With the conclusion of THE PLAYERS Championship, we move from one of the deepest fields of the year to one of the weakest leading up to the U.S. Open. While there is no Tiger or Phil or Rory this week, we still have a handful of solid options for which to game with this week.
Let’s dive right in:
- Jason Day – The Aussie won here in his first trip back in 2010, then was fifth in 2011 and T9 last year despite shooting 2-over in the final round. He enters off a T19 at THE PLAYERS, and has been solid all year. His mix of form and history make him the chalk this week.
- Marc Leishman – The Aussie’s been on a roll of late, notching top 10s at the Masters, the RBC Heritage and THE PLAYERS. He finished tied for third in this event last year, and in a total of four starts he has three top 12s and a missed cut. The only problem with him this week is that he’s almost too obvious.
- Jason Dufner – We’re in a similar spot with Dufner this week to where we were with him at the Zurich Classic when he defended a few weeks ago. He tied for eighth in 2011 before his win in 2012. He’s still looking for his first top 10 of the year.
- Matt Kuchar – Kuch has never missed a cut here, with his best two starts his last two. He was T6 in 2011 and T15 last year. He hasn’t done anything all that inspiring since the Masters, but may feel freed up to play some good golf now that his PLAYERS defense is behind him.
- Keegan Bradley – Bradley returns to the site of his first PGA TOUR win in 2011 after a T24 last year. A trend developing this year is players who performed well in specific tournaments in 2011, but took a step back in 2012, are making noise again in 2013. He enters this week off of back-to-back missed cuts, but his last top 10 was a T10 at the Shell Houston Open which is also obviously in the Lone Star State.
- Louis Oostuizen – He had a very nice weekend at TPC Sawgrass after making the cut on the number, eventually finishing in a tie for 19th. He’s due for a big week. *Shout out to my man Mike Glasscott for the correction that Louis has played here once before but did not fare well, missing the cut last year.
- Ryan Palmer – Had a terrible history here until the last two years where he went runner-up in 2011 and T9 in 2012. Comes home to Texas after a T5 at THE PLAYERS, but we must make sure he doesn’t pull out this week after the well-publicized loss of his friend last week.
- Jordan Spieth – This is where we first heard the name “Jordan Spieth” back in 2010 when the local high schooler tied for 16th, then returned a year later to tie for 32nd. He’s made a little less noise of late, but this is the perfect place for him to pick up a top 10.
- Charl Schwartzel – Finally broke his streak of top 25s last week at THE PLAYERS in what has been a slow downward fall in finishes since the beginning of 2013. Other than that, everything we said about Oosthuizen applies. Given the lack of strength of the overall field and the class the South African displays, he can’t be counted out.
- Jimmy Walker – While he’s made five cuts in seven tries here, Walker has just one top 25. This is the classic example of form meets history. All signs point to his best finish in this event, but there’s enough scar tissue hanging around TPC Four Seasons Resort to keep him down in this range.
- Ben Crane – After poor West Coast and Florida Swings, a T4 at the Shell Houston Open and a T8 at THE PLAYERS have Crane back in a spot where he deserves serious consideration when the course is a fit. He’s had his share of hits and misses here, highlighted by a runner-up in 2002 and a T7 in 2010.
- Jeff Overton – Always a little tough to pin down, Overton’s on a nice little run of late. At first glance, he’s made his last four cuts of 2013 with a T7 at the Valero Texas Open serving as his only top 25. If you cast the net a little wider, a T27 in Houston and a T26 at THE PLAYERS give him three top 30s in his last four starts headed into a venue where he tied for second in 2010 and shared eighth in 2011.
Next 5: Ken Duke, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, D.A. Points and John Rollins
We’ll be back tomorrow to dive into the games.