What I learned from the finishers in the top 10
Dustin Johnson: If gamers were surprised/shocked/confused by his T2 result this week then they aren’t paying attention. Johnson has finished T7, WIN, WIN, T55, T5 and T2 in his career at this event. Gamers will also breathe easier knowing that DJ doesn’t mind playing with his soon-to-be father-in-law, Wayne Gretzky, either. Or that his game will suffer that he’s engaged. He’s now first, T6 and T2 in three official events this season. He had three rounds of two-under par or better, including his Sunday-low 66, to reinforce he’s the game’s best weather player.
Jim Renner: He had two rounds in the 60s in four events this season. Those four events all resulted in MCs. He didn’t play one round on the PGA TOUR last season but earned promotion through his 17th place finish on the Web.com regular season money list. His last top 25 on any tour was last July in Utah. He missed 11 cuts in 23 events last year on the Web.com Tour so he’s not in my plans moving forward but well done this week!
Jordan Spieth: Another tournament, another fantastic 36 holes that saw him sit one shot off the lead. He’s 20, people. Twenty. Two Zero. He had a tough round on Pebble in the “breeze” on Saturday which led to six, three putts. He rallied, as usual, for a bogey-free 67 to vault him up 14 places on Sunday to T4. In two outings in this event, he’s now T22 and T4. If gamers keep fading him, just do it on Saturdays, but not for the whole tournament! He’s beyond the curve. #SpiethBoner.
Kevin Na: After his T4 this week, he now has three top 10s in eight events this season proving that his back problems are in his rear-view mirror. His last three events here have seen him post T5, T22 and now T4 so he’s a definite horse-for-course! His worst round in 2014 is 72 and that’s the only one above 70!
Hunter Mahan: In his last four trips to Pebble he’s carded finishes of second, T15, T16 and sixth this week. His Yahoo! value stunk on the weekend with rounds of 72-72 but his value to salary gamers was excellent, as usual. Back-to-back top six finishes show that he’s right on pace for a big week in LA or in Match Pay in the next two weeks.
Graeme McDowell: I’m not a big fan of playing guys off a large lay off but G-MAC proved again that form is temporary and class is permanent. The 2010 U.S. Open champ at Pebble Beach thought it was a major again as his 67 on Sunday sprung him up the leaderboard 32 places to finish T7. He claims he hates the wind and elements but his play on seaside courses (Harbour Town last year) proves he doesn’t! He finished fifth in strokes gained-putting and if that keeps up, watch out!
Pat Perez: I argued that his recent successes shouldn’t be ignored last week in the preview column and he continued his fine run of form in his native California with T7. His mastery of Poa annua (16th strokes gained-putting) and superb iron play (T6) led him to his fourth top 10 finish in five events in 2014. He’s back this week at Riviera so he should factor in your decision making.
Tim Wilkinson: Fairways and greens are his strong suit and this week was no different as he was T21 in fairways and T3 in greens en route to T7. He’s now made the cut in three of seven events this season yet two of those finishes have found the top 10. His last full season on the TOUR was 2010 so he’s slowly finding his way again. He’ll be useful on tight, ball-striking courses as opposed to long, strong tracks so keep that in mind moving forward.
Bryce Molder: Fresh from the horses-for-courses section, Molder continued his consistency at Pebble. THAT’S what gamers want; consistency. His last five postings are T10, T6, T69, T12 and T10 this season. Sometimes overthinking it with a veteran player on a track where they play well is just silly. Molder proved this point again this year. He’s not sexy but he scores. Sex, in fantasy golf, doesn’t always sell. Winning does.
Chesson Hadley: After T72 and T5 to open his maiden season on TOUR, Hadley rattled off five straight MCs, including his first three events of 2014. Not too many first-timers succeed around here but once Hadley got to Pebble this week, his game turned on point. He made two bogeys over his last two rounds, both on Pebble, to hit the top 10 for the second time in eight starts this year. Not bad for a maiden voyage. Rookies come and go but those who find a way to adapt and survive will always remain on my list moving forward.
Richard H. Lee: In seven starts this year his best finish was T35 in Malaysia. But, if you believe in horse-for-course, Lee, as he did me in my weekly draft, did the business with a T10. His birdie at No. 10 got him to seven-under and T2 but a double and two other bogeys had him reeling before his birdie four at No. 18 kept him in the top 10. In three starts at Pebble he’s finished T15, T12 and now T10. When in doubt, buy the trend!
What happened to my pre-tournament favorites?
Jason Day: His 77 on Pebble on Friday sunk his chances at adding another top 10 to his resume on this track. I would have guessed the worse the weather, the better he would have played but his 71 on Saturday saw him miss the cut by a lone shot. It stinks but I’ll never let one bad round get in the way of a premium player moving forward. (sh)It happens.
Hunter Mahan: See above.
Dustin Johnson: See above.
Jimmy Walker: Bang, Triscuits!
Phil Mickelson: I ended up pairing him with Brandt Snedeker in the A group in Yahoo so I was forced to use him this week. He racked up rounds of +1 and +2 for me. His T14 helped salary gamers more than it did for me. Sigh.
Jordan Spieth: #SpiethBoner strikes again. See above.
Chris Kirk: His DFL performance this week saw his tee ball find some fairways but his iron play (T57) and putter (63rd) remained a cause for concern. Also, another solid early round, 68 on Friday, led to zero momentum on the weekend. I’m in a selling mode for now.
Graeme McDowell: See above.
Pat Perez: See above.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the NTO and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/mikeglasscott) on Twitter.