Quicken Loans National
Defending Champ: Justin Rose
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Quicken Loans National Preview
This year’s incarnation of the Quicken Loans National – aka Tiger’s Tournament – has mirrored the host’s recent performance: A great unknown. After splitting venues between Congressional and Aronimink over its first eight years, the event is shifting to the humbly named Robert Trent Jones Golf Club (RTJ) for 2015. Also, don’t think you’re insane for thinking the Quicken Loans National generally takes place in early July, it does. However, with the way the 2015 calendar (Gregorian, not Tzolk’in) shook down, there wasn’t enough time between the US Open and the Open Championship to attract the top draws Tiger demands, and if there’s one thing we know about Tiger Woods, it’s that he DEMANDS SATISFACTION!!!!! If we know two things, it’s that he DEMANDS SATISFACTION and loves the overnight shift at Perkins. Not certain the move worked, though; the field is littered with depth throughout the mid-level, but only Rickie Fowler (8th), Jimmy Walker (14th), Bill Haas (30th), and defending champ Justin Rose (7th) represent world’s Top 30 players. Tiger will be lacing up the spikes too, but currently sits No. 266 in the rankings. One spot behind Robert Rock (and his glorious flow) and some guy named Max Orrin.
Quicken Loans National Key Stats
Despite this being its inaugural turn hosting the Quicken Loans National, RTJ isn’t a new course. It was home to four Presidents Cups (1994, 1996, 2000, and 2005), but hasn’t been used as a championship course in a decade. So, tread carefully researching event history; you’ll be looking at performances which have no relevance. There are 10 players in the field who played in one or more of those Presidents Cups (Tiger, Davis Love III, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Retief Goosen, Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera, Tim Clark, and rageaholic Robert Allenby), but attempting to glean anything from those results assumes nothing has changed in their quality of play over the past 10 (or more) years, which would be ludicrous.
Since we know relatively little about how the golfers will attack the layout, all we can do is assess the facts and extrapolate from there. Lake Manassas is ubiquitous across the course, acting as a border on half the holes, yet only the Par 3 11th will actually force a shot over the water. Accuracy will be important, with potential water hazards lurking off the edges and a bounty of bunkers fortifying the fairways, but at 7,385 yards featuring six Par 4s measuring over 450 yards, distance is equally, if not more, important. Hello, total driving.
In fresh slate events like this, where we have no concrete stats to build off, keep it simple in the standard Fantasy golf game and target pedigree and recent form. Don’t feel bad using up eligibility on the higher end players, even if you’re running out of starts. With so many stacked fields on the horizon (Bridgestone, PGA Championship, FedExCup), you’ll have plenty of alternatives to select from in those tournaments, so it’s not worth losing ground this week.
Quicken Loans National Picks
Harris English & Bill Haas – To Tiger or not to Tiger, that’s the Yahoo! A-List conundrum. In the face of his recent struggles, I’d still expect Woods to appear on most Fantasy squads this week, so fading him does allow potential to make up ground against your league. Harris English hasn’t exactly been churning out high-end showings, yet has made six straight cuts following the THE PLAYERS, and has even popped up in contention a few times. Unfortunately, English has consistently been plagued by one awful round that eats away at his earnings. For the year, he ranks eighth in first round scoring, 21st in round two, then plummets to 108th in the third and 89th to close his tournament. Use English Thursday/Friday, then give him the YANK. With three consecutive missed cuts, Bill Haas is in the midst of his coldest run since replicating the same feat back in 2010. Problem is, a quick scan of the options leaves an even more bitter taste in your mouth. At least Haas gives you a 2015 winner and a player that doesn’t need a lot of driving accuracy to stick it close. With Top 15 ranks in proximity out of the rough from < 150 yards, he can sacrifice accuracy for distance and come away unscathed.
A-List Alternates: Tiger Woods & Stephen Gallacher
Rickie Fowler & Justin Rose – I shouldn’t need to sell you on Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose. if you’re not using them, you’re losing ground.
Jimmy Walker & John Senden – Ditto for Jimmy Walker. Stack the elite names and be done with it. That leaves one place to differentiate on the B-List, and John Senden is worthy of that final spot. The clown enters making five of six cuts, with Top 15s at the Match Play, THE PLAYERS and US Open in that span. Basically, Senden’s result will boil down to how awful his putting stroke is for the week. If he can outperform his 138th rank in SG: Putting, Senden will post another quality showing through his accuracy (33rd), total driving (32nd), ball striking (36th), sand save percentage (40th), and ability to bounce back with a birdie after making bogey (9th).
B-List Alternates: Gary Woodland, Daniel Berger, Nick Watney & Kevin Chappell
Johnson Wagner & Will Wilcox – I’m still a tad pensive about Will Wilcox’s wrist (which forced him out of action at the Canadian Open), but he says it’s not an issue, so who am I to call him a liar? Hopefully, it’s back to 100-percent because Will Wil sets up perfectly for this layout. On top of his scorching recent form (T8, 2nd) and Top 10 seasonal rankings in sand saves, greens in regulation, total driving, scoring average, ball striking, scrambling, eagles per hole, Par 3 scoring average, Par 4 scoring average, and putting from beyond 25-feet; THRILLCO actually matches up perfectly with the key distances at the Quicken Loans National sitting fourth in the field in both Par 4 efficiency (450-500 yards) and Par 3 efficiency (175-200 yards). Ever since Johnson Wagner started regrowing his Hall of Fame mustache, positive results have matured with it. Wagner’s notched T20s in each of his past three starts while cracking par in 14 of his past 16 rounds. Combine his elevated GIR rate (18th), ball striking (36th), and putting inside 10-feet (4th) with his field-best 2.863 scoring average on Par 3s from 175-200 yards and you have a favorite masquerading as a dark horse… with an awesome mustache.
C-List Alternates: Tony Finau & Ollie Schniederjans