For the millionth week in a row, the PGA Tour needed extra holes — er, hole — to resolve their tournament. Always a fan favorite, the Waste Management Phoenix Open did not disappoint.
With names like Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson near the top of the leader board, there was plenty of drama until 18 on Sunday. In the end, however, it wasn’t the stars that made headlines — it was Gary Woodland and Chez Reavie.
Woodland, who hadn’t won on Tour since the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open, shot 67 on Sunday and posted 18-under as the clubhouse lead. Knowing he needed a birdie-birdie finish to tie Woodland and get into a playoff, Reavie, who hasn’t won on Tour since the 2008 RBC Canadian Open, did just that.
On the first playoff hole, Woodland prevailed, collecting the third win of his career.
While Reavie and Woodland had great weeks, there were plenty of players whose week’s fell somewhere between the two playoff combatants and Andrew Loupe (MC, 79-79) — here’s a look at those sad to be shipping up to Monterrey and those who hope last week’s performance was just a mirage:
Gary Woodland — To say it’s been a trying five years for Gary Woodland since his last win on Tour would be an understatement. Woes with his game aside, Woodland and his wife are also still coping with the death of their unborn twins in March. To say the win was a popular one in the locker room and on social media would be an understatement. In a fantasy golf sense, it appears Woodland’s game has returned — and he should remain a viable option in most formats until he shows otherwise.
Chez Reavie — While Woodland’s victory was a popular one, there was certainly some disappointment in Chez Reavie finishing second. There were certainly plenty of folks who would have loved to see the journeyman get back on top on Tour. Reavie, who’s 2008 RBC Canadian Open title was the only one of his career to date, bogeyed the first and only playoff hole to seal his fate. That said, fantasy owners shouldn’t sleep on Reavie. He’s got plenty of upside as a bench choice or to round out your DFS lineups.
Brendan Steele — One of my better choices last week, Brendan Steele continued to be a horse for the course in Scottsdale at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Steele opened with a 68 on Thursday before rattling off three consecutive 67’s to collect a T-4 finish. Steele, who has already collected a win (Safeway Classic) this season, has been playing well and is certainly a viable fantasy option in all formats for the time being. Pay attention, because he is streaky — but top-10 finishes from your last-add is always a plus, and Steele offers the opportunity for those as much as anyone.
Rickie Fowler — Always a solid bet at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Rickie Fowler looked to be just that again in 2018. Hell, he looked like the eventual champion until the 15th hole on Sunday. Fowler, who kept in contention most of the day, faltered late en route to a Sunday-73, relegating him to a T-11 finish. If you don’t know my take on Fowler by now, you never will. Continue to trust the process. He’s a great fantasy choice, but don’t be him straight up against the odds.
Daniel Berger — Like Fowler, Daniel Berger looked to be a great bet to claim his 3rd career PGA Tour win and first somewhere other than the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Berger opened with rounds of 68-65-68, but failed to finish under par on Sunday, stumbling to a 1-over 71. It wasn’t a bad round and, honestly, he would’ve needed to do something silly to win the event, but even a round of 2-under 68 would’ve put him a tie for third. Berger has played well lately but is still pretty streaky. He’s also young. Keep your eyes on him in 2018 as it could very well be a break out year for him.
Hideki Matsuyama — After an opening round 69, it seemed like Hideki Matsuyama would, once again, find himself in contention to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Unfortunately, Matsuyama banged up his wrist and withdrew, breaking the hearts of quite literally thousands of fantasy golfers the world over — myself included. Matsuyama expects to make a full recovery and should become a fantasy stalwart again shortly.