Top 10, Plus One
Phil Mickelson: The 2012 champ is coming off his wonderful victory at TPC Scottsdale last week. He’s won three times in his last nine events here and has finished in the top 10 three other times. He’s won this tournament four times. He’ll probably finish T55 this week because, well, he’s Mickelson! Last year, he went WIN (here) followed by P2 (Riviera) so he’s capable of playing well two weeks in a row, right? RIGHT? Ah Mickelson, how you taunt us so…
Dustin Johnson: He’s teed it up here five times. He’s won twice and finished T5 last year and T7 in 2008. He started the year off with a W at the HTOC and will be playing with Wayne Gretzky this week. He’s also dating Gretzky’s daughter. He shoots, he scores!
Brandt Snedeker: He’s entered? I’m in! He’s been third, T23, T2 and second this season. He’s only been beaten by Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. This will be five events in a row but it’s hard to get off somebody playing this well. His record at this event isn’t very good but he had a nice finish here in the 2010 U.S. Open and plays awfully well in California.
Hunter Mahan: He was T15 last year and second the year before. He’s an excellent ball striker who has also had success on the coastal courses of California. He’s off to a steady to a steady start and is 20-under in his last two events.
Robert Garrigus: His record at Pebble Beach has been getting better as he has gotten better. 2013 has seen him play 12 rounds of golf all at par or better as he’s finished T16, T6 and T11. He was T20 here last year and is a GIR machine with length. That combo has been quite successful here over the last 20 years.
Padraig Harrington: He opened his season on the Monterrey Peninsula last year and cranked out a T7. He opened his 2013 last week and was 16-under heading into Sunday so he’s sharp. His final round scoring might make you a bit nervous but he’s a grinder.
Nick Watney: The Sacramento native should feel good vibes as he returns to the northern part of the state as he’s made eight straight on the bounce here, including a pair of top 10s. His equipment change hasn’t bothered him and his ball-striking has been super solid so I would expect him again to be in contention this week.
Aaron Baddeley: In his last two visits here Badds has finished T6 in 2011 and fourth last season. He has no problem playing on the coast of California as he was T6 at Torrey Pines this year and has won at Riviera. He’s been under par in 11 of 12 rounds in three tournaments in 2013.
Lee Westwood: The last time he was out this way he was finishing T16 in the U.S. Open in 2010. If you’re taking stock of the ball-strikers on TOUR, Westwood cannot be left off that list. Westwood opened his season in the Middle East last week finishing T5 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Steve Marino: Now that he looks fully recovered from a lingering knee injury that all but wiped out 2012, Marino should make some noise this week. He’s played three events without issue this season and had his best finish since 2011 with a T15 at Torrey Pines. He loves this event as he’s finished fourth in 2010 and T4 in 2011.
Jimmy Walker: I’ve been on Walker to start the season and I’m not jumping off this week after he’s racked up 15 of 16 rounds under par this season. The work with Butch Harmon has paid off and he’s been T9 the last two seasons.
These guys just missed out on the premium list but should not be dismissed this week.
Tim Clark: He’s 39-under in three tournaments and has missed a cut. Huh? No, not him, but how is this? He’s broke 70 in eight of 11 rounds this year and he quite likes the AT&T. He has four finishes in the top 12 in seven tries. I’m still on board even after he burned me at Humana.
Jim Furyk: He kicks off his 2013 season as he tries to forget about 2012. He had missed putts, missed fairways and missed opportunities to win multiple times last year and he came up empty, including up the PCH at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club. It’s no surprise that he starts at the AT&T as he’s made the cut in 14 of 16 tries here.
Webb Simpson: On the contrary, Simpson made just enough putts on Sunday of the U.S. Open to claim his first title at the expense of Jim Furyk. Simpson hasn’t played in a few weeks since he missed the cut at the Humana. Simpson does everything well but hasn’t played this event since 2010 so he’s not on the big list. This means he’ll win this week…
Ryan Palmer: He’s the homeless man’s Brandt Snedeker his last two outings on TOUR as he’s finished T6 at the Humana Challenge and solo fifth last week in Phoenix. He’s been knocking down GIR and holing putts and that combination will be excellent this week. He’s played seven times here and his best finish is only T23 but it’s hard to ignore his hot play early this season especially after 66-62 on the weekend in Phoenix.
Charlie Wi: He’s made six of seven cuts here and that includes solo second to Mickelson last year. The former Cal player is four-for-four to start 2013 and playing solid golf. He holds the course record, set last year, at MPCC (61).
Brendon de Jonge: He was headed for the “Top 10 plus One” but his history at the AT&T is off-putting; his form though is on song. He’s an excellent ball-striker and he banged out 27 of 31 cuts in 2012 and he’s started 2013 four-for-four as well. He was T15 at Torrey Pines and T6 last week. Spicy!
Jason Day: Just go on and smash it, son! Day has been a closer in his first two weeks, firing 66 (low round on Sunday) at Torrey Pines and 67 last week at WMPO. He’s getting closer to breaking out and putting four rounds together. He’s made all three cuts here but his last visit was 2010. He was solo sixth in 2008 and T14 in 2009.
Josh Teater: After his T2 at Torrey Pines, Teater MC at WMPO last week so we’re still trying to get the TEATER HEATER rolling again. He likes the AT&T as he was T5 in his first appearance in 2010 and began 64-71 last year before he was derailed by a third round 77. He’s made the cut every other week this year so I should be safe this week!
Bob Estes: He’s played once this year and closed with 63 at the Humana. He’s played three times here, finishing T4, T16 and T15 last year. Say no more.
Billy Horschel: Don’t tell anyone that he’s second on TOUR with 15 straight cuts made, just one behind current leader Ian Poulter. He snuck into the field last week and didn’t disappoint as he finished T11 after 64-67 on the weekend. That was better than his 65-67 (T10) at Humana two weeks ago. He’s made one cut in three tries here but he wasn’t playing this well.
Roberto Castro: Another classic ball-striker, Castro has been sniffing around leaderboards but just hasn’t made that breakthrough into the top 10 yet. He was in the final group at Humana on Sunday. He was in the top 10 heading into Sunday last week. Shhhhhhhhhhh.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course” or guys off the radar
Bryce Molder: He’s made three straight on TOUR and three straight here that includes T6, T10 and T69 last year. He missed his first four cuts in this event.
Tom Gillis: Horse for course as well as he’s gone T8, third and T40 in his last three at Pebble Beach. He played the weekend seven-under last year.
Retief Goosen: He’s played twice on the European Tour in 2013 after late summer back surgery in 2012. He was third here in 2009. There are probably worse guys you can take a flyer on this week.
Kevin Stadler: He closed with 63 on Sunday in Phoenix last weekend and was T14 and T25 in two of his last three starts at the AT&T.
John Mallinger: He solidly put four rounds together for his best showing of 2013 last week in Phoenix. He was solo third here in 2007 and T3 in 2008. He might be worth a shot in deep drafts.
Greg Owen: He has three top 10s in seven starts here. His worst finish, when making the cut (five of seven) is T39. Saddle, please.
Ken Duke: He set the back-nine record of 28 at Pebble Beach last year in round three before his putter went cold on Sunday (T9). He made his first cut of 2013 last week.
J.B. Holmes: He’s hit the top 16 in three of six events at AT&T. He’s looking to make his first cut of the season so you might be stretching here.
Nicholas Thompson: He’s made three in a row and he was T7 here in 2008. His ball-striking will come in handy around here.
James Hahn: He’s already shot 62 TWICE this year. He’s shot 62 TWICE in the final round this year. Sure, why not!
Current form plus course history or injury has chased me away this week. As sure as the sun will rise in the east, one of these guys usually contends each week…
Chris Stroud: In five of six events here he’s fired a round of 75 or worse; he also was T6 in in 2009. He made his first cut in three events last week and finished 62nd.
Tommy Gainey: His best finish of 2013 was T6 at Kapalua. He’s missed his last three cuts in a row. He’s been cut three of four times here (T39).
Michael Bradley: 0-9.