For those of you who would like to dig a little deeper.
Four tournaments into the new season and my range of emotions is already scattered like playing every box on the roulette board.
Bummed after gambling on Grayson Murray at Safeway and seeing him hit the top 10 last week at SFC.
Stoked after Matsuyama picked up solo second at CIMB but BUTT HURT to see him win the next week in Shanghai.
Chastened that Martin Kaymer, for the second year running, laid an egg in Shanghai while my other finalists finished T-12 and T-6 respectively.
And with Patton Kizzire, the 54-hole leader the year prior and the 54-hole leader the last event he played MC last week at SFC, I felt completely normal.
You can’t make it up and if you could, I’d be on it.
I already violated one of my rules last week at SFC. Chris Kirk was the highest ranked player in the field, probably. He also finished T-2. His obvious wasn’t as obvious as Kizzire but is also a five-time Tour winner. I laid out my reasons for the WGC field in this space last week and wasn’t able to take Matsuyama anyhow.
Last two winners have been first timers and three of the last five.
Last three winners have been under 30 and from the South.
2008 is the end of the line on course history as Summerlin took over as the sole host in that season.
Better make birdies and plenty of them. Check the winning scores in my preview here.
Last Season: Il Disastro
Season total: $5,978,929; 47 events
- Wins: 2 (Matsuyama, Hoffman)
- Seconds: 0
- Thirds: 1
- Top 10s: 9
- Top 25s: 18
- MC: 8 (Mickelson, FIO; Oosthuizen, SHO; Chappell, Colonial; Casey, Memorial; Woodland, FESJC; Hearn, RBC Canadian; McGirt, Wyndham; Justin Thomas, DBC)
2016-17 season: Brand New Day
Season total: $818,000, 4 events
- Seconds: 1
- Top 10s:
- Top 25s:
- MCs (2): Grayson Murray (Safeway Open); Patton Kizzire (SFC).
With a chance to make inroads and keep momentum to the positive, I decided to collect $62k from TWO events.
Of my three finalists last week, I selected the worst of the three because I’m a dolt.
By the way, there’s NOTHING worse to have the guy who won the week before (Matsuyama). NOTHING.
Keys this Week — Shriners:
Most years it has taken 20-under to light the red light and wait for the attendant to come over and pay off the big prize. The last few years it’s been a sub-30 year old to collect it.
Over the years this event has identified the lucky (Byrd), unlucky (Bohn), local hero (Moore), those on a journey (Na) plus those at the top of their game (Simpson). Hey, all it took to win last year was 61 on Sunday by a guy making his second start with a Tour card! J.J. Henry once shot 60 in this event and came home in T-14.
With almost $1.2 million to the winner, it deserves a very solid pick, and with the backdrop being Las Vegas, just a bit of luck in the end as well.
My Weekly Finalists:
OWGR listed in ( )
Ryan Moore (32) — Resident, UNLV grad, played here a million times but recent schedule/travel doesn’t appeal. As he showed last summer, he’ll have plenty of places to choose from down the road.
Scott Piercy (34) — He should be overlooked after his tough week last week but I’m more interested in his two events before Shanghai. Remember, he had never played that track so that result doesn’t deter. At all.
William McGirt (44) — I’ve joked the Golf Gods should be on his side this week after skipping Shanghai to play in the SFC pro-am. He’ll be rested and ready to go on a course where he shot 62 last year.
Chris Kirk (68) — Three top 10’s in a row makes him automatically on the radar this week.
Kevin Na (39) — Gamers will remind me he doesn’t win enough to justify a selection. I’ll remind gamers that he’s H4C here with 11 of 22 rounds 67 or lower.
My Choice: Chris Kirk — call it the “Matsuyama Method”
Close Second: Scott Piercy
Outlier: Ryo Ishikawa
QUESTION(S) OF THE WEEK:
- Where’s the defending champion?
- Where are the rest of the Ryder Cup fellas?
- Do I need to burn a big player this week?
ANSWER(S) OF THE WEEK:
- Defending a title isn’t always easy and surely it’s not easier when arriving on the form of Kaufman. Let the new guy in your league prove you wrong.
- Walker and Koepka, the two highest ranked players in the field according to OWGR, have both made a round trip to China in the last 10 days. Where they both have excellent results here, this event doesn’t define their season and one poor round here eliminates any chance at winning. Hardly optimum circumstances to start them.
- Not somebody with marginal current form or course history! As I wrote here last week, I prefer playing players in form than taking a chance on someone getting it right off a layoff, injury or slumping play. I agree that premium players should be able to win every week but the last premium player (at the time of victory) to win here was Webb Simpson in the last eight years.