Weekly Recap: Hudson News

Weekly Recap: Hudson News

This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.

Hudson Swafford won another golf tournament Sunday, and you'd think a guy who has won three tournaments in his career would be fairly relevant in golf. But not really. A little more relevance in fantasy golf, but not much.

It's not to take away from the accomplishment or the excitement, as Swafford captured The American Express for the second time by emerging from the pack with a wild back nine on the Stadium Course at PGA West, defeating Tom Hoge by two strokes.

Yes, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and some other big names were in the field but not in the final conversation. The Amex is known for long shots winning and this year was no different.

If you had Swafford in your lineup or backed him in some fashion then he surely was relevant to you. He's usually priced somewhere in the mid-to-upper $6,000 range on DraftKings and should continue to stay there even with this victory, including this week for the Farmers Insurance Open.

We were a little early on Swafford, making him a RotoWire value pick the week before at the Sony Open in Hawaii, hoping he would make the cut and maybe more at another one of his better tracks. And he did make the cut, tying for 48th.

There are a few courses where Swafford can be a good play, or at least a decent gamble. But there are so few, and there are so many down weeks.

Even at The American Express, where

Hudson Swafford won another golf tournament Sunday, and you'd think a guy who has won three tournaments in his career would be fairly relevant in golf. But not really. A little more relevance in fantasy golf, but not much.

It's not to take away from the accomplishment or the excitement, as Swafford captured The American Express for the second time by emerging from the pack with a wild back nine on the Stadium Course at PGA West, defeating Tom Hoge by two strokes.

Yes, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay and some other big names were in the field but not in the final conversation. The Amex is known for long shots winning and this year was no different.

If you had Swafford in your lineup or backed him in some fashion then he surely was relevant to you. He's usually priced somewhere in the mid-to-upper $6,000 range on DraftKings and should continue to stay there even with this victory, including this week for the Farmers Insurance Open.

We were a little early on Swafford, making him a RotoWire value pick the week before at the Sony Open in Hawaii, hoping he would make the cut and maybe more at another one of his better tracks. And he did make the cut, tying for 48th.

There are a few courses where Swafford can be a good play, or at least a decent gamble. But there are so few, and there are so many down weeks.

Even at The American Express, where he's now won twice, first in 2017, it's hard to count on him. After the win, he went T29-T65-MC-MC the next four years.

Since the start of 2019, Swafford has missed more cuts than he's made, 36 vs. 31, even though he's won twice. The other victory was at the opposite-field Dominican Republic event in 2019. He has only 36 career top-25s in more than 200 starts.

It certainly was a nice story that Swafford won, with five birdies and an eagle on the back nine on Sunday to wrest control, moving to a career-best 61st in the world rankings, and afterward speaking so eloquently about his father, who passed away last month.

Every week, there's usually a good backstory when someone wins, but that guy doesn't always become an important fantasy player.

Swafford, a Georgia native, will now return to the Masters, where he's played twice before. He missed both cuts. In fact, in six career majors, he's never made a cut.

MONDAY BACKSPIN

Tom Hoge
Hoge has been on the PGA Tour since 2014-15 yet in the past five months has three of his best career finishes. He was fourth at the Northern Trust in August and again at the RSM in November, and now runner-up at The American Express. That matched his best prior result, a tie for second at the 2019 Greenbrier. Hoge is now up to 64th in the world rankings, by far the best position of his career. So with all these great showings coming in short order, it's fair to wonder whether, at age 32, he has suddenly found a new gear.

Brian Harman
Harman had a great first half of 2021, then slid in the second half. Now he's started 2022 in fine fashion, tying for third, his first top-10 since tying for fifth at the Travelers in late June. Harman also tied for eighth last year at the Amex. The shorter tracks definitely help him and, as such, he'll be sitting out Torrey Pines this week.

Lanto Griffin
Candidly, Griffin has done the bulk of his best work during the early part of the season – the Fall Swing and January into February – so we need to take this tie for third in stride. After reaching the 2020 Tour Championship, Griffin had fallen to 117th in the world rankings. This good week lifted him to 86th.

Lee Hodges
The Tour rookie via the Korn Ferry Tour carried the 54-hole lead into Sunday and held it through the front nine before Swafford took off. Hodges shot 2-under, so he acquitted himself nicely and tied for third in just his 14th career PGA Tour start. Too many KF grads have an occasional good week, especially in a weaker field, so who knows where Hodges goes from here. But he was a guy we liked coming up, and we expect him to be among the better KF grads this season.
 
Francesco Molinari
They say that West Coast guys often play best on the West Coast – the courses have a different vibe, the grasses may be different. And Molinari is now a West Coast guy, right? Yes, but we're kidding. But also, his tie for sixth reminds how good he used to be. It was an all-round great week for Molinari, who ranked in the top-10 in every strokes-gained category but Around-the-Green. He also was T13 at last year's U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, T8 last year at Riviera and T10 last year at the Farmers, where he'll tee it up this week.

Will Zalatoris
Zalatoris had had only one top-10 since May and usually does not excel on these shorter, more technical tracks. So the fact that he tied for sixth, highlighted by a second-round course-record 61 at the Nicklaus course, may show that a still-very-young player is maturing. Or it was a one-week aberration. Zalatoris should find himself in more of a comfort zone this week at Torrey Pines.

Russell Henley
Henley admirably tied for 14th a week after such heartbreak at the Sony Open in Hawaii. It would not have surprised us if Henley had sleepwalked his way through The American Express until missing the cut. The fact that he rebounded so quickly speaks favorably about this mental toughness and bodes well for more good weeks ahead.

Brandt Snedeker
Snedeker followed up a great first two rounds at the Sony event with four strong days at The American Express and a tie for 14th. It's unlikely that Snedeker, now in his 40s and nearly 200th in the world coming in, has found a resurgence. But he is headed to one of his favorite tracks this week at Torrey Pines.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Thomas Pieters
Pieters has always struck as one of those guys with immense talent whose career didn't get to where it should be. Those types of guys maybe aren't as mentally tough, or don't dedicate themselves enough or whatever. We don't which of those applies to Pieters or if any of them do. But the big Belgian certainly put it all together across four days in Abu Dhabi for the biggest win of his career, one that moved him to 31st in the world rankings. This was his sixth career DP World (nee European) Tour win, and notably his second in two months after capturing the Portugal Masters. Sometimes it's a maturity thing, and Pieters will turn 30 this week. Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland were in this field, but of course the true test for Pieters will come in a big-time PGA Tour. Back in 2017, he was runner-up at Riviera and soon after fourth at the Masters – that's how good Pieters can be.

Viktor Hovland
Hovland tied for fourth, two strokes behind Pieters. It was enough to vault him to a career-high fifth in the world ranking, overtaking both Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele. Hovland will bypass Torrey Pines to stay in the Middle East and play in Dubai along with Morikawa, McIlroy, Pieters and others

Ian Poulter
Poulter will play Dubai after tying for sixth in Abu Dhabi, which inched him closer to rejoining the top 50 of the OWGR. He now sits at No. 53.

Tyrrell Hatton
Hatton has had some success in the States but has shined brightest in Europe. He tied for sixth in Abu Dhabi to solidify his top-25 position in the OWGR.

Rory McIlroy
After opening 72-75, McIlroy almost notched a backdoor top-10. Instead, it was a backdoor tie for 12th. But it's not that simple. He climbed within two shots with a birdie on 13 only to implode with three bogeys in his final five holes. Really, he could've won this tournament.

Collin Morikawa
Morikawa had a chance to overtake Jon Rahm for No. 1 in the world with a great week, but he didn't come close. He tied for 62nd after failing to break 70 any day. The defending Race to Dubai champion try again this week in … Dubai.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
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