Some oldies but goodies this week.
Oh, and World No. 1.
I won’t ever talk you out of Dustin Johnson but I’m saving him for a bigger payday.
One and Done
Each week I’ll throw in my thoughts on the field and those to back and avoid in this wonderful format.
|Safeway Open||Brendan Steele||T53||14,610|
|CIMB Classic||Ryan Moore||T66||12,740|
|CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES||Gary Woodland||2nd||1,026,000|
|WGC-HSBC Champions||Ian Poulter||21st||93,500|
|Sanderson Farms||Cameron Davis||MC||0|
|Mayakoba Golf Classic||Charles Howell III||MC||0|
|The RSM Classic||J.J. Spaun||MC||0|
|Sentry TOC||Jon Rahm||T8||191,000|
|Sony Open||Marc Leishman||T3||307,200|
|60th Desert Classic||Andrew Putnam||T34||29,975|
|Farmers Insurance||Patrick Cantlay||MC||0|
|AT&T Pebble Beach||Jason Day||T4||334,400|
|Genesis Open||Justin Thomas||2nd||799,200|
|WGC-Mexico Champ||Xander Schauffele||T14||128,000|
|Puerto Rico Open||Graeme McDowell||T42||10,500|
|The Honda Classic||Adam Scott||MC||0|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Rickie Fowler||T40||35,490|
|THE PLAYERS Championship||Sergio Garcia||T22||125,000|
|Valspar Championship||Patrick Reed||MC||0|
|Corales Punta Cana||Trey Mullinax||T61||6,450|
|WGC-Match Play||Paul Casey||T9||167,000|
|Valero Texas Open||Billy Horschel||MC||0|
|Total Events: 25||Top 10s: 6||MC: 7||$3,604,296|
Last Time: Masters
It’s always great to have streaks of top-10 finishes crushed in the biggest events of the year and that’s what happened to McIlroy’s investors last week.
Watching Tiger Woods win was incredible and it felt like all of golf had won.
The Masters always puts up a monster leader board (two words, remember?) and I learned that Brooks Koepka can do what he wants each week on TOUR but he has the magic switch for major championships. His last four are WIN, T39, WIN and T2. I’ll also point out that the lack of rough and escape routes seem to favor Tony Finau’s bomb-and-gouge approach regardless of his ankle situation.
As always, every major provides a major upset and the Masters killed Justin Rose investors along with those of Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia. There were only four players in the top 16 in their 40’s and one was the winner. He was joined by Kuchar, Watson and Poulter, all T12.
My Choice: Rory McIlroy – T21
Safety Dance: Tiger Woods – WIN, Justin Rose – MC, Dustin Johnson – T2
Spicy: Paul Casey – MC, Matt Kuchar – T12, Rickie Fowler – T9, Louis Oosthuizen – T29
Picks for Dreamers: Jordan Spieth – T21, Hideki Matsuyama – T32, Phil Mickelson – T18
Picks for Noses: Patrick Reed – T36, Brooks Koepka – T2, Tony Finau – T5, Alex Noren – T62
Six Beers In: Brandt Snedeker – MC, Jason Day – T5
If you like to read about trends and past winners, I have you covered in The Confidence Factor Preview.
If you like to read about course horses and who excels in Calibogue Sound, I have the main players at The Confidence Factor Horses for Courses.
The last two years have seen two winners without having 20 TOUR starts in their respective careers.
The last three winners have produced first-time TOUR winners.
My Choice: Matt Kuchar
With two wins on the season already he’s not going to have to conquer any demons or wonder if he can still close the deal. He’s cruising along and this track might set up the best of any on TOUR for him.
Safety Dancing: In Order
Kevin Kisner: The South Carolina native went close here, losing in a playoff to Furyk in 2015, and has never had a multi-win season. His preferred surface is Bermuda and he’s 17-under here over the last two years with three rounds OVER PAR.
Bryson DeChambeau: Better fit this week as Dye requires more A to B golf that the artisans require at Augusta National. His TOUR debut was made here in 2016 and he cashed T4 so this should have a special place in his galaxy.
Webb Simpson: Found something with his weekend at Augusta as he played his final 30 holes 10-under. Lacked form entering the week but hasn’t missed in eight tries at HTGL.
Ian Poulter: I’m not sure there’s anyone in the field, minus Furyk, who will enjoy a proper seaside grind this week more than Poulter. The last two years he’s gone agonizingly close before hiccups on Sunday. He played in the penultimate group last weekend at Augusta National so he’s dialed in.
Picks that should click but have more element of risk
Patrick Cantlay: He spotted the field 73-73 to barely make the cut last week but exploded for 64-68 on the weekend to cash T9. He had the lead with three holes to play as he circled 13 birdies and one eagle in his first 33 holes of the weekend. The final three, bogey-bogey-par should leave him starving this week.
Jim Furyk: If you want “winners” like my dude Cadders/Chadders this would be the track for Furyk to break out. The 2010 and 2015 champ is making cuts for fun (healthy) this season and didn’t have to grind it out last weekend. The only downside is he hasn’t won since 2015 at this event.
Luke Donald: He was an automatic selection up until last year as he absolutely ruled the roost on this track. Course historians will be tearing their hair out while the optimist will point out he’s only had one bad round in the last three years (76-67 MC 2018). This will be his fourth event of the season.
Picks for Dreamers:
Breakout performance from this group will get gamers back into contention
Jason Kokrak: His current form suggests he’s super-close to finally picking up a win. It would be his first on TOUR. He went close and a demanding Valspar a few weeks ago.
Cameron Smith: Closing with 77 at Augusta National should help keep everyone away this week. His scoring average here over three events is 69.4
Si Woo Kim: Should have won last year and didn’t; comes in with momentum after playing the weekend in five-under at the Masters.
Lucas Glover: Quick, name the last time he won on TOUR! Wells Fargo, 2011, you’re right! The South Carolina native’s ball-striking has kept him in contention almost weekly this season.
Picks for Noses:
Save them for another time. Each week I usually have a couple of these hit the top 10 so BUYER BEWARE!
Francesco Molinari: Man, I have no idea where he’s at mentally. He plays this event annually the last three years so he didn’t add it to take out some newly-found aggression. The last three majors he’s won, cashed T6 and should have won at Augusta. He might more useful down the road.
Satoshi Kodaira: The rule is defending for the first time is difficult. I’m not sure he was on anyone’s radar in the first place but newbies tend to hunt down defending champions. Not the best idea always.
Charles Howell III: It’s amazing that A.) Anyone would have a start on him left and B.) He’s not cracked the top 20 here this decade.
Six Beers In:
Patton Kizzire, Aaron Baddeley, Brian Harman
2017-18 Thermometer: FINAL
|Safeway Open||Tony Finau||2nd||669,600|
|CIMB Classic||Paul Casey||T7||218,166|
|CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES||Keegan Bradley||T47||23,759|
|WGC-HSBC Champions||Hideki Matsuyama||T50||51,875|
|Sanderson Farms||Chesson Hadley||T2||464,400|
|OHL Classic||Kevin Chappell||MC||0|
|The RSM Classic||Charles Howell III||MC||0|
|Sentry TOC||Kevin Kisner||T17||99,333|
|Sony Open||Brian Harman||T4||256,266|
|CareerBuilder Challenge||Jason Dufner||T36||27,189|
|Farmers Insurance||Jon Rahm||T29||43,872|
|-AT&T Pebble Beach||Phil Mickelson||T2||488,400|
|Genesis Open||Dustin Johnson||T16||111,600|
|Honda Classic||Graeme McDowell||MC||0|
|Valspar Championship||Ryan Moore||MC||0|
|Arnold Palmer||Tyrell Hatton||T69||18,067|
|WGC-Match Play||Patrick Reed||T9||163,000|
|Corales Puntacana||Patrick Rodgers||T22||27,850|
|Houston Open||Luke List||T24||54,162|
|RBC Heritage||Cameron Smith||T32||35,510|
|Valero Texas Open||Billy Horschel||T11||136,400|
|Zurich Classic||Bud Cauley||MC||0|
|Wells Fargo Championship||Bryson DeChambeau||4th||369,600
|THE PLAYERS||Francesco Molinari||MC||0|
|Ft. Worth Invitational||Adam Scott||T52||16,472|
|AT&T Byron Nelson||Jimmy Walker||T6||257,950|
|US Open||Justin Rose||T10||270,151|
|Quicken Loans National||Kyle Stanley||T32||36,841|
|A Military Tribute||Bubba Watson||T13||121,632|
|John Deere Classic||Zach Johnson||T16||81,366|
|British Open||Rory McIlroy||T2||694,250|
|RBC Canadian Open||Charley Hoffman||T29||37,743|
|WGC-Bridgestone Invite||Rickie Fowler||T17||104,250|
|PGA Championship||Brooks Koepka||WIN||1,980,000|
|THE NORTHERN TRUST||Jason Day||T20||101,160|
|Dell Technologies||Marc Leishman||T21||100,800|
|BMW Championship||Gary Woodland||T12||189,000|
|TOUR Championship||Justin Thomas||T7||279,900|
|Total Events: 47
|Top 10s: 15||MC: 7||$10,967,909|
2015-16 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 total: $6,533,509 45 events
- Wins: 1
- Seconds: 1
- Thirds: 1
- Top 10s: 12
- Top 25s: 20
- MCs (10): Grayson Murray (Safeway Open); Patton Kizzire (SFC); Jamie Lovemark (CB Challenge); Jimmy Walker (FIO); Charl Schwartzel (Genesis); Russell Knox (Honda); Henrik Stenson (API); Thomas Pieters (Zurich); Kevin Kisner (WFC).
Thanks for reading!