Fantasy Golf: Connolly’s Master Swingers off to a flier
Woods and Koepka deliver in style as four of contestant’s picks finish in the top five at Augusta
Tiger Woods celebrates at Augusta. Some 87 per cent of the managers in our 2019 Fantasy Golf competition left him out of their Masters team. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times
The bulk of the post-Masters sympathy, understandably enough, would have gone in Francesco Molinari’s direction after he found water on the 12th and 15th holes at Augusta, double-bogeying them both, to scupper his hopes of leaving with a green jacket in his luggage.
But while sympathy might usually be in short enough supply for opinionated golf writers, you’d want to have had a heart of stone not to feel even a pinch of pity for the likes of the fella who wrote an article four years ago under the headline: “Tiger Woods is totally, completely, unequivocally, and utterly done”.
Come Monday morning: “I was wrong about Tiger Woods. Wrong then, wrong now, wrong forevermore. Gigantically, calamitously wrong.”
Author and Golf Digest contributor Shane Ryan, then, conceded he had been unequivocally incorrect about the chances of Tiger ever taking a seat in The Butler Cabin again. Or adding any Major to his roll of honour.
The only consolation we can offer Shane at this difficult time (“the Internet will never let me forget it!”) is that 87.22 per cent of the managers in our 2019 Fantasy Golf competition appeared to believe that Tiger would unequivocally not win the 2019 Masters either, otherwise they might have hired him for the tournament.
And of the 12.78 per cent who did indeed employ him ahead of week one in the competition, only 2.41 per cent had enough faith in the fella to award him the double-your-points captaincy.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy tickled the fancy of just under 50 per cent of our managers, a third of you, in all, awarding him the captain’s armband, another 13 players proving more popular than Tiger, among them Molinari whose watery exploits ended up breaking the hearts of 23 per cent of you.
These were your top 10 picks: (1) McIlroy (tied for 21st), (2) Corey Connors (tied for 46th – his bargain basement fee of €4m no doubt a sizeable factor in his popularity), (3) Molinari (joint fifth), (4) Justin Rose (nightmare: missed the cut), (5) Rickie Fowler (tied for ninth), (6) Dustin Johnson (tied for second), (7) Tommy Fleetwood (took a share of 36th), (8) Vijay Singh (another thrifty €4m pick . . . who missed the cut), (9) Jon Rahm (tied for ninth) and (10) Shane Lowry (missed the cut).
A few hits, a few misses, but the 17 managers who earned 3,000 points or more mainly enjoyed hits, none more so than Joe Connolly’s Master Swingers who finished top of the pile with a mighty 3,700 points, despite two of his players not being in the field, and another, Charl Schwartzel, missing the cut.
The rest, though, performed admirably, four of them finishing in the top five. Captain Brooks Koepka (tied for second) brought home 1,440 points, Woods added another 1,020 to the pot, Xander Schauffele (tied for second) picked up 720, Molinari earned 520, and Kevin Tway (tied for 36th) chipped in with 20 points.
Joe, then, is on course to win our €10,000 first prize. All he has to do is stay top of the leaderboard for another 18 weeks. Good luck to him, and to you all.