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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Northern Trust Open - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

With the Northern Trust Open inching closer by the minute, it's time to release the power ranking and settle on a one-and-done selection. I encourage you to refer to Sunday's preview for additional information on Riviera Country Club and the recent history of this event.

Here we go:

  1. Dustin Johnson - No reservations regarding DJ. He got the top spot over Bubba due to a more consistent course history. He has three top-four finishes including a runner-up last year. Came alive at Pebble Beach last week and looks to be peaking.
  2. Bubba Watson - The defending champ has not shown any sign of slowing down in 2014-15. He's gone T11, 10, T2 in his last three PGA TOUR starts, so invest with confidence.
  3. Jimmy Walker - Let us down a bit at Pebble Beach last week, but still wrangled a top-25 finish. Has two top-four finishes at Riviera, so all signs point to another big week.
  4. Webb Simpson - This wouldn't seem like the perfect course for him at first blush, but it actually has been a strong fit. He's 3/3 with two top-15 finishes and enters off a T13 / T7 run in his last two starts. Statistically, he took the cake on the spreadsheet. 
  5. Jordan Spieth - Tied for 12th here last year and is in the midst of a T7-MC-T7 run. Class player that should show up on a classy layout like Riviera.
  6. J.B. Holmes - A very intriguing option this week, Holmes is 7/8 at Riviera with four top 10s and a T3 on the ledger. Owns a playoff loss and a T10 in his last two TOUR starts. When form meets history.....
  7. Bill Haas - Course history here is eerily similar to the Humana Challenge, where he won last month. He followed up a win in 2012 with a T3 in 2013 and has cracked the top 25 in each of his last four starts here. The win at the Humana tells you all you need to know about his current form.
  8. Charl Schwartzel - This has become his jumping off point in the U.S. each of the last two years, and it will again this year. Owns a T3 and a 5th, with all rounds under par. Placed well in some events overseas before this tournament.
  9. Brandt Snedeker - Not out of the question for him to finish very high on the leaderboard, as their is precedent to him staying hot following a win. He's intriguing because his work with Butch Harmon is geared towards making him a better ball-striker. His GIR clip was huge last week, and that bodes well for Riviera. 
  10. Sergio Garcia - He's 7/8 with six top 25s and two top 10s in this event, but hasn't been playing all that well overseas. It shouldn't matter, but it's hard to figure out who to bump down the list.
  11. Jim Furyk
  12. Nick Watney
  13. Harris English
  14. Hideki Matsuyama
  15. Sang-moon Bae
  16. Keegan Bradley
  17. Robert Streb
  18. William McGirt
  19. Francesco Molinari
  20. Hunter Mahan
One-and-done

Once again, the last guy I cut picked up a win this week. So it goes.

The players that made my short list for this format this week wasn't all that short. Bubba, DJ, Spieth, Holmes, Schwartzel and Snedeker all felt like solid fits for this week. 

I just couldn't shake Dustin Johnson. He's fresh after his six-month break, posted a T4 on another one of his traditionally strong layouts last week and has the course history. It goes without saying that he's long enough to tame Riviera. 

I certainly could have "saved" DJ for a major or FEC Playoff event, but what's the point? If pressed, J.B Holmes was probably my last cut. So, you're welcome J.B.!

Best of luck to all this week!

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