With a swing and a miss last week north of the border I’m leaving nothing to chance this week at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
Well, maybe a slight chance…
With the biggest, nastiest field in golf teeing it up this week, time to revisit who I have left to burn from the OWGR current top 40:
3.) Jordan Spieth
11.) Justin Rose
12.) Branden Grace
20.) Zach Johnson
22.) Jim Furyk
23.) Charl Schwartzel
24.) Chris Wood
25.) Scott Piercy
26.) Russell Knox
27.) Rafael Cabrera Bello
32.) Bill Haas
34.) Kevin Na
35.) Andy Sullivan
37.) Emiliano Grillo
39.) Lee Westwood
40.) Justin Thomas
The good news is I have these players remaining.
The bad news is I have these players remaining.
|WGC-HSBC Champions||Adam Scott||T-70||$42,000|
|Sanderson Farms||Patrick Rodgers||T-20||$41,356|
|OHL Mayakoba||Patton Kizzire||T-58||$13,764|
|RSM||Brendon de Jonge||T-33||$27,049|
|CB Challenge||Ryan Palmer||T-17||$75,897|
|Waste Management||Hideki Matsuyama||WIN||$1,170,000|
|AT&T Pebble Beach||Jimmy Walker||T-11||$143,500|
|WGC-Cadillac Champ||Henrik Stenson||T-28||$79,428|
|Arnold Palmer||Scott Brown||T-27||$41,934|
|WGC-Dell Match Play||Rickie Fowler||T-53||$63,000|
|Puerto Rico Open||Graham DeLaet||T-11||$66,000|
|Shell Houston Open||Louis Oosthuizen||MC||$0|
|RBC Heritage||Matt Kuchar||T-9||$147,500|
|Valero Texas Open||Charley Hoffman||WIN||$1,116,000|
|Zurich Classic||Daniel Berger||T-20||$64,909|
|Wells Fargo||J.B. Holmes||T-53||$16,589|
|THE PLAYERS||Rory McIlroy||T-12||212,625|
|AT&T Byron Nelson||Jason Dufner||T-24||54,020|
|U.S. Open||Jason Day||T-8||$247,806|
|Quicken Loans||Patrick Reed||T-39||$28,290|
|The Open||Sergio Garcia||T-5||$310,797|
|RBC Canadian Open||David Hearn||MC||$0|
Thoughts on Baltusrol
I’ve read and retweeted multiple angles on the course this week but I’m going to stick to one common thought: It ain’t 2005 and nobody has a course horse “advantage” this week other than maybe Phil Mickelson due to his relationship with the folks at Baltusrol.
Some have said the scoring conditions will be easier than Oakmont. Well then, that’s hardly news as Oakmont is one of the toughest courses on the PLANET.
Some have said the traps and rough won’t be as penal off the fairway. With almost 7,500 yards in play and only par 70, it’s not exactly PGA West either.
Some have suggested that the greens will be difficult to read because of nooks and crannies plus humps and bumps that players won’t be used to or see. Since nobody has racked up tons of rounds here the greens should wipe out the great putters as their advantage will be muted.
I’ll suggest this: There’s no faking it around almost 7,500 yards, five inches of rough, greens running at almost 14 and over $10 million of prize money on the table.
As with all great golf courses, and this joint surely and easily qualifies, most games should be able to compete.
When in doubt I prefer players who are powerful off the tee and peg GIR. The more GIR hit, the more birdie chances and two-putt pars.
With only TWO par fives in play, par will be a friendly score this week unless they move the tees up and allow the greens to slow. It’s a major at a proud, historic club so I doubt that’s going to happen.
$5,216,358; 38 events
- Wins: 2
- Seconds: 0
- Thirds: 1
- Top 10s: 8
- Top 25s: 16
- MC: 6 (Mickelson, FIO; Oosthuizen, SHO; Chappell, Colonial; Casey, Memorial; Woodland, FESJC; Hearn, RBC Canadian)
Last week: Whoa, Canada.
David Hearn, MC ($0)
What’s absolute zero on the metric system scale then?
Keys this Week:
- This is why you “saved” them all year
- Experienced ball-strikers
My Five Finalists:
1.) Rory McIlroy*
2.) Dustin Johnson*
3.) Sergio Garcia*
4.) Justin Rose
5.) Branden Grace
My Choice: Branden Grace
Close Second: Justin Rose
Long Shot Special: Andy Sullivan
Analysis: Based on what I have remaining, I’m going to play a power player who’s been in recent form on courses just like this one (Oakmont, Firestone South). My plan is working on paper but that’s not helping me in the standings. It was difficult to leave Sullivan out this week but it came down to, for me at this stage of the game, who has the better chance of winning the tournament.
Stratagem: For the leaders in the OAD leagues, it’s business as usual. Split the hairs to pick your best shot to hold your lead into the final three weeks of the regular season. Most big-time players have their strategy already mapped out for the run in and Playoffs so this week shouldn’t be “confusing” but rather smartly executed. Make those behind you make the difficult decision of trying to chase down your lead.
As for those of you just off the pace, I’d recommend a class player that’s not going to be bothered by a big course, big field and big pressure on Sunday. I understand that the three major champs this season are first-timers but Willett, DJ and Stenson are hardly chopped liver in fantasy land. This is NOT Curtis, Micheel and Weir from 2003 by any means. With five big money events left, it’s not time, in my opinion, to be discussing the merits of David Lingmerth or Justin Thomas this week. That’s not a knock.
Go bigger than that.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What about ________ (add premium, top 10 player in the world here) this week?
ANSWER(S) OF THE WEEK:
Yes. Fire at will. It’s a major. It’s major money.
- I’m leaving Spieth out this week because I know once he hits his stride again he can rake at DBC or East Lake.
- I’m leaning ball-striker/power this week and Grace more than fits that description.
- For the Playoffs I’ll have Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Charl Schwartzel and Justin Thomas, just to name a few.
- Remember, there are only four Playoff events so the time for “saving” players is long gone.
Your selection this week should reflect the gravitas of the tournament.