These guys just missed out on the premium list but should not be dismissed this week.
Dustin Johnson: He’s not playing with Gretzky this week but he’s still dating his daughter. He couldn’t make the cut last week at a tournament he’s won twice so I’m gun-shy again this week. In five starts here, he’s hit the top 10 three times. He’s won this year but he’s only been under par twice in his last seven rounds.
Matt Kuchar: He’s off to a very solid start in 2013 with finishes of T9, T5 and T16. In seven events at Riviera, he’s never hit the top 10, which is what you expect from a guy where you’ll have to draft Kuchar. Try to steal him in the next round.
K.J. Choi: In 12 events Choi has been worse than T30 exactly thrice in his career and has never missed the cut. After a miserable 2012, Choi has one top 10 in three starts in 2013 and obviously likes this track.
Kevin Stadler: His worst round in 14 this year is 71 as SOW (Son of Walrus) has finished T27, T11 and T3 the last three weeks. His last three starts at Riviera he’s finished T10, T12 and T24 last year.
Chris Kirk: He’s played four events this season and has finished T5, MC, T24 and was second last week. His history at Riviera is MC, MC but I wouldn’t have any problem playing the hot hand in deeper fields this week.
Bo Van Pelt: Van Pelt has been nothing but steady over the last couple of years and is on a streak of ten cuts made in a row. You like him this week because he’s accurate off the tee and hits tons of GIR. He’s not a bad putter either! He was T8 last year and T15 in 2010.
Scott Piercy: In four starts in 2013 he’s been T13, T15, MC and third at WMPO as he closed with 61. It’s hard for me to turn a blind eye to a guy who fired a Sunday 61 even though his best finish in three at Riviera is T45.
Jim Furyk: He’s made 11 of his last 12 cuts at Riviera and his ball-striking and putting will be his biggest assets this week. He made only two bogeys in his last 54 holes last weekend so he’s warmed up and ready to go.
Keegan Bradley: Last year, he needed to make a 15-footer to get into a playoff and he did, right after Mickelson drained a 25-footer to do the same. That’s when you knew that Bradley wasn’t going to be a flash-in-the-pan. He’s off to a quiet start in 2013 after his T4 at HTOC as he’s finished T49, MC and T24 in his last three starts. Hopefully for season-long gamers the idyllic Riviera springs his game back into life.
James Hahn: HAHN! Sure, it’s his first time here, but it’s the rookie’s first time EVERYWHERE in 2013! He’s made the cut in all five starts this season and has been in the top four twice. Until he makes a hash out of a tournament, he’s on this list.
Graeme McDowell: He’s busy being engaged and opening a new restaurant at Lake Nona so I’ll be interested to see how he starts of 2013. Too much class to omit for me.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course” or guys off the radar
Marc Leishman: He’s MC in his last two starts after a T9 at Sony but he’s been T15, MC, T17 in the last three years at Riviera.
Cameron Tringale: In eight rounds he’s had seven at par or better at Hogan’s Alley. He’s a SoCal kid who has made four cuts in a row and closed with 66 last week at Pebble Beach.
Retief Goosen: He’s “back”. Get it? Back surgery is now behind him and he cracked the top 10 (T9) in his third start of 2013 last week.
Kevin Na: His game is heading in the right direction after T36 in Phoenix and T22 last week at Pebble Beach. He’s back at Riviera where he’s had mixed success. Before finishing 77-78 on the weekend last year, Na was third in 2011, T10 in 2010 and T25 in 2009. He’s made six on the bounce at the Northern Trust Open.
Brendon de Jonge: Wash. Rinse. Repeat. de Jonge schedule is off to a busy start again this year. He was in the top 20 of ball-strikers in 2012; this year he’s third already. There plenty of big “name” players in the field this week but he’ll help you out in a deep draft. His history isn’t wonderful, but, like his game, is steady. He’s finished T10, T29 and T42 in his only three at Riviera.
John Merrick: He’s SoCal born and raised and still lives in Long Beach. He was T16 last week at Pebble Beach so I’m trying to catch lightning in a bottle. His ball-striking is just as good as his putting numbers are bad.
William McGirt: He’s trending in the right direction T56, T32 and T16 last week at Pebble. Excellent putter who’s been accurate off the tee and from the fairway.
Patrick Cantlay: The UCLA grad has seen this track once or twice. He’s flying high after his T9 last week. I’ve taken worse chances.
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…
Charles Howell III: Since his victory in 2007, CHIII has teed it up five times at Riviera and his best finish is T55 (MC twice). You should have cashed on CH III already!
Hunter Mahan: His best finishes in seven starts are T17, T24 and T31.
Jeff Overton: In four starts in 2013 he’s finished eighth, T27, T60 and T70 in his last outing of the group. In 18 rounds at Riviera, he has played only two in the 60s.
Geoff Ogilvy: Nine events, two top 25s and five MC. His best finish was T19 in 2006. He began the year T27 and backed that with three consecutive MC.
Kevin Streelman: Five events at Riviera have produced two MCs and T68, 72nd and T56 last year. Tough to stretch to that.