These guys just missed out
Zach Johnson: If I’m looking for a guy who’s getting ready to break out, I’ll look to Johnson this week after his podium finish (third) last week on the Bentgrass greens at Colonial. He was also T5 in GIR last week and that won’t hurt around Muirfield Village. His lack of course history could be a concern but I’ll take the hot play over course form any week.
Jimmy Walker: I cannot abandon my man Walker this week even with a field with this much depth. He’s played 23 consecutive weekends on TOUR and he’s an excellent putter to boot. He’s finished T30 or better in 12 of 14 events this year.
Keegan Bradley: He’ll be disappointed that he couldn’t knock out Sang-Moon Bae at HPBNC but he’ll enjoy that he’s back on form after a three tournament stretch of T54, MC and MC. Bradley has MC in his only two attempts here but it’s still a course where he can swing the driver and devour par fives.
Billy Horschel: If anyone off the list of “first-timers” is going to swoop in and steal this tournament, not many of us would be surprised if it would be Horschel. He’s made 21 of his last 22 cuts with his only miss coming at THE PLAYERS so that’s hardly sounding alarm bells. He’s fourth in total putting and sixth in the all-around so if his irons are dialed in there is no reason to think that he cannot contend. He’s hot and confident and there’s nothing wrong with that combo!
Bo Van Pelt: He’ll be excited to be back in Middle America on course just a couple hours from where he grew up and he hasn’t disappointed very often. Van Pelt has chalked up finishes of T3, T13 and T13 in his last three starts at Muirfield and has made five weekends on the bounce. In a field of BIG NAMES he might just be the one to sneak under the radar and move up the standings.
Branden Grace: He’s bagged nine of 10 cuts on the European Tour this season and finished T25 here last year. He was a semifinalist at the Volvo Match Play and backed that up with T24 at Wentworth last weekend.
Jason Day: The Columbus resident is hard to shy away from this week as he’s pegged 11 weekends from 11 starts in 2013. His two weekend 72s stunted his 68-66 middle rounds at HPBNC to see him finish T27 in his last time out.
Kevin Streelman: Here’s an example of how past performance anywhere should be thrown out the window when measuring a player week in and week out. Streelman is in the form of his career and the only reason he missed last weekend was because of an errant six-footer on his final hole. He was T7 here in 2011 and is playing great golf so one weekend won’t deter me in the short term.
Marc Leishman: Last week made it five consecutive weekends in a row for the Aussie who hasn’t fired over 73 in those 20 rounds. His T46 would be disappointing to those who were late to his party and based on his four T12s or better before last week, I’ll take another look before I jump off. That form is too solid to dismiss.
K. J. Choi: Only four of his last 18 rounds have been in the 60s but he’s made 12 of 13 cuts at Memorial so he has that going for him, which is nice. He can scramble with the best of him and he obviously knows what it takes to win around this track so I’ll go with his proven track record instead of reaching for an up-and-comer.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course”, guys off the radar or both
Ricky Barnes: He’s played on three tournaments here but he’s finished T3, T18 and T25 in those outings so he falls into “horse-for-course” this week. He showed signs of life with T12 at HPBNC yet fired 68-73 at Colonial to miss the weekend.
Stewart Cink: Just like Jim Furyk, Cink has teed it up 17 times here and found the top 10 six times. Digging deeper, 11 of those 17 starts have resulted in T30 or better so he’s worth a gander in deeper formats this week. He’ll be happy to see Dublin after MC at THE PLAYERS and Colonial.
Ryan Moore: In his last seven tournaments he’s posted a round of 75 or worse so buyer-beware. The reason he makes this list this week is he is six of seven here and that includes three top 10s. High risk, possible high reward.
Jonathan Byrd: He was T3 in 2009, MC in 2010, T7 in 2011 and T6 last year. He’s missed five of seven cuts on his way back after wrist surgery and hasn’t finished better than T66 so here’s your winner this week!
John Huh: The Dallas resident racked up his best two finishes of 2013 at HPBNC and Colonial in the last two weeks finishing T8 and T11. Throw on top of that he finished T19 last year and that tells me he loves Bentgrass greens. His closing 65 on Sunday at Colonial was T2 for round of the day.
Matt Every: He’s known to get hot in bunches and the numbers fall into place this week. He was T6 here last year and T4 last week at Colonial and I like the fact that he’s playing a ton this year. He hasn’t fired over 72 in his last four events.
Charley Hoffman: He hits plenty of greens and his putting is excellent, 21st in strokes gained as he’s bagged T20 or better in five of his last seven starts including T18 and T8 the last two weeks in Texas. He’s the perfect fit this week because he’s never been better than T42 at Memorial. Oh, you think I’m joking?!?!
Take It Deep
Josh Teater: He stood up and was counted at Torrey Pines as he finished T2 to Woods in a big field in February. He’s not going to register on most radars this week but he was the medalist for The Open qualifying in Texas last week and then backed that up with T7 at Colonial. He’s quietly 17th in the all-around ranking as well. Hop on board!
Scott Stallings: Speaking of guys who get hot in a hurry, Stallings posted his first top 10 since his birdie barrage at Humana with his T4 last week on a ball-strikers course. Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Stallings was T20 two years ago and T25 last year so he should be brimming with confidence this week.
Mark Wilson: He’s hit the top 10 in two of his last four starts here. He’s hit the top 10 in two of his last three starts on TOUR.
Chris Stroud: Have putter, will travel as Stroud hit the top 10 last week at Colonial. He’s never broken 74 in two trips to Memorial but he’s posted two top 10s in his last five starts on TOUR.
These folks have struggled on this track or in general recently. Each week, one player from this list seems to hit the top 10. Figure that out, right?
Bubba Watson: I’m usually a big Watson guy but his best finish in seven tries is T23 twice. For where you have to play or draft Watson this is enough to look the other way this week.
Bill Haas: After MCing in back-to-back events and not posting anything better than T30 in seven starts here I shalln’t be endorsing Haas this week. He’s 142nd in total putting.
Dustin Johnson: I’ll let him get back on it after his WD from THE PLAYERS. Field is deep enough that I don’t have to “back” him this week. See what I did there? Of course you did…
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
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
HPBNC: Morgan Hoffmann T5
Colonial: Jordan Spieth, yep, him again, T7