Hilton Head, SC – After the excitement and pressure of the year’s first major, the tour returns to a more normal rhythm at the 2016 RBC Heritage Classic.

Typically, as the golf world recovers from it’s annual pilgrimage to Augusta National, the field at the Heritage is a little less daunting. And there’s no exception this year, with only four of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking participating.

Headlining the field is World number one Jason Day of Australia. The reigning PGA champion comes in off a disappointing 10th place finish in the Masters and will be looking to get back to his winning ways that saw him win his last two starts prior to 2016’s first major.

Other top ranked players in the field include the 15th ranked Brandt Snedeker, who had a top 10 at Augusta, defending Open champion Zach Johnson, ranked 17th, and South African Branden Grace, the 14th ranked player in the world.

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It wasn’t just luck and good fortune that allowed Danny Willett to get to the top of the Razzball Fantasy Golf Rankings, April 12, 2016 edition.  But it helped.

First it was the early arrival of his first child on March 30th, that allowed him to compete in the Masters Tournament in the first place.  Then it was a meltdown for the ages by defending champion Jordan Spieth that allowed the Englishman to win his first major championship and moved to the top of our fantasy player rankings.

Along the way was some really spectacular golf, including a 67 on Sunday that ultimately gave him a three shot victory over Spieth and fellow Englishman, Lee Westwood.

Winning the Green Jacket also moved Willett into the Top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, for the first time, at #9.  No flash in the pan, the former number one amateur in the world is the only player to rank in the top 20 of our rankings every week since the new methodology was introduced in November.

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It’s Tuesday and time for our Tuesday Fantasy Golf Notes, 2016 Masters Tournament Edition.

In this week’s news and notes we have a first time major champion, a shocking collapse and more disappointment for the Big Three, and an historic weekend for English golfers.

Willett Wins First Major of 2016

A little over a week before the start of the 2016 Masters Tournament, England’s Danny Willett didn’t even know if he would be in the field, when the game’s elite descended on Augusta National.

With Willett and wife Nicole expecting their first baby on April 10th, which just happened to be the final round of the year’s first major, his participation was in doubt.  But luckily young Zachariah James Willett decided to come early.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

The former #1 Amateur in the World took advantage of the early arrival, and an epic collapse by defending Masters Champion Jordan Spieth, to win his first major championship and move up to #9 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

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Augusta, Ga – On the eve of the 2016 Masters Tournament, one of the great things about the first major of the year is how it celebrates the tournament’s history and traditions.  Whether it’s the Champion’s Dinner, the Par-3 Contest, the $2 Pimento Cheese Sandwiches or the Green Jacket itself, the Augusta National membership knows how to celebrate it’s glorious past.

One part of the tradition is that a solid showing in the previous year’s tournament gives a player an automatic invite to the next year’s event.  In past years as many as the Top 24 and ties were invited back the following year.  As the scope and world-wide appeal of the event has increased, the available places has decreased, first to 16 and now to 12 and ties.  But it’s still something to shoot for.

So to match that tradition our 2016 Masters picks focuses on selecting the 12 players who will be in the top 12 come Sunday evening.  Most of the names are predictable, but maybe some of the positions won’t be.

Here are the 12 players who will receive the first invites to the 2017 Masters Tournament.

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One look at the Razzball.com Fantasy Golf Rankings, April 5, 2016 edition, and it’s not hard to tell the year’s first major is at hand. All of the top players seem to be in form as the best golfers in the world make their annual trip down Magnolia Lane.

Leading the charge is the number one player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Jason Day of Australia, who leads our ranking for the second consecutive week. The 28-year old has been battling a wonky back recently, but that hasn’t prevented him from posting back-to-back PGA Tour wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Match Play.

Day , who openly listed the Masters as his focus this year, prior to the start of the season, leads South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen by just over 400 points. It’s the second consecutive week as rankings runner-up for the 2010 Open champion.

Despite being idle for a couple of weeks, 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott holds at #3 for a second week. The former rankings’ leader heads into Augusta with two tour wins already this year and a ton of confidence.

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Houston, Texas – The PGA Tour returns to the home of NASA this week for the 2016 Shell Houston Open.

In addition to all the money, FedEx Cup points and perks that goes to the winner, it’s also the last chance for a previously unqualified player to receive a invitation to next week’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

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It was a big week for Australia’s Jason Day, who accomplished much more than claiming the top spot in Razzball.com’s Fantasy Golf Rankings, March 29, 2016 edition.

The reigning PGA Champion set himself up as an early favorite heading into next week’s Masters with a second consecutive PGA Tour victory. The 28-year old followed up his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with an equally impressive victory at the WGC Dell Match Play Championship on Sunday.

The Back-to-Back wins also moved Day back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for a second time. The Aussie last held the top spot after his win at the BMW Championship last September.

In the Razzball rankings, Day edged Match Play runner-up Louis Oosthuizen and former #1 Adam Scott for the number one position. The nine-time PGA tour champion jumped from 7 to 1.

Oosthuizen moved up a spot to #2, while Scott fell two places to #3 after holding the top placing for four weeks.

A couple of other players with big-time Match Play results complete the Top Five. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy used his fourth place finish to move from eighth to #4 in our weekly survey. Meanwhile the player who beat him in the consolation match, Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, improved by 14 spots to land at number five.

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With another busy week in the world of fantasy golf behind us, it’s time for Razzball’s Tuesday Fantasy Golf Notes, March 29, 2016 edition.

This week featured a second straight win and a return to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for one of the “Big Three”; a near miss by another; strong finishes for a couple of foreign Masters’ contenders; and a first PGA Tour win for a long hitting American.

Two in a row for Day

Australia’s Jason Day followed up his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a second win at the WGC Dell Match Play Championships in the last three years.

The 28-year old battled a sore back all weekend but finished the five-day event with a perfect 7-0 record to claim his ninth PGA Tour title.

The win also moved the reigning PGA champion back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the second time in his career.  He was last #1 in the world after his win at last year’s BMW Championship.

It also sets Day up as maybe the favorite heading into the year’s first major next week at Augusta National.

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For the 4th straight week, there’s no change at the top of Razzball’s Fantasy Golf Rankings, March 22, 2016 edition.

Australia’s Adam Scott picked up a few more points after a T12 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the weekend.  The former world #1 was looking for his third win in a row after victories at the Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championships.

Scott has a big lead over American Bubba Watson who holds at #2 for a third week. The 37-year old lefthander has been idle since a runner-up finish at Doral and will be back in action this week at the WGC Dell Match Play event.

South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel remain in third and fourth place respectively, while England’s Danny Willett completes the Top five.  The 11th ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking moves up one spot this week, swapping places with Rickie Fowler.

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Austin, Texas – The 2016 WGC Match Play Championship has a new name and a new home.

After 16 years with Accenture as the title sponsor and a brief one year flirtation with Cadillac, computer giant Dell has assumed sponsorship of the unique event for the next four years.

And for the first time the world’s best will go head to head in the great state of Texas, as Austin Country Club will serve as host of the World Golf Championship Dell Match Play thru 2019.

But who is the favorite?  In a year where many of the top players in the world have been inconsistent, to be generous, the 2016 WGC Match Play Championship could be one of the most wide-open in years.  And with a format that breeds upsets, who knows what will happen.

For the second consecutive year, the first rounds will be played in pools, with the 64 players divided into 16 four-player groupings.  Players will play each of the other golfers in their group, and the 16 pool winners will advance to the knockout stage.

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