Part of what makes a sport entertaining or interesting to follow is the down weeks or periods that remind us what we are missing. So, Thank you to the Buick and Silesian Opens.
As the PGA Tour gears up for six solid tournamentsin eight weeks there is a rather lackluster field this week in Warwick Hills. Hey, at least Tiger is playing.
While much of the focus has been on Tiger, his errant driving, worst performance EVER at Turnberry, bad temper, final Buick Open, I think that misses out on the real story here. This field just plain sucks.
Take out Tiger, Furyk, Gay, Leonard and Watney and you basically have the US Bank Championship. It seems that most of the top pros are resting this week in preparation for a busy two months.
With the top pros out, I felt like it wasn’t entirely necessary to put a lot of thought into this week. Picks are at the end, but I thought I would take this time to draw out a tenative game plan for the next two months.
US PGA at Hazeltine
BMW Tour Championship
People can criticize the Fed-Ex cup all they want, but name another stretch of the golf season where for two months straight the top players in the world are assembled in the United States playing against each other. You can’t.
Tiger has to be as close to a lock as possible to win at least two of these tournaments. He dominates Firestone. He finished second at the PGA at Hazeltine. He has a good history at TPC Boston and the Tour Championship and He DOMINATES Cog Hill. Add to that the media screaming from the mountain tops that he can’t hit the ball anymore(somewhat true, he is hitting the ball or playing as well as last year, but hes still the best by a lot) and Tiger is the obvious pick to win the Fed-Ex cup again this year.
Number one on my list is Steve Marino, although after a successful Open Championship he is not as surprising anymore. Marino, I think is tailormade for Liberty National and TPC Boston and that’s where I think he will do some damage.
Number two on my list is Kevin Na. Can’t figure out why he is not getting the respect he deserves for being a up and coming player having his best season on the PGA Tour so far. I actually like him again this week(hint, hint.)
For number three, I am throwing out a name from the past, DJ Trahan. Some folks may remember DJ painfully missing out on the top-5 at Firestone last year when he bogeyed the last. Okay, maybe that was just me.
I think Cog Hill and Firestone have DJ Trahan’s name written all over them (although I am calling at least one 8 on Firestone’s 16th) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name at the top of that leaderboard. BTW, Trahan would be tops on my list below, If he didn’t jump out immediately to me.
Now, it’s time to come up with some new sleepers out of the blue. To do this I used the following criteria.
-Hasn’t made a name for himself.
-Top 100 in my rankings(~-.2)
-Near the top of the PGA Tour in GIR’s
-Played at some Hard courses/elite field events this year.
-25-30 Years old.
This was all I really found, besides DJ:
-Spencer Levin: Hasn’t really played against top fields yet, but fits every other criteria. At 135 on the Moneylist right now, the playoffs might be a stretch, but I’m thinking fall series all star.
I would like to add a special exemption to this list for Camilo Villegas. Aside from making a pretty big name for himself, he has to be included as some kind of under-the-radar player right now. He is hitting a ton of greens, keeps popping up on leaderboards against strong fields, and I think remains somewhat underrated with a lot of upside until we get to the “defending champion Camilo Villegas” portion of the playoffs.
What were you thinking?:
To the PGA Tour for moving the Barclays to Liberty National. They had an classic style course that produced tons of excitement last year(Mahan 61, Sergio and Vijay making Clutch Putts!) and they moved it to another generic modern course.
Heading for a letdown
-Retief Goosen: Let’s see: multiple major champion, great recent results, over 40. Probably not a good combination unless he has been hanging out with Tom Watson.
Aside from the fact that Furyk is a better player, there is an eerie similarity between Jim Furyk and Goosen. Both are aging, sneaky good and play like Ricky Barnes in the final round of a tournament when they are in contention. My gut says Goosen is more overrated, though.
-Phil Mickelson: I hate to guess on things like this, but unless Phil’s wife is as annoying as the girl from John and Kate +8, he probably hasn’t been working on the short game too much. That could be a problem, because Phil traditionally does not overwhelm anyone with his ball striking. Popular name, always overvalued coming off a break from golf, that seems like something I want to be on the other side of.
Ian Poulter- is glaringly low on the GIR stats for someone who has as many high profile finishes/twitter followers. Could be because he plays mostly on the harder tracks on the US Tour.
Brandt Snedeker- Not sure how much of Brandt’s terrible start to the season can be fairly attributed to injury and how much can be blamed for just being bad. On the season Brandt has not hit a lot of greens, but he has started to turn around his swing a bit, based on his last 3 PGA Tour starts. Probably, just avoid this even though the three flashy recent results are screaming out, “Fade Me!”
Kevin Na +8500 to win(.23)
Kevin Na +1000 Top-5 (.9)
Na +105 v. Snedeker(1)
Levin -150 v. Duval(1)
It’s probably not a good idea to talk yourself into plays in the Buick Open, but I think that is what I may have done. The deciding edge on Na was, even at his best, do I think Snedeker is better? Obviously, I thought that answer was no.
Levin is a lot better than Mr. Duval, is unheard of, I just singled him out as a fall series all star, this is basically the Frys.com Open + Tiger, Duval is well know, apparently more popular now, but still old and generally not very good. That’s how I rationalized it, but I guarantee both of these lose.
Making the Buick Open look like the Tour Championship since 2009.
Alex Noren to win +6050(.32)