Puerto Rico Open
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Trump International Golf Club
Yards: 7,506 per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Seadwarf Paspalum
Water Hazards: 18
Course Architect: Purse: $3,500,000
Winner’s Share: $630,000
FexExCup Points: 300 to the winner
Defending Champion: Scott Brown birdied the final hole to be Jordan Spieth and Fabian Gomez by one shot for his first TOUR victory.
Dates: March 6-9
Format: Stroke play; 132 players; top 70 and ties play the weekend
Notes: Players are WD left and right as of Monday afternoon, gamers.
Chris Stroud: He’s played five weekends in eight tournaments this season and has two thirds and three other top 20 finishes. He’s excelled on paspalum greens at Mayakoba (T5 and T3) and was T18 here last season.
Brooks Koepka: After pushing late at Frys.com and almost taking it late at Dubai, Koepka has a great shot of being the next youngster to jump up and take a big finish in Puerto Rico. Jordan Spieth and Ryo Ishikawa have been T2 the last two years and the former Seminole is rounding into form.
Brian Stuard: His 18-under last year was just two shots off Brown’s winning number of 20-under. The “knock” on Stuard is that he plays great in shallower fields on resort courses. This qualifies! #giddyup
George McNeill: After finishing fifth and winning in his two previous attempts, McNeill was knocking on the door for another top 10 before a final round 76 knocked him to T57. #Horseforcourse
Scott Brown: He’s played here twice and was fifth in 2012 and was the winner last year. I guess he’s going to fire 76 in the final round and post T57. After spying his 2014 form, that result wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
William McGirt: This is a make-or-break week for gamers who have been riding the McGirt wave. Out of relative nowhere, McGirt was the 54-hole leader at Riviera before 73 on Sunday. He followed that up with a great start at the Honda, six-under heading into Saturday before a 78 led to MDF. He’s close.
David Hearn: Sometimes you play the hot hand on a birdie track like this and Hearn fits that description after his co-Sunday low round of 67 at Honda. He’s also a combined 25-under in two events in Puerto Rico that were good for T14 in 2011 and T8 last year.
Andres Romero: He was 17-under and T6 last year and had a round of 75 on Saturday. He was T12 last week with 17 birdies so he’s ready to go.
Jhonattan Vegas: His T12 last week was his seventh weekend in a row. His shoulder is healthy. His last top 10 was T4 at the 2012 AT&T National. #longshot
Martin Flores: His T12 last week was preceded by three MCs and T70 so I’m trying to catch a guy on the UP. His only round here last year under par was 64. #longshotII
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.
Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.
WGC-Match Play: Victor Dubuisson is 23 and was second. Jordan Spieth was T5. #youthmovement
Honda: Russell Henley is now the fourth player on TOUR under 25 with two wins. He joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Rory McIlroy in this very elite club of pups.
SEASON TOTAL: $2,531,446 in 14 events
Wins: One, Jimmy Walker (AT&T Pebble)
Seconds: One, Dustin Johnson (NTO)
Top 10s: Four
Thermometer: Just like weather in the Midwest, ice cold the last two weeks…
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. Tacos for everyone! Johnson’s solo second adds $723,600 to the bank! #heatwave
WGC-Match Play: Ian Poulter will be my hedge this week. His recent starts hardly inspire but there’s no doubting his inner fortitude in Match Play. He is the 2010 champ and was fourth last year. I don’t see myself using him anywhere else this season. Hunter Mahan would be choice No. 2 but I don’t like his draw with the sizzling Zach Johnson. Don’t forget Mahan played in the last group in the U.S. Open and The Open in 2013. Ah, Poults…$48,000.
Honda Classic: Graeme McDowell is the choice this week. There has been no rust after his time off this winter and I’m encouraged after his result at Pebble and WGC-Match Play. I’m using Mickelson at Pinehurst so this is an easy play. He was three-under heading into the weekend. He was even when the weekend was over. Add $15,600 to the bank. That couldn’t cover Bolton’s Lear jet for the weekend…
WGC-CC: With a massive prize pool, I have no problem pulling the trigger on, as for reasons mentioned above, on an ultra-premium player. GO MCILROY GO!
Puerto Rico: My heart says Brooks Koepka but my wallet says Chris Stroud.