Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Tour Championship Preview

I had a shot of Moore here but
opted for Catrinel Menghia of
the Fiat ads. You're welcome.
We've got two stellar weeks of golf on tap with the most loaded Tour Championship and Ryder Cup fields ever.* We'll get to the Ryder Cup next week but for now let's focus on a Tour Championship field that includes 21 of the top 22 players in the world with no Heath Slocums or Chez Reavies to drag it down. Your slouches are Carl Pettersson, Ryan Moore, John Senden, Robert Garrigus, Scott Piercy and John Huh, all of whom finished the regular season inside the FedEx Cup top 30 or are in the top 40 in the world.** Don't be surprised to see any of those guys contend because they each have their own motivations to get their hands on that $10M - Senden (credibility), Piercy (anger management classes), Moore (a stylist), Garrigus (weed), Pettersson (chocolate) and Huh (I don't know . . . a last name that doesn't sound like it came from a Monty Python skit?).  

Let's start with a review of my predictions which at this point have crushed my first two weeks of football picks (not saying much). Four of the six guys who I predicted would miss the Tour Championship after starting the Cup in the top 30 actually did just that (Mark Wilson, Ben Curtis, Kyle Stanley and Johnson Wagner).*** Scott Piercy slipped to 30th so I almost went five out of six. Of course my sixth pick, Phil Mickelson, actually climbed all the way to 4th and is one of the favorites to win the Cup based on his past success at East Lake and his recent switch to the claw putting grip. Phil could absolutely peak in time for us to believe that he's not going to get waxed at the Ryder Cup.

Of the seven who climbed into the top 30, I hit on three of them (Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott). I missed on Nick Watney, Louis Oostuizen, Ryan Moore and John Senden. Not bad though picking guys like Tim Clark, Bud Cauley and Andres Romero over Louis Oostuizen would be like picking a team quarterbacked by Jay Cutler to win a tough road game on national television. (At least I'm consistent).

So who is going to take down the prize so big that it gets distant second cousins thinking, "I'm sure he could spare at least ten grand"? The highest finisher from last year who is in the field is Hunter Mahan but he just lost to Rory McIlroy by 32 shots (really) and that's kind of hard to ignore so he's out. Adam Scott, Luke Donald and Bo Van Pelt always play well there but let's face it, they all have a mild case of choking dog syndrome and $10M will definitely tighten the collar down the stretch.

". . . . and we're just the guys to do it."
To quote one of the men who inspired me to go to law school, "no, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." (I actually think it's going to be Tiger, Rory and Phil but sometimes when you find a picture like this one, you just have to go with it). We are way overdue for a showdown between the best players in the world and the stage is absolutely set at East Lake as all three are playing great and have something to prove. In the end, I'm picking Phil. Partly because he's won this thing twice on this course but also because Phil likes money. I am convinced that there is a correlation between his solid play and phone calls from his accountant telling him that it's time to focus. He's not unlike Vincent Chase who would ramp it up every time his crew's lifestyle was threatened which makes this Tour Championship at East "Lake" Phil's Aquaman.****

Endnotes

* I'm not qualifying that statement or leaving it open for discussion. It's almost a fact in that it's probably more true than not true. (I learned this technique watching the political conventions).

"Nothing to see here . . . just
a janitor with a hand fetish
who looks like Han Solo."
** Well except for Moore who I just spent five minutes researching unsuccessfully trying to come-up with some stat about him that would support my "Super Field" theory. So now he gets buried in an endnote like the study results that led to the murder of Dr. Richard Kimble's wife by the one-armed man (which always seemed a little over the top to me especially when Tommy Lee Jones and Joey Pants followed the other random one-armed man into the hospital's prosthetics department . . . "Hey what do you know, we're looking for a one-armed man and there is a one-armed man walking into a room full of arms. What a coincidence").

*** There were actually seven that dropped-out of the top 30. The other three were Marc Leishman, Graeme McDowell and Bill Haas. Information for life.

**** That was a test. If you didn't wince at that, I'm not sure I want you as a reader.