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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the SBS

Yes, it's time for my first "5 to Watch" of 2017. Obviously, this week it's for the SBS Tournament of Champions in lovely Kapalua.

And the defending champion is Jordan Spieth, who won by eight last year.

Jordan Spieth

First, let me give you a couple of links to the site that might be helpful to you fantasy golfers out there. This link will take you to the Field page, where you can find all sorts of social media stuff about each player in this limited field. And this link will take you to the Power Ranking page, where you can read mostly glowing reviews of 15 players.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get on to my picks.

This is actually pretty tricky, since a number of these players were really on their games when the season ended [oh, maybe three weeks back] and would all be reasonable picks. And remember, the Kapalua course hasn't favored long hitters over short hitters in the past.
  • Jordan Spieth seems to be a no-brainer to me, since he won the Australian Open just a month ago. And since (contrary to popular belief) he had a pretty good year overall, it's hard to believe he won't factor in at the end.
  • Likewise, Hideki Matsuyama won, what, four of his last six starts in 2016? It's certainly possible that the brief holiday break caused him to lose a little of whatever came over him... but I'm unwilling to bet on that.
  • Dustin Johnson won at Kapalua in 2013, and he's coming off the best year of his career. With those wide Kapalua fairways, he's definitely gonna be a factor.
  • Patrick Reed has also won at Kapalua, back in 2015, and came in second to Spieth last year. I know people are talking about his "substandard play" during the fall, but all he did was win The Barclays and then rip up the Ryder Cup, both with partner Spieth and solo against Rory. That's not so substandard to me!
  • And my flier pick... Well, my first four match the Power Rankings, which is unusual for me, so I'm going off the chart with this one. I like Tony Finau to play well on his first trip to Kapalua. I've heard that he's had some off-course issues -- family illness, I believe -- and that disrupted his year a bit. He's also one of the Nike players who had to search for new equipment. But I still think he'll do well this week. The wide open course is tailor-made for his game.
And my overall pick? It's Dustin Johnson, no contest. He just seems to be in such a good place right now, and he's proven that time off doesn't have much of an effect on his game. If he can just putt those contoured greens reasonably well, he could win by as big a margin as Jordan did last year.

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