The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman

I’m hopped up on pain meds still…

…haven’t left the house since getting back from the hospital…

…and I have thoughts.

How about The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman? We gonna bring that back? How about that? How bout that? How bout that whole…that whole deal?

Let’s flow.

The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman is a column I wrote for nearly a decade on insideSTL.

In what was an appalling realization after a decade, it hit me that I would spend hours each Sunday—and then hours throughout the week—writing columns…but not monetizing them.

And it’s not like there was a large market for them.

But, I enjoy writing.

I just enjoy writing when I have something that I care about…as opposed to writing just because I have to.

So, in this case, I have some things I care about.

The Masters And The New Wearer of The Green Jacket

Give me Rickie.

Give me Rory.

Give me the absurd comeback by Spieth.

Give me Rahm.

Give me The Great Bernd Weisberger.

Just don’t give me Patrick Reed.

From an excitement standpoint when it comes to the actual golf played—for *golf fans and not casual fans*—I don’t know how you could have done much better than what we had today.

From the names on the leaderboard standpoint, I don’t recall the depth of star power that we saw all on the first two pages of the leaderboard.

It was damn near everybody who you care about.*

*Indicates we’ll address this momentarily

But, the winner is not someone I was pulling for. It had nothing to do with my DraftKings’ teams.*

We had P. Reed on 10% of our rosters, which was higher than his ownership %.

But, I am not enamored with Reed going back to allegations…later corroborated by one of his coaches…of cheating and stealing from his teammates at Georgia, and then after he got booted from the Bulldogs…at Augusta State.

Now, maybe he has turned it around since then…and maybe his performance at Hazeltine won over some guys who didn’t like him on Tour (Spieth reluctantly played with him two years before…and that led to their now relatively well-known pairings)…but fucking around with the scorecard in golf is Grade A trouble…and stealing from teammates…yeah.

Of course, I sat here and pulled for Tiger…so clearly I pick and choose the sins I can absolve.

But, my distaste for Reed winning also has to do with the fact that, having sat here and watched damn near every #hole since Thursday (hell…I watched the Par 3 contest in the hospital Wednesday), I see some of Jamie Gold’s 2006 WSOP win in Patrick Reed’s 2018 Masters.

Obscure references…always part of the Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman.

Jamie Gold luck boxed his way to the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

Reed was so fortunate so many times…not just today with the ball somehow staying up on #13 and with his putt on 17 hitting the flag/hole keeping it from running way past the hole setting up a three-putt. This isn’t in the Danny Willett category of having a Masters handed to him…but I would set the over/under on number of majors Patrick Reed wins at 1.5.

The talent around the game is so good now…and all of that good fortune that allowed him to hold on by a stroke over a player he led by five and a two strokes over a player he led by nine will not all tilt his way anytime soon.

Rickie Rickie Rickie

I put $50 on Rickie after the second round Friday. It was paying +$2600.

So, that would have been $1,300.

What was my reasoning?

Watching him on Friday…he was right there. Burning edges. My logic was the +2600 had real value, and those putts will fall on the weekend.

I liked him even more this morning…because when he has the lead on weekends, he has struggled to hold it. Don’t know why. Just know it’s happened.

So, I liked him Sunday as the predator…not the prey.

I put so much stock in it that I thought it was actually good that he was in 3rd…because that kept him out of the final group.

Through the first seven holes, I thought my calculation was completely off.

He was so out of it.

Going in the sand on #2 was brutal off the tee. At that point, your probability of birdieing a hole so many players will be getting 4’s on is less than 25%. He just was not in it.

Then he sank a long putt to save par on 7, and like we’ve seen so many times, after dancing with the devil and surviving those first seven at (+1), he woke up. And next to Spieth, no one was better from that point forward.

From that standpoint, I’m thrilled to see a likable player whose success correlates with interest in the game have a Sunday like he had.

But, it gets talked about like it’s a foregone conclusion he’s going to get a major.

Does he have the talent to win one?

Absolutely.

Hell, he was a stroke away from a playoff today…and Reed’s good fortune to shoot what he shot has been noted.

But, also noted above is the amount of talent in the game at this moment. And from that standpoint, it’s going to be so tough for *anyone* to win a major. The only player where I feel like I would bet a large amount of money that he is going to win another major is Spieth at Augusta.

Spieth at The Masters is like Jennings at The Fan Pin Club Championship.

But, Fowler has eight top fives at majors and three runner-up finishes.

Whoever wins these things has to outlast a field that features depth like we haven’t seen in forever…if ever…and also the potential of a player who isn’t in that top 20 list going off and having a Brooks Koepka kind of weekend at Erin Hills.

Would I bet on Fowler to win a major if I had to pick yes or no? Yes. I would…but I wouldn’t consider it the foregone conclusion that I think gets tossed around by some golf analysts.

Today, however, he would have *won* the championship as opposed to someone losing it…and that’s incredibly encouraging for someone who has had his problems on the weekends.

Speaking of losing a championship…

Jordan Spieth

I bet Fowler because I saw how many tap-in pars he had on Friday that could have been multiple birdies.

I saw the value.

Had I really believed in my observational theory, I would have thrown $50 on Spieth last night when he was +4500 to win.

Spieth’s Saturday was Fowler’s Friday.

Hey, it’s alliteration.

We ought to get that sponsored and see if we can crack Barrett’s Top 20.

But, Spieth was right there for a great round yesterday…but just like Rickie Rickie Rickie on Friday, he burned edges.

He didn’t burn them today…and you saw the result.

While I was pulling for Spieth…and anyone not named Patrick Reed Sunday…I would have been kicking myself for not throwing $50 on Spieth last night when I was looking for my long shot Sunday play.

But, hey…I did put $50 on Tommy Fleetwood and didn’t see him shown one time Sunday.

Well played, fuckstick.

Fuckstick=me…not Tommy.

Tiger/Phil

I’m a No Laying Up podcast lemming.

Love the work they do.

I would recommend subscribing and listening…as they entertain in a TMA kind of way…and they make golf even more amusing by attaching storylines/traits to players/caddies/media members that you otherwise wouldn’t think anything of.

Example: Matt Kuchar’s Skechers and backdoor Top 10 finishes. Jason Day’s sick days. CBS’s broadcast issues.

It’s like having a guy call in with a wrestling report…and the next thing you know, you’re at a bar in Southern Illinois watching the wrestling reporter get food spit in his mouth by a trucker named Rhonda.

On the surface, it seems stupid.

But, then you start listening, and you realize it’s second only to NPR in its brilliance.

I digress…

The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman is essentially one large digression.

No Laying Up tweeted out yesterday that “we” were getting The Masters we wanted.

Yes…”we” the hardcore golf fans got what we wanted…almost.

The casual fan…I’m not sure.

And the non-casual fan who only tunes in if there’s a Tiger on the prowl…they likely ignored something many of us lived and died with all weekend.

Here’s the reality:

It was a phenomenal Masters…especially if you’re a hardcore golf fan.

BUT, to say it was The Masters we wanted is spinning it…because “we” love it.

For example…the 2006 World Series was a great World Series for most of us…because the Cardinals won it.

But, if we’re to be honest…it was a pretty shitty World Series with little drama and a team paying homage to Rick Ankiel and Steve Sax when fielding bunts.

So, “we” got the drama we wanted with a great leaderboard.

But, *all* of the coverage leading into Thursday was on Tiger Woods. All of it. And when Sunday rolled around, CBS was lucky to be able to show five of his final holes…because he was never a factor.

So the reality is The Masters that we really wanted is not The Masters that we got.

Why?

As Tiger said today following his final round, he was just so bad with his irons all week.

His putting was dreadful today.

But, it was his irons that did him in.

And this is a golf course that, when it gets down to it, is about that second shot.

Nothing typified his week better than #1 on Friday. After a bunch of players had fumble fucked around in the morning, the door was open for him to announce his presence Friday afternoon.

He absolutely shipped his drive on #1…a place where he had struggled so often.

He was sitting 92 yards out after his tee shot.

He yanked his wedge…scuffed his chip…and two putt for bogey.

Meanwhile, his playing partners—Tommy Fleetwood and Marc Leishman in particular—took off…leaving Tiger in the dust.

Leishman birdied the first three holes, and seeing someone who is a good but not great player leave Tiger behind was a wake-up call for those of us thinking the 12 at The Honda, the T2 at Valspar, and the T5 at Bay Hill were all build-up to the inevitable return to 2000 that so many of us had hoped to see this weekend.

That’s the difference now:

Not only is he 42 with a back fusion surgery under his belt, but there are sooooo many great players. And for him to win a major, he has to be on AND the other great players have to be slightly off.

I don’t think Tiger beats Spieth at this point when both are firing on all cylinders at Augusta.

And we haven’t even gotten into DJ, Rickie, Rory, JT, Rahm, Rose, Matsuyama, Bubba, Day, and Stenson.

Back in the day, it was Els, Phil, and Vijay…and that was pretty much that.

I want Tiger to win…and I do think he will…but winning a major? Similar to my fandom for Fowler (more alliteration, Barrett…and this won was FFF), it’s going to be so tough. And unlike Fowler, Tiger only has so many shots left.

This was a disappointment this weekend.

So, while many of us golf nerds loved it…Tiger’s shortcomings combined with Phil’s bizarroworld round on Friday led to two of the biggest draws being out of it…and therefore, this was not The Masters we really wanted.

DraftKings

The Masters I really wanted was one in which one of our 200 rosters won the million.

That did not happen.

Had it happened and I was just getting around to mentioning it, The University of Missouri #JSchool would hold me accountable for forgetting about the inverted pyramid style of writing they tough…and for #buryingthelead.

We did have two of our rosters place in the top 35 in one of the contests (not the millionaire maker)…and one of those rosters finish 8th.

The 8th place roster had:

-Spieth
-Bubba
-Casey
-Kuchar
-Kisner
-Henley

Honestly, that doesn’t seem like that great of a roster…but it was the one that one us the most money.

Overall, The Tamm Avenue Capital Partners had another losing major…as is our guarantee to our investors…but we enjoyed the sweat…and actually having a team in the mix to win.

Here’s the roster (that we didn’t have) that won the million:

-Reed
-Fowler
-Spieth
-Watson
-Hoffman
-Henley

This person won $1,000,000 with that roster.

This roster beat out a roster that was actually more under par (with Reed of course as well)…but the person who got beat out in 3rd didn’t have Charley Hoffman.

DraftKings gives 13 points for a double eagle or better (ie, hole-in-one or albatross)…and so just like last year when Kuchar got a cosmetic ace on 16 while everyone was focused on Sergio and Rose, Hoffman’s accidental hole-in-one off the bunker meant a difference of $900,000 for the person who finished in third and had the best under par total…but didn’t have Charley Hoffman.

That Daily Fantasy Sports…she’s a harsh, harsh mistress.

Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman Quick Hits

-When I used to write these every Sunday, I would write for about #sixhours. I’m doing this off the cuff in 90 minutes…so I won’t go all in-depth on some other stuff, because, in part, I’m hopped up on hydrocodone.

-But, I’ll still quick hit you.

-I was super bullish on Dominic Leone coming into the season. And I think the Cardinals were as well. Now, those who blame Mike Matheny for everything may have been blaming him for today as well. I don’t know. I was locked in on golf and not Twitter or The Fan Page. Weaver was at 97 pitches. He was great. He got little offensive support. He had to go soon…whether at that moment or another. But, he wasn’t going much longer. The issue in the games the Cardinals have lost in which both Weaver and Flaherty (Tuesday in Milwaukee) carved up the opposition has been Leone. Lyons started it Tuesday…but in both cases, Leone ended it. Yes…they’ll have Gregerson and Holland in the bullpen shortly. And yes…that *should* make the issues that turned two wins into two losses reduce in their problematic nature…but Leone was expected to be a key part of this bullpen. Yeah…he was great in 2017 (2.56 ERA, 1.052 WHIP, and 3.52 K/BB ratio), but he was dreadful in ’15 and ’16. If he isn’t right…and if Mike Matheny and Mike Maddux plan to only let the majority of the starters go into the sixth inning at the deepest, this is a problem that could have a domino effect. We’ve already seen Matt Bowman appear in 6 of the 9 Cardinal games so far…and that was *with* Matheny and Maddux thinking they had Leone as a weapon in the back of the bullpen.

-The Cardinals are 4-5…should really be 6-3…and have been getting the following offensive production:

-Lead-off man Dexter Fowler (.147 batting average…but more horrifying…a .216 OBP)…which leads to…

-#3 hitter Matt Carpenter with a total of 3 RBI’s…with a total of two extra base hits while hitting .200.

-Kolten Wong had two hits Sunday…and that raised his average to .143. A 2-for-3 day raised his average to .143 is what I said. How bad has it been? He doubled his hit total for the season today.

So, considering all of the above, I like that the Cardinals are 4-5…because I expect all of the above to improve. Still, those numbers from Fowler, Carpenter, and Wong are grotesque in our #smallsamplesizetheater.

-I love playoff hockey. Love it. And Aprils without playoff hockey suck. Growing up, I always loved playoff hockey…as the Blues would play someone in the Norris Division…and we would stay up and watch it, leave the windows open as it started to warm up…and all sleep in front of the TV in the living room. #SouthCityDreams With that all said, this would have been a really unique playoff viewing experience, because unlike any year during the most recent playoff streak, I would have been surprised if the Blues would have won more than a game…much less the series. Even in 2009 when they finally got back in for the first time since 2004, they were playing so damn well at the end that you actually expected them to do damage. That made the sweep to Vancouver painful. A loss to the Predators was pretty much inevitable. So, iffffffff this team pissing the bed over the final week and picking up just two points by losing at Arizona, vs. Washington, vs. Chicago, and at Colorado leads to changes that the organization may have been holding off on making that put them in a position to actually do damage in the playoffs…then I’ll sacrifice the thrill of the playoffs this April when it wasn’t going to happen anyway.

-There are plenty of moments/games you can look back on when only one point kept you out of the playoffs…but the moment that stands out to me is Duncan Keith’s goal Wednesday with 8.5 seconds left. That was the moment. That was also the moment Doug Armstrong got up and had to walk away as he was so pissed off. That’s the image that I will carry into the offseason. I wonder if Armstrong will as well.

-Book I’m reading: Armen Keteyian’s book titled Tiger Woods. Can’t put it down.

-TV Show recommendation: Letterman’s new show…with guest Jay-Z this month.

-Meal of the weekend: Limited by not leaving the house, but those chicken wings from Three Kings pwn me hole.

-Favorite moment of the weekend: Jameson crawling toward me for the first time.

Stand up and cheer for the Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman. He just hit a dribbler to the right side of the infield to move the runner from second to third.

Back to the bench I go…

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