These guys just missed out on the premium list but should not be dismissed this week.
Adam Scott: After admitting he’s not a big fan of the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain course, it’s no surprise that he went out, again, in the first round of Match Play. The good news for Scott is he heads to Doral where he’s been T6 in 2011 and T13 last year and had only one round above par. This will be his 12th appearance at Doral so he should be comfortable this week.
Robert Garrigus: Sure, it’s his first time at Doral but he’s No. 1 in the all-around category and seems to birdie everything in sight. He was eliminated by eventual champion Matt Kuchar in Match Play and his worse round this year is 72. All aboard!
Rickie Fowler: His ball-striking and putting help keep him around the top of most leaderboards and he showed last year at Quail Hollow that he can win in a big field. He was eighth here in 2011 before finishing T45 last year. He was in touching distance of the trophy entering Sunday last week before a 74 knocked him out of the top 10.
Ian Poulter: He has only one top 10 here in nine starts but I believe that Poulter and his game are in a happy place after taking six weeks off after HTOC. His history on this course held me back this week.
Graeme McDowell: After getting off to a rough start, 75, last year, G-Mac rallied to fire 12-under to close out the final three days. That was the fourth year in a row that G-Mac posted a round of 74 or better. Back-to-back top 10s in his last two events are encouraging.
Webb Simpson: After missing the cut in Phoenix, Simpson has finished T26, T6 and T5 in his last appearance at Match Play. He hasn’t fired a round above 72 this season so he’s not far away. He finished T35 in his only appearance here last year as he opened with 75 and closed with 77.
Scott Piercy: This might be a step-up in class for Piercy but the way he fires in birdies he just might have a chance this week. He’s currently fifth in birdie-or-better conversion percentage and has hit the top 15 in four of six events played this year.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course” or guys off the radar
Francesco Molinari: In his only three starts here he’s finished T14, T3 and T13 last year to solidify his love for Doral. That’s horse-for-course!
Thorbjorn Olesen: Young and fearless. I prefer that over old and cagey. High risk can turn into high reward but not usually at these events.
Russell Henley: The field didn’t frighten him at Match Play or The Honda Classic.
John Senden: As Rob Bolton pointed out via Twitter, the renowned ball-striker has not three-putted in over 170 holes. His last two times here he’s finished T11 in 2010 and T6 last year.
Jim Furyk: His last two trips here have been underwhelming but we’ve seen him play well here before. This is his 12th trip around Doral.
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…
Sergio Garcia: In his first nine events here, he finished in the top 10 six times. His last three trips his best finish is T31.
Jason Dufner: His best finish is T18 in the limited-field HTOC. He’s T29 and T18 in two starts here.
Phil Mickelson: He has one top 10 in 10 starts and that’s a victory in 2009. I don’t like to play him the first event back from a layoff and I’m not going to this week either.
Louis Oosthuizen: Hit the ball all over the place at The Honda Classic and has no top 10s in six events here as his best finish is T20.
Dustin Johnson: Good news? 66 to open at The Honda. Bad news? The 71-74-75 finish. Sure, he could pop one at any time and he’s working with Claude Harmon but I’ll look elsewhere.
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the youngin’s each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd