The Puerto Rico Open returns to Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico for the eighth time. It's a par-72 layout that stretches out to over 7500 yards, and offers quite an interesting list of past champions. They include Michael Bradley (twice), Greg Kraft, Derek Lamely, George McNeill, Scott Brown and Chesson Hadley.
So what does that list tell us? Nothing and everything. These players don't have all that much in common on the surface except that they don't feature any elite players.
This isn't the type of tournament to analyze to the point of paralysis. The field is about as weak as they come. I've taken a look at current form and course history, and that's it. There isn't any point in going crazy with the stats. The winners all had bad stats for the most part, meaning stats may accidentally eliminate the right candidates.
Confused? Probably. Anyway.
Here we go:
- Peter Uihlein - The young stud is probably the class of the field, and he tied for sixth here in 2013. If there is any knock, it might be that he's too qualified to play well here!
- Brendon de Jonge - Course history is undeniable with three top-14 finishes in four tries.
- Boo Weekley - Has a history of not only playing well in Puerto Rico (T3 in 2012 and T8 in 2013), but also on other costal settings like Hilton Head.
- Vaughn Taylor - Solid play over the last month marries well to a 3-for-3 record on Puerto Rico with a T14 in 2013.
- Jerry Kelly - A trusted veteran known for accuracy off the tee, Kelly tied for ninth here last year and has three top 10s in six tries.
- Scott Brown - Has the reputation for playing opposite-field events well, which includes a T5 and a win in Puerto Rico.
- Fabian Gomez - Before his missed cut last year, he tied for second and shared seventh in his previous two trips.
- Chesson Hadley - Defending champ flashed some form at Pebble Beach (T10 in '14) just before his win last year. Well. He tied for 10th at Pebble again this year.
- Jonathan Byrd - Tends to play well where rough is light and / or fairways are wide. In two previous trips, he has a T13 in 2009 and T12 last year.
- Jeff Overton - Made some noise at the Honda to go with three top 15s in five trips to Puerto Rico.
- Zac Blair - A bit of a shot in the dark, but the rookie has played well on several spots already this season including last week.
- Ben Curtis - Always hard to peg, he's cracked the top 15 in both of his trips to this event. The most recent was a T14 in 2012.
Due to purse size, anything short of a top five isn't going to significantly move the needle. Also, there isn't anyone on this list worth saving for another start.
With that, I'll dub Uihlein my horse this week and hope his class shows out!
Best of luck to all!