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Friday, November 25, 2011

Q School's Dandy Dozen

Rich Beem, Daniel Chopra, David Duval, Carlos Franco, Jason Gore, Jeff Maggert, Len Mattiace, Shaun Micheel, Dickey Pride, Vaughn Taylor, Boo Weekley and Dean Wilson are all guys that, at one point in time, thought they would never find themselves back in Q School.  They have combined for 2 PGA Championships, 1 Open Championship and 32 other wins in PGA Tour sanctioned events.  They have a collective 347 top 10’s, 2,039 cuts made and 3,712 tournaments entered.  Oh yeah, and they’ve made $113.1 million dollars between them.  Duval, Taylor and Weekley have also been on USA teams in the not too distant past.  Anybody remember Boo Weekly doing the “Happy Gilmore” down the first fairway in the Sunday Singles in the Ryder Cup 3 years ago?

Because they have all won on the PGA Tour, they all enjoy something called “Past Champion Status.”  This alone will get them into a handful of lower tier PGA Tour events every year.  Because they have some status, they also are allowed an unlimited number of Sponsor’s Exemptions.  Going into the final state of Q School, these guys have the least to gain and lose.  Because of that, expect to see just as many of these guys withdraw after 4 rounds, as advance after 6 rounds.  Finishing 128th and getting partial Nationwide status is of no value to any of these guys.

Here’s a sentence or two on each of the Dandy Dozen, as well as a few predictions.
Rich Beem – Major Champion who stared down Tiger in the PGA Championship.  He’s likeable guy who played well in Second Stage.  I’d expect him to be a factor. 
Daniel Chopra – Streaky player but did win on the Nationwide Tour this season.  He’s good enough to get through, but I don’t have the feeling that he will.
David Duval – Former World #1 didn’t belong in Second Stage and played like it easily advancing.  Duval is good on tough courses having almost won the U.S. Open in 2009 at Bethpage (T2) and good with a chip on his shoulder.  Pete Dye courses aren’t easy and he’s playing with purpose.  He will either get into contention at the half way point and glide through or he will be one of your WD’s…no in between.
Carlos Franco – Solid player for years, but I’m not sure this course rotation suits him and his past few years have not been his best.  I wouldn’t expect him to make it through.
Jason Gore – The darling of Pinehurst who later that year caught lightning in a bottle for 3 Nationwide Tour wins and his lone PGA Tour win at the now defunct 84 Lumber tournament.  I’d love to see him make it through, but I just don’t see it happening given his recent form.
Jeff Maggert – Maggert has more cuts made (335) and more top 10’s (87) than anyone else in the field.  2011 was a dismal year for him, but the years before that included some nice performances.  He could be one of the guys that follows my no double bogeys and no bogeys on par 5’s performance to a steady week.  Only a couple of years from the Champions Tour, he might fight his way through one more time.
Len Mattiace – Easy to forget he battled Mike Weir for the Masters title in a playoff, but since then his career has been on a steady decline.  He’s only made 1 cut in the last 2 years and 6 in the last 5.  He won’t make it through. 
Shaun Micheel – If you take away his PGA Championship he’s got zero top 3’s and only 19 top 10’s in his other 362 PGA Tour starts.  He’s a streaky player that streaks down far too often.  Never say never, but probably more likely to WD than T25.
Dickey Pride – Very similar to Micheel and Gore.  Nice guy that you want to pull for; plus he has an excellent name, but don’t see it happening for him.
Vaughn Taylor – Tough one to call.  He’s a great putter and a former Ryder cupper who has been a steady Tour player for about a decade.  He’s won twice, but both times at the same opposite field event (Reno Taho).  If his ball striking is average and his putting is to his standards, he’s the kind of guy that can avoid the big mistakes and get through.  If either of those waver, especially the putter, he doesn’t have much of a chance.
Boo Weekley – Boo has said more than once that his goal is to make enough money in golf to be able to hunt and fish for the rest of his life.  At $7.4 million dollars, he’s probably covered on that front.  Known as an excellent ball striker and a not so excellent putter to be nice, Boo’s pretty tough to call in this one.  He can’t afford to be less than perfect in his ball striking, and that’s exactly what he’s been this year.  Sorry Boo.
Dean Wilson – Like Taylor, steady Tour player for about a decade, but his lone win is a little suspect.  I believe it came at the now defunct International that boasted a Modified Stableford scoring system in the high altitude in Colorado.  I don’t know that I see the Stack and Tilt poster boy making it through.

3 Most likely to Advance – Duval, Maggert, Taylor
3 Most likely to WD or finish outside of the top 130 – Franco, Mattiace, Pride  (I wanted to say Duval in this category too, but I don’t think it’s fair to hedge like that)

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