Sports fans learned something significant about new world number one Dustin Johnson this past week in Mexico at the World Golf Championships. He seems to be comfortable at the top. Ever since Tiger Woods was number one in the world for a record 281 straight weeks from 2005 to 2010, one could argue that the world ranked number one golfers over the last seven years have not golfed with the same confidence when they were on top than when they were reaching for the top.
The golfers I am referring to have been Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jordan Speith and Jason Day. It will now be interesting to see how long Johnson remains first in the world and the possible success that may come with being on top of the mantle. His dominant performance in Mexico this weekend was extraordinary. Heading into the final round, he trailed Justin Thomas by a stroke. In the final round, he had a strong front nine as he went three under par and was able to survive an early back nine challenge from John Rahm of Spain even though he had back-to-back bogeys. Johnson’s performance showed a lot about his resiliency.
This week the Valspar Championship from Palm Harbor, Florida will take place. The defending champion is South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who also has a Major championship to his credit. It has been six years since he won the Masters and continued the great legacy of South African major champions. The prestigious list also includes Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen.
I would recommend fantasy golf pool members be a little hesitant in choosing Schwartzel this week. Even though he is the defending champion, Schwartzel has only played in two PGA events in 2017. In February he finished tied for 121st at the Genesis Open and then 38th last week in Mexico.
The golfers I would recommend are Canadian Adam Hadwin, Americans Bill Haas and Charles Howell III and Scotland’s Martin Laird. The four have participated in a combined 23 events this year and have made 23 cuts. Consistency means a lot in fantasy golf, and these four currently have it at this time. Another golfer you should keep an eye on is Thomas. However it should be noted that it has been hit or miss season for him to date. Thomas has won two events, but missed two cuts. Last week, when everybody made the cut, he had the 54 hole lead before struggling on Sunday. Watch for possible burn out for Thomas over the next while.