This is an interesting time on the PGA Tour. Beginning with The Players in three weeks, there's a big event about once a month through October. So with many players either injured (Tiger Woods, Jason Day) or resting, it opens the door for up-and-comers to get their big win. But that also complicates the situation for fantasy owners, who need to figure out who to play and who not to play. Here's who we like in our statistical look at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:
The defending champion is Billy Horschel, who beat D.A. Points by one shot. Horschel, who two months later would become known for crazy pants while contending at the U.S. Open, has shown up in spots on leaderboards since but hasn't done much since that victory.
In 2012, Jason Dufner beat Ernie Els in a playoff, in 2011 Bubba Watson beat Webb Simpson in a playoff, and in 2010 Jason Bohn beat Jeff Overton by two.
Dufner, Watson, Simpson and Bohn are not in this week's field, and Els' line for 2013-2014 - just one top-10 finish in 10 starts - really isn't that flashy. His stats aren't flashy either, as the only major category he's better than 100th in is sand save percentage. So we don't recommend anyone out of the history lesson.
Who is Playing
The field includes Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.
Our recommendation is Fowler, who contended at Augusta and has shown progress under new swing coach Butch Harmon. He's 36th in total driving and 68th in proximity to the hole.
Our other recommendation, if your fantasy league allows, is Koepka, who Monday qualified for the Zurich Classic with a dazzling round of 64. He needs a finish of T50 or better to earn special temporary membership and unlimited sponsor's exemptions for the remainder of the season. While he's not ranked in any statistical category, he averages a cool 309 yards off the tee, which would put him third on the PGA Tour.
Our look at guys who did well last Sunday and might just help your fantasy team this Sunday.
William McGirt - McGirt shot a Sunday 66 in tough conditions at the RBC Heritage to move up 25 spots and get a T9 finish. He's 13th in strokes gained-putting.
Stuart Appleby - Appleby, who has struggled in recent years, saw a 22-spot jump via a final-round 67 to tie for 12th. Appleby is ranked 41st in scoring average.
Camilo Villegas - Villegas improved his final result by 26 places by shooting a Sunday 67 as well to tie for 27th. For the week he was eighth in putts per green in regulation.