RotoWire Staff/Expert League Results

RotoWire Staff/Expert League Results

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

Rory McIlroy topped this year's RotoWire annual staff/expert golf league which had a unique set of circumstances since about 20 golfers who are typically selected have moved to the LIV tour and changed the player pool.

RotoWire held its annual staff 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 teams last season after Adam Schefter and Kyle Soppe of ESPN joined the league. [Turns out inviting Schefter paired with an ESPN fantasy expert is as imposing as it sounds even if it's not NFL. The ESPN duo led our league almost all season before falling to second late in the season to eventual winner James Ybiernas.]

The RotoWire staff golf league took place on Jan. 17. We usually try to have the draft before the first full event of the season (typically the Sony Open in Hawaii), but scheduling conflicts delayed the draft this year. Our rules base winners on total earnings in PGA Tournaments from the American Express to the final FedExCup event (we skipped the Tournament of Champions, Sony Open and also didn't use the fall portion of the 2022-23 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

Rory McIlroy topped this year's RotoWire annual staff/expert golf league which had a unique set of circumstances since about 20 golfers who are typically selected have moved to the LIV tour and changed the player pool.

RotoWire held its annual staff 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 teams last season after Adam Schefter and Kyle Soppe of ESPN joined the league. [Turns out inviting Schefter paired with an ESPN fantasy expert is as imposing as it sounds even if it's not NFL. The ESPN duo led our league almost all season before falling to second late in the season to eventual winner James Ybiernas.]

The RotoWire staff golf league took place on Jan. 17. We usually try to have the draft before the first full event of the season (typically the Sony Open in Hawaii), but scheduling conflicts delayed the draft this year. Our rules base winners on total earnings in PGA Tournaments from the American Express to the final FedExCup event (we skipped the Tournament of Champions, Sony Open and also didn't use the fall portion of the 2022-23 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 points for the four majors. As a result, some European and LIV players may be ranked higher than your league. If a European or LIV golfer plays in just the four majors and WGC tournaments, he'll still have a lot of value in our league. LIV golfers in particular posed an issue for the league. How much do you pay for one of the top players in the world who may play in only three majors and no other PGA Tour events? And could the rules allowing LIV players to play in some tournaments change during the season with the many PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf lawsuits? And what players could potentially move to the LIV tour during the season, dramatically altering their value? (For example, what to make of Cameron Young, Lucas Herbert, Jhonattan Vegas and Cameron Champ all playing in Saudi Arabia next month at the PIF Saudi International?)

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 and was once featured in the New York Times.

McIlroy went for $55, which is down slightly from our top golfter last year, Jon Rahm, at $58. Rahm wasn't far behind this year at $54, with Scottie Scheffler at $50. The 2021 and 2019 most expensive golfer, Dustin Johnson, fell to just $2 with his move to the LIV tour.

With the exodus of talent at the top of the player pool more resources were devoted to the second tier. There were 18 players with a cost more than $30, compared to just 16 last year.

After my success of rostering McIlroy last season, I wanted to end up with a top golfer at less than $50. I landed on Justin Thomas ($49) but should have bid more on Xander Schauffele when he stopped at $42. Schaufffele was the first golfer nominated and was underpriced to a typical pattern of managers sitting on their hands waiting to feel out the market. I also made a critical error when I made a jump bid of $5 on Mito Pereira without realizing he had just moved to the LIV tour. Like last season, he may not be the only golfer lost mid-season to the LIV tour. I did at least get Taylor Pendrith ($18) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6), two breakout players I may have paid a few extra of my wasted dollars on anyway.

Taylor Montgomery was a top riser in the league at $24. He was the 20th most expensive golfer in our draft. However, he was ranked just 84th in RotoWire's preseason projections. I guess everyone liked what they saw out of his fall performance (seven top-25 finishes in eight events). Shane Lowry was just $18, which seems low for RotoWire's 18th projected earner. He was the last of the top 25 projected golfers to be nominated, so his lower price may have been a byproduct of auction dynamics. Similarly, Harris English at $14 and Nick Hardy at $11 were likely overpays due to owners not wanting to leave money on the table. Adam Scott at $12 was also seen as too cheap, at least according to RotoWire golf writer Len Hochberg, who said he would have paid much more. And sadly for the first time in 24 drafts, Tiger Woods was not selected.

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 - Managing Director of SI Golf
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 
Justin Green - former RotoWire staff contributor
James Ybiernas - former RotoWire staff contributor (and league's defending champ)
Adam Schefter & Kyle Soppe - ESPN Senior NFL Insider and Fantasy Sports Research Associate, respectively

GolferSalaryFantasy Team
Rory McIlroy55Scott Pianowski
Jon Rahm54Greg Vara
Scottie Scheffler50Jeff Ritter
Justin Thomas49Peter Schoenke
Tony Finau45Mike/Daryl
Collin Morikawa44Adam/Kyle
Patrick Cantlay43Tim Schuler
Xander Schauffele42Justin Green
Will Zalatoris41Tim Schuler
Tom Kim39Josh Ross
Viktor Hovland38Scott Jenstad
Sungjae Im37Joe Sheehan
Jordan Spieth36James Ybiernas 
Max Homa35Len Hochberg
Sam Burns34Kevin O'Brien
Hideki Matsuyama32Justin Green
Cameron Young31Jeff Erickson
Matt Fitzpatrick30Jeff Erickson
Taylor Montgomery 24Adam/Kyle
Aaron Wise22Scott Jenstad
Sahith Theegala21Len Hochberg
Corey Conners21James Ybiernas 
Brian Harman20Len Hochberg
Billy Horschel20Kevin O'Brien
Tyrrell Hatton19Joe Sheehan
Shane Lowry18Jeff Erickson
Maverick McNealy18Scott Pianowski
Taylor Pendrith18Peter Schoenke
Keith Mitchell17Mike/Daryl
Justin Suh17Josh Ross
Cam Davis17Peter Schoenke
Davis Riley17Joe Sheehan
K.H. Lee16Justin Green
Si Woo Kim15Josh Ross
Keegan Bradley14Jeff Erickson
Harris English14James Ybiernas 
Tommy Fleetwood13Scott Jenstad
Alex Noren13Josh Ross
Russell Henley13Joe Sheehan
Seamus Power13James Ybiernas 
Adam Scott12Len Hochberg
Tom Hoge12Kevin O'Brien
Daniel Berger12Greg Vara
Nick Hardy11Jeff Ritter
Thomas Detry10Kevin O'Brien
Kurt Kitayama10Greg Vara
Alex Smalley9Adam/Kyle
Sebastian Munoz9Adam/Kyle
Hayden Buckley9Scott Jenstad
J.T. Poston9Kevin O'Brien
Chris Kirk9Jeff Ritter
Denny McCarthy9Greg Vara
Jason Day8Mike/Daryl
Gary Woodland8Tim Schuler
Emiliano Grillo7Mike/Daryl
Patrick Rodgers7Mike/Daryl
Sepp Straka7Jeff Ritter
Aaron Rai7Jeff Ritter
Rickie Fowler7Josh Ross
Scott Stallings7Joe Sheehan
Kevin Kisner7James Ybiernas 
J.J. Spaun6Kevin O'Brien
Matt Kuchar6Scott Pianowski
Christiaan Bezuidenhout6Peter Schoenke
Andrew Putnam5Len Hochberg
Matthew NeSmith5Kevin O'Brien
Joel Dahmen5Mike/Daryl
Taylor Moore5Scott Pianowski
Seonghyun Kim5Jeff Ritter
Jhonattan Vegas5Jeff Ritter
Dean Burmester5Josh Ross
Mito Pereira5Peter Schoenke
Will Gordon5Greg Vara
Adam Hadwin4Adam/Kyle
Kevin Yu4Len Hochberg
Greyson Sigg4Scott Jenstad
Wyndham Clark4Scott Jenstad
Austin Eckroat4Scott Jenstad
Beau Hossler4Mike/Daryl
Mark Hubbard4Mike/Daryl
Mackenzie Hughes4Scott Pianowski
Luke List4Scott Pianowski
Brendon Todd4Scott Pianowski
David Lipsky4Jeff Ritter
Callum Tarren4Greg Vara
Lucas Glover3Adam/Kyle
Adam Svensson3Adam/Kyle
Ryan Palmer3Adam/Kyle
Doug Ghim3Jeff Erickson
Brendan Steele3Scott Jenstad
Stephan Jaeger3Scott Jenstad
Lucas Herbert3Justin Green
Justin Rose3Kevin O'Brien
Cameron Smith 3Mike/Daryl
Troy Merritt3Scott Pianowski
Carl Yuan3Greg Vara
Webb Simpson3Joe Sheehan
Ben Griffin3James Ybiernas 
Tyson Alexander3James Ybiernas 
Kevin Streelman2Justin Green
Augusto Nunez2Justin Green
Brooks Koepka2Jeff Ritter
Min Woo Lee2Josh Ross
Brandon Wu2Peter Schoenke
Danny Willett2Tim Schuler
Dylan Frittelli2Tim Schuler
Dustin Johnson2Greg Vara
Ben Taylor2Joe Sheehan
Trey Mullinax1Adam/Kyle
Austin Smotherman1Jeff Erickson
Martin Laird1Jeff Erickson
Lee Hodges1Jeff Erickson
Tyler Duncan1Jeff Erickson
Davis Thompson1Len Hochberg
Thomas Pieters1Len Hochberg
Patton Kizzire1Len Hochberg
Michael Thompson1Justin Green
Peter Malnati1Justin Green
C.T. Pan1Justin Green
Chris Gotterup1Kevin O'Brien
Chez Reavie1Scott Pianowski
Ryan Fox1Josh Ross
Harry Hall1Josh Ross
Matthias Schwab1Peter Schoenke
Russell Knox1Peter Schoenke
Sam Stevens 1Peter Schoenke
Stewart Cink1Tim Schuler
Adam Long1Tim Schuler
Cameron Champ1Tim Schuler
Nick Watney1Tim Schuler
Erik van Rooyen1Greg Vara
Zach Johnson1Joe Sheehan
Robert MacIntyre1Joe Sheehan
Byeong Hun An1James Ybiernas 
Chesson Hadley1James Ybiernas 

Let us know what you think of the selections!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Schoenke
Peter Schoenke is the president and co-founder of RotoWire.com. 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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