Every once in a while a Tour event shakes up the status quo and completely ruins a week of fantasy golf for almost everyone. That week was last week.
The AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas provided us with one of the best tournaments all year. Unfortunately, it was at the cost of a wild week for fantasy players. Only a select few of the Tour’s hottest stars played well while many players previously mired in a funk had slump-busting weeks. With 144 players in the field each week, handicapping fantasy golf is hard enough.
Personally, I’m going to chock up the bad week to being on vacation. Few things can be more distracting than playing golf myself and getting drunk on the beach. For those who followed my (poor) advice last week, I sincerely apologize.
Then again, you probably would have picked Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth without my help. So I don’t really feel that bad.
Any who — here’s a look at who thrived in Texas and those — including myself — who are looking for a mulligan:
Billy Horschel — Have a day, kid! Billy Horschel, who hasn’t collected a win on the PGA Tour since his epic run to the FedExCup title and a cool $10 million, made everything on Sunday and collected career win No. 4. Horschel, who is incredibly streaky, should be considered for the next couple weeks due to this fact. As the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines — and coming off a big, emotional win over someone as talented as Jason Day, it’s time to make hay.
Jason Day — Ever since the match-play championships and the announcement of his mother’s battle with cancer, Jason Day has, understandably, been a bit of a questions mark. Over the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he looked more like the exclamation mark we know and love. On the wings of half a dozen incredible shots and recoveries, Day fired a weekend 63-68 to get into a playoff with the previously mentioned Horschel. It took a monster 60-footer from Horschel to down Day, but expect the Aussie to bounce back and round into fantasy form just in time for major season.
James Hahn — Last year’s defending champion is certainly sad to see the AT&T Byron Nelson leaving TPC Four Seasons after this year’s event. James Hahn followed up his win here with a solo third last week in Dallas. With major championship season on the very near horizon, Hahn is definitely a name to know heading into the summer. Already a two-time winner on Tour, at age 35 he is primed to become a major contender — and a fantasy stalwart in the coming weeks.
Dustin Johnson — It hasn’t exactly been like lava hitting the ocean, but DJ has cooled significantly in the past two weeks. That doesn’t mean he’s not a solid fantasy pick, but there might be more bang for your fantasy buck elsewhere. After a T-12 at the PLAYERS, Johnson finished T-13 last week at the Byron Nelson — his worst two finishes since last October. I know — terrible, right?
Sergio Garcia — Always a favorite in Dallas, Sergio Garcia was again on the top of many lists last week for the AT&T Byron Nelson. Unfortunately for those making Garcia the anchor of their rosters, he book-ended Friday-Saturday rounds of 65-64 with Thursday-Sunday rounds of 73-74. That performance was only good enough for a T-20. Perhaps is a little bit of a Masters hangover (and who could blame him) but Sergio may want to get a couple weeks away from the starting lineup.
Ernie Els — While he didn’t win or even crack the top-10, I wanted to reserve a spot somewhere on this list for the Big Easy — Ernie Els. Obviously, Els is past his prime and probably shouldn’t be expected to compete for any majors or anything crazy in the future, but he’s still a guy that many fans and players love and revere. He finished T-35 after a week of 69-70-71-68, making his first cut since the Masters. At 47, he still shows flashes of brilliance, but probably won’t be adding his name to any trophies until he’s on the PGA Tour Champions and DEFINITELY isn’t a viable fantasy option anywhere. It’s just nice to recognize a solid week.
Jordan Spieth — HIT THE PANIC BUTTON! JORDAN SPIETH HAS MISSED TWO CONSECUTIVE CUTS! Just kidding…He is human, after all. Lest we forget how special Tiger Woods actually was. Let’s not fret about young master Spieth. If you want to bet on him this week at the Dean & Deluca, I won’t fight you on it. Just remember — two is a trend, three is a streak.
Brooks Koepka — After a hot start on Thursday, Koepka managed a very lack-luster weekend in Texas. Perhaps there’s some chiropractic issues to be resolved. I don’t think he and his caddie were rolling around on the tee for S’s and G’s before the first round, so this could be something to pay attention to. Koepka, one of the favorites heading into the week, finished T-50 after chasing rounds of 67-69 with with 70-74 on the weekend.
Hunter Mahan — First Anthony Kim, now Hunter Mahan. Seriously, this guy used to not only be a household name but a fantasy stalwart. This season, he’s yet to finish better than T-52 and hasn’t notched a top-25 since the HSBC Champions before Thanksgiving — of 2015. His last top-10 was a T-4 at the 2015 Deutsche Bank in Boston. Despite the name recognition factor, Mahan is fantasy kryptonite until further notice. You’d literally have a better chance inserting me or a corpse into your lineup at this point.