RotoWire Partners

Weekly Preview: Singhing Once Again

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

What a difference a week makes. It was in this space last week that I lamented the lack of quality play from the upper echelon of the professional golf world. Just a week later, though, I am confident we are about to hit a stretch of fantastic golf. Why the turn around? For starters, we had the next big thing, Dustin Johnson, take the 54-hole lead at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Johnson appeared to be in complete control and well on his way to the biggest win of his young career, but there was one problem. Another superstar in the making was lying in the weeds ready to strike. Nick Watney made a furious Sunday charge and took command late in the day. For my money, there's nothing better than two ultra-talented golfers locking horns on a Sunday afternoon. It just so happened that these two ultra-talented golfers are primed to be the next superstars on the PGA Tour as well. The only thing missing from last week was a strong showing from Tiger; wait, we got that too! If only we had something to look forward to ... hold it - snow melting, March Madness, could it be? That's right, the Masters is right around the corner. Yes, life is good on the PGA Tour.

What the WGC-Cadillac Championship means:

Nick Watney: Perhaps this win will boost Watney's confidence as it seems to be the only thing he's lacking. Check that, his confidence appeared lacking during the final round of the PGA Championship last year; I dare say, that's not a problem any longer.

Dustin Johnson: Johnson needs to be careful or he might start to develop a reputation for failing to close. I, for one, am not too worried about it, he's just too talented to continue to fall short in big spots.

Tiger Woods: Might this be it? Is he really back? I don't have the answer, but I love the timing. With the Masters on the horizon and his best finish in a year, Woods likely will be the favorite at Augusta.

This week:
Transitions Championship

Last Year:
Jim Furyk shot a final-round 69 on his way to a one-stroke victory over K.J. Choi.

Players to Consider:

1. Nick Watney

Watney has a knack for stringing good showings together, and considering he's played well here before, it looks like he'll contend again this week.

2. Vijay Singh

Singh was well on his way to another top-10 last week, but a final-round 75 sent him back into a T22. Still, he's playing well, and he's won here before. I like his chances this week.

3. Retief Goosen

Goosen's recent form is nothing to write home about, but he's won here twice and finished in the top-five last year. If he's going to find his top form, it will be this week.

4. Spencer Levin

Levin nearly picked up his first PGA Tour win a few weeks back at the Mayakoba Classic, but that wasn't his only strong finish this season. Including that runner-up finish, he enters this week on a streak of four consecutive top-15s.

5. Jonathan Byrd

Consistency is not strength of Byrd's game - he's always been hit or miss - but fortunately he's usually a hit at this event. Byrd has finished in the top-15 here in four of his last five tries.

Players to Avoid:

1. Mark Calcavecchia

"Calc" won here in 2007, but he's not the player he was back then. In fact, his win in 2007 was quite a surprise. Don't expect anything like that this week.

2. Jim Furyk

Furyk is the defending champs this week, but his game is so far off what it was a year ago at this time, I'm beginning to wonder if he'll be able to turn it around this season.

3. Johnson Wagner

Wagner comes in fresh off his win a few weeks ago at the Mayakoba, and you'd think the added confidence would improve his game. But it did little for him the first time he won on the PGA Tour, so there's no reason to think it will be different this time.

4. Jason Day

There won't be many chances to put Day on the "Avoid" list, so I'll have to take them when I can get them. This is one course that Day just hasn't been able to figure out. In three tries here, his best finish is a T61.

5. Michael Bradley

Much like Wagner, Bradley's win last week at the Puerto Rico Open likely will do little to improve his game the rest of the season. Bradley's been around for a long time, and though his victory last week was impressive, it's not a sign that he's taking his game to the next level.

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:

This week:
Transitions Championship

Group A

1. Nick Watney
2. Jonathan Byrd

A perfect opportunity to gain some points on the competition this week as big names such as Furyk and Ogilvy likely will be popular selections. Watney, however, should be the top pick, and Byrd, as mentioned, has a very solid track record here.

Group B

1. Spencer Levin
2. Vijay Singh
3. Retief Goosen
4. Bill Haas

Goosen and Singh have a long and solid history at this event, while Levin and Haas were picked based on their play this season. Amazingly, I've only started Haas once this season; hopefully he's still got something left for the remainder of the year. Group B offers several quality choices this week. I feel a little uncomfortable taking Goosen as he hasn't done much this year, but I have three players on top of their games right now, so I can take a chance on Goosen.

Group C

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Charles Howell III

I had a bit of an epiphany this week when putting together my selections from Group C. Howell III was my first pick as his track record here is pretty solid. The second pick wasn't as easy. The reason being, I usually look at course history first and if I am having trouble finding a player who has golfed consistently well on a given course, I look for a big name that's had some success at the event. What I rarely do is just throw out course history altogether and simply take a golfer who's playing well. In this case, Walker does have a little history on this course, but his inclusion on my team this week is based solely on how he's played this season, which has been extremely well.

Starters Round One

1. Nick Watney
2. Vijay Singh
3. Spencer Levin
4. Jimmy Walker

A fairly clear-cut picture developed this week for my round-one starters. Watney is coming off a huge win, and while there could be a bit of a hangover, his history of stringing good performances together outweighs that. Singh played poorly during the final round last week at Doral, but he played fairly well throughout the week, and his history here is solid. Levin is a bit of a risk as a starter in round one, but he's met every challenge so far this year, and there's no reason to think that will change this week. Walker has played well for most of the 2011 season and played well here last year, so he gets the nod over an unpredictable Howell III.

Round Two and Going Forward:

Most weeks, I have a 1 and 1a player in Group A. This week, there's Watney, and the other guy. Don't get me wrong, Byrd is a good player who's been very consistent here, but Watney has a strong hold on the starting spot in this group and only a disastrous first round will change that. Group B is a different story. While Singh and Levin could hold onto their spots Friday, I expect to change at least one. Haas likely will be the first sub in, if he plays well Thursday. Goosen probably will have to play well Thursday and Friday to find a spot in the line-up. Walker gets the Thursday start in Group C, but after that, it's up for grabs. Walker's performance likely will determine the starter throughout the week, though. If he starts poorly, he's out for round two. If he starts well, he could be in there all week.