04/14/2015

After last year’s Masters tournament, I wrote this about how you may be feeling.

Are you in a daze? Do you feel unmotivated, inadequate, depressed or disingenuous towards coworkers? Are you struggling from headaches related to nostalgic feelings? Are you battling feelings of fatigue and hopelessness?

If any of these ailments or symptoms are bothering you, you may be suffering from Masters withdrawal.

But we must move forward, people. United, we will be able to overcome this tragedy of a Masters gone by, while looking to our future. Our future with hope and joy, with a summer full of tournaments slated. Stay optimistic, my golfing friends. Only 363 days until next year’s Masters, time to toughen up.

I can echo all of those feelings, except with phenomenal 2015 Masters tournament, the feelings are escalated a touch. It stinks, but life must move on. Time to get grinding on with this preview, as much as I still want to sit and smell the azaleas.

Last Week’s Masters Picks

Contenders: Jordan Spieth (WIN), Rory McIlroy (4th), Rickie Fowler (12th), Jason Day (T28), Brandt Snedeker (MC)

Sleeper: Ryan Palmer (T33)

Winner: Jimmy Walker (T38)

Jordan was an obvious selection given his form and past performance at Augusta National in 2014. I threw him as a contender and not as my selection for winner, so credit, I can take none. Jimmy Walker was a disappointment on the week, as I figured he would be a factor down the stretch. I still like him to don a green jacket.

Speaking of doning a green jacket, Rory McIlroy will absolutely be wearing one someday. Literally zero doubt in my mind.

Course Overview

This is a tight venue, where ball striking comes at a premium. Ball striking always come at a premium, but this week is different from last week’s Masters tournament whereas the high, hard draw off the tee and high, soft approach shots favor players at Augusta, a flatter, more boring trajectory with an ability to shape favors players at Hilton Head.

Long players seem to be at a disadvantage at Hilton Head. Looking back, the last “long player” to win here was Davis Love’s win in 2003. Players with control, accuracy and superb short game skills tend to find success.

Carl Pettersson Wins RBC Heritage at Harbour Town

Hard to forget Carl Pettersson’s dominance here… He looks good in plaid, no?

Past Winners

2014: Matt Kuchar

2013: Graeme McDowell

2012: Carl Pettersson

2011: Brandt Snedeker

2010: Jim Furyk


Contender

Kevin Streelman

Kevin Streelman

Streelman’s play last week at Augusta wasn’t only very solid, but it was quite unexpected for a lot in the golf world–as if ZERO top-20s thus far in 2015 and a CUT, DNP, CUT, T42 in his previous four Masters tournaments weren’t enough. A T12 was a welcome addition for the two-time PGA Tour winner.

Streelman’s finish–one could argue, was aided by the caddy he employed for the par-3 tournament (a child with an inoperable brain tumor). His play seemed more inspired than it was based off strong form.

But for the Heritage, he has that strong resume coming in. Great play at the Masters and great play at this event in the past (T3 in 2013 and top-20 in 2012) makes Streelman a guy I really like.

He’s great in driving accuracy as well as GIR. Number 8 on Tour right now in ball striking.

Other players to look at:

Charley Hoffman— Obviously playing great as indicated by his play at Augusta. His game is suited well for this event.

Jim Furyk— He’s a past champion and aficionado in consistency.

Russell Henley— T6 here in 2013 and played surprisingly, really well last week at the Masters. This is an event he can get.

Bill Haas— Great finish at Doral. Great finish at the Masters. Solid at the Farmers. In between all of those events? Missed cuts. Weird, I know, but Haas should play well at a venue like this. Top-30s in 2011 and 2013, but no other notable success. Mainly going off solid play last week. As you can tell, with how much I am writing, he is one of my guys in Fantasy this week…

Sleeper

Brandt Snedeker

BrandtSnedeker-usgolftv-pgatour

His form right now is not great, but I am making a historical/motivated/rested play here with the curly-haird Commodore. Hence why he’s a sleeper.

Okay, he played bad at the Masters after I expected him to contend, sure. But it’s important to remember he’s a past winner here in 2011. His missed cut at Augusta should leave him motivated for a return to contention and a weekend off will leave him rested to play some really solid, energetic golf.

With new irons in the bag this week, I expect Brandt’s game to come to form this week at a venue he’s won before. He’s still at .467 strokes gained with the putter this season, good for top-30 on Tour. The putting translates this week.

Another sleeper:

Justin Thomas: He’ll be motivated after seeing his good friend, Jordan Spieth, win the 2015 Masters. Super talent and game fits well here.

Winner

Zach Johnson

Screenshot 2015-04-14 11.46.33

Fitting image for Zach, wearing his gorgeous(?) plaid jacket. He won this at the “other plaid jacket event” the Colonial, so he looks like he belongs in the coat. Solo second in 2012 here couples really nicely with his great week of play at the Masters. A couple of 68s to finish his weekend, come on, right? He was a Masters champion when the temperatures were frigid and the winning score was over par. I guess he can make birdies out there too.

All of that to say that Zach is fit to add another victory to his mantle this week. If we’ve learned anything this year it’s this:

1) Play the hot hand.

Zach’s play last week and past at this venue make him the ‘hot handed’ selection of the week.