After a week in Maryland, the world’s best golfers head west down a country road to West Virginia and the Greenbrier resort for A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.
Once again, America’s Favorite Resort (their words, not mine — though, if someone wants to set up the ol’ lady and I, I’d be more than happy to put that to the test) — the Greenbrier — and the Old White TPC plays host. Since it’s inception in 2010, the Greenbrier has always been a fan favorite — and a proving ground for young, winless talent.
Last year, it was eventual PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele who prevailed — claiming the first win of his PGA Tour career.
The artist formerly known as the Greenbrier Classic has seen it’s share of first-time winners. Since it’s inception in 2010, there have been four first-time winners. Jonas Blixt (2013), Scott Stallings (2011), Ted Potter, Jr. (2012) and the aforementioned Schauffele have all turned the trick.
Another thing about this golf tournament? It’s challenging but fair — and can be really gettable. The Old White TPC has seen its share of low numbers, but none lower than in 2010. That year — the inaugural event — Stuart Appelby shot a Sunday 59 to win by a single stroke over Jeff Overton.
So — who has what it takes to conquer the Greenbrier Classic and the Old White TPC? And who will leave fantasy owners wishing they had a mulligan? Here’s a look those with a chance — and those with a snowball’s chance:
Russell Henley — On the surface, there are plenty of better choices this week than Russell Henley. However, with a little research, you’ll discover that that is just not true. In fact, for my money, there’s no better fantasy option. Henley has posted back-to-back top-5 finishes at the Old White TPC and is coming off a T-6 at TPC Cromwell two weeks ago. He may not win — but he’s a great streaming option in all formats this week.
Jimmy Walker — Speaking of horses for courses, Jimmy Walker is a thoroughbred — especially here at the Greenbrier. Walker finishes T-18 last year — not spectacular, until you consider it was one of the best finishes of the season for the 2016 PGA Champion who spend the majority of the year battling Lyme disease. Healthy and playing well, it’s more likely Walker will show the form that led to three top-4 finishes in this event than the form that led to that T-18.
Tony Finau — With names like Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson teeing it up this week in in West Virginia, it might be hard to imagine that Tony Finau is actually the odds-on favorite to win this week — but it’s true. That said, he goes off at 14/1 — making him one of the least favorite-favorites all season. Still, he makes for a fantastic streaming option. With two cuts made in two appearances leading to T-13 and T-7 finishes, he obviously knows his way around the property. He also comes in rested, having set a personal best mark in a major at the U.S. Open (T-5) in his last start.
Joaquinn Niemann — Still riding high on this young stud — hard to figure he struggles on a venue as gettable as the Old White TPC this week. After last week’s T-17 at the Quicken Loans National, Niemann is now 4-7 cuts made in his rookie campaign with three top-10 finishes. Until otherwise noted, Niemann is a great option in all formats.
Brian Harman — I hate to be the debbie downer in the group, but I don’t hold out much hope for Brian Harman this week. At the beginning of the year, Harman was hot. Red Hot. I mean, he was probably the best fantasy streamer option January through March. Since then, he’s cooled significantly — and that’s reason enough to leave Harman on the bench this week.
Webb Simpson — Another player many experts are picking this week is Webb Simpson, but I’m shying away. Sure, he’s the reigning PLAYERS Champion and has been surprisingly good with the regulation-length putter in recent weeks and months, but his immediate form has not been anything special. Because of this, I’m of the belief that there are better fantasy options than Simpson this week. Besides — if you’re counting on him to ride a hot putter, you might want to save his starts until it warms up again.
J.B. Holmes — Still not sold on Holmes being around to stay. Most picked him to remain hot last week at the Quicken Loans National but, as I predicted, he did not. Holmes is nothing if he’s not streaky. Consider last week’s missed cut at TPC Potomac a sign of things to come — not the anomaly.