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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Arnold Palmer Invitational - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

With the Arnold Palmer Invitational creeping closer by the minute, let's put pen to paper and identify this week's power ranking and one-and-done selection.

You've waited long enough...here it is:

  1. Henrik Stenson - The Swede will likely lead off most rankings this week, and with good reason. He's the perfect blend of current form and course history, nearly winning last week and finishing T15, T8 and T5 in his last three trips to Bay Hill
  2. Bubba Watson - I'm inclined to toss out his WD last year at Bay Hill following a first-round 83. His other starts have produced some solid returns at the API and his form is obviously on point.
  3. Rory McIlroy - He's never teed it up at Arnie's event, but there's no reason to think he won't find it to his liking. The key for him will be to capitalize on the par 5s and avoid big numbers. He tied for ninth at Doral two weeks ago and clearly didn't have his "A" or maybe even "B" game.
  4. Adam Scott - Missed the cut for the first time in forever last week, which will lead to questions about his short putter. Memories are short, as he tied for fourth two weeks ago. Throw in a third-place finish at Bay Hill last week, and it's not quite time to fade him quite yet.
  5. J.B. Holmes - This is a good course for a bomber, and J.B.'s form is arguably as good as it has ever been. He has two runner-up finishes in his last four starts. Throw in an 8/8 record at Bay Hill, with a T10 last year the best, and he's trending very well.
  6. Keegan Bradley - Because he managed a T4 at Riviera, on a course where he offers excellent history, he must be taken very seriously at Bay Hill this week despite some recent poor play. He went T3-2 in his last two visits to Arnie's place.
  7. Rickie Fowler - It's time to really start paying attention to Fowler after a T12 at Doral in the WGC. He peaked for the majors last year, and that could be the case again. He tied for third here in 2013, but missed the cut last year just before going on a run. A bit of a coin flip, but the odds are tilting in his favor.
  8. Graeme McDowell - He will be a darling of course-history buffs this week, and with good reason. The world-class player is competing in a home game and has two runner-up finishes at Bay Hill to go with a T10 last year. He's a good play in numerous formats.
  9. Hideki Matsuyama - First-timer at Bay Hill, but clearly has a game that should fit this layout. 
  10. Brooks Koepka - Easy to get excited about him thanks to a T26 here last year in his first visit when you throw in a steady T17 at the WGC-Cadillac. It appears he's shedding the first-win hangover.
  11. Sean O'Hair 
  12. Jason Day
  13. Kevin Na
  14. Harris English
  15. Jason Kokrak
  16. Charles Howell III
  17. Paul Casey
  18. Brendan Steele
  19. Justin Thomas 
  20. Ian Poulter

This week's question is pretty simple. Do you want to go with the chalk and burn Henrik Stenson, or do you want to go against the grain?

If you are happy with where you stand entering the week, then I believe the smart play is to burn Stenson and see if anyone around you makes any mistakes. At worst, expect the people in the money in your game play a little defense and use Stenson. That means if the ship sinks, you'll be in good company.

If you're chasing, this is an interesting opportunity to try and make a move. The two names that fit the bill for a play like that are J.B. Holmes and Keegan Bradley. MAYBE Sean O'Hair. 

In my game, I'm barely outside of the money. That said, I'm not in a hurry to make a mistake so I'm taking Stenson.

Best of luck to all!


  1. Glad you had JB fifth. Gonna burn him even though Wells Fargo is tempting. OAD. Currently 4th/160 thanks to ur advice although I had DJ for WGC... Saving Stenson for 'british'... =) #longseason

  2. See you in the Masters 'BART' pool..... 💸