Golf Channel's game has a new look in 2019.
This year in addition to picking a tournament winner we’re also shifting the focus to head-to-head matchups, with both the Golf Pick ‘Em game and an additional Sunday-only contest that focuses on the final round. Both contests can be found in the NBC Sports Predictor app, which fantasy players can download to make their selections each week.
Players can compete for weekly cash prizes, with the best scores during the season qualifying for the season-ending FJ $100,000 Championship, where cash and prizes will be awarded to top finishers.
The contests continues this week with the U.S. Open, as the PGA Tour heads to Minnesota for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Here's a look at some of the players to keep an eye on as the Tour returns to the state for a stroke-play event for the first time since the 2009 PGA Championship:
1. Brooks Koepka: The world No. 1 takes the top spot in the Tour's second inaugural event in as many weeks. Yes, it's not a major and Koepka put together middling performances in Canada and Connecticut. But he's still one of the best players in any event he enters, especially this week where there's only one other top-10 player in the field.
2. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama quietly notched a T-13 finish last week in Detroit, extending his Tour-best run of active made cuts to 24 in a row. It's now five top-25s in a row for the Japanese phenom, who is now fourth this season in strokes gained tee-to-green and sixth in total strokes gained.
3. Bryson DeChambeau: There haven't been many results to point to for DeChambeau in recent months, but signs are pointing to a significant turnaround. A final-round 66 at the Memorial was followed a closing 69 at Pebble Beach and a T-8 finish at Travelers. That was DeChambeau's first top-10 on Tour since the Sony Open in January, and there's reason to expect another one this week.
4. Jason Day: The Aussie joined DeChambeau in tying for eighth two weeks ago in Connecticut, and he was T-21 the week before that in his first event with Steve Williams on the bag. Day now has five top-25s in his last six individual starts dating back to the Masters, and while he hasn't won on Tour since the Wells Fargo more than a year ago he appears on the verge of ending that drought sooner rather than later.
5. Joaquin Niemann: After racing to a Tour card as a teenager last year, Niemann struggled out of the gates this season while equipped with full status and was in danger of losing his card. But that's no longer an issue after the last two weeks, where the Chilean followed a T-5 finish at Travelers with the same result in Detroit. The confidence is running high for a player who went on a significant run around this time last year.
6. Patrick Reed: Captain America finally put a result on the board last week, tying for fifth for his first top-10 since October and his best result on Tour in over a year. Reed is playing his fourth event in as many weeks, with the results slowly getting better since a T-35 finish at Pebble Beach. Reed's ball-striking in Detroit was solid enough that, if matched with a decent putting week this time in Minnesota, he's a likely contender.
7. Rory Sabbatini: Were it not for a Doc Redman par save on the 72nd hole, Sabbatini would have shared runner-up honors last week in Detroit and snagged a trip to Royal Portrush. But a T-3 finish was still a high-water mark for a veteran in the midst of a solid season, one that has already included five top-10s and eight top-25s in 21 starts, all while missing only three cuts.
8. Sungjae Im: Im made plenty of birdies last week in Detroit, just not enough to keep pace with Nate Lashley and the other contenders. But a T-21 finish still marked his 12th top-25 result of a stellar rookie season. Im has bounced back from a pair of missed cuts in May to finish T-21 or better in each of his last three starts while breaking par in nine of 12 rounds.
9. Kevin Streelman: Ever since missing the cut at the Valspar Championship in March, the veteran has been on somewhat of a tear: seven individual starts, three top-10s and only one result worse than last week's T-35 finish in Detroit. Streelman's all-around consistency means he's sitting at 61st in the season-long points despite only one top-5, a fourth-place finish last month at the Memorial.
10. Phil Mickelson: Perhaps a new venue is what Mickelson needs to turn around a turbulent season. Lefty hasn't been heard from much since winning at Pebble Beach in February, missing the cut in his last start in Hartford after another bittersweet run at the U.S. Open. But Mickelson is one of the biggest names in the field this week, likely making his final start before heading across the Atlantic for The Open.