When we compile the power rankings for the Puerto Rico Open, we can't forget that there is a reason these guys are playing this week. For starters, they aren't in the WGC-Cadillac field. Next, most feel like they have to make this start or found in the past when they did have to make this start that they really like the golf course. For some, it’s big for the reshuffle for those impacted.
All that said, there really isn’t “chalk” per say this week. There is only the class of an opposite-field event. So, proceed with caution, but try and find that diamond in the rough that can make a difference in your one-and-done game, or other full-season game you may play.
If you have a hunch, this is the time to ride it. Think this could be the week that Brendon de Jonge or Geoff Ogilvy breaks through? Give it a whirl. Here’s who I like when I throw in my gut, current form, course history and anything else that comes to mind.
I almost always do a top 12 and a next five. My list consisted of 14 this week, so rather than sift through it I’m going with a top 14 and no next five.
- Graham DeLaet – He fell apart late at The Honda Classic, but he’s already got one top 10 this year and has progressed from a T24 in his first start in Puerto Rico to a T9 last year.
- Kevin Stadler – He’s one of those guys that probably should have won by now, and this is a good place for him to break though. He tied for seventh here last year and has only missed one cut on TOUR this year. He falls into the category of a guy that probably doesn't have to play this year, but the course suits him.
- George McNeill – Last year’s winner captured the title in his second start. His only prior start was a solo-fifth the year before. That’s a pretty good average finish.
- Jeff Overton – He’s 4/4 here with three top-15 finishes. He has to win somewhere.
- Brendon de Jonge – He’s 3/3 here with a T3 in 2010 the highlight. I would like for him to have gotten off to a little better start, but he’s pretty close to the class of the field.
- Luke Guthrie – A rookie who will quickly learn from his disappointment at The Honda Classic.
- James Hahn – It will be his first stop at the Puerto Rico Classic, but expect him to be a factor.
- Matt Jones – He tied for fifth last year and is off to a nice start to 2013. A final-round 68 on a brutal day at PGA National snuck him inside the top 25. That could be the momentum he needs to walk out of Puerto Rico with a win.
- Michael Bradley – Likely the only time this year he will crack this power ranking, he’s won this event twice and never missed the cut. Sort of like Nick Watney at the WGC, his wins have come in odd-numbered years.
- Patrick Cantlay – It’s very possible that his win at the Colombia Championship in last week’s Web.com Tour event will free him up. My observation of Cantlay since he’s turned pro is that he hasn't played with the reckless abandon that made him so dangerous as an amateur. With a date in the four-tournament race for a 2013-2014 PGA TOUR card already locked up thanks to that win, he’s free to go for broke.
- Scott Brown – He showed up in the weeks where the fields were the worst on the PGA TOUR last year, and that at least kept him inside the top 150 and gave him conditional status. That success started with a T5 in this event last year. Add to that, he started the year with a third in Panama and a T7 in Colombia to kick off the Web.com Tour year.
- Bryce Molder - You have to go back a few years, but he has a T7 and a T13 to go with a missed cut in this event. Another guy that stands out as one of the more established players in the field.
- Brandt Jobe – He’s 2/2 with two top 10s in this event. As good a flier as any.
- Nicholas Thompson – He’s had mixed results in this event, but does own two top 25s. His form in 2013 has also been impressive, so he’s worth a look.
We will check back tomorrow with gaming formats.