The players in ITALICS should be on your radar this week
Roberto Castro (25): In his last five events Castro has racked up T6, T12, MC and T25 and T9 in the first two Playoff events. I can’t ignore form like this but he was right in the fight at the DBC before a quiet 68-71 finish AND he led the tournament in putts per GIR. He sits at No. 166 in total putting on the season so this was the exception, not the rule. #unchartedwaters
Brendon de Jonge (26): He’s played himself into the Presidents Cup and in to the top 30. He’s pushing 30 events for the fifth season in a row so he’s used to this grind. He’s shown his mettle by finishes of T19 and T9 in the first two Playoff events. He won’t want to let down countryman and captain Nick Price after he was picked as a wild card last week.
Zach Johnson (27): His streak of five consecutive events inside the top EIGHT ended last week as he wound up T27 after missing the Barclays for his brother’s wedding. I’m not discouraged as he’s never posted at top 10 at TPC Boston and he ended the week 67-66 so he hasn’t “lost it”. I’m in!
Harris English (28): His sophomore season has seen him pick up his first win in Memphis and make the weekend in 20 of 25 starts. He’s long and strong and his next step is dealing with the pressure of heading to Atlanta. Not having a cut this week will help the young, go-for-broke kids!
Charl Schwartzel (29): The story of his season has been encapsulated in the Playoffs as Schwartzel has played well but nothing near great. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 28 since early May but he only has one top 10 in that stretch. He’s a premium player that has been delivering decent results and that frustrates gamers.
Lee Westwood (30): This is in the only the second time that Westwood has been in the FedExCup Playoffs. Last season he went T5, T13 and T2 before finishing last in Atlanta. He’s no stranger to big fields and big events.
Charles Howell III (31): Last week he led the field in pars and only made three bogeys yet he was last in driving accuracy, 69th in putts per GIR and 54th in strokes gained putting. His last top 25 was at the Memorial. He’ll need something better than that this week.
Kevin Stadler (32): After beginning the Playoffs at No. 87, Stadler has posted THREE rounds of 64 in the eight rounds of Playoff golf so far. He’s needed every shot and his T4 last week in Boston has now put him on the cusp to make Atlanta. Last year, he was T10 at DBC and T10 at BMW as he just fell short of Atlanta. A T10 this year easily punches his ticket.
Kevin Chappell (33): His results of T15 and T22 have taken the former UCLA man from No. 58 to No. 33. In first two Playoff events he’s fired a 62 at Liberty National and 64 at TPC Boston so he’s embracing the challenge. This is the first time he’s made it to the third event of the Playoffs so I’m interested to see how handles it.
Nick Watney (34): He entered the Playoffs at No. 63 but his T9 finish at the Barclays vaulted him towards THE BUBBLE. Watney is now working with Todd Anderson after severing ties with Butch Harmon earlier in the summer. His putter has been the club holding him back this season and that makes me nervous coming down the stretch on Sunday.
Scott Piercy (35): He backed up his T5 at the PGA with T43 at the Barclays and T13 last week in Boston so he’s coming to life at the right time of the season. He led the field in putting last week and a hot putter is good problem to have when you have to move it on up!
Rickie Fowler (36): The cruelty that is the Playoffs reared its ugly head again last week as Fowler, who finished T9 at the Barclays, MC at the DBC to drop from No. 23 to No. 36. ALLRIGHTYTHEN! He’s made seven of his last nine and his worst finish in those made cuts are T21. He should be fired up for this week.
Chris Kirk (37): His T16, his best finish since early July, vaulted him up 10 spots to No. 37 this week. He’ll need another similar performance this week to see Atlanta. If this course ends up playing easy, Kirk will be licking his chops because he loves making birdies and eagles. He was T12 last year at Crooked Stick so this shows me he can get low when the pressure is on.
John Huh (38): What if John Huh would be paired with Angelo Que? What? Eh? He should be on your list this week as his ball-striking has led him to finishes of T3, T15 and T22 in his last three TOUR events. He made Atlanta as a rookie last year so he should be well aware of the gravitas of the situation this week.
Chris Stroud (39): I would have liked him more in June. He’s posted T37, T33 and T35 in his last three starts. That’s nothing good and nothing bad. Abstain.
Bubba Watson (40): He has three top 10s in 20 events this season. If you need any more information than that, you’re already lost.
Rory McIlroy (41): A flash of “returning” after T8 at the PGA and T19 at the Barclays but McIlroy only broke par twice on a course he won on in 2012 at the DBC. Sure he had a 64 at the Barclays and a 65 at the DBC but those were his only two rounds in the 60s in two tournaments. I beg you not to buy on name and “due-ness”. There is no rule that says McIlroy must play in Atlanta.
Daniel Summerhays (42): If you are looking for an outsider to jump up this week, Summerhays would not surprise me. Since July he’s racked up T9, T4, P2, MC, MC and T15 and T22 to open the playoffs. He’s quietly flying beneath noise but has been steady.
Russell Henley (43): His best finish in his last 10 starts is T27. There are bright days ahead for Henley but it looks as though he’s run out of gas on his first year on TOUR.
John Merrick (44): Since his T6 at the RBC Canadian, he’s racked up T19, T47, T50 and T53. You’re going the wrong way!
Jimmy Walker (45): Since finishing 73rd at the Memorial Dynomite has been Dynoshite as he’s made two cuts in eight events. Those finishes were T2 at Greenbrier and T54 at the Barclays.
Brian Gay (46): He has one top 10 and two top 25s in 2013. I’m going to stop typing now.
The players in ITALICS should be on your radar this week
Patrick Reed (47): Here’s an interesting angle on the youngster who won at the Wyndham: His T7 at Pebble Beach was after a week off. His solo fifth at FESJC was after a week off. His T9 at RBC Canadian was after a week off. His victory at Wyndham was after three weeks off. Well, he, and everyone else, I know, had last week off! That’s a cool stat that I would use late in a draft/pick to fill out a roster. He’ll have some large hurdles to leap to hit the top 10 this week.
Graeme McDowell (48): With three wins on the season worldwide he obviously has the class to beat a field of this caliber. His best finish in his last six events was T12 at the PGA and T40 is the next best one. His form is more discouraging than his class.
Brian Davis (49): He jumped from No. 80 to No. 59, 21 spots, last week after finishing solo eighth. He’ll need to jump a minimum of 19 spots this week to reach the TOUR Championship so he’ll need another top eight or so. He missed four straight before his finish at DBC so I’m not entirely optimistic this week.
Jonas Blixt (50): His only top 25 since his victory at the Greenbrier was his fourth place finish at the PGA. He was T26 and T59 before that and T58 and T53 after. You let me know when you get him figured out!
Matt Jones (51): Only one round of six in the 60s since his closing 62 at the Wyndham but he does have three top sevens or better in his last six. He’s 16th in the all-around game and he can really putt as well. He’s a rank outsider in this field but he’s been close over the last two months. If you need to make a move or a Hail Mary, I wouldn’t talk you out of him even though he doesn’t fit the profile. Gotta take a chance!
Ian Poulter (52): Every time I write him off he never fails to post a top 10. Every time I endorse him he never fails to stink up the joint. I should be on his payroll! Remember, he doubled the 72nd hole, his only blemish on Monday, to finish T9 instead of T4. He can’t afford that slip this week as he’ll need a monster to move into the top 30. His worst round in the last five is 69. A big field won’t bother him one bit.
Charley Hoffman (53): The good news he’s 18 of 22 this season but his last top 10 was at the Travelers in mid-June. If he didn’t get that something special last week on a course he loves, I find it hard to fathom that he’ll find it this week.
Luke Donald (54): If there is ever a week to have confidence in a player who is treading water in the mid-50s, well, this is it. It’s his home course and he should have a huge advantage with his course knowledge and being able to sleep in his own bed.
Scott Stallings (55): Since his T2 at FESJC Stallings has missed five of nine cuts and his best finish during that stretch was T23 at the Greenbrier.
David Lynn (56): He wins the award for funniest, most-vile, sick sense of humour on Twitter (@davidlynndawg) but he only has one round under 69 since his return to the TOUR in July. He’s Tweeter of the Year in my book!
Matt Every (57): After finishes of T5 at Wyndham and T9 at Barclays, Every only posted one round in the 60s last week on one of the easiest courses on TOUR. Every always plays well in spurts but this step up in class will prove to be too much.
Marc Leishman (58): After being selected by Captain Nick Price as a captain’s pick for the 2013 Presidents Cup, Leishman should be free as a kangaroo drinking a Fosters this week. He sandwiched a finish of 71 at the Barclays between T12 at the PGA and T16 last time out at DBC.
Nicholas Thompson (59): Since MC at Memorial, Thompson, Nicholas has made 11 of 12 cuts but only four of those have resulted in Top 25 or better. His ball-striking has been very solid but he can’t avoid that one big round each week. His last Sunday round in the 60s was the second event of the year, the Humana Challenge.
Rory Sabbatini (60): He was T17 or better in the five events leading up to the DBC so his form is bang on. He fired rounds of 70-71-69-68 last week so don’t let the T53 sway you away. He’s been playing great. I’ll be moving him way up the board this week.
Ken Duke (61): Since his win at The Travelers his best finish in eight events is T48.
David Hearn (62): His best finish since missing a 4’11” putt to win the JDC was T35 last week at DBC. His only other top 10 finish, which he will need this week, was at an opposite field event in Puerto Rico. Nope.
Michael Thompson (63): His last top 10 was the first week of June at Memorial. The upside is he did post his lowest round, 66, in round four at the DBC since he posted 65 in his win in the first week of March at Honda.
Jason Kokrak (64): He needed a low one at The Barclays and got it with T9. He’ll need to replicate that again this week. It’s too much pressure to have to achieve this twice in four weeks for me.
Ryan Moore (65): He’s made seven cuts on the bounce but his best finish in that streak was seven events ago when he finished T7. #seven. His best finish in the last two months was T22. That won’t be enough this week.
Bryce Molder (66): Survived again last week at the DBC and that makes THREE times that he’s done this in the Playoffs. In eight Playoff rounds he’s chalked up four in the 60s. He doesn’t have a top 10 in 2013.
Sang-Moon Bae (67): In 11 events after winning the HBBNC, Bae has made four cuts and has only one finish in the top 50. No, thank you.
Angel Cabrera (68): He was No. 40 at one point but since WD in the second round of the PGA, he’s been sliding in the wrong direction. His 75-77 at the Barclays and DFL at the DBC don’t lend any confidence. Omit.
Brendan Steele (69): He’s made one-third of his money for the season in three of the last four weeks which include finishes of T4, T11, MC and T20 last week at DBC so that tells me he’s hot. He only has eight top 10s in the last three years and he’ll need a top five this week as well to move on.
Ernie Els (70): He hasn’t finished better than T20 in his last seven starts in the States. That’s not good when you need a top five to advance to the final stop but he has the pedigree to make it happen.