Europeantour.com speaks to the 2017 Fantasy Race to Dubai winner James Gunning about how he came out on top in the season-long game.
The countdown to the new season's Fantasy Race to Dubai game has begun, with another year of competition set to get under way next month. Although the first four events of the 2018 season have already been played, the game will begin in earnest with the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, which starts on January 11th.
Each week players must select six golfers and choose one captain from those players, whose points will be doubled each week. Players can make unlimited changes to their team up until 00:00 BST/GMT on the first day of each tournament.
A man who knows a thing or two about what is required to triumph in the Fantasy game is the 2017 Fantasy Race to Dubai winner James Gunning, Head Golf Professional at Effingham Golf Club. Ahead of the launch of this season's game, europeantour.com spoke to James about how he did it, advice for other players and who he's keeping an eye on for next year's game.
Q:What do you think was the key to your success in the 2017 Fantasy Race to Dubai?
A: I made sure I made the time to pick a side each week! Every Monday was my selection date and i would check on the previous weeks events to see who had played well and also looked up the previous years results to see which players had performed well there too.
Q:How many years have you played the game?
A: I have been playing the game for four years and this year we set up a league with my club members of Effingham Golf Club
Q:How many winners do you think you picked this year?
A: I picked out quite a few winners throughout the year, but out of the last six weeks I picked four captains who were winners. In the final week I had Jon Rahm in my team (not as my captain) and this selection was the key to me winning the overall global league.
Q:How much do you use stats vs your gut?
A: I like stats and looked at which players played well at events the previous years' event and also who was playing well in the event prior to the current tour event. Some events are sponsored by a particular tour pro (Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia), so naturally I had them in my sides as they know the courses they are sponsoring.
Q:What’s your advice to people playing the game in 2018?
A: Make it fun and set up a league with mates/workers/club members if you are a golf pro!
Q:Which player was most important to your success?
A: Jon Rahm was the player that won me the overall event, as having him in the side helped beat the two guys in front of me. Plus, in the last six weeks I picked out four of the winners as captains (Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose twice and Branden Grace).
Q:Who are the guys flying under the radar for 2018?
A: He has been under the radar for so long....Tiger Woods! It's great to see him back in the game. However, it is also great to see James Heath and Ross McGowan get their tour cards back and I hope they have good seasons on the tour. I think Ryan Fox could have a good year after establishing himself this year in many top ranking events.
Q:You are obviously a PGA pro; how much did your expertise contribute to reading courses/form horses etc?
A: I have taken an active interest in the European Tour for a long time and I follow it weekly and with my profession it is important to know what is going on. I always watch European Tour events and you can see who is in form based on their previous events. I always tried to look outside of the top six that would be playing in each event and choose a player who they might pick up some Race to Dubai points and put them into my side too.
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