Golf Draft Kit: RotoWire Staff/Expert League Results

Golf Draft Kit: RotoWire Staff/Expert League Results

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

Jon Rahm topped this year's RotoWire annual staff/expert golf league, becoming the most expensive golfer in this format in four years. It was part of a changing of the guard at the top of the draft with three new players in the top five from last season.

RotoWire held its annual staff/expert golf league draft Tuesday and the results may be a good guide for those who have a golf league and spend a fixed budget on golfers. The league expanded to 15 entries as a team of Adam Schefter and Kyle Soppe of ESPN joined the league. Apparently Schefter's vast network of sources informed him this was the best season-long league in existence, and Soppe joined forces so he could add some serious trash talk. We'll see how they fare against the grizzled veterans of this league in its 23nd year.

The RotoWire staff/expert golf league rules base winners on total earnings in PGA tournaments from the Sony Open to the final FedExCup event (we skipped the Tournament of Champions and also didn't use the fall portion of the 2021-22 wrap-around schedule), excluding those PGA Tour events held the same week as the World Golf Championship tournaments and the British Open. We also use only a fraction of the final FedEx championship event money since it's massive relative to the other tournaments.

Our format also includes bonus for the four majors. As a result, some European players may be ranked higher than your league. If a European golfer plays in just the four majors and WGC tournaments, he'll still have a lot of value in our league. Our league had 15 members, a budget of $100 per team and each team starts five golfers per week with a total roster of nine golfers. The league has been around since 2000.

Rahm went for $58, which is the highest price since Dustin Johnson went for $60 in 2019. Rahm's cost is even higher considering the expansion to 15 teams from 14 in 2019. However, only three golfers went for more than $50 (Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa). The number of players going for $55 or more has declined the past four years from four in 2018 to two each in 2019 and 2020 and just one last year, reflecting the lack of a dominant golfer (as was much the case in the 2000s with Tiger Woods).

The 2021 league had Dustin Johnson as the top golfer at $55. Justin Thomas was the top golfer in 2020 at $64. Dustin Johnson was the most expensive golfer in our league in 2019 at $60 with Justin Thomas at $57.

I thought the top 10 players may have declined more significantly given the expansion, but still jumped at the chance to pay $40 on Rory McIlroy. He has top-three upside despite an underwhelming 2020-21 season and remains a threat to win any major. I then tried to grab several younger players on an upward career trajectory such as Aaron Wise ($12) and Cam Davis ($15) along with some sleepers for increased tournament appearances (Kurt Kitayama, Francesco Molinari).

Notable sleepers who went for more than most expert rankings included Talor Gooch at $17, Christiaan Bezuidenhout at $13 and Matthew Wolff at $24.

I thought Corey Conners may have been the best value at $21 as he ranks 17th in RotoWire's projected earnings and went for $19 less than 16h-ranked McIlroy. Abraham Ancer at $26 also looks like a good value considering he's 13th in RotoWire's projected earnings. Harold Varner at $12 was likely mispriced as Greg Vara spent all his remaining budget late in the draft rather than leave money on the table. Tiger Woods went for $1, his all-time low. I hope he's healthy enough to earn that mark.

While these dollar values may not exactly fit your league's rules, this should be a good benchmark for your draft preparation.

Here are the participants:

Greg Vara - RotoWire golf writer
Len Hochberg - RotoWire golf writer
Kevin O'Brien - RotoWire golf editor
Jeff Ritter - Director of Content at Morning Read
Jeff Erickson - RotoWire senior editor
Peter Schoenke - RotoWire president (and worst real golfer in league)
Tim Schuler - RotoWire COO (and the league's best actual golfer)
Scott Pianowski - Yahoo! fantasy writer 
Joe Sheehan - baseball scribe of the Joe Sheehan newsletter and elsewhere
Scott Jenstad - RotoWire baseball writer and high-stakes champ
Mike Regan & Daryl Shevin - friend and former RotoWire staff contributor, respectively
Josh Ross - former RotoWire staff contributor (and league's defending champ)
Justin Green - former RotoWire staff contributor
James Smith - former RotoWire staff contributor
Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe - ESPN Senior NFL Insider and Fantasy Sports Research Associate, respectively

PlayerSalaryFantasy Team
Jon Rahm58Greg Vara
Justin Thomas50Scott Pianowski
Collin Morikawa50Len Hochberg
Bryson DeChambeau48Justin Green
Viktor Hovland45Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Xander Schauffele43Joe Sheehan
Dustin Johnson42Scott Jenstad
Patrick Cantlay41Kevin O'Brien
Rory McIlroy40Peter Schoenke
Cameron Smith40Justin Green
Tony Finau37James Smith
Brooks Koepka35Jeff Erickson
Scottie Scheffler34James Smith
Jordan Spieth32Tim Schuler
Sungjae Im31Kevin O'Brien
Daniel Berger30Scott Jenstad
Hideki Matsuyama29Jeff Erickson
Abraham Ancer26Joe Sheehan
Sam Burns26Jeff Ritter
Will Zalatoris26Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Patrick Reed25Jeff Ritter
Matthew Wolff24Josh Ross
Joaquin Niemann24Josh Ross
Corey Conners21Josh Ross
Harris English20Tim Schuler
Marc Leishman20Len Hochberg
Webb Simpson19Jeff Erickson
Max Homa19Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Louis Oosthuizen18Tim Schuler
Tyrrell Hatton17Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Talor Gooch16Len Hochberg
Jason Kokrak16Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Billy Horschel15Peter Schoenke
Cam Davis15Peter Schoenke
Matt Fitzpatrick15Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Paul Casey14Josh Ross
Christiaan Bezuidenhout13Joe Sheehan
Aaron Wise12Peter Schoenke
Harold Varner III12Greg Vara
Brian Harman11Scott Pianowski
Kevin Kisner11Jeff Ritter
Si Woo Kim10James Smith
Seamus Power9Jeff Erickson
Maverick McNealy9Scott Pianowski
Erik van Rooyen9Jeff Ritter
Gary Woodland9Jeff Ritter
Justin Rose9Tim Schuler
Shane Lowry9Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Bubba Watson8Scott Pianowski
Sebastian Munoz8Scott Pianowski
Keith Mitchell8Len Hochberg
Russell Henley8Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Rickie Fowler 8Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Jason Day8Scott Jenstad
Carlos Ortiz7Peter Schoenke
Joel Dahmen7Greg Vara
Mito Pereira7James Smith
Cameron Champ7Kevin O'Brien
Kevin Na7Jeff Ritter
Luke List7Tim Schuler
Tommy Fleetwood7Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Adam Scott7Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Kevin Streelman6Greg Vara
Doc Redman6Josh Ross
Emiliano Grillo6Scott Pianowski
Harry Higgs6Kevin O'Brien
K.H. Lee6Kevin O'Brien
Keegan Bradley6Scott Jenstad
Denny McCarthy5Greg Vara
Lucas Herbert 5Josh Ross
Ryan Palmer5Jeff Ritter
Alex Noren5Tim Schuler
Charley Hoffman5Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Cameron Tringale5Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Sergio Garcia5Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Dylan Frittelli4Peter Schoenke
Phil Mickelson4Jeff Erickson
Matt Wallace4Greg Vara
Robert MacIntyre4Greg Vara
Matt Jones4James Smith
J.T. Poston4James Smith
Chris Kirk4Scott Pianowski
Garrick Higgo4Kevin O'Brien
Stephan Jaeger4Jeff Ritter
Patrick Rodgers4Jeff Ritter
Matt Kuchar4Tim Schuler
Aaron Rai4Scott Jenstad
Patton Kizzire4Justin Green
Doug Ghim3Peter Schoenke
Francesco Molinari3Peter Schoenke
Henrik Norlander3Greg Vara
Min Woo Lee3Josh Ross
Lee Westwood3Joe Sheehan
Mackenzie Hughes3Joe Sheehan
Charles Howell 3Joe Sheehan
Charl Schwartzel3Tim Schuler
Lanto Griffin3Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Jhonattan Vegas3Scott Jenstad
Alex Smalley3Scott Jenstad
Greyson Sigg2James Smith
Rory Sabbatini 2Josh Ross
Chad Ramey2Scott Pianowski
Adam Hadwin2Scott Pianowski
Stewart Cink2Kevin O'Brien
Matthew NeSmith2Kevin O'Brien
Brendan Steele2Joe Sheehan
Sepp Straka2Joe Sheehan
Zach Johnson2Tim Schuler
Ian Poulter2Len Hochberg
Branden Grace2Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Adam Schenk2Mike Regan &Daryl Shevin
Lucas Glover2Scott Jenstad
Taylor Moore2Scott Jenstad
C.T. Pan2Justin Green
Brian Stuard2Justin Green
Kurt Kitayama1Peter Schoenke
Kyle Stanley1Jeff Erickson
Mark Hubbard1Jeff Erickson
Roger Sloan1Jeff Erickson
John Huh1Jeff Erickson
Danny Lee1Greg Vara
Andrew Putnam1James Smith
Troy Merritt1James Smith
Hayden Buckley1Josh Ross
Takumi Kanaya1Kevin O'Brien
Tiger Woods1Joe Sheehan
Taylor Pendrith1Len Hochberg
Adam Long1Len Hochberg
Andrew Landry1Len Hochberg
Guido Migliozzi1Len Hochberg
Tom Hoge1Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe
Hudson Swafford1Justin Green
Peter Malnati1Justin Green
Chez Reavie1Justin Green
Hank Lebioda1Justin Green

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Peter Schoenke
Peter Schoenke is the president and co-founder of He's been elected to the hall of fame for both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and Fantasy Sports Writers Association and also won the Best Fantasy Baseball Article on the Internet in 2005 from the FSWA. He roots for for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and T-Wolves.
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