Tragically, winter has come. The cold and snow and harsh, horrible hell that is the cold, white abyss of winter has arrived. Golf? Oh, it seems so far away — but for those who are looking to dominate their fantasy golf leagues come January must stay focused. The work begins now.
Just because the PGA Tour is off until January 4th and the only golf being played on American soil is meaningless doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking about Fantasy golf.
In fact, if you’re a serious player and you’re NOT thinking about fantasy right now, you’re being lapped and you’re wish for 2018 may end up being for a mulligan.
Now that names 40-16 have been released, we are more than half way home!
Now, it’s time to delve into a handful of names who should already be on the minds of any good fantasy player — or anyone who doesn’t live under a rock.
While this portion of the list includes a major winner (Brooks Koepka), the connecting thread with there five players in that they all have extremely bright futures and undetermined ceilings. While most of this batch are already household names — legends, even — others are just about ready to start getting their due:
15. Chesson Hadley
Perhaps the second time will be the charm for Chesson Hadley — the 2014 Puerto Rico Open Champion who was forced to return to the Web.com Tour in 2017. Hadley took the demotion in stride and ended up being the Tour’s top star, earning his way back onto the big tour. In his first five starts of the 2017-’18 campaign, Hadley notched three top-5 finishes and vaulted himself 42 spots up the Official World Golf rankings. Obviously, the human sock man has the talent — 2018 will be the season he proves whether or not he can cultivate it.
14. Dustin Johnson
The next three names on this list are perennial favorites for most all fantasy players, so it’s not surprise they make the list. Dustin Johnson has long been one of the Tour’s top stars, and following his breakthrough major victory at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, Johnson began 2017 on fire — winning three straight starts (Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play) before a freak fall the morning before the Masters slowed him down. Whether it was actual, physical pain that kept him from the winner’s circle until late August or something else, DJ cooled considerably when the weather got warmer. He’s always going to be a fantasy favorite, but it’ll be interesting to see if Johnson runs like a diesel engine or like a bottle rocket in 2018.
13. Justin Rose
Justin Rose closed out the 2017 season in style, capping what was perhaps the Englishman’s best professional season. After winning two of the last three events of the European Tour’s season (Turkish Airlines Open, WGC-HSBC Champions), Rose nearly overtook Tommy Fleetwood for the money title. In addition to the late season victories, Rose also collected his second runner-up at Augusta National in three years, losing to Sergio Garcia in a playoff. The new season brings plenty of questions for the 37-year-old who is looking to build on the late-season momentum and spark a bit of a career resurgence.
12. Jason Day
The 2017 PGA Tour season was one of the most disappointing and difficult for — on and off the course — for Jason Day. It started early in the season when Day’s mother experienced a serious health scare that forced him to withdraw from an event. From there, things continued to slow. After his first winless PGA Tour season since 2013, Day split with long-time caddie and father figure Colin Swatton. Now, for those of you panicking over the state of Day’s game, don’t. Day is going to rebound in 2018, don’t you worry. He’s still got a lot of golf ahead of him (he’s only 30) and, with a clear head and new partner on the bag, he should rebound and find the form that once made him a World No. 1.
11. Peter Uihlein
Next on the list is one of golf’s least tapped potentials — Peter Uihlein. The son of Titlesit CEO Wally Uihlein, the Massachusetts native and 2010 U.S. Amateur Champion is making his first full season run on the PGA Tour in 2018. To say Uihelin is a rookie, however, wouldn’t be true. He found success on the European Tour early in his career, winning the Madeira Island Open in Portugal in 2013. With that exemption earned, he spent a few years across the pond plying his trade, making starts in the states periodically and on sponsors exemptions. After winning the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospitals Open last September, he finds himself fully exempt on the Tour in 2018. Don’t be surprised — or late to the party — when he finally makes the big splash we’ve all been waiting for this season.