Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Wells Fargo Preview

The Jason Dufner victory was bittersweet for me despite putting him at the top of my rankings last week because (a) I had already used him this season, (b) about a dozen guys in my league apparently hadn't, and (c) I decided to go with Graeme McDowell who backed-up a promising opening round 69 with a tournament killing 73 and was never heard from again. 
"It was kind of like watching
Ben Roethlisberger drive off a
cliff in my new Dodge Stratus."

We've got a loaded field heading to Quail Hollow which probably explains why Luke Donald decided to take the week off. At this point, it's getting harder to make the call on which guys to play and which ones to stash for the upcoming Players and U.S. Open. Jim Furyk is a prime example. He's been on a roll lately and plays really well in Charlotte but he also looks like a perfect fit for Olympic Club as a richer man's version of Scott Simpson who won there in 1987. Furyk also knows that (a) he needs a second major to solidify his legacy and (b) Olympic might be one of his last real shots at it. What to do? At this point I have him as my No. 1 guy for the week but I still may hold him back for the Open. I need to figure out what my true instinct is here so I can pull a Costanza and do the opposite.

If you're desperate to make something happen (which I am having just dropped from 23rd to 33rd thanks to the Dufner/McDowell fiasco), then Phil Mickelson is the no brainer. He's finished in the top five of this event four of the last five years including a second in 2010 but he's also going to be the favorite at the U.S. Open so let your conscience be your guide. (If you hadn't noticed by now, I'm struggling with my pick for the week). As I hit the publish button on this sucker, here is how I would play it.

Talk to me Phil. Is this
the year? Oh hi Amy.
The Wells Fargo Top 5

1. Jim Furyk
2. Kevin Na
3. Webb Simpson
4. Zach Johnson
5. Bo Van Pelt


The Updated Majors Reserved List

Sergio talked himself right off the list when he said of not being able to win a major, "in 13 years I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place." What in the hell does that even mean? Finishing second or third in a major is really hard and he's talking about it like he's letting a an 8 year old beat him in a game of H-O-R-S-E. "I'm just going to get to H-O-R-S and then start bricking shots." I'm not taking Sergio off the list because I don't think he can win a major. I'm taking him off because I think he's losing his freakin' mind. That makes room for Hunter Mahan who I am starting to envision as a solid pick for Kiawah in August. Here is the updated version including the players I have already used/wasted:
And we all know what a
Mahan reference means.

Tiger Woods (dead to me)
Rory McIlroy (see Tiger Woods)
Lee Westwood
Phil Mickelson
Matt Kuchar
Luke Donald 
Keegan Bradley
Hunter Mahan


Last Week's Report Card: A-

In the 2000 Mercedes Championship, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els had an epic battle down the stretch where they traded great shots like body blows before Tiger finally won it with a 40 foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole. Last weekend's finish was just like that but exactly the opposite. God love Ernie for all of the good he does* but he's handed more trophies to other players this year than Jim Nantz. Meanwhile, Dufner carries himself like the 17 year old kid who hates golf but whose dad makes him him get dressed-up and play the father-son tournament at the club every year.** When he pulled his ball out of the hole after the winning putt I could swear he muttered, "can I just go home now?"

I finally relented when researching my picks last week and took a look at some of those old tests that my roommate stole from the backseat of the professor's car but it was worth it because, just like there are no pictures on a scorecard, there are no pictures on a report card. It could have been an "A" if my 2-4 picks had shown-up for the weekend but after the rut I've been in, I'm not complaining.

1. Jason Dufner: 1st
"Leopards? This is so boring.
I thought you said there were
going to be cheetahs?"
2. Graeme McDowell: T57th
3. Charles Howell, III: T39th
4. Kevin Streelman: 71st
5. Cameron Tringale: T7th


Random Crap***

1. Say what you want about Roger Goodell but that guy works a draft stage better than any commissioner in the history of sports. I'm a sucker for the bear hugs especially when you compare him to David Stearn who looks like he's whispering, "stay away from my daughter or I will kill you" in the ear of every NBA pick.

2. Speaking of the NBA, Andrew Bynum tied the playoff record for blocks with 10 in a win over the Nuggets last weekend. When asked after the game what that record meant to him, he responded (and I am not making this up), "So maybe, you know . . . note to self: the more I play D, the better we'll be." That is the best use of "note to self" since Norm MacDonald was doing Weekend Update.**** Unfortunately for the Lakers, Norm MacDonald is a comedian while Andrew Bynum is their starting center. I only wish I had been in the room when Kobe Bryant heard that quote and then been in the room with him an hour later when he smashed his head against a table.

3. I had the pleasure of playing three rounds at Kinloch Golf Club outside of Richmond last week. It is a vintage golf experience and, if an invitation comes your way, the only two permissible responses are (1) unfortunately I am already playing [insert Pine Valley, Pebble Beach, Augusta or another entry from Golf Digest's Top 10] that day, or (2) yes.


Endnotes

* Check-out the unbelievable venues for Els for Autism this year including Baltusrol, Hazeltine and Caves Valley -  Els for Autism.

** For me it wasn't golf, it was sailing. Yes I said sailing. It was probably a telling sign that my favorite part was jumping off the boat into the water.

*** A tribute to the titles of my college mixed tapes.

**** "Good news for Hawaii! Next year, the state will receive twenty million dollars in federal funds to help teach poor children how to read. Note to self: Swindle poor Hawaiians out of twenty million dollars by pretending to be a guy who teaches reading. [pockets recorder then pulls out recorder and continues] Note to self: Before I start, also learn to read. ... That will help give the scam what we like to call 'credibility'... That's a big word."