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Fred Couples (C): He has 14 top 10s in 31 starts and two victories.
Freddie Jacobson (B): The last two years he’s finished T13 and T3. Fredrik, Fred, Freddie, they all work this week!
J.B. Holmes (C): From 2008 through 2012 he finished T7, T6, T3, T12 and T8. He MC last year but he’s on his way back from a million injuries.
K.J. Choi (C): He’s 13-for-13 with four top 10s. Choi is a great roster filler this week.
Trending in the right direction
Kevin Na (C): I forgot he turned pro after his junior year in high school. He has three top 10s in six weekends this season including two in his last four events. He’s all irons and putting and that’s led him to 10th in scoring average this year.
Victor Dubuisson : The 23-year old Frenchman impressed last week as he navigated the three courses at AT&T Pebble Beach to the tune of T13. That T13 included THREE doubles. His T59 at Torrey Pines was his worst start in eight starts world-wide. During that stretch of eight tournaments he has six T20s or better. Oui.
Francesco Molinari (C): In six European starts he’s posted T25 or better in all of them since last October. His last time out was T13 in Dubai.
Will MacKenzie (C): In events this season, Mackenzie has found the weekend six times and all of his finishes have been in the top 25, including T13, T7 and T13 in his last three. He has ONE round over par. One. He’d be higher on my list this week but he only has two rounds, of 12 career, in the 60s at Riviera. He’s MC in four of five starts here. Gulp.
Russell Knox (C): He’s seven-for-eight with all seven finishes T32 or better.
Jason Kokrak (B): He’s five-for-seven with all T20 or better. He’s T15 and T19 in his last two outings.
Bryce Molder (B): The good news is he’s seen all seven weekends this year and he’s coming off his best finish, T10, last week at Pebble Beach. The better news is he was T17 and T21 in his last two starts at Riviera.
Cameron Tringale (C): After a slow start to the new season, Tringale has rebounded with T38, T66, T12 and T13 in his last four starts. His last two final rounds have been 68-69 and that pushed him to the edge of the top 10. Another one of those this week could push him over. The SoCal native has only two rounds over par in his 12 rounds at Riviera as well. Shhhhhhhhhhh.
Morgan Hoffmann (B): He was T16 at Torrey and T15 in Phoenix in his last two starts. I like him more on courses where par is a good score and this week covers that.
Players floating out to sea this week
Matt Kuchar: He’s made 30 cuts in a row but I’m fading him this week for two reasons. One, his best finish here in eight starts is only T14. Two, I KNOW I’ll use all 10 starts on Kuchar down the road and this week’s field is deep enough not to “guess” that he’ll finally play well at Riviera. I KNOW he’ll have 10 other tournaments where he has better course form as the year continues. Hell, you could argue four majors, two WGC and four playoff events! Not this week for me, sorry.
Charles Howell III: In six starts after his win here in 2007, he’s made three cuts. He’s missed three of the last four and his best finish in that run is T55 in 2008. Not this week!
Charley Hoffman: In seven straight starts at Riviera his best finish is T37 in 2010. His last round in the 60s was in 2011.
Rickie Fowler: He was MC, T35 and T62 in consecutive years from 2010-2012.
Jason Dufner: He’s seen the weekend just twice in four starts and hasn’t finished better than T29. He’s off to a chilly start with T29 at Sony and T72 in Qatar. He’ll warm up with the weather.
The Man with His Own Section in the Column
Lee Westwood: He’s opened his 2014 stateside with T47 at Torrey Pines and MC in Phoenix. He’s had two top 10s since July (The Open, DP World Tour Championship) but if there is a track that should play to his strengths, Riviera would be it. He opened 68-68 here last year before 74-71 to close. I wouldn’t over-reach for him this week but I can’t totally eliminate him either, hence, his own section.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
HTOC: Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.
Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.
Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.
FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN
Pebble Beach: Er, Jordan Spieth, T4. Patrick Reed, 23, finished T13 and he’s won twice since August. Golf is good hands, again.
SEASON TOTAL: $1,744,246
Frys.com: Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!
SHFC Open: Hideki Matsuyama. Time to break through, son. Matsuyama WD with injury so he was replaced with Nick Watney. He finished T48 for $15,264
CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.
WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife. Kaymer’s third round 62 dared me to dream but his T8 and $161,667 is a nice deposit.
The McGladrey Classic: David Toms. He’s finished T3 in 2010 and second last year. His recent form suggests he’s playing well and I don’t see another chance to burn him down the road. It was him or CH III. Well, BOTH of my selections finished T27. I should have listened to O…T27 was good for $39,050.
OHL Mayakoba: Brian Gay. When form meets course history… Well, that was a nice theory but it resulted in T45 and $18,060. I’m glad 2013 is now over.
HTOC: Martin Laird. Since I’m off to a woeful start I see no reason to burn a premium player. Chris Kirk was my second choice but nobody wins in back-to-back starts plus he’s just had another child. Laird is the horse-for-course. The Scot finished T20 in a 30-man field for $87,000.
Sony: Charles Howell III. He plays great in the early part of the season and his record at Waialae has everything BUT a win. If you notice, I saved most of my heavy hitters for the latter part of 2013 last year and that strategy worked out. Hey, a top 10 and $119,000! Feels like a winner!
Humana: Webb Simpson has been on fire to get 2013-14 started and going low has never been a problem. It’s time to start firing at ‘em. Sigh. Another week brings another disappointing selection as I add a whopping $57,000 to my morbid total.
FIO: Same as last year, Rickie Fowler. He’s working with Butch Harmon to get to the next level and he’s played SoCal courses plenty in his young life. He finished up last week at Humana 67-66 and he’s finished T5, T20, T13 and T6 last year in four career starts. I’ll save Woods and Mickelson for down the road for bigger winner’s checks. Snedeker and Walker were also considered and are solid options for this week. Fowler was just as bad as the other four I had listed, save for Woods’ MDF cash. Tough week in OAD for most I’m guessing. MC $0.
WMPO: Ryan Palmer. He’s on fire, can really putt and was fifth here last year. His excellent 64 saw him make the cut but his 70-72 weekend resulted in T48 at $15,772. I finished strong last year because I had a stable full of studs from The Open Championship through the FedExCup Playoffs. I’m not panicking. Yet.
AT&T PEBBLE: Jimmy Walker is the pick this week. He’s a beast on the West Coast and he’s had time to recover from his illness after MC at Torrey Pines. BANG TRISCUITS. Winner, winner, chicken dinner and $1,188,000.
NTO: Dustin Johnson goes to bat this week for Team Glass. His form is excellent and the fact that he’s banged top 10s in half of his trips here doesn’t hurt either.