Home Columns First Tee to Last Call: A New Year Old Fashioned

First Tee to Last Call: A New Year Old Fashioned

by Conor Coughlin

With the new year comes the first PGA event of 2021, and I couldn’t be more excited.

My friends and I have a tradition of ditching the bars and ringing in the New Year at one of our houses. We have a different host each year, and with that comes a different cocktail and food theme. This year we chose the whiskey old fashioned.

Living in South Dakota we are not on lockdown. We probably should have had stronger restrictions, but we are where we are. That being said, everyone in attendance is either a vaccinated healthcare worker or has had Covid-19 (unfortunately).

Whiskey is as divisive of a spirit as I can think. Some like it hot, some like it sweet, some prefer more rye. My preference leans toward sweeter, higher-proof American whiskey. I like anything around 120 proof that sings with brown sugar or vanilla notes.

In general, I’m not a snob about what whiskey is in my old fashioned. I am, however, very particular about how I expect an old fashion to be constructed:  one sugar cube, one bar spoon of water, three dashes of bitters, two ounces of pick your poison (again, I prefer a higher proof selection) one orange peel, one luxardo cherry is acceptable (but I’m OK without it, which is the more classic style), one large ice cube or three to four medium sized cubes.

I can tell you, I am now very well versed in the varietal buffet of ways you can make this drink incorrectly. I will highlight a few of my favorite interpretations from the night:

Using a Pint Glass.

I literally watched someone make a 16oz old fashioned comprised of more simple syrup and water than was ever intended to share glass. Separate note, why are we not using a lowball glass?

Orange Slices Instead of a Peel

I’m talking about half-inch-wide-by-two-inch-long slivers of orange that were then squeezed into the drink. This person then proceeded to smash the hell out of the orange slices with their straw.

Filling the Entire Lowball Glass with Ice

This is a pet peeve of mine. Unfortunately, this is a pretty common mistake when you order the drink at a bar. By the time the ice melts, you’ve got about 3/4 water to whiskey. I want to taste the whiskey.

The “Muddled Old Fashioned”

The person who made this version was a long-time bartender. Everything started out looking like it was going to be legit. Then, all of sudden, he smashed the cherry and the orange peel into a fine paste at the bottom of the glass. He then splashed soda into the mixture before adding a large ice ball. I did appreciate the single ice ball by the way. I prefer it. Outside of that, I have no idea why people would enjoy what becomes a fairly thick syrup with fruit shrapnel milling about in their drink.

All I can say is keep classic cocktails classic! Don’t mess with perfection. Turns out not everyone is a pro at making drinks, which is why I brought a backup 30 rack of Busch Lattes. You really can’t, nor should you, drink old fashioneds all night.

And the same can be said for golf.

This week is the Sentry Tournament of Champions at The Plantation Course at Kapalua. The defending champion is Justin Thomas (-14), who won in a three-way playoff against Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele.

The course plays more than 7,400 yards at an elevation which should help mitigate some of that length. Weather looks to be windy Friday and Sunday, which is fairly typical for this course. Early reports are that the greens are very slow and moderately receptive.

The scores here will be somewhat weather dependent. My guess would be somewhere around 18-21 under par wins it. If the weather changes prior to the weekend and the wind is forecasted to be less intense, we could see scores in the high 20s as the course has plenty of scoring opportunities.

This is a no-cut event with a 43-man field, so I am focusing on guys who score points. Having the winner would be optimal as well, but you really need DraftKings (DK) points this week.

My model is fairly simple this week. I used a mix of DK points, shots gained on par fives, shots gained on approach from 150 yards in, a sprinkle of putting on Bermuda grass and then a couple of different combinations of other shots-gained metrics. Again, I’m mostly trying to dial in scoring opportunities.

Tournament of Champions Plays

Dustin Johnson ($11,000)

Fresh off his win at the Masters, Dustin Johnson rates out first in both combined shots gained and DK points scored over the last 50 rounds. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his last five starts here.

Johnson has been in great form, and I expect him to continue that trend. The biggest downside to playing him this week is that he has to win at that price. He’ll score points, but you’ll need the win bonus for him to return value. Playing him this week is saying you expect him to win. Added bonus:  he looks to be relatively low-owned.

Patrick Reed ($9,600)

This is a bit of a gut play, not that he rates out poorly or anything, but there are several comparable options around the same price. He has no worse than a top 25 at this event. In fact, he’s in the top 20 in every metric I used for the last 50 rounds. He’s in the top 10 in the field from the key approach distance, top five in the field for 3-putt avoidance and strokes gained putting inside of 20 feet. Reed is a competitor, and if he’s in contention on Sunday, he could win.

Ryan Palmer ($7,000)

Ryan Palmer is not a golfer I play often. I like his skill set this week, though. Bermuda is by far his best putting surface, and he can play in the wind with the best of them. He’s second in the field in shots gained approach and in the top 10 for par 5 and short par 4 scoring. He finished tied for 17 last year at this event. One downside to Palmer, I’m not alone in liking him. He’s going to be at least 20 percent owned this week.

Other Golfers I Like this Week

Justin Thomas ($10,700)

Jon Rahm ($10,400)

Webb Simpson ($9,400)

Kevin Kisner ($7,800)

Martin Laird ($6,400)

With this being a no-cut event, throw some darts at the bottom. One of the well-known golfers usually wins this event, so you’ll have to pay up and hope at the bottom. The majority of this field qualified for this tournament by winning an event last season. It’s hard to overly dislike anyone here and should be a fun one to watch.

Thanks for reading, and good luck this week!

Conor Coughlin @aRandomGr3nade

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