Mike Glasscott

The Takeaway

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Stolen in Broad Daylight

Sunday, August 05, 2012


 

American Keegan Bradley found a way to get up-and-down from a fried egg lie on the 72nd hole to defeat Americans Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Golf Club’s South Course. Bradley sunk a 15 footer for par, and eventually the win,after hitting a great bunker shot from the greenside trap. Furyk had led for 71 holes before losing his second shot into 18 behind a bunker in the rough.  His third shot barely cleared the bunker but did not find the putting surface.  His fourth was fluffed and left him five feet for a tie.  Furyk’s fifth shot didn’t scare the hole and his double bogey saw him finish T2 with Steve Stricker, who, along with Keegan Bradley, fired 64 for second-lowest scores of the day.  South African Louis Oosthuizen was fourth.  England’s Justin Rose and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy were jointh fifth.  The 2011 PGA Champion carded 13-under-par 267, including all four rounds in the 60’s, for his third career victory and his first of 2012. 

         

Keegan Bradley’s first four months of 2012 suggested the young man would have a say in this year’s Ryder Cup selection after missing out on last fall’s Presidents Cup.  He was nine-for-nine in making the top 25 to kick off the year, including P2 at Riviera, T8 at Doral and T4 at the Shell Houston Open.  Then April, May, June and July arrived and Bradley disappeared.  He played 10 events leading into this week at Akron since his T4 at SHO.  He missed three cuts and exactly one top 25 (T24 HPBNC).  What a difference a few months can make.  For the season, Bradley now has made the cut in 17 of 20 events and is now seventh in the Ryder Cup point race.  He is the defending champion at next week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course and will look to match Tiger Woods as the only player to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and go on to win the PGA the following week.  Heck, since Denny Schute in 1936-37, only Tiger Woods (1999-2000; 2006-2007) have defended their titles.

 

The last 10 events have been frustrating for gamers just as it has been for Bradley.  Bradley ranks first on TOUR in the all-around ranking so he enters the discussion almost every week when putting together projections.  The one major weakness with Bradley the last two months had been “recent form”.  He showed again this week why he should be included as he led the field in birdies, strokes gained-putting and putts per GIR.  He was T6 in driving accuracy and T11 GIR.  That’s about as well-rounded as you can be!  The other part of Bradley’s game that doesn’t come in measurable stats is this guy’s guts.  He showed how tough he was last year at the PGA when he chased down Jason Dufner in regulation and beat him in a playoff.  He bottled that effort and popped the cork in February.  Following a huge make from Phil Mickelson on 18 green on Sunday to force a playoff, Riviera was rocking.  Bradley calmly stepped up and drained a 20-footer right on top of Mickelson’s putt to make it a three-way playoff with Bill Haas.  Nobody would have blamed Bradley for not holing that putt but he found the guts to do so.  Bradley again today dug deep to find those guts again as he rolled in a 15-footer for par on 18 to put the heat on Jim Furyk.  The heat proved to be too much and Bradley’s guts and all-around excellent play puts him in the winner’s circle again.  Bradley now joins Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim with three wins under the age of 30.  Three of the four are also major champions.  They all trail Dustin Johnson, who has six wins.

 

 

Déjà vu All Over Again?

 

Twenty-three of 33 players who held the 54-hole lead have NOT gone on to win in 2012.  There was no 54-hole leader in WGC-Match Play. Sadly, I have to add Jim Furyk to this list for the second time this year as he was also the 54-hole leader at the U.S. Open.  Keegan Bradley began the day four shots behind Jim Furyk and three shots behind Louis Oosthuizen.

 

Keegan Bradley continues the U.S.A. dominance on TOUR in 2012.  This is the red, white and blue’s 27th victory in 34 events this season. The only foreign-born players to win in 2012 are Rory McIlroy (Honda), Justin Rose (WGC-CC), Luke Donald (Transitions), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Marc Leishman (the Travelers) and South African Ernie Els (The Open). 

 

Adam Scott went wire-to-wire in his victory in 2011.  Jim Furyk led for 71 holes before succumbing to a double-bogey six on the 72 hole to finish T2 this year.

 

There have only been five first-time winners on TOUR in 2012:  Kyle Stanley, John Huh, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Ted Potter, Jr.

 

Keegan Bradley becomes the 10th player to win a major and a WGC event in a career. 

 

With this victory, Bradley collects $1,400,000 and 550 FedExCup points.  Bradley moves into the top four in the Ryder Cup standings and into the top 10 in the FedExCup points standings as well.   Tiger Woods currently leads the FedExCup standings.

 

“Young” Guns versus “Middle” Guns versus “Old” Guns

 

In 34 events on TOUR in 2012 the “Young” guns have once again taken the season lead on their “Middle” gun competitors. Keegan Bradley, 26, puts the young folks back in front, 16-15-3. 

For the “Young”, age during their victory in ( ), Johnson Wagner (31), Brandt Snedeker (31), Kyle Stanley (24), Bill Haas (29), John Huh (21), Hunter Mahan TWICE (29) Rory McIlroy (22), Justin Rose (31), Rickie Fowler (23), Dustin Johnson (27), Webb Simpson (26), Marc Leishman (29), Ted Potter, Jr. (28), Scott Stallings (27) and Keegan Bradley (26) are your winners.

 

The “Middle” guys are Mark Wilson (37), George McNeill (36), Luke Donald (34), Tiger Woods THRICE (36), Bubba Watson (33), Carl Pettersson (34), Ben Curtis (34), Matt Kuchar (33), Jason Dufner TWICE (35), Zach Johnson TWICE (36) and Scott Piercy (33).

 

Steve Stricker (44), Phil Mickelson (41) and Ernie Els (42) are the only “Old” guys to hit the board in 2012.  At least 33% of their wins are majors.

 

 

Hindsight

 

Jim Furyk: For the second time in three months we are here on a Sunday evening wondering what happened to the always steady, always reliable Jim Furyk.  The good news is that he’s been in contention in two major events.  The bad news is he’s found a way to give them away late both times.  Furyk did exactly what you thought he would this week as he was first in driving accuracy and T4 GIR.  He also gave a bonus this week as he was third in strokes gained putting.   After falling to T4 at the U.S. Open, Furyk’s next four events on TOUR were hardly inspiring as he finished T34, MC, T34 and MC before almost going wire-to-wire this week at Akron.  This was Furyk’s fourth finish in the top 4 in 2012.  His ball striking will have to be accounted for next week at Kiawah Island.  It’s his mental makeup that might make me think twice.  Tune in Tuesday afternoon to see if he makes the cut!

 

Steve Stricker: Another 40-something was making plenty of noise this week as well as Steve Stricker shot 64 on Sunday to finish T2.  Stricker closed with birdies on four of his last five holes to close out his round and his confidence looks to be sky-high heading into next week.  After failing (terrible word, I know) to win the John Deere Classic for a record fourth time in a row, finishing T5, Stricker hopped the pond to card T23 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.  Stricker looked sharp this week as he prepares for the PGA next week.  He made only five bogeys to go along with 17 birdies (T3).  He was also in the top 13 in all three measured putting categories including sixth in strokes gained-putting.  Only Bradley’s 67-64 bested Stricker’s 68-64 weekend scorecard.  Stricker and Furyk will be leading the “Old” guns as they look to add another major to their mantle in 2012 next week.

 

Louis Oosthuizen: The demure South African absolutely crushes the ball with one of the smoothest swings on TOUR and he rewarded fantasy owners again this week in a big event.  After finishing T19 at The Open Championship Oosthuizen picks up a fourth place solo this weekend.  He can add that to his P2 (Masters) and solo third at SHO.  If Oosthuizen can continue to drive the golf ball solidly (T8 accuracy; ninth distance) and keep pegging GIR (T8), there’s no reason to think that the 2010 Open Champion can’t handle tough conditions next week at Kiawah Island.

 

Justin Rose: As mentioned in this column more than once, Sean Foley calls him the best ball-striker in his stable and Rose backed up that claim this week with his T5 finish.  In two stroke play WGC events in 2012, Rose now has a WIN (WGC-CC at Doral) and T5 this week.  He was first in GIR and 10th in driving accuracy and made just enough putts to see him finish T3 (17) in birdies this week.  A weekend of 66-67 shows me that Rose’s game is back to normal after failing to make the cut his last time out at The Open Championship. 

 

Rory McIlroy: It’s been two months since we’ve seen Young McIlroy in this column to end the week (T7 FESJC) but he’s back this week with T5.  He absolutely butchered the first hole this week (bogey Thursday; double bogey Friday; par Saturday and Sunday) but he still found a way to hold it together and be competitive.  That’s progress if you ask me as McIlroy admitted just a month ago that he might not have been putting golf as his first priority.  There’s no question about his talent but when young’uns fall in love, well…let’s just say they’re a bit hard to project.  McIlroy was T2 GIR and only made six bogeys on the week.  He’s won a major before in heat and humidity at Congressional and after this performance at Akron, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen this week.

 

Jason Dufner: This is his fourth top seven finish in his last five events in 2012 as he finished solo seventh this week.  Dufner attacked Firestone South in his typical fashion as he was T2 in driving accuracy and T11 GIR.  Dufner also had the flatstick working this week as he was ninth in strokes gained-putting.  The only thing that slowed Dufner down this week was five bogeys and a double on the weekend (73-68) which left him too much ground to make up on Sunday.  Ball-strikers featured this week and Dufner didn’t disappoint.  He will be in the top 15 next week, no doubt.

 

Aaron Baddeley: After starting the week with 73, I would have been quite bold to predict that we would have seen Baddeley in the wrap-up column this week.  The Aussie righted the ship in round two as he fired 66 to get back to red numbers.  The weekend was almost a carbon copy as he fired 71 on Saturday followed by his second 66 on Sunday.  Baddeley is best known for his putting and he didn’t disappoint in that category this week, finishing fifth in strokes gained-putting.  This was Baddeley’s third top 10 in 18 starts in 2012.  His majors record in 2012 is T40, MC and T69 so we probably won’t see him in the preview on Tuesday.

 

Tiger Woods/Matt Kuchar: Both shot 66 on Sunday.  Both finished T8.  There are two different ways to shoot 66.  One, don’t make any bogeys (Woods) because you hit almost every fairway and every green.  Two, hit below 50% of greens and half of the fairways (Kuchar), yet only have 20 putts.  Both players finished on Sunday with their best rounds of the week and another top 10 for their collections.  Kuchar gave gamers the bounce-back performance they were expecting after his T34 last week in Canada.  Kuchar now has three top 10’s in his last four starts.  Woods gave gamers a disappointment with “just” a T8 as everyone who was starting him this week were not going to accept anything but a win for the seven-time champion.  Woods didn’t mail it in on Sunday, even with a weather delay, so I will factor that into his chances next week.

 

K.J. Choi: His T8 finish is only his second top 10 finish of 2012.  He first top 10 was the curtain-raiser at HTOC at Kapalua in January.  After his 71-72 opening, Choi battled back for 67-66 on the weekend, making only two bogeys.  The best number I saw from Choi this week was 54 pars (T2).  That’s a great sign especially with a major approaching this week.  He also only made eight bogeys on the week.  Now, the question will be can he do this two weeks in a row?  The answer is I haven’t seen it yet in 2012.   Be careful.

 

David Toms: The 2001 PGA Champion was cruising right along this week as he only made two bogeys total on Thursday and Friday.  He made two DOUBLES in his first six holes, plus a bogey, to open up on Saturday.  He never could catch back up and finished +3, 73.  He found some form on Sunday as he made four birdies and two bogeys to fire 68.  In his last two events on TOUR Toms was T4 at the U.S. Open and now T8 this week. Fairways and greens are his game and he was T2 and T11 respectively.  Looks like Toms maintained that form from June. Plenty of 40-somethings making noise as we head to “Glory’s Last Stand”…

 

Lee Slattery: I’m not sure how the Englishman qualified for this tournament but he took complete advantage of his situation and finished T8.  Slattery is currently (before today) 106th on the Race to Dubai rankings and his best finish of 2012 was T12 back in January.  That is all.

 

Luke Donald: In his last six events, the world No. 1 has MC once and everything else is 12th or better.  Donald, with his T8 finish this week, will take his No. 1 ranking into the PGA Championship this week.  Donald drove it steadily, but not great, and was sixth GIR.  If you were a contrarian this week and took Donald over Woods, you didn’t lose any ground.  Now, if we can only find somebody that did this…Donald will be in the mix next week, no doubt, after his T5 finish at The Open Championship.

 

Bo Van Pelt: I’ve run out of things to say about Bo Van Pelt because this is his EIGHTH time in the wrap-up column in 2012.  Via Twitter @PGATOUR, Van Pelt has more top 10’s since 2010 than ANYONE else on TOUR.  Now you know why he’s in the preview column almost every week.  His last four starts: second (AT&T), MC (The Open), T7 (RBC) and now T8 this week.  He was T17 at the Masters, T59 at the U.S. Open and MC at Royal Lytham & St Annes. 

 

“Hey, what ever happened to…”

World Ranking in ( )

 

Lee Westwood (4): Did his Rickie Fowler impersonation on Saturday and fired 81 after Fowler shot his SECOND round of 80 or better in the state of Ohio this year on Friday(80; 84 round four at Memorial).  He backed it up with 73 on Sunday so I’m hoping he was working on his prep for next week.  His record in the majors should supersede this performance, right?  Check back Tuesday to see if he makes the cut.

 

Webb Simpson (5): DNS.  Paternity leave. Works for me!

 

Adam Scott (6): The defending champion and runner-up at The Open Championship didn’t break par in four rounds at a course that he went wire-to-wire in victory last year.  He said all the right things at his press conferences but his game didn’t reflect that on a course that he dominated last year.  He was 75 of 77 in driving accuracy.  He was 73 of 77 in strokes gained putting.  He was T38 GIR.  Not many positives to take out of this performance and now more questions than answers heading to the PGA.

 

Bubba Watson (7): The Masters champion continued his steady, solid run with another top 20 finish this week (T19). As usual, Watson was solid driving the golf ball and was T17 GIR, but, as usual, his putter didn’t cooperate.  The testament to Watson’s game is that he’s found a way to grind out results and that shows maturity that I wasn’t sure he had a year ago.  Folks have been remarking that Kiawah Island will be “Whistling Straits South” this coming week.  Watson lost in a playoff to Martin Kaymer in that event in 2010.  Pay attention. 

 

The other six boys from the OWGR top 10 are listed above.  That’s strong.

Special Mention:  Charl Schwartzel fired 63 for low round of the day.  Schwartzel is 22nd in the world.

 

 

 

Reno-Tahoe Open

 

American J.J. Henry held off charging Brazilian Alexandre Rocha by one point, yes, one point, on Sunday to win the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada.  Argentine Andres Romero was third.  Henry accumulated 43 points in the Modified Stableford scoring system to outlast Rocha (42), Romero (37), Mallinger (34), John Daly (33) and Justin Leonard (33).  Here’s a question for you: If an eagle is worth FIVE points in this system, why isn’t a DOUBLE eagle worth TEN points instead of eight?  Well?  I guess that’s why it’s a “modified” system.  Whatever.  J.J. Henry loves accumulating points and his victory this week carries him all the way back across the country to Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship this coming week.  This is Henry’s second-career TOUR victory after winning the 2006 Buick Championship (now the Travelers). \

 

Henry’s ball-striking was the key to his victory this week as he was T8 in accuracy off the tee and T6 GIR.  His putter was also excellent as he was third in putts per GIR.  He led the field in eagles with three (15 points right there) and also ran in 17 birdies (34 points).  He only made six bogeys (minus one point per bogey) and didn’t have any double-bogeys or worse (minus three points).  Henry has now made the cut in seven of eight events at Montreux and records his fourth top 10 at this event.

 

Henry missed the first five cuts of 2012 before hitting the top 10 (T9) at Mayakoba, another opposite-field event.  That top 10 didn’t spring Henry forward as he had hoped and in his next nine events T37 was his best finish.  Returning to the Dallas area, the TCU grad had his best finish, T3 (HPBNC), since his runner-up performance at Turning Stone in 2010.  Henry showed signs of life in the three events leading into Reno-Tahoe this week as he was T13 (John Deere Classic), T21 (True South Classic) and T37 last week at RBC Canadian Open.  His worst round in his last 14 was 71 so he was heading in the right direction. 

 

Déjà vu All Over Again?

 

Twenty-three of 34 players who held the 54-hole lead have NOT gone on to win in 2012 so J.J. Henry is one exception, not the rule.  He began the final round with a three point lead over runner-up Rocha and a four point lead over John Mallinger.  He is one of 11 players to hold the 54-hole lead on TOUR this year.

 

J.J. Henry joins the U.S.A. dominance on TOUR in 2012.  This is the red, white and blue’s 28th victory in 35 events this season. The only foreign-born players to win in 2012 are Rory McIlroy (Honda), Justin Rose (WGC-CC), Luke Donald (Transitions), Carl Pettersson (RBC Heritage), Marc Leishman (the Travelers) and South African Ernie Els (The Open). 

 

J.J. Henry becomes the 14th consecutive American to win the Reno-Tahoe Open.  Only Vaughn Taylor has successfully defended his title.

 

There have only been five first-time winners on TOUR in 2012:  Kyle Stanley, John Huh, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Ted Potter, Jr.

 

With this victory, Henry collects $5400,000 and 250 FedExCup points.  More importantly, Henry gains entry into this week’s PGA Championship.

 

“Young” Guns versus “Middle” Guns versus “Old” Guns

 

In 35 events on TOUR in 2012 the “Middle” guns have once again tied the season lead on their “Young” gun competitors.  J.J. Henry, 37, has canceled out Keegan Bradley’s short-term lead from earlier to even the season series at 16-16-3. 

 

For the “Young”, age during their victory in ( ), Johnson Wagner (31), Brandt Snedeker (31), Kyle Stanley (24), Bill Haas (29), John Huh (21), Hunter Mahan TWICE (29) Rory McIlroy (22), Justin Rose (31), Rickie Fowler (23), Dustin Johnson (27), Webb Simpson (26), Marc Leishman (29), Ted Potter, Jr. (28), Scott Stallings (27) and Keegan Bradley (26) are your winners.

 

The “Middle” guys are Mark Wilson (37), George McNeill (36), Luke Donald (34), Tiger Woods THRICE (36), Bubba Watson (33), Carl Pettersson (34), Ben Curtis (34), Matt Kuchar (33), Jason Dufner TWICE (35), Zach Johnson TWICE (36), Scott Piercy (33) and J.J. Henry (37) have been victorious.

 

Steve Stricker (44), Phil Mickelson (41) and Ernie Els (42) are the only “Old” guys to hit the board in 2012.  At least 33% of their wins are majors.  Jim Furyk has now tried twice late on Sunday to crash this party to no avail.

 


Hindsight

 

Alexandre Rocha: The Brazilian had made six cuts in 15 events entered in 2012.  In those six cuts he made, his best finish was T49 at the True South Classic.  And he missed the cut here last year. He led the field in strokes gained-putting and GIR.  He was 183rd in strokes gained-putting entering the week and 187th in birdie average. Forgive me if I overlooked him this week.

 

Andres Romero: The Argentine rolled in 23 birdies this week on the heels of a hot putter, finishing T2 in strokes gained-putting.  He was also T9 GIR so that didn’t hurt anything.  His T2 at Memorial was his only top 10 in 17 events entering this week and was coming off 77-82 weekend at The Open Championship. 

 

John Mallinger: In his last four events, Mallinger was cut three times and was T11 at AT&T National.  Mallinger has now made the cut in 11 of 20 events on TOUR in 2012 and this is his second trip to the top five (T2 Humana) as he finishes fourth. 

 

John Daly: Just like his life, his four rounds this week had ups and downs but it’s great to see “Long John” back in the top five (T5). Eagle? Check. Double bogey? Check.  Lots of birdies (21)? Check.  His driving was a bit erratic but his iron game bailed him out as he was T2 GIR.  I think I speak for most when I say we would all like to see “Long John” with a chance to win again but I would be hesitant to put my money on that.  It’s his first top 10 since his T9 almost exactly a year ago at the RBC Canadian Open.

 

Justin Leonard: In the 20 events leading into this week, Leonard had one top 10 (FIO T8) and had missed 10 cuts.  After his T8, his best finish has been T29. In his last nine starts, his best finish was T70.  The former Open Champion has seen better days but this week will give him some belief moving forward.  Remember, he ditched Nike this year for Taylor Made. 

 

Josh Teater: Teater has been playing the best golf of his career over the last three weeks.  He started with a solo ninth at the True South Classic and backed it up last week with T4 at the RBC Canadian.  This week makes it three-for-three in the top 10 as Teater cards a solo seventh.  He made 12 birdies and an eagle on the weekend but needed everyone of those as he also carded six bogeys just on Sunday.  His ball-striking was off this week, but when he did hit GIR, his putter obliged.  He’s remains on the radar as we move forward in 2012.

 

Todd Hamilton:  The third of three former Open Champions in the top 10 this week, Hamilton has only played seven events this season and his best finish was T12 at PRO.  He missed the cut in four of those starts.  Hamilton has now hit the top 10 for the first time since 2009 RBC Heritage so I’m not getting out my permanent marker.

 

Brendan Steele: The 2011 VTO champion and 54-hole leader at last year’s PGA, Steele has had a very quiet sophomore season.  He’s now made the cut in 10 events of 19 and this is his third top 10 of the season.  He was T5 in Phoenix and T4 in attempting to defend at VTO.  In his last six events Steele was cut four times and his two finishes were T62 and T68. 

 

Tom Pernice, Jr. For some reason, his name makes perfect sense on this list.  He’s missed 12 cuts in 18 tries in the 2012 season.  He had zero top 10’s or top 25’s coming into this week as his best finish was T37.  Sure, why not hit the top 10 this week!

 

 

“Hey, whatever happened to…”

 

It’s golf.  That’s the saying when Lee Westwood shoots 81 or Rickie Fowler shoots 84.

 

 

Padraig Harrington: Didn’t make anything on the greens yet still found a way to knock in 17 birdies.  A double on Sunday cost him a shot at a top 10.  I still like the fact that he flew across country to play in Reno when he obviously didn’t have to.  His driving and iron play was solid this week so that could be a harbinger of things to come next week in South Carolina.

 

S.Y.Noh: Another week, another cut.  He was cruising along until he fell apart on Sunday, making six bogeys to one birdie.  If there is one concern I have with Noh is that he plays EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  Sure, he’s young, but man, everyone needs a break just to recharge their batteries at some point.  His T31 finish is his worst in six weeks.  Still not too bad…

 

Pat Perez: Another great example of why you shouldn’t touch a guy after he WD’s unless his name is Snedeker.  Perez had a great history here and yet made four birdies in 36 holes this week before being cut.  I fell in love with his history instead of his present.

 

 

 “And another thing…”

The analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat with GolfChannel.com's Ryan Ballengee on Wednesday at NOON, ET. They will be breaking down the field at the PGA Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.

 



Fantasy Golf columnist Mike Glasscott joined Rotoworld in 2012. He can be contacted via email at RotoworldGlass@gmail.com or on Twitter.
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