million. He’s played five calendar years as a pro and has a win in all five of them. Get in.

Fall recap: Big layoff resulted in T-40 in his first start back but that rust faded quickly. He finished second in Las Vegas and then won two weeks later at the Dunlop Phoenix. Stud.

• • •

36. Henrik Stenson

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 3
  • OWGR: 4
  • 2015-16 FEC: 14
  • 2016-17 FEC: 18

This is a big-game hunter who’s a threat every time he tees it up when his knee isn’t bothering him. It didn’t bother him in winning his first major and almost backing it up at the PGA Championship. As with Garcia, limited starts puts the pressure on to perform for investors. He hasn’t made it to East Lake in two of the last three years. Make sure he’s coupled with a stud that plays plenty. Top 30.

Fall recap: His knee obviously wasn’t bothering him as he played four events and finished in the top 10 in all of them. He picked up plenty of FEC points for the new year with T-2 at WGC-HSBC Champions and his T-9 in Dubai won him the Race to Dubai for the second time. Only Matsuyama was hotter!

• • •

37. Scott Piercy

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 41
  • OWGR: 36
  • 2015-16 FEC: 34
  • 2016-17 FEC: 8

He’s finished in the top 35 the last two years after returning from an arm injury. He achieved his best finish at a major with T-2 at Oakmont and added a solo second at WGC-BI was his best finish ever in a WGC event. Tough ask to repeat those feats but when he’s healthy he’s a top 75 player easy.

Fall recap: Excellent finish as he posted four top 25’s from five starts that included three top 10’s. He also is a big fan of Waialae so he’ll look to build on this big start in the first full-field event of the season.

• • •

38. Louis Oosthuizen

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 48
  • OWGR: 26
  • 2015-16 FEC: 56
  • 2016-17 FEC: 161

This world traveler plays everywhere and that’s not always what Tour fantasy players need. His talent suggests he needs to be in the conversation. Top 50 but doesn’t vault over Garcia or Stenson in the limited starts category.

Fall recap: Just like normal, he blew very hot at times and very cool at times but he didn’t have any injuries to report either.

• • •

39. James Hahn

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 130
  • OWGR: 63
  • 2015-16 FEC: 44
  • 2016-17 FEC: 47

He backed up his 2015 win at Riviera with another win in 2016. His win at Wells Fargo was preceded by eight MCs so if you’re on board, hang on with both hands. His form dipped in the major statistical categories so I wouldn’t overpay in season-long formats. Top 75 because he’s found a way the last couple of years and that counts.

Fall recap: Solo ninth at CIMB was backed up by T-15 in Las Vegas in his next start washed away MC to open the new season at Silverado.

• • •

40. Fabian Gomez

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 185
  • OWGR: 83
  • 2015-16 FEC: 40
  • 2016-17 FEC: 121

Another year, another win for the Argentine plus his most top 10s and top 25s on Tour. He’s won five times worldwide in the last four years. He tore up Waialae last year so write that down as well. Top 75.

Fall recap: Rattled off two of three weekends on Tour with nothing better than T-26 before T-5 in his native Argentina in his national open. Yep, sounds about right!

• • •

41. Branden Grace

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 47
  • OWGR: 16
  • 2015-16 FEC: 25
  • 2016-17 FEC: 100

 Doubled his earnings over last year and picked up his first win to boot. His value comes from his ball-striking and ability to handle big boy courses. His win at Harbour Town proved he can also knock it around a tight ballpark as well. He’s racked up 10 top 10s in 31 career starts. He’s won four times worldwide in his last 54 starts. BUY.

Fall recap: Busy as its summertime in his native South Africa, Grace picked up a whopping seven events. He made six weekends highlighted by his only finish inside the top 20, T-3, at Nedbank. He was also married in early December.

• • •

42. Jim Herman

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 180
  • OWGR: 91
  • 2015-16 FEC: 41
  • 2016-17 FEC: 72

Winning cures all that ails and Herman will get to set his schedule for the next two years. He’ll feature where par is a good score and hitting greens is required. His putting numbers will test the nerves of even his most ardent supporters but his busy schedule helps. Top 75.

Fall recap: His guy is now President! He played half of the four weekends he teed it up with his best finish (T-13) coming on Sea Island in the final event.

• • •

Smylie Kaufman reacts on the first hole during the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

43. Smylie Kaufman

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 206
  • OWGR: 100
  • 2015-16 FEC: 26
  • 2016-17 FEC: 158

Hit the top 10 in his first two starts as a Tour member, including his first win, but ran out of gas as the season went along. Backing up those numbers will be difficult and he’ll need to tighten up his tee ball and scoring numbers. Top 100.

Fall recap: Found a bit of form with T-11 at the Dunlop Phoenix that should help the confidence moving forward. He also had a nice break in the Bahamas with his buds to recharge the batteries says social media.

• • •

44. Charley Hoffman

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 76
  • OWGR: 64
  • 2015-16 FEC: 33
  • 2016-17 FEC: NR

Turns 40 in December but has been in the top 50 or so in scoring and FEC the last four years. His only top 10 was his win but he had eight top 25’s. If the question comes down to him or a guy like Gomez, I’ll lean on the player with more consistent run of form. Top 50-75.

Fall recap: His non-ranking in the new season isn’t because he hasn’t teed it up. He’s 0-3 on the new season including MC in Las Vegas and at Mayakoba, two places where he’s cashed many checks over the years. With a win and two-year exemption already under his belt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of cruise control in 2017.

• • •

45. Tony Finau

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 95
  • OWGR: 87
  • 2015-16 FEC: 46
  • 2016-17 FEC: 86

His sophomore season on the big boy circuit saw key stat categories move in the wrong direction. His victory at an opposite field event proves that he can close out a deal but that was his ONLY top 10 in 25 events. Finau is only 27, so I’d expect a solid bounce back. I’m buying. Top 50.

Fall recap: He didn’t finish inside T-26 in four events and that won’t generate any momentum heading into the new season. He’ll have to find new sticks as he was on the Nike train. That might be EXACTLY what he needs to get back into form.

• • •

46. Bill Haas

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 29
  • OWGR: 40
  • 2015-16 FEC: 29
  • 2016-17 FEC: 23

His worst year on Tour in four years saw him lose a playoff to Schwartzel and shoot four rounds in the 60s at Congressional to finish third. Toss in his first top 10 in a major (The Open) and it doesn’t look that “bad”. He’s set the consistency bar quite high and I would expect a return to the top 30.

Fall recap: After a terrible three-event run in the Playoffs, Haas bounced back like the pro most gamers know he would. He racked up T-20, T-4 and T-13 to sit comfortably inside the top 30 after seven events. He winters in Palm Springs so expect him to add to his fast start when the calendar turns.

• • •

47. Harris English

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 39
  • OWGR: 76
  • 2015-16 FEC: 35
  • 2016-17 FEC: 43

He finished inside the top 40 in scoring on Tour for the fourth consecutive season. Long off the tee and able to roll the rock, English has recaptured his winning ways but remains solid. Accept the fact that he’s going to cash $2 million or so and enjoy any gravy that comes with it. It doesn’t hurt that he averages 28 starts a year on Tour so you’ll have chances.

Fall recap: The highlight was T-4 in Las Vegas which also extended, at the time, his streak of 13 cuts made. He promptly followed that result with MC at Mayakoba where he holds the tournament record and MC at Sea Island, where he’s a resident. You can’t make it up.

• • •

Graeme McDowell, pictured during the 2016 Scottish Open

48. Graeme McDowell

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 202
  • OWGR: 84
  • 2015-16 FEC: 27
  • 2016-17 FEC: 119

His win at Mayakoba this time last year pushed him to the front of the line but he ended up making only 11 of 21 cuts. His best two finishes were last fall in back-to-back weeks against thin fields. Baby No.2, restaurant No. 2 and his two year exemption for winning are all very real so I’ll be interested to see his motivation in a non-Ryder Cup year. Top 100.

Fall recap: His best two finishes were across the pond as he was T-15 at the Alfred Dunhill links (no surprise that) and T-4 at the British Masters at Chandler’s Cross. T-24 in defense at Mayakoba was decent.

• • •

49. Jamie Lovemark

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 73
  • OWGR: 94
  • 2015-16 FEC: 43
  • 2016-17 FEC: 31

His value will be in the week-in-week-out events on venues he can overpower. Had a sniff at Zurich and added eight other top 25’s. If he stays healthy, I’m on it, as I believe he’ll continue moving in the proper direction.

Fall recap: His T-6 highlighted five events in which he made four cuts and it was his first top 10 since losing to Brian Stuard in a playoff in New Orleans.

• • •

50. Billy Horschel

  • Golfweek/Sagarin: 34
  • OWGR: 69
  • 2015-16 FEC: 72
  • 2016-17 FEC: 27

Back-to-back below average years after winning the FEC will put off newer gamers but I’m sticking around. His PXG clubs have been broken in and I can’t see him missing the podium for a second straight year. Don’t forget he only MC three times last year so he’s not far off. Top 50.

Fall recap: A rather blah start to the new season was perked up as he was one of the four players defeated by MacKenzie Hughes in a playoff to close 2016 at RSM. He didn’t waste much time finding his way back on to the podium and that’s a huge boost moving forward. The Ponte Vedra resident will welcome his teacher, Todd Anderson, to town as he takes over at TPC Sawgrass. That won’t hurt!

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