Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bridgestone Preview

One of the problems with having an affluent readership like that of the FGR is that the majority of your audience basically spends the end of July and the first three weeks of August laying on the beach reading the Cape Cod Times or some dog-eared Dean Koontz paperback they found under a coffee table.* (Or some other book that, when you finish it and someone asks you, "how was it?", you respond, "I don't know . . . I honestly don't know" because the reading experience generated absolutely no emotional response). At least that's how I explain my sliding numbers. Now I understand why the television networks don't have sweeps week in August.

"I was reading the FGR on the can
and the next thing I knew . . ."
Then again, I have to shoulder some of the blame because frankly the product has been a little spotty lately. It was only going to get worse this week as I had actually planned to pull a Charlotte Bobcats and completely bottom out by posting nothing but the updated FGR Rankings, the Bridgestone picks and last week's report card but then I watched the U.S. Women's gymnastics team wipe the floor with the Russians last night and I woke-up inspired.**

And then I went back to sleep and woke-up again at 9:17 a.m. wondering what in the hell I was going to write about and whether these overcast skies were going to mess with my pre-lunch swim. You see when I started this endeavor back in June of 2011, I thought, "this will be great because golf is a year round sport so there will never be any shortage of material" not realizing that, if I was going to write something about every tournament, that would mean at least a post a week from the beginning of January through the Ryder Cup at the end of September. Then somewhere in the middle of football season, I decided it would be fun to start picking games and, not just selected games, but every freakin' game.*** (I finally capitulated in Week 17 when I refused to pick the Colts-Jags and three other toilet bowl floaters based on principal and laziness).

So now I find myself on the eve of a top ten tournament with a major to follow, then the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the start of football season and the Ryder Cup and I'm a little short on mojo but you know what they say . . . when life hands you lemons, get yourself some iced tea and vodka and you have the ingredients for one delicious cocktail (seriously, it's called an Ice Pick and I highly recommend it). Not to mention, I really want to get a few laps in before lunch so let's get on with this.  

The Bridgstone Preview

Remember before the British Open when I said that "if you want a site that advises you to pick Tiger every week, then we're wasting each other's time?" Well technically we're already wasting each other's time because I'm writing about fantasy golf and you're reading about it so forget all that. I'm putting Tiger at the top of the Bridgestone rankings based on the fact that, if nothing else, he's shown that he can still dominate at his favorite non-major venues. (He's won at Bay Hill and Muirfield Village this year and he has seven career wins at Firestone against the best players in the world). If you haven't used him yet, well played.

As for the rest of the field, if I were drafting a team for the remainder of the season, Dustin Johnson would be in my top 5 so he gets the second spot. Even if defending champion Adam Scott thought he was over the British Open, that's going to change when he's reminded about it everywhere he goes this week ("hey, tough break at the British Adam") so he doesn't make the cut. My dark horse is Retief Goosen who shot 63-69 on the weekend in Canada to finish in a tie for 10th and usually plays Firestone well. Noticeably absent from this list is Rory McIlroy who, in his last four tournaments on American soil, has three missed cuts and a tie for 7th at the FedEx St. Jude where he completely melted down on the 72 hole. It's still early, but if this continues into the start of next season, people are going to start making David Duval**** comparisons which is not a good thing. (I think you just did).

The Bridgestone Top 10

In case you needed another reason to look
forward to the start of track and field,
Leryn Franco throws the javelin for Paraguay.
I don't know if she's any good and I don't care.
1. Tiger Woods
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Lee Westwood
4. Luke Donald
5. Bo Van Pelt
6. Hunter Mahan
7. Francesco Molinari
8. Retief Goosen
9. Bubba Watson
10. Zach Johnson

Last Week's Report Card: C

1. Matt Kuchar: T34
2. Hunter Mahan: T48
3. Bo Van Pelt: T7
4. Brandt Snedeker: T34
5. Seung-Yul Noh: T15

It was looking promising when Kuchar birdied his first five holes of the tournament. Unfortunately, he played the next 67 at -1 in an event that turned into a birdie fest. We were treated to another late Sunday afternoon of guys playing with their hands around their throats as Scott Piercy, William McGirt and FGR favorite Robert "Panama Red" Garrigus all pulled out the machetes on the reachable par 5 17th hole and just started hacking away like it was a thrashing swordfish in the back of their boat. Garrigus and McGirt then followed that up by leaving their putts to tie for the lead on 18 short. Garrigus would later say that he should have won by 7 strokes. He then stared at the setting sun for an hour and said "that was fucking beautiful man" before asking "do they have Taco Bell in Canada" and driving away in his courtesy car singing "back to back, chicken shack . . . son of a gun, better change your act."

Endnotes

* I bet the publishers of the duPont Registry have the same problem and we'd find a direct correlation between the number of hits on the FGR site and August sales of used Lamborghinis.

** If you didn't see it, you missed the U.S. women bringing an Olympic "A" game for the ages and intimidating the Russians right out of the arena. It was fitting that the Russian women finished on the balance beam because they were literally teetering throughout their routines and one of their best almost landed her dismount on her ass before stumbling sideways off the mat, halfheartedly acknowledging  the judges and blowing-off the patronizing hugs from her coaches and teammates. I love the fact that she handled that moment like any other big time athlete would. It was almost enough to make me think that gymnastics isn't creepy anymore (almost).

"Two winning teams with
Pro Bowl quarterbacks?
Well what's fun about that?"
*** One thing I learned is that writing about the bad games is a lot more fun than writing about the good ones. I could go on all day about a Cardinals-Browns match-up but what in the hell are you supposed to say about a Week 15 Falcons-Saints game with the division on the line other than, "we've got a Falcons-Saints game with the division on the line?"

**** In 2001, Duval won the British Open and finished 2nd at the Masters along with five other top 10 finishes. In 2003, he made 4 cuts in 20 events and hasn't been heard from since other than a random tie for second at the 2009 U.S. Open which should have been won by Rickey Barnes but was won by Lucas Glover (like I said, random).