Friday, December 29, 2017

Push 787 To Swing

Terrible news for my interest in the 2018 PGA Tour season.  I went to sign up for my 15th (give or take) year of Yahoo fantasy golf only to discover that the game is no longer offered.  Nooooooooo!  You might point out that, whereas fantasy football/hockey/baseball/basketball are respectfully nerdy mainstream activities, fantasy golf is taking things a bit too far.  You are entirely correct in this assessment, but still, I'm heartbroken at losing an activity that has taken up probably too much of my time over the last decade and a half.  

The premise --- you get to select eight golfers per week, divided into tiers of an A group, a B group, and a C group.  The groups were roughly divided by talent, though as the year progressed, there would always be a couple of weird outliers.  (For instance, I think Jordan Spieth was a B-player during his massive 2015 season.)  You could only start one of your two A players, two of your four B players and one of your two C players in each "foursome" per round, so there was some strategy in trying to figure out which of your guys would perform better.  There were few things more frustrating than leaving the lowest round of the day on your bench.  Points were allowed out of a possible 20, based on how far behind the leader a golfer finished.  Low round of the day for 20 points, one shot behind 18 points, two shots behind 16 points, and so on and so forth. 

The other catch was that you couldn't select a player for more than ten starts per year, so you had to be strategic about when you picked, say, Tiger Woods in his prime.  If you think this led to me actually studying golf statistics to gauge which players played best on particular courses, you're right!  In a related story, I'm single. 

You accumulated points during every tournament throughout the PGA Tour season, leading to a grand prize of....well, nothing.  Bragging rights, I suppose.  It's generally pretty boring to hear anyone talk about their fantasy sports teams, but it is ESPECIALLY boring to hear them talk about* a fantasy golf team since a) nobody plays it, b) nobody really gets it, leading to that paragraph-long description about the rules, c) nobody really cares in the first place.

* = um, but hopefully not boring to read about?

Without fantasy golf as my anchor, I guess there's a chance I could care less about actual golf in general, though I already feel like my interest has been vaguely waning over the last year or so.  I'd always harboured the secret hope that I'd be struck by lightning and gain superpowers, and since suddenly dominating any other sport would've been suspicious for secret identity purposes, I would've directed my powers to gain fame and fortune as a pro golfer.  As the years go by, however, I'm starting to think that this scenario is a little far-fetched.  Come to think of it, it might not even happen at all!  As such, keeping up on my future competition on Tour is now suddenly seeming less important. 

Or, the actual reason could be that the new wave of golfing talent just doesn't really get me excited.  Now, it bears noting that this year's Masters was crazy-exciting, and the final round of the Open Championship featuring Spieth's insane recovery shot from halfway off the course will be remembered for as long as my brain retains sports information.  But the US Open and PGA Championship were both just stultifying, possibly because Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas are so aggressively uninteresting personalities.  Between these two, Spieth (who is a great player but also pretty bland), and Dustin Johnson (who is only interesting when he's hilariously blowing majors, not when he's actually winning them), it's not a very needle-moving crop of golfers.  Here I am hoping that Rory McIlroy starts caring about golf again, or even that Tiger Woods' various brittle body parts can keep him upright for four consecutive rounds.

And now I can't even enter a meaningless competition to compete against strangers?!  Nooooooooo!

n.b. The title of this post refers to my long-time fantasy golf team name.  It is, of course, a Simpsons reference.

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