Most-Picked Players: U.S. Open
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO If you ever wondered how many of you aren't paying attention, the answer might be 5.7 percent. That's Phil Mickelson's ownership percentage at the U.S. Open. It ranks 19th-most overall. Of course, he was a threat to withdraw before the tournament started, and that's what happened on Thursday morning. Gamers who rostered the lefty won't be charged a start because he pulled out before his tee time, but that's superfluous in the context of PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO since Segment 3 concludes at next week's Travelers Championship. The more relevant and potential self-inflicted damage rests in the fact that the U.S. Open cut is arguably the toughest in golf. Only the low 60 and ties play the final two rounds, which means that as many as 96 will be done after 36 holes. So, even if Mickelson was stowed away on 100 percent of the benches of the 5.7 percent on board, this is the last tournament in which you want to play with fire. This is especially poignant in a tournament when only actual scoring and bonus points are measured. It presents the opportunity to be aggressive instead of relying on strategy when ShotLink is turned on. In other words, those gamers would have needed Mickelson not only to play but to contend to pay off the risk. Among the dignitaries who aren't represented below, Paul Casey ranks 16th at 6.3 percent, Henrik Stenson is 17th at 6.1 percent, Brooks Koepka slots 18th at 5.8 percent and FedEx St. Jude Classic winner Daniel Berger checks in at 21st at 5.0 percent. NOTE: Rob’s Rating refers to where our Fantasy Insider slotted a golfer in his Power Rankings. Golfers in the Power Rankings and outside the top 10 in most owned PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO It's been 28 years since Curtis Strange was the last to successfully defend a U.S. Open title, but that drought didn't deter 21.5 percent of you from pouring your faith into Dustin Johnson at Erin Hills. Before you rush to defend DJ's chances this week, consider that since Tiger Woods won his first of three U.S. Opens in 2000, he's the only champion to finish inside the top 10 in his title defense. His T6 in 2009 is best among 11 of the 16 who survived the cut as the defending champion. Of course, even if Johnson repeats, he may eventually outscore himself in the FedExCup Playoffs when points are quadrupled. So, gamers invested this week pretty much need him to defend. As the fantasy columnist for the website, I know that I have influence on the decisions gamers make. That includes when you disagree, which also achieves the objective of making a decision. While I never pretend to manipulate thinking or go into any tournament with expectations that even one gamer will be impacted, I can't help but wonder if my unilateral devotion to Rickie Fowler at the U.S. Open swayed many of you into plugging him in. Note that Fowler slots three clicks ahead of Rory McIlroy in ownership percentage. Before reviewing the data, I expect McIlroy to rank second behind DJ, but that he's behind Fowler at all is one of the most surprising takeaways of the season. And so far, so good, too! Fowler opened with a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to assume the clubhouse lead. Notables outside the top 10 include Louis Oosthuizen (12th, 2.2 percent), Hideki Matsuyama (13th, 1.8 percent), Henrik Stenson (17th, 1.2 percent), Brooks Koepka (21st, 0.9 percent) and Tommy Fleetwood (one gamer). Phil Mickelson ranks 24th at 0.7 percent. Because he withdrew before his tee time in the opening round, he will remain available to the gamers who thought that the risk was worth it but are instead swallowing a zero.
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