“If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
– Albert King, 1967
If you are not yet familiar with my growing resentment for Luke List, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.
Luke List is a professional golfer. Prior to last year’s Houston Open, I had never heard of Luke List but a tip projected him as a long underdog with good value. Accordingly, I placed a wager on him to finish in the top ten.
On target to do so all tournament long, List shot a double bogey on the 18th hole and finished in, wait for it, 11th place. It wasn’t a collapse of Van De Velde-ian proportions, but it did resonate as a negative number in my bookie’s account. I missed winning a wager by a single stroke.
I recently had back-to-back-to-back, gut-punching experiences with three golfers named Matt NeSmith at Pebble Beach, Gary Woodland at the Phoenix Open and ultimately Matthew Fitzpatrick at this week’s Genesis. Let’s just say these double and triple bogeys are starting to put a damper on my year. Not to mention the withdrawals. If it weren’t for bad luck…
Here’s how it all went down.
At the beginning of this golf season, about a month or so ago, I joined a one-and-done, season long, PGA pick ‘em pool. I highly recommend everyone here joining next year. I can get you the information if you desire.
Here’s the gist.
The pool is a $30 buy-in. It’s a season-long fantasy golf league where you pick one golfer per tournament and amass points based on how your golfer fares that week. You earn points in the standings depending on how much money your golfer earns. If your golfer misses the cut, you gain nothing.
There are 400 entries in the pool. Top ten finishes pay out which means you stand to make a healthy chunk of change if you can consistently pick the right golfers.
If it keeps up like it has recently, I’ll be down thirty bucks and walking around in a fairly, cranky mood.
That’s because Matt NeSmith Luke Listed me and then later Gary Woodland. Don’t even get me started on Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Off to a solid start in this thing, I was in 11th place going into Pebble Beach week, which is ironic considering Luke List finished in 11th place to kick off this whole shit storm of a blues song. I’d chosen Hideki Matsuyama who won outright in week one, proving even a blind squirrel can pick a golfer. That foresight would be short-lived.
For Pebble Beach, I chose Matt NeSmith. With solid finishes on this same course the last two years, I figured I’d save some of my chalk golfers for later tournaments. Remember, since I picked Matsuyama, I can’t pick him again. I also picked the red-hot Patrick Cantlay in Week Two so those golfers, for lack of a better term, are dead to me.
NeSmith seemed like a solid pick. While not ranked in the Top 50 in the world, NeSmith’s previous success at Pebble Beach gave me a warm and fuzzy that he’d at a minimum make the cut and finish in the money. That appears to be the name of the game in this fantasy golfing marathon. Pick a golfer that’s in the money every week and in the end, it will add up.
As I mentioned earlier, TWHS, who forecasts golf tournaments weekly on their site, warned me about NeSmith. As the site manager is also participating in this same pool, he asked what made me pick NeSmith. I brought up the fact that he had good history there. That’s when he said, and I quote “he’s a running joke on my website. Every time I pick him, he blows.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Off to a solid start and destined for a finish in the money, NeSmith followed a 69 on Thursday with another 69 on Friday. Two days in, he was six under par and a shoo-in to make the cut.
Then came round three.
You can already tell where I’m going with this. After a shaky start, he was one under par on the day thanks to birdies on both 11 and 12. Seven under par would most assuredly make the cut and a cash prize finish. Then came the 17th hole and are you friggin’ kidding me?!? Matt NeSmith did his best SportChump impression and TRIPLE BOGIED THE HOLE!!!
That meant he finished four under par for his three days of work and missed the cut by a single stroke. No money for NeSmith. No points for daddy.
It happened again the following Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Former champion Gary Woodland was my pick to win the tournament. Off to a solid, start, Woodland was on the leaderboard opening day, finishing a solid three under par. By now, you know where I’m going with this. On Friday, he shot a two-over 73, with bogies on 14 and 17 to miss the cut, again, by a single stroke. I have this newfound knack for selecting golfers that will miss the cut by the smallest of margins and it’s really starting to annoy me.
But wait, it gets worse. Thursday morning, the opening round of the Genesis Invitational, I received a text saying, “try not to lose your shit this morning when you see the Fitzpatrick news.” Fitzpatrick had been a logical pick. He’d been playing some scorching hot golf with two top ten finishes in his last two rounds, with not a single round over 70.
Fitzpatrick had withdrawn. Out of a field of 130 some odd golfers, I’d chosen the lone one to withdraw due to a case of the sniffles. It’d be sad if it weren’t so comical.
And that’s how Matt NeSmith, Gary Woodland and Matthew Fitzpatrick, by a combined three strokes and a sneeze, all joined Luke List on the list of golfers I’d never like to speak with again.
I don’t know which will happen first: me quitting golf or me quitting watching golf. Either way, my safest bet is to throw both my clubs, and my picks, in a lake and move on. I promise to keep you posted on both.