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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Honda Classic - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

The Honda Classic ushers in the return of Rory McIlroy to the PGA TOUR and here is a power ranking to get things off and running.

  1. Rory McIlroy - If you read any list this week that doesn't start with Rory, stop reading that list immediately and never go back.
  2. Justin Rose - Not quite a 1A to McIlroy, but he's the clear number 2. Top fives in each of his last three trips to PGA National and his class is permanent. 
  3. Sergio Garcia - Choked away the Northern Trust Open last week, tying for fourth and missing out on the playoff by a stroke, but his T8 in The Honda Classic last year offers a nice spot for a rebound this week.
  4. Paul Casey - Trends converge nicely, as he lost in a playoff last week and now turns his attention to a venue where he has two top-12 finishes in three tries including a T12 last year. 
  5. Keegan Bradley - Another example of form meeting history, Bradley has gone T12-T4-T12 in his last three trips to PGA National and enters off a T4 last week. 
  6. Lee Westwood - A pair of top 10s overseas to start 2015 mesh nicely with his five-for-five / three top 10 record at PGA National.
  7. Graeme McDowell - Record overseas to start 2015 isn't quite as good as Westwoods, but his history is very similar. Went T6-T9-T9-T46 in his last four trips to The Honda Classic. 
  8. Brooks Koepka - Took two weeks off after a T41 hangover performance following his Waste Management Phoenix Open win. He tied for 33rd here last year, but his arc is peaking fast. 
  9. Dustin Johnson - While limited, his course history here is below his standards. That said, a T4-P2 run the last two weeks demands respect.
  10. Graham DeLaet - Another trendy player, the Canuck has top 10s in two of his last three starts this season and tied for ninth at the Honda last year. 
  11. Patrick Reed
  12. Nick Watney
  13. Sang-moon Bae
  14. Ryan Palmer
  15. Harris English
  16. Will MacKenzie
  17. Chris Kirk
  18. Russell Knox
  19. Russell Henley 
  20. Freddie Jacobson
As for the one-and-done, this week is tricky. It would seem foolish to burn McIlroy on his first week on U.S. soil, but I won't try and talk you out of it if your heart is set on it. Same goes for Rose.

Going straight from my power ranking, I narrowed my focus to the 3-6 range. That is, Garcia, Casey, Bradley and Westwood. It gets much easier considering I've already used Garcia and Westwood. That leaves Casey and Bradley.

Casey is the proper play in this scenario, and he also matches my gut instinct. Bradley is a nice save for several stops later in the year anyway, where Casey is the perfect guy to burn when his form is on point. His P2 last week and T12 at The Honda Classic check out.

Best of luck to all!


  1. Re: One and done. Casey scares me with his missed cuts two prior matches before last week, Garcia seems like he may be a good play, but thinking he may come on later in the year... I'm on the same page with Rory.... He saved me and got me second at the end of the year last year.

  2. All valid points and well summarized. Casey could bust, but that wouldn't be as big of a miss as it would if Garcia finishes outside the top 15 or McIlroy outside of the top 3 or 5. I want to feel very sure of what I put McIlroy on. Obviously Garcia is out of play for me, but would have probably still gone Casey.

  3. Don't see where you burned Garcia and Westwood? Nonetheless, great blog and thanks for the weekly insight.

    1. Westwood at the CIMB and Garcia at the WGC-HSBC in the 2014 portion of the 2014-15 schedule. Thanks!

  4. Why do you like Casey over McDowell.. Better history. Straight hitter, great putter, and great results at hard venues like this and US Opens?

    1. The difference between 4 and 7 in a power ranking isn't much, to be honest. I really liked what I saw out of Casey on a ball-strikers course at Riviera and think it will carry over. Correct on the putter, but SGP hasn't necessarily translated all that well at PGA National. Best of luck!

  5. Replies
    1. You mean the guy that tied for 46th and tied for 61st in his two starts in 2015? Nope. Didn't forget about him. He just didn't earn his spot in the top 20 this week. He only managed a T24 at the Honda last year a week after finishing third in the Match Play. He needs to show me something before I back him in a field this deep. Doesn't mean he can't have a big week. At this point, I just don't think he's more likely to have a big week than the 20 others listed above.

  6. How about kaymer? A true recent form vs. Course history battle. I'm between him and sergio

    1. Historically, I've always been slow to jump on board with Kaymer in the good times. He's clearly good enough to win just about any time he tees it up when he has his "A" game, but I've found him hard to peg. I refer to him as a "streaky elite" player. Meaning, he truly is elite when his game is on point, but it's hard to trust when those times will show up. That's a long way of saying that I struggle in terms of lining up when to play and when to save Kaymer.

  7. Moment of truth Ryan, you pulling the trigger on all early guys tomorrow or what?
    A: Garcia
    B: Westwood/McD
    C: Keegan

    Morning weather doesn't look great, but those thunderstorms are definitely rolling in during afternoon. I'm pretty confident in the B's and C, just wondering if I'm overthinking it by benching Rory right out of the gates.

    1. It's a tough call because a weather delay in the PM actually favors the PM wave if they get to play enough holes on Friday morning to complete round 1. My lean at this moment is to play early wave and hope for the late wave to have to play it out, but if I become convinced a delay is inevitable, I might switch it up.

  8. Not gonna lie, went with Weestwood, Never again do I doubt the soothsaying ability of The Gold Aficianado" Casey was the way to go!