Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Memorial Preview

"You call that T-Ball
you f--king twerps?!?" 
We're going to break things up this week because I want to get the Memorial picks on the board and I haven't written a damn thing yet thanks to a perfect storm of factors ranging from (1) last weekend's three day member-guest and it's lingering effects, (2) my decision to spend Monday like a normal person (in a pool instead of hunched over a keyboard) and (3) the fact that my four year old daughter just had one of those nights* that people who are on the fence about having children should be forced to experience before making their decision.** (It's right up there with the first time you have to take one of your kids to the emergency room and anytime you have to watch them be coached by someone who thought A Season on the Brink was a "how to" manual).

But enough about that. Let's see if we can keep last week's momentum rolling at one of the best tournaments of the year.

The Memorial Top 5

If I was going to add another tournament to the FGR World Rankings formula, this would be it. It's played at one of the tour's best venues and it almost always delivers a first class winner (Bart Bryant in 2005 notwithstanding). The problem with all of this quality is that it's like trying to pick a major because the field is so loaded. Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson and Bo Van Pelt are just few of the guys who didn't make the FGR Top 5 this week. (Congratulations to Luke Donald for taking over the No. 1 spot in the other World Golf Rankings by winning another tournament that's not a major).

1. Jim Furyk: If I wasn't holding him out for the U.S. Open, I'd use him here.

2. Rickie Fowler: It's been a season of streaks by guys like Dufner and Mahan and no one is hotter than Rickie right now.

3. Justin Rose: He's been on a roll again lately and plays Muirfield well. A good showing here probably gets him promoted to the majors list.

4. Ernie Els: Ernie took a couple weeks off after bumps in the road at the Players and the Byron Nelson. Hopefully he spent that time off on the putting green . . . with a sports psychologist.

5. Ben Curtis: Even those years when he's played lousy, he's done well at The Memorial and he's not playing lousy this year.

Because it was pointed out to me
that a couple of the recent FGR's
were missing an essential element.
The Majors Reserved List

Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy
Phil Mickelson
Hunter Mahan
Lee Westwood
Matt Kuchar
Jason Dufner
Rickie Fowler

I've cooled on Keegan Bradley because his game has fallen on hard times since the Masters and he's not a really solid fit for any of the majors courses. Jason Dufner is a no brainer for the U.S. Open if you haven't used him already (DOH!). Rickie Fowler has been on a roll and, after what he showed us at the British Open last year, we know that he can handle the elements which could make him a threat at Royal Lytham and Kiawah. Who knew Bieber would turn out to be such a good grinder?

Last Week's Report Card: A-

1. Zach Johnson - 1st
2. Rickie Fowler - T5th
3. Bo Van Pelt - T19th
4. Jim Furyk - 4th
5. Spencer Levin - M/C

I walked off the course on Sunday in a bit of a foul humor*** but my mood was brightened slightly when Jason Dufner went from a fairway bunker into the drink on the 15th hole essentially handing Zach Johnson the title. (I was all-in on Z.J. last week). Or so we thought. Johnson almost let Dufner back into the game by moving his mark on the 18th green and then failing to replace it before he putted out. The two stroke penalty that accompanied that gaff almost cost him the tournament but, fortunately for him, he had a three stroke cushion walking to the scorer's table.**** If Bo Van Pelt doesn't inexplicably shoot 75 on Sunday to drop from 4th to 19th, that's a pretty strong top 4 (and if I don't inexplicably keep thinking that Spencer Levin is going to exceed expectations, it would be even stronger . . . come on Spencer, what happened to the passion that used to burn inside one of the original inspirations for the FGR?!? . . . Levin Kicks Hat).

Endnotes

* I will not provide details because it is my position that references to that particular bodily function, whether they be in film or print, are unfunny. Can't you achieve the same effect by having a character just convulse once, cover his mouth and run out of the room? You know when Monty Python tries it and produces a C+ effort at best, it's probably not worth doing (The Meaning of Life).

Feeling your pain
this morning Ed.
** To those parents who have only had to deal with this once and then spent the next day wondering "what in the hell have we gotten ourselves into?", I will tell you that it gets easier and, each time you have to deal with it, you look a little less like Ed Rooney and Grace scrambling around the office after being duped by the dead grandmother bit ("Pardon my French, but you're an asshole").

*** More on this later.

**** That blunder is absolutely on Johnson and his caddie (who was apparently raking the bunker when it happened) but I want to know why neither Dufner nor his caddie said anything. Part of the quid pro quo of asking someone to move their ball mark is that you remind them to put it back. (At least it is if you're not an a-hole). If Johnson had missed the five foot putt he thought was for par and then been assessed the two stroke penalty, he and Dufner would have gone to a playoff. I'm frankly surprised a bigger deal hasn't been made out of this. (And yes I hope this finds its way to Dufner because I need to figure out some way to rattle that guy before he singlehandedly wrecks my whole fantasy golf season).