This is one of those week's that feature very few true "A" options, but plenty of "A- / B+" options. That is, almost everyone has a flaw to reconcile, but the pool of above-average options is fairly deep.
Here we go:
- Zach Johnson - It was easy to narrow this down to a final two, but tough to pick between the top two. Zach's course history here is beyond good. He is twice a winner and has four top-four finishes to go with making all nine cuts. While the putter has been lukewarm of late, his wedge play looks on point. The stats back all of this up.
- Jordan Spieth - Course history is good at Colonial, but the missed cut at THE PLAYERS was the tie breaker for him falling to #2, or 1A. Class is permanent and form is temporary, so he doesn't fall past the second spot.
- Kevin Na - Here's where it gets dicey. Na is on a roll of solid finishes the last month or two and has a pair of top 10s and five top 25s on this track. That's worth something.
- Ian Poulter - This is dangerously close to a "feel" pick, which is dangerous. He's 3/3 here, with two top-15 finishes, so it's certainly not without precedent. He's also scattered several really good finishes across his ledger the last few months.
- Jimmy Walker - Perhaps the home cooking of Texas will conjure up a result similar to that of his dominating Valero Texas Open win, but this doesn't seem to be the perfect course for him. He struggles to find fairways off the tee, and that can be a problem at Colonial. The pros are obvious, as he's been a stud the last 18 months.
- Paul Casey - If his health (flu at THE PLAYERS) wasn't in question, perhaps he would have crept a bit higher. Hopefully he bounces back from his flu quicker than Henrik Stenson has, or else this is way too high. Get the picture? Course history and current form before the WD at Sawgrass are both green lights.
- Ryan Palmer - Last three trips to Colonial have been extremely good, featuring two top-five finishes. Recent form has tapered off a bit. While the pros far outweigh the cons, he could be to Colonial what J.B. Holmes was at Quail Hollow last week.
- Jason Dufner - He's been very quiet on the course since news of his divorce, but this has been a safe haven for him over the last few years. I have no idea what to do with him this week. Good luck.
- Brendon Todd - While I try to avoid pre-tournament chatter, sometimes it's impossible on Twitter. I get the feeling that he's a popular guy this week, but I don't think he's top-five value. Stats are tasty, as is his top-five last year, but he's not exactly on fire as he was this time last year.
- Boo Weekley - Went 3-MC-T16 in his last three starts leading into this event and has a win and another top 10 at Colonial. A bit unpredictable, but his question marks are no worse than anyone else has in this spot.
- Sean O'Hair
- Chris Kirk
- Patrick Rodgers - (very different course this week than Quail Hollow)
- John Senden
- Ben Martin
- Jason Bohn
- Charley Hoffman
- David Toms
- Russell Knox
- John Peterson
- Jerry Kelly
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Patrick Reed
- Kevin Kisner
- Robert Streb
I was struggling with whether or not to burn Zach Johnson this week, and then it hit me. If I was saving him, I'd be doing so for the John Deere Classic. Stay with me on this one. I didn't burn Rory last week at Quail Hollow, even though I'm on record as saying I thought he would win, because I was saving him for a tournament with a bigger purse. If I'm to follow that philosophy this week, the play is to burn ZJ for a bigger purse this week rather than waiting on him to be the top guy in a lighter purse (JDC).
So, that's my call. Going with ZJ and hoping he comes through.
Best of luck to all this week!