Fantasy Preview and Picks for LIV Golf Nashville

Fantasy Preview and Picks for LIV Golf Nashville

Fantasy Preview and Picks for LIV Golf Nashville

The second half of the 2024 LIV Golf season got underway two weeks ago at The Golf Club at Houston. Torque GC's Carlos Ortiz captured his first LIV Golf trophy, beating out Cleeks GC's Adrian Meronk by one stroke. While Meronk fell short of the individual trophy, he joined teammates Richard Bland, Kalle Samooja and captain Martin Kaymer on the podium as Cleeks GC won their first trophy in team history by two strokes over Fireballs GC and Smash GC. LIV Golf Nashville will provide team captains like Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson and Joaquin Niemann with the opportunity to rebound from their tough recent outings. But most of the attention heading into The Grove will be 2024 U.S. Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Heading into Pinehurst, DeChambeau was the only LIV Golf player to finish in the top-10 in each of the first two majors of the season, with finishes of T6 and second at the Masters and PGA Championship, respectively. The only other LIV Golf players who finished top-15 in the first two majors were Ripper GC captain Cameron Smith (T6 at the Masters), Legion XIII's Tyrrell Hatton (T12 at the Masters), 4Aces GC's Patrick Reed (T12 at the Masters) and Stinger GC's Dean Burmester (T12 at the PGA Championship). 

DeChambeau continued his streak of good outings at majors this season at Pinehurst, and thanks to his three-under 67 in the third round, the Crushers GC captain entered the final round with a three-stroke lead. But the trophy was by no means a sure thing, and after going one-over on the front nine, DeChambeau found himself in a battle with Rory McIlroy heading into the final stretch of the tournament. DeChambeau wasn't particularly accurate off the tee, but his scrambling game kept him at the top of the leaderboard. After McIlroy missed his three-foot putt for par on the 18th, DeChambeau got himself out of trouble with a 55-yard shot out of the sand to land within four feet from the flag stick (ironic that perhaps the best shot of his life is the one that gives him the most difficulty, according to his LIV Golf profile). DeChambeau casually sunk the par putt on 18 and became a two-time U.S. Open Champion, joining Smash GC captain Brooks Koepka as multiple-time champions.

DeChambeau's victory at Pinehurst will rightfully draw most of the attention heading into LIV Golf Nashville, but there were others who showed out at the U.S. Open. Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia, who was a late alternate after failing to qualify, took advantage of the opportunity to finish T12 at one over. Tyrrell Hatton entered the final round tied for seventh but settled for a share of 26th with Koepka after a tough seven-over 77. Also making the cut at Pinehurst were Smith (T32), Fireball GC's David Puig (55th), Kaymer (T64) and Burmester (69th).

LIV Golf Nashville will be the first big-time golf event in the Tennessee city in over 80 years. The Grove, par-71 course measured at 7,297 yards, was designed by LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman. The fairways are generous enough to give players a chance to score low, but there's plenty of water to contend with, including the McCrory Creek that meanders its way through the course. Getting onto the fast greens in regulation will be key in Nashville, as it has all season; the winner of all but one LIV Golf tournament this season has finished T10 or better in GIR. 

For a preview of LIV Golf Nashville, including the big storylines, course preview, and homecoming for Legion XIII's Caleb Surratt, be sure to check out Mike McCallister's rundown on LIV's official website.

Play LIV Golf Fantasy Now! Ready to make your LIV Golf Fantasy Selections? Set your lineup by shotgun start on June 21st at 1:00 PM EST.

Here are my picks for LIV Golf Nashville.

Captains (2)

Bryson DeChambeau
Crushers GC

DeChambeau has all the momentum behind him following his thrilling victory at the U.S. Open Championship. Despite not finishing in the top-15 over the last three LIV Golf tournaments, the Crushers GC captain has performed well at the majors, finishing T6 or better across the three events. While he wasn't the most accurate off the tee at Pinehurst, his scrambling got him out of trouble, and that should play into his hands at the Grove when his long balls miss the fairway. Entering Nashville, DeChambeau leads the field in driving distance (320.9 yards) and eagles (seven), and is in the top-15 in GIR, putting and scrambling.

Sergio Garcia
Fireballs GC

Coming off a fifth-place finish at LIV Golf Houston, Garcia was a late invite to the U.S. Open Championship as an alternate. He made the most out of his 25th-straight U.S. Open appearance, finishing T12 and was the second-best LIV Golf player at Pinehurst behind DeChambeau. Garcia is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to his putting (1.63 putts per hole, 29th) and driving distance (303.45 yards, 33rd), but he ranks second this season in driving accuracy (78.57 percent), fourth in GIR (75.93 percent) and fifth in scrambling (76.92 percent). 

Honorable Mentions: Jon Rahm, Legion XIII (his left foot injury forced him to withdraw from LIV Golf Houston and the U.S. Open Championship, but if he does play, the extra rest will give Rahm a fresh chance of capturing his first trophy of the year); Brooks Koepka, Smash GC (Soared to a T9 finish at LIV Golf Houston thanks to a seven-under final round; T8 in GIR in Houston and T4 for the LIV Golf season, finished T26 at the U.S. Open Championship), Henrik Stenson, Majesticks GC (T15 finish in Houston, ranks third and 12th in driving accuracy and GIR, respectively, this season).

Non-Captains (4)

Paul Casey
Crushers GC

Following disappointing performances in Adelaide and Singapore, Casey entered Championship Sunday in Houston in a four-way tie for the clubhouse lead. He was 12-under through the first 11 holes in the final round, but a double bogey on the 12th hole dismantled his hopes for his first LIV Golf trophy, though he still managed to finish in the top-10 for the third time this season. Casey leads the field in GIR this season (76.1 percent) and ranks second in scrambling (71.84 percent) and sixth in driving accuracy (62.99 percent).

Talor Gooch
Smash GC

Gooch climbed 26 spots to a T15 finish in Houston thanks to his six-under 66 on Championship Sunday, which was the second-best score on the day behind teammate and captain Koepka. After winning three LIV Golf trophies and winning the 2023 Individual Season Championship, Gooch sits eighth in the standings with 72.12 points, thanks to six top-15 finishes. He ranks third this season in scrambling (70.31 percent), fifth in driving accuracy (63.69 percent), sixth in putting average (1.56) and 19th in GIR (70.37 percent).

Carlos Ortiz
Torque GC

After finishing LIV Golf Singapore strong with a seven-under 64 in the final round, Ortiz carried that momentum into Houston. He entered Championship Sunday in a four-way tie for the lead, and he was able to remain strong in the final round to capture the first LIV Golf trophy of his career. Ortiz finished the tournament first in GIR (83.33 percent), second in birdies (18), eighth in driving accuracy (69.05 percent) and 12th in scrambling (66.67 percent). For the 2024 LIV Golf season, he ranks second in birdies per round (4.75), fourth in GIR (74.31 percent) and 19th in driving accuracy (58.63 percent). 

Tyrrell Hatton
Legion XIII

Hatton was poised to be a dark horse candidate for the U.S. Open Championship, as he entered the final round in a tie for seventh place. The final round didn't go as planned for the Englishman, however, as he started four-over after the first three holes and carded a seven-over 77 to finish tied for 26th. It was a disappointing finish for Hatton, but he has made the cut in all three majors this season and has finished in the top-20 in all but one LIV Golf tournament in 2024. He ranks third this season in putting average (1.54) and 10th in scrambling (67.67 percent).

Honorable Mentions: Abraham Ancer, Fireballs GC (overcame a three-over 75 start to finish T24 at LIV Golf Houston, leads the league in driving accuracy (67.56 percent) and 11th in GIR (72.92 percent)), Patrick Reed, 4Aces GC (he's not highly ranked in GIR or driving accuracy this season, but he finished third in Houston while ranking first in putting average (1.46 per hole), eighth in scrambling (73.33 percent) and 13th in GIR (72.22 percent)). 

Teams (2)

Crushers GC

Crushers GC were in contention for their third team trophy of the season in Houston, and they entered Championship Sunday tied for third place at 21-under. They couldn't make the surge in the final round that Cleeks GC and Smash GC were able to, but they still managed to finish T4 to stay atop the team season standings with 113.50 points. Crushers GC enter LIV Golf Nashville first in GIR (73.30 percent) and scrambling (68.49 percent) and third in driving accuracy (60.02 percent). Charles Howell III did not tee it up last time out in Houston due to a tibia injury, but the expectation is that he will be able to return this week. He was replaced in Houston Asian Tour Order of Merit leader John Catlin, who finished LIV Golf Houston T24 at four-under.

Smash GC

At LIV Golf Houston, Smash GC played themselves into their first podium finish since Jeddah. They fired 14-under in the final round -- which was two strokes better than eventual winners Cleeks GC on the day -- and all four players finished in the top-20 in the individual leaderboard. Smash GC rank best in driving accuracy (62.68 percent), third in GIR (72.64 percent) and fifth in scrambling (64.97 percent) heading into Nashville.

Honorable Mentions: Fireballs GC (T2 finish at LIV Golf Houston, rank second and fifth in driving accuracy and GIR, respectively, this season), Cleeks GC (coming off their first team victory in Houston, rank fourth this season in both driving accuracy (62.50 percent) and GIR (72.29 percent)).

Sleepers (5)

Richard Bland
Cleeks GC

Bland has accrued points in all but one LIV Golf tournament this season, though he sits 29th in the individual season standings. The Englishman ranks second behind Casey in GIR (75.46 percent) and 12th in driving accuracy (61.61 percent).

Jason Kokrak
Smash GC

Kokrak's best round in Houston came on Saturday, when he carded six-under 66 with seven birdies and one bogey. He finished the tournament third in driving accuracy (76.19 percent) and 13th in GIR (72.22 percent), and he ranks 16th and 14th in those categories, respectively, for the season.

Sebastian Munoz
Torque GC

Munoz is coming off a T15 finish in Houston, his second straight top-20 finish at a LIV Golf tournament this season. He finished the event seventh in scrambling (76.47 percent) and eighth in driving accuracy (69.05 percent).

Cameron Tringale
HyFlyers GC

Tringale has finished T21 or better in each of the last four LIV Golf tournaments and is coming off a T9 finish in Houston, when he finished eighth in putting average (1.56 per hole) and top-15 in GIR and driving distance.

Branden Grace
Stinger GC

Grace is coming off a 52nd finish at LIV Golf Houston, his worst of the season, but the South African ranks eighth in GIR (73.38 percent) and 21st in driving accuracy (57.44 percent).

Prediction

He's lost two playoffs this season, but I think Nashville is where Sergio Garcia finally puts together a strong three-round performance to capture his first LIV Golf trophy. DeChambeau, Gooch, Ancer and Koepka round out the top five, while Ortiz continues his strong play with a top-10 finish. Thanks to strong performances from Koepka and Gooch, Smash GC go on to win their second team trophy of the season, followed closely by Fireballs GC and Crushers GC.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cullum Brownbridge
Cullum is a RotoWire contributor for the NFL, NBA, MLB and Golf. He is irrationally pessimistic about his favorite sports teams.
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