Fantasy Insider: Masters Tournament
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
On a Roll
Steve Stricker ... Finally met his match at Redstone two weeks ago, settling for a share of 38th place, but he started the season with a pair of runner-up finishes and a 3-1 record at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Solid, not spectacular, record at Augusta National where his most recent notable results are a T6 in 2009 and a T11 in 2011. Terrific complement to any fantasy roster in a league where a cut made has enhanced value.
Fredrik Jacobson ... Really intriguing option. He has two top 20s in three appearances at the Masters but only one in the last seven editions; that was a T19 last year. Meanwhile, the Swede is riding a streak of six consecutive top 25s, including a T15 in San Antonio on Sunday. Ranks eighth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting, fifth in scrambling and fourth in adjusted scoring.
Rickie Fowler ... Poised for his third appearance, he's seemingly put the challenges of a sore back that dogged him last summer in the rearview mirror. Three top 10s this season, including a T3 in his last start at Bay Hill. Sits 25th on the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting, eighth in scrambling, 13th in adjusted scoring and 19th in the all-around. Probably classified as a sleeper in most circles, and rightfully so. He's trending toward his first top 25 at the Masters.
Peter Hanson ... Slept on the outright lead entering last year's final round, but settled for a share of third place. Still, it's the pinnacle of 22 starts in the majors (including two at Augusta National). He arrives this week with four straight top 25s, a run that began with a 1-1 record at the WGC-Accenture. Currently 16th on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and 20th in adjusted scoring.
Horses for Courses
Padraig Harrington ... Arguably this week's top snub in my Power Rankings. After a run of forgettable play, he tied for sixth in Malaysia before backing it up with a T10 last week in San Antonio. Three top 10s in his last six appearances at the Masters, including a T8 last year.
Nick Watney ... Given his struggles on the greens over the last month, he may need an epiphany of a week like D.A. Points and Martin Laird enjoyed with their putters en route to recent victories. Watney has all of the other goods, however, in addition to the proper experience at Augusta National. He's 5-for-5 with top 20s in his first three appearances.
Angel Cabrera ... The 2009 champ has chased his title with a T18, a solo seventh and a T32. He tied for 16th in Houston two weeks ago for his first top 20 on the PGA TOUR since October 2011. His value is likely all over the place across the fantasy landscape, but he deserves a long look in every format.
Fred Couples ... The 1992 champion and sometimer on the PGA TOUR hasn't finished worse than T15 in any of the last three editions of this major. As long as his back doesn't bug him and the temperature cooperates -- it should -- he cannot be ruled out to contend.
Not So Fast
Brandt Snedeker ... Given the outcry in emails and on Twitter, you'd think I was giving him the Wally Pipp treatment by omitting him from the Power Rankings. The fact remains that since he's returned from his strained oblique muscle, he's missed two of two cuts. As I wrote once before, returning from this kind of injury versus hip surgeries is apples and oranges. We need to approach it with kid gloves. In a vacuum, he's a no-brainer at Augusta National especially given how he's fared over the last couple of years, but gamers are advised to stick with the otherwise reliable in a field bursting with talent that has flashed better form of late.
Webb Simpson ... Hasn't played since missing the cut at Bay Hill by six strokes at 9-over 80-73=153. The reigning U.S. Open champion has played in just one Masters, sharing 44th last year.
Zach Johnson ... In the midst of two trends headed in the wrong direction. No top 30s in his last four appearances at the Masters and no top 30s in his last five starts this season.
Trevor Immelman ... Submitted what could be argued as the most dominating performance on paper en route to victory in 2008, and he's posted three top 20s here since, but the South African hasn't finished in the top 35 in any of his last nine starts entering this week.
Jason Dufner ... He has a pair of top 30s in as many starts at the Masters, but he's still after his first top 10 on the PGA TOUR this year.
Robert Garrigus ... With his putter having cooled and with an 0-for-1 slate at the Masters, leave him alone for another week.
Bo Van Pelt ... He's finished inside the top 20 in each of the last two editions of the Masters, but the man with 10 top 10s in 2012 has yet to pick off a top 15 in eight starts this season.
Martin Kaymer ... Infamously worked on drawing the ball for Augusta National specifically. He made his first cut in five attempts last year, but when a golfer acknowledges a weakness to that degree, it's always wise not to invest. He's also 2-for-4 with no top 45s in stroke-play starts in the U.S. this year.
Ryan Moore ... With just one top 25 (solo fourth, WM Phoenix Open), he hasn't parlayed his strong finish of 2012 into any headlines yet this season. Riding a streak of 10 consecutive rounds of 71 or higher.
Tim Clark ... Hasn't survived a cut at the Masters in his last three trips and hasn't finished better than a T46 at Pebble Beach in his last six stroke-play starts this year.
Nicolas Colsaerts ... The first-timer at Augusta National is still struggling to find his way in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR. His only top-40 finish in five stroke-play starts is a T18 at the 65-man WGC-Cadillac Championship.
John Senden ... Augusta National is not necessarily a ball-striker's paradise, and he's 0-for-3 in this tournament. What's more concerning about the Aussie is that he's fared no better than a T20 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. It's the deepest he's gone into a season without a higher finish since 2004.
David Toms ... In five stroke-play starts since a solo second at The McGladrey Classic last fall, he has zero top 50s among three cuts made. Missed the cut by seven strokes last week at TPC San Antonio, a track that would have revealed his patented sharpshooting if he was on form.
Ryo Ishikawa ... The 21-year-old is making his fifth start at Augusta National. He's endured a rough first full season on the PGA TOUR in 2013, starting 3-for-9 with one top 60 (T39, Puerto Rico).
Michael Thompson ... He's 0-for-2 since sharing eighth place at the WGC-Cadillac immediately following his breakthrough at The Honda Classic.
Branden Grace ... After a terrific start to the year, which was in truth an extension of his form in 2012, he's failed to post a top-45 finish in four stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR. He's missed his last two cuts and got knocked out in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Lucas Glover ... He's missed his last two cuts and has averaged 75.00 in his last five rounds.
Ted Potter Jr. ... Making his debut at Augusta National where left-handers have thrived over the last decade, but he's missed three consecutive cuts, all on the Florida Swing.
John Huh ... The first-timer has no top 25s among five cuts made in his last 10 starts.
Marc Leishman ... Making his second appearance (MC, 2010). Arrives with zero top 35s among three cuts made in his last seven starts.
Back in the Saddle
Vijay Singh ... Withdrew from his commitment in Houston two weeks ago to rest a knee injury. The 2000 champion is making his 20th consecutive appearance. This is his first as a 50-year-old. He's survived all six of his cuts this season, but he's gone four straight now without a top 35.
Mike Weir ... Out since a rib injury forced him to withdraw during his third round at Bay Hill three weeks ago. In an update on his website on Tuesday, he said that he just started hitting full shots on Monday (April 8) and wouldn't play for at least another two weeks if this week's tournament wasn't the Masters.
Kevin Na ... A back injury has kept him sidelined since he withdrew in Puerto Rico due to it. Had planned on playing the Tampa Bay Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, but withdrew early from both commitments.
Thorbjorn Olesen ... Sustained whiplash in a car crash on the day before his opening round of the Shell Houston Open. He opened with an 82 at Redstone, and then withdrew prior to his second round. The Dane is scheduled to play in the Par 3 Contest, so he'll get a taste of live action before Thursday's opener.
Andrew Svoboda ... Scheduled to compete in the Web.com Tour's WNB Golf Classic. He withdrew while playing the 13th hole (his fourth of the round) in last week's opener in San Antonio due to an injury to his left hand.
Darren Clarke ... Sustained a hamstring injury in the Bahamas in late March. As the winner of the 2011 Open Championship, he's exempt into the Masters through 2016.