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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Valspar Championship - Power Ranking and One-and-Done

We've been hot of late, and it's time to release the power ranking and one-and-done for this week's Valspar Championship.

This week's field seemed full of A-/B+ options, but was light on A+/A candidates when factoring in current form, course history and relevant statistics. Feel free to refer to the Preview from earlier this week for more on stats and history.

Without further ado, here is a list of players that should featured prominently on the leaderboard at the Copperhead Course this week.

***Power Ranking Updated to reflect the omission of Adam Scott. He was always on the spreadsheet but didn't carry over due to "operator error." Thanks to Adam (a reader, not Scott) for the catch!***

Here we go:

  1. Jim Furyk - Past winner at the Copperhead Course, Furyk is among the class of the field and enters off a T7-T14-T12 run to kick off his 2015. He's cracked the top 20 in his last five trips to the Valspar and ranks first in strokes gained: tee-to-green and seventh in total driving. We know he's incapable of winning a tournament, but he's the safest option across all formats.
  2. Jordan Spieth - Finally getting some course history under his young belt, Spieth has gone T7-T20 in his two trips to the Copperhead Course. Posted a coupe of top 10s before his T17 at Doral last week. Solid, but not spectacular, across the board statistically.
  3. Matt Kuchar - He's six out of seven with five top 20s in this event, but has never done better than a T9. That might scare some people off, but it depends on what you're looking for this week. He's a solid option in formats like Yahoo! 
  4. Henrik Stenson - First-timer in this event, but his T4 at Doral has him clicking on all cylinders entering this event. 
  5. Lee Westwood - Another first-timer, but I love his trend of T25-T12 in his last two starts leading into this week. Just quiet enough to not attract major attention, but certainly trendy. His game seems to be a good fit on paper for this layout.
  6. Martin Laird - If he didn't take the last month off, he would likely have moved up two spots. Went T15-T5-T7 before his late-winter break and tied for fifth here in 2011. 
  7. Brandt Snedeker - I worry that his ball-striking isn't quite up to the Copperhead, as evident by just two top 25s in seven starts here. The good news is, both of those were top 10s, so when it's clicked it's been good. Likely will come down to how well he drives it.
  8. Will MacKenzie - With a very short lens, he's an enticing pick this week. After missing the cut at The Honda Classic in his first start of 2015, he bounced back with a T6 (one out of a playoff) in Puerto Rico last week. Also tied for fourth here last year and has a nice history on Bermuda. 
  9. Harris English - It's easy to fall in love with his stats this week, but the rest of the picture is murky. Went P2-T30-MC in his last three PGA TOUR starts and has gone MC-T7-T38 at Copperhead. There's really good, really bad and average. See the delimma?
  10. Daniel Berger - The third first-timer in the top 10, his play at Honda was the culmination of a great few months. Being a native of Florida and a really good ball-striker, he should be a nice fit. I like that he took last week off to collect himself after his playoff loss at PGA National. 
  11. Adam Scott - Poor (by his standards) course history, but T4 last week at Doral.
  12. Kevin Na - Form meets history for last year's runner-up. 
  13. Patrick Reed - Not sure he drives it well enough to contend here.
  14. Luke Donald - Enticing history, but questionable form absent Honda. Good week to watch with an eye on the Heritage.
  15. Boo Weekley - One of the best places to play a great ball-striker and a decent Bermuda putter.
  16. Jonathan Byrd - Golf Channel Group 4 and DraftKings gold given his great course history and T16 last week. 
  17. Nick Watney - Feels like he's trending in the wrong direction and he's not necessarily a Bermuda guy.
  18. Jason Dufner - Feels like he's getting closer, but not all the way there yet.
  19. John Senden - Defending champ, questionable form.
  20. Justin Rose - Worst form we've seen out of him in a long time despite solid course history.
  21. George McNeill - Very good history and solid Bermuda player.

Please be warned. I'm going to go ahead and jinx myself. Go to Rotoworld.com and read Playing the Tips for my Golf Channel and Yahoo! picks. I'm up to fourth in the Golf Channel game and 15th in the Yahoo! game, meaning there is virtually no where to go but down. I'm due for a crash. You've been warned. Whatever you do, don't follow my picks this week!

As for the one-and-done, a really good run of P2 (DJ / Northern Trust Open), T3 (Paul Casey / Honda) and Bubba Watson (3, WGC-Cadillac) was close to three wins. Again...due for a market correction. Remember...buy low / sell high and my stock is high, so IGNORE ME this week. 

What's made me successful in the OAD the last three weeks has been sticking to a plan when it seemed obvious. DJ was hot coming out of the AT&T Pebble and had a great record at Riviera, so I didn't mess with saving him or overthinking it. Casey had a P2 at the NTO and enough of a history at the Honda, plus he passed the eye test in the NTO playoff, so he got the nod. I had my eye on Bubba forever for Doral and his string of top 20s did nothing to sway me, so it was obvious. 

I'm keeping it just as simple this week. The last time Jim Furyk won a golf tournament was the 2010 TOUR Championship. Earlier that year, he won at the Copperhead Course. That's a big check mark for course history. His form this year has been very good. A T12 for a player of his length at Doral last week was essentially like a top-five finish. I'm taking Furyk.

If I had to name a backup, I would say it's Lee Westwood. I really like his T25-T12 trend as he heads to a course that should suit his game. Because he doesn't have course history, he's very much flying under the radar, which I also like.

Best of luck this week!


  1. Great start so far, I'm leading my Yahoo league by almost 100 points, and currently 3rd overall. Don't worry about jinxing anything, just stick to the process and we can keep this thing going!

    1. Thanks. You too!
      Overall, the process remains the same. I found myself spending a few extra minutes on a couple of the picks...especially for the Golf Channel game...this week.

      As for Yahoo!, I literally spend about three minutes picking my team because all of the time goes into the research for the power ranking.

  2. And that research is very much appreciated!