Coming off a wild weekend at the Humana Challenge, we’ll see if things settle down a bit at the Farmers Insurance Open. As we previewed yesterday, there is no shortage of high-profile winners beginning with Tiger Woods and scrolling down to Phil Mickelson. Both heavyweights are in the field this week, though coming off of very different weeks.
More than any power rankings so far this year, you can take this week’s top six and put them in a bottle, shake them up and roll them out to a different result every time. There are about 10 reasons to be high on each of the top six, but a reason or two to proceed with caution. With that disclaimer, here we go.
- Charles Howell III – Of all the big names and hefty resumes in the field, why Chucky? Simply put, he’s coming off of two events where he was supposed to have performed very well, and in both cases he met or exceeded expectation. His resume at Torrey Pines is eerily similar to that at the Sony Open. He has made each of his 10 cuts and owns two runner-ups to go with two other top 10s and a total of six top 25s. On the flip side, he’s contended so much the last two weeks that it would be easy to see a fall off.
- Brandt Snedeker – Even more than CH3, I’m worried about the defending champ’s heavy schedule to date. You can’t argue with his record. He’s made 5/6 cuts with a first, second and third-place finish to go with a fourth top 10. He may be out of gas, but he deserves this spot based on recent resume and course fit.
- Phil Mickelson – I can’t tell you without looking where Mickelson finished the Humana Challenge, but I can tell you that he was 17-under in his last three rounds with each round the same or better than the day before. Lefty loves the West Coast Swing. He’s a two-time winner and past runner-up at Torry Pines. He passed the eye and ear test at Humana. More than almost any player, you can tell a lot by what he’s saying and how he’s saying it after a round. He sounds and looks “close,” and that’s about the best indicator you’re going to get in terms of his form.
- Tiger Woods – He’s only won this event six times, and if you count his U.S. Open win at Torrey Pines in 2008, then make it seven. He’s 12/12 with 11 top 10s. Ironically, his only non-top 10 was in his last start here. Everyone knows what happened to him at Abu Dhabi, so proceed with some degree of caution, but don’t let anything surprise you. He’s not a one-and-done pick, but he may be worth sitting on you Yahoo! bench to see if he’s a factor late.
- Rickie Fowler – Started the year with a top 10 in his first trip to Kapalua and returns after a layoff to an event where he boasts top 20s in each of his three stops. Ten of his 12 rounds have been par or better. When you study the South Course at Torrey Pines and look at the past leaderboards, one could draw a very strong parallel to Quail Hollow on both fronts, which is the site of Fowler’s only win.
- Bubba Watson – The 2011 champ should certainly factor this week as well. Overall, he’s 6/7 with three top 10s and four top 25s. He could be a sneaky one-and-done option.
- Dustin Johnson – Why do I feel like he’s about to turn into Rory McIlroy off the course with his new squeeze? He tweeted out Saturday night a picture of himself with Paulina Gretzky (yes, Wayne’s daughter). He’s one of the five best players in the world at his best, but I do worry some about his focus. He’s 4/5 with one top 10 and two top 25s in this event, so don’t get too excited but don’t ignore totally.
- Scott Piercy – He feels like this year’s Bo Van Pelt to me, in a good way. He’s prone to be a factor most weeks, as evident by his two top 15s to start this season. He’s also played this event three times with back-to-back top 20s after missing the cut in his first try. Everything about this looks like another top 20 at worst.
- Keegan Bradley – He’ll have his Ryder Cup BFF Lefty with him in the field this week, so he may go 2012 Riviera and spend the week trying to 1-up his mentor with clutch birdies and find himself in contention. He’s 2/2 for at this event, with a T22 and a T25, and didn’t perform all that well at the Sony Open ahead of his off week but that really shouldn't matter much. He’s not your best option this week, but far from your worst.
- Stewart Cink – Is this jumping on the bandwagon too quickly? Maybe. He expected a big week at the Sony Open and it didn’t happen. He was a week late. But after a miserable 2012, he found himself with a chance to win on the back nine on Sunday in his second start of 2013. He’s 9/10 with two top 10s and five top 25s at Torrey Pines, so he may just stick around the leaderboard for another week.
- John Rollins – Always scary to put too much confidence in Rollins, but when you consider his record at Torrey and his form you have to plug him into the top 12. He’s 2-for-2, both top 20s to start the season. He’s boom or bust in this event, with five missed cuts and three top four’s in 12 starts. Given his form, you have to think the odds are that this is a good week.
- Nick Watney – The final spot was quite a debate. I’m leaving out perennial powers like Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas, while also ignoring last year’s 71-hole star Kyle Stanley. Watney had a good, but not great, week at Kapalua. We haven’t seen him since, but he’s a past champion with four top 10s in eight starts.
Next 5: Bill Haas, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan, Pat Perez and D.A. Points. (Yes, that is alphabetical, and yes that is in order.)
Rather than jump into the games, I’m going to wait until Tuesday for one big reason. The first two rounds of this event are played on two courses. One is easy and one is hard. I want to try and get as many people spread across both courses in the Yahoo! game, so I’m holding off until the tee times and pairings are announced.
Let’s get Buzzed!
Another week in the BuzzDraft private games and another set of winners!
The Sony Open winners, Tiger’s Wood and RotoRyan, each dropped down to runner-up in their games and Zanarkand Abes and Ghin & Juice ascended to the top spot. That’s four different winners in four games!
Ghin and Juice’s lineup boasted Kuchar, Garrigus, Laird, Overton, Charles Howell III, Molder, Immelman, Glover Driscoll and Marino.
Zanarkand Abes had Kuchar, Haas, Laird, Overton, Kirk, Rollins, DeLaet, Streelman, Horschel and Marino
The overall standings if the games were combined would have looked like this (thanks to Tiger's Wood for keeping me filled in):
- Ghin & Juice - 621
- Tiger's Wood - 569
- A340 Spotter - 557
- Zanarkand Abes - 565
- RotoRyan - 546.52
- Kyech - 518
- Bill Clinton - 478
- The Chilli Dippers - 468
- sexytex - 367
- buff my wrenches - 348
- TSCH - 220
- JMacLSU - 212.91
We also had three players, Zanarkand Abes, The Chilli Dippers and @dkateeb place inside the top six in the feature game to cash.
Nice week guys!
At last glance, we have already filled up one of our 6-man games and are on the way to filling a second. You guys were so quick to sign up that I even got shut out of the first game!
If anyone new would like to jump in and play with us, shoot me and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll help you get set up.
More to come tomorrow……