Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Canadian Open Preview

Could anything really sound more boring than "The Canadian Open Preview"? If that was a TV show, you'd slot it somewhere between "The Olympic Synchronized Swimming Trials" and "The 2013 Penn St. Football Highlight Show" (ouch . . . too soon?).* Let's spend a few paragraphs looking back at the British Open before we turn our attention to the proud national championship of a country with two less major titles to its credit than either Fiji or Zimbabwe.

The British Open Update

(In Peter Alliss' voice) "Someone
come and stop him . . . give him a
large Brandy and mop him down." 
Choking comes in at least four different forms and golf provides the perfect bulletin board on which to display all of them:** (1) The most simple form is missing a two-foot putt to win like Scott Hoch did on the first playoff hole that would have won him the 1989 Masters (he would lose to Nick Faldo on the next hole); (2) Then you have the slightly more painful final hole catastrophe aided by a horrendous strategic decision made famous by Jean Van De Velde at the 1999 British Open (this is worth re-watching for the Peter Alliss commentary alone - 1999 British Open) and Phil Mickelson at the 2006 U.S. Open; (3) Add a few more holes to the equation and you have the multi-stroke lead frittering meltdown like Jason Dufner at last year's PGA Championship when he had a 5 stroke lead standing on the 15th tee and lost; (4) And finally you have the four plus hour tragedy of the big lead going into Sunday where shooting par virtually assures you of victory but instead you shoot your highest score of the tournament by at least 7 strokes a la Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters. I am not absolutely sure about this but I think Adam Scott just became the first player in the history of golf to do all four in the same tournament. Let's start with No. 4 and work backwards:

(4) Scott started Sunday with a 6 stroke lead over Ernie Els coming off three rounds where he shot 64-67-68. On Sunday, he shot 75 with 7 bogeys. Sixteen years ago Scott's mentor, Greg Norman, came into Sunday at Augusta on the heels of shooting 63-69-71 and then blew-up to a 78 with 6 bogeys and 2 doubles. Since Greg Norman won his first major in 1986, Australians have won only 5 of the next 100 (Norman, Steve Elkington, Wayne Grady, Ian-Baker Finch and Geoff Ogilvy). When you add guys like Scott, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby and Jason "Dead to Me" Day, it seems like they should have won a few more. Then again, when you pick a mentor who is famous for leading majors on Saturday and not delivering on Sunday, you kind of get what you pay for (it's pretty much been open season on Norman at the FGR since the President's Cup - Shark Sandwich);

(3) Scott bogeyed the last four holes in a row just giving away 15-17 and then making a huge mental error on 18 (more on that in a second). I have to believe that this is the most painful part of it for him because, if you told a pro on the 15th tee he could shoot 2 over the rest of the way and win, no problem. To do it as your whole world is falling down around you is a different story. It was clear that the roar from Ernie's birdie on 18 got to him when he pulled his second shot on 17 long left but that's where I thought Stevie Williams was supposed to make the difference by talking him into a shot that took long out of play. Come on Stevie, I defended you last year when you declared after your . . . I mean Scott's win at the Bridgestone that "I'm a very confident front-runner" (The Bridgestone Update). Put one less club in your man's hand and tell him you'll beat him senseless if he goes left of the pin. If you're still not confident, then hit the shot yourself. You know you want to; 
Hey, that's an even better idea.

(2) Scott came to 18 needing a birdie to win and a par to tie and he had shrewdly hit iron there in the first three rounds to avoid the fairway bunkers on the left. He then made the same mistake that Van De Velde made on his second shot in 1999. He underestimated how much the pressure of the moment would mess with his swing.*** Scott's decision to try to thread a 3-wood down the middle instead of laying-up short of the bunkers was not quite in the elite class of stupidity with Van De Velde's 2-iron, but it certainly came from the same school of thought. Again, you have to wonder where Williams was when that decision was being made. It's not like making par would have sent Scott to a playoff against Tiger. This would have been four holes against Els who had already butchered the closing holes of two tournaments he should have won this year. Why hit a club that brings bogey into play? If I'm ever leading the British Open on Sunday, I'm paying an 80 year old Scottish caddie to walk with me and give me a subtle nod or shake of the head every time I reach for a club;

(1) Despite his Sunday meltdown, his bogey run at the end and his brain dead club selection on the 18th tee, Scott still would have forced a playoff if he made his 8 foot putt for par on the final hole. (It should be noted that 8 feet is the distance from which PGA Tour players make 50% of their putts). Obviously this on had some extenuating circumstances but it looked pretty straight and the greens were slow. If you miss it, that thing has to go at least 2 feet past the hole right? How far past did Scott's ball roll? 2 inches? When he first hit it, I actually thought he had left it short and, by the time it got there, it appeared to be peeling off to the left as it lost speed. Remember, a three putt cost him nothing. But that's the thing about pressure isn't it? It scrambles your freakin' brain whether you're a pro hitting an 8 foot putt for the 5,000th time or a kicker trying to hit a field goal from 32 yards (no, I'm still not over it) or a 5 handicap trying to hit a 50 yard pitch shot over a pond (I'll let you guess how that turned-out last Sunday). 

After it was over, everyone kept commenting on how well Scott was taking it and predicting that he was too talented not to come back and win multiple majors. Unfortunately for Scott who is by all accounts a great guy, recent golf history is littered with super talented players like Davis Love, III, Fred Couples and David Duval who were destined to win multiple majors but barely won one. Some players only get one chance. And that was before the game was overrun by dozens of guys who have the ability to win a major every time they tee it up. After what happened on Sunday, it would be a great story to see Scott putting on a green jacket or holding the Claret Jug one day but for now, he has to settle for the distinction of perpetrating possibly the most comprehensive meltdown in golf history.
It's been over a year since the
wedding. Isn't it about time for
Kandi to start modeling again?

Last Week's Report Card: B-

1. Jason Dufner - T31st
2. Ian Poulter - T9th
3. Sergio Garcia - M/C
4. Justin Rose - M/C
5. Martin Laird - T72nd
6. Matt Kuchar - T9th
7. Dustin Johnson - T9th
8. Francesco Molinari - T39th
9. Ross Fisher - T45th
10. Adam Scott - 2nd

The Canadian Open Top Five

1. Matt Kuchar
2. Hunter Mahan
3. Bo Van Pelt
4. Brandt Snedeker
5. Seung-Yul Noh

Now we head to Ontario for the tournament recently made famous as the "thing" everyone assumed Els was talking about during his victory speech when he said, "I was supposed to go to Canada but I think I'm going to blow that thing off." (Turns out Ernie was just kidding and is going to play but the FGR always loves taking a shot at the Canucks****). The Canadian Open is a tough one to forecast because they started moving it around to different courses a few years ago and lately it's produced random winners like Nathan Green, Chez Reavie and Sean O'Hair who had been pretty much left for dead when he won it last year.

This year they're playing at Hamilton Golf and Country Club which is short and tight. The last time it was there Jim Furyk won it which makes sense but I'm not sure Furyk has quite recovered from his own meltdown at Olympic so he does not quite make my list. I normally like to avoid players coming-off a major and a long trip but this field is pretty loaded and it's late in the season so it's time to bring-out the big guns like Kuchar and Mahan unless you want to save them for the Bridgestone or the PGA Championship which would be understandable considering they're going to be favorites at both. If you want a dark horse, check-out Seung-Yul Noh who has quietly been on fire for over two months. And with that, I'm off to help my son work on his serve so that maybe one day in 30 years he too can experience the feeling of having a relatively meaningless tennis match ruin his evening.


* I felt sorry for the Penn St. faithful for exactly two days after the story really broke last fall. I changed my mind when I saw a guy defiantly dressed from head to toe in a Nittany Lion hat and full warm-up suit . . . at my 8 year old son's soccer tournament. Stay classy Happy Valley!

** Tennis works pretty well too as I discovered last night while losing a three set match where my partner and I blew the first set after being up 5-2, 40-15. Unfortunately, I am an expert on choking. It is one of the things that has led me to the cathartic outlets of writing and drinking.

*** According to Van De Velde's caddie, as they were deciding whether to lay-up with a wedge or take a shot at the green, Ven De Velde said, "I hit 2-iron all the week and perfectly." He learned the hard way that hitting it perfectly all week is not the same as hitting it perfectly on the 72nd hole of the British Open when he blew it off the grandstand on the right which precipitated his downfall. He had five shots to get the ball into the hole from about 220 yards away with trouble everywhere around the green and he hit 2-iron!?! I've made better decisions that resulted in me walking down the side of a highway at 3:00 a.m. wearing one flip-flop.

"I hope this is the mess hall . . .
how's it going Eisenhower?"
**** After enduring the longest year of my life working as a first year associate for a partner who apparently liked being a lawyer a lot more than I did, I quit and the FGW and I bugged out for six of the greatest months of my life, four of which were spent blowing every dollar I had made in that year (plus a few that I hadn't made yet) wandering around Europe. One vivid memory was that all of the Canadians had big maple leaf flags stitched on the back of their backpacks. When I asked why they did that, they would invariably respond, "so no one will think we're Americans" and we would all laugh until one time when I responded, "you know every country on this continent would kick your ass in a war . . . including France" and then suddenly I was the only one laughing.  

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The British Open Preview

"It's called 'Mind Rape'. It's
supposed to make the PGA
Tour more watchable."
There is a very fine line between a groove and a rut and, unfortunately for me as a writer and by extension you as a reader (if you decide to continue after this inspiring opening paragraph), that line is getting bolder by the week as I seem to sink deeper into the rut of a golf season that peaked at the Masters and then has spent the next two months limping along like the plane at the end of Memphis Belle.* The most clutch performance of the last month was turned in by a guy named Ted Potter, Jr. who was overshadowed as the best "Ted" of the week by an animated stuffed bear. The tour and I are both in desperate need of a Four Loko.

But if I was ever going to bust out of this rut, tonight is the night. I've been a bachelor for five days with my family at the beach and I'm coming off a 72 hole weekend. I just had a dinner that consisted of a lettuce salad, two different kinds of leftover chicken, 1/4 of a turkey club that I started eating on Saturday and I'm on my third jar of low budget Chardonnay. I also don't really have anywhere to be until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow when I've got 56 guys lined-up to play golf and gamble on the Open. (In what I hope will one day become the FGR Invitational). I vow to keep writing tonight until I've produced something worthwhile, I hit 4,000 words or I start recycling old Top Gun material, whichever comes first.

The British Open Preview

Coming off of one of the best prognosticating efforts in FGR history, I can honestly tell you that I have absolutely no freakin' idea who is going to finish in the top ten this week much less win. Look at the factors my "handicapping colleagues" and are dealing with: (1) The last 15 majors have been won by 15 different players, 13 other different players have finished 2nd and not included in those 28 are Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, (2) the last three winners of the British Open were Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Stewart Cink and I guarantee you they were each at least 150 to 1 shots in the years that they won, and (3) there no longer seems to be any correlation between how well a guys is playing leading-up to a major and how he is going to play that week as evidenced by Webb Simpson's two missed cuts before winning the U.S. Open and the fact that Tiger won the two tournaments he played before finishing 40th and 21st at the Masters and U.S. Open respectively.

No, No Lee . . . don't go into the light!
We do, however, have one thing going for us and that is the fact that Royal Lytham has never failed to deliver a worthy champion with the last five winners being David Duval, Tom Lehman, Seve Ballesteros (twice) and Gary Player.** So it would appear that we have two converging trends this week: (1) first time major winners and (2) quality champions. That obviously rules-out Tiger which is fine because if you were going to pick him, you certainly don't need me to tell you to do it and you're not going to listen to me when I tell you that he is not going to win (the field is too deep, he's just not quite there yet and if you want a site that advises you to pick Tiger every week, then we're wasting each other's time).

I'm also removing Lee Westwood and Luke Donald from the equation. I can't get past the fact that Westwood lost a ball in the top of a tree at the U.S. Open. That's not bad luck. That's what happens when you build your mansion on an ancient tribal burial ground and the chief's grave is right under the bush you whizz on when you're too drunk to make it from the driveway to the bathroom (I've heard this happens to some people). As for Donald, he's never going to win a major. He was the kid at the party who somehow failed to get any candy when the Tiger PiƱata broke so his mom had to buy him a Hershey bar on the way home (Hershey bar = #1 spot in the World Golf Rankings). So who is going to win? Well, sticking with our two trends, I see it going down like this.  

The British Open Top Ten
Adam Scott didn't make the
original list but sometimes
concessions must be made.

1. Jason Dufner
2. Ian Poulter
3. Sergio Garcia
4. Justin Rose
5. Martin Laird
6. Matt Kuchar
7. Dustin Johnson
8. Francesco Molinari
9. Ross Fisher
10. Adam Scott

I'm not quite sure how we got to a place where Jason Dufner is the best golfer in the world but it seems fitting in light of the parity that has taken over the tour. Dufner's last five tournaments have yielded two wins, a second and a tie for 4th at the U.S. Open. In light of his recent performances, I may just scrap the whole FGR Rankings concept and go with "if you had to pick one guy right now to win the tournament that kept you out of a Turkish prison, who would it be?" As I think about my answer to that question, I keep reluctantly exclaiming the name "Dufner!" (as in "Newman!")

The only thing that gives me pause about this pick is that Dufner has only played in two Opens and he's missed the cut both times but, in light of how different the various British courses play and his recent hot streak, I don't put much stock in that. The bottom line is that every time that guy stands over the ball and starts waggling his club, you're thinking, "he's going to stick it tight." I don't care what tournament it is or what the conditions are, give me the guy who's hitting it the best and I'll take my chances, even if he is the Bizzaro version of the most interesting man in the world.

As far as the rest of the favorites go, as you can see there is no shortage of players to take over the "best player never to win a major" spot if Lee Westwood ever exorcises the demons. If Poulter or Garcia are  going to win one, it will be a British and Justin Rose may be the second best player in the world behind Dufner at this point. The bottom line is that I would put my top five up against the five favorites of Tiger, McIlroy, Westwood, Harrington and Donald and feel pretty comfortable about it. Other than Harrington, I don't see any of those guys being in contention this week. (You should note that it was no accident that I stopped short of adding the next favorite, Graeme McDowell to that list as this course is made for his game).

All of his shafts are
extra stiff, including
the one in his pants.
One other thing worth noting is that it's been almost 20 years since the Open went three straight without a playoff and we haven't had one since Stewart Cink shat on the greatest moment in golf history back in 2009. Let's just hope that trend continues and we get one of those free-for-alls like we had in 2002 when Ernie Els won a four man playoff over Steve Elkington, Stuart Appleby and Thomas Levet (speaking of Levet, I wonder if his leg has healed yet - Merde!!!).  

Last Week's Report Card: A-

1. Steve Stricker - T5th
2. Jonathan Byrd - T54th
3. Tim Clark - T36th
4. Zach Johnson - 1st
5. Scott Piercy - 3rd

That would have been a banner week if not for Stricker's back nine meltdown on Sunday which inexplicably shocked everyone who apparently hasn't noticed that he does not play very well when there is something significant on the line.*** If you didn't catch the last few holes and the playoff, you missed an array of golf shots that ran the gamut from horrendous to unbelievable, the likes of which I cannot remember seeing. Here is how it played out:
  • Reputed short-knocker Zach Johnson smokes a 300+ yard drive down the fairway to set-up a two-putt birdie on 17 that gives him a two shot lead and virtually locks-up the title. (B+)
  • Troy Matteson makes a sixty foot eagle putt on 17 to tie. (A)
  • Not yet aware of Matteson's eagle and thinking a par would probably win the tournament, Johnson pulls his second shot onto the left fringe next to the water despite the fact that he had 30 feet of green right of the hole. (C-)
  • A kid picks-up Matteson's ball on 18 as apparently (a) golf balls are hard to come by in Illinois, (b) he didn't know where he was, or (c) he thought it had magically fallen from the sky. (F)
  • Matteson runs his birdie putt on 18 five feet past the hole but makes the come backer. (C- followed by a B+).
    "Hey, I'm from Illinois, you
    got a problem with that?"
    . . . No, no I do not.
  • Johnson hits his tee shot on the first playoff hole into a tough hanging lie in the left fairway bunker and Matteson hits driver into the trees on the right. (C-)
  • Matteson punches out across the fairway into the water. (F)
  • Johnson, knowing bogey probably wins, hooks his shot from the fairway bunker into the water. (F-)****
  • After Matteson pitches 12 feet past the hole, Johnson skulls his chip 15 feet past the hole (he also had a shank earlier in the week - he's truly the "people's player"). (D)
  • Both players hit their bogey putts at least five feet past the hole. (D)
  • Both players make their next putts knowing that, if they miss them, they will have lost the tournament to a double which would really sting. (B+)
  • Two guys who are completely oblivious to what is going on have to be yelled at as they were walking up the middle of the fairway when Johnson was a getting ready to tee off. Apparently they were arguing about where to go cow tipping that night.
    "Gutsiest move
    I ever saw."
  • Johnson hits his tee shot on the second playoff hole (but the same hole they just played) into the same fairway bunker. (C-)
  • Matteson finally wises-up and hits a 3-wood down the middle. (B)
  • Johnson hits his fairway bunker shot to 6 inches to win the tournament. (A+)
And there's the first Top Gun reference so clearly it's time to wrap this thing up. Let's just hope we get some drama approaching that this Sunday at Royal Lytham. I for one really need it.

Endnotes (Explicit)

* Memphis Belle?!? Are you fucking serious?!? No one has even seen that movie except for you and Mattew Modine's mom. Snap out of it and get your shit together!

** And if I really wanted to stretch this "quality champion" theory, I could add that Annika Sorenstam won the Women's Open at Royal Lytham in 2003 back when the LPGA had more fans than cat juggling (Roll the Ugliness).

*** "Stricker was attempting to win his 4th consecutive John Deere Classic, a tournament played in the middle of nowhere with a winner's check of $828,000 which is chump change on tour. I'm not going to take another shot at Stricker's ability to close (I think you just did).

"Well that's a big gamble with the
 Jerkstore's fantasy golf season."
**** I also have to give the commentating an "F" here. First someone said, "he's got to be looking front right of the green doesn't he?" (as opposed to what . . . the 20 feet between the pin and the water?). That was followed by Feherty noting "well he doesn't really have anywhere to lay-up." He was standing on the downslope of a bunker that was almost 200 yards out so of course he had places to lay-up. He could have hit a 60 yard shot, then a 9-iron to the middle of the green and two-putted for the win. Instead he went for it by ripping a 6-iron and followed Matteson into the water which, as the owner of Zach Johnson in multiple fantasy leagues, made me feel like I swallowed a bug. A 192 yard bunker shot from a hanging lie with water on the left and your opponent in trouble . . . what were you thinking?!?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The John Deere Preview

Let's face it. You're either picking Steve Stricker this week or you screwed-up like I did and jumped the gun on him earlier in the season so now you have to roll the dice on one of these other guys. Jonathan Byrd is usually good for one random win per year and he doesn't have one yet so he would be my next pick followed by the roaming gnome who is healthy for the first time in years. Beyond that, I think you're throwing darts. Zach Johnson is probably the best player in the field but with the success he's already had this year, his mind is going to be on winning the British Open.

I couldn't even find a good PGA WAG
to feature this week so we're going
with the LPGA's Anna Rawson.
The John Deere Top 5

1. Steve Stricker
2. Jonathan Byrd
3. Tim Clark
4. Zach Johnson
5. Scott Piercy

Last Week's Report Card: B

1. Webb Simpson - T7
2. Brendon DeJonge - T52
3. John Rollins - M/C
4. Steve Stricker - T22
5. Rickey Barnes - T38

I was looking pretty strong last week when Simpson made the turn but, as has happened so many times this year, my pick could not close. In Simpson's case, I've got to believe that he started thinking about the implications of adding another win so close to his U.S. Open title. It would have pushed him close to the top of the World Golf Rankings (he's currently 5th) and put him right in the middle of the discussion of best American golfer. He looked a little spooked on the back nine.

It was either that or it finally dawned on him that he was probably going to miss the British Open because he and his wife are having their second baby in less than two years and that is NOT the thought you want right before you hit a golf ball. Jason Day is facing the same predicament. These guys apparently need to start attending the birth control classes the NBA and NFL offer for their rookies and learn how to subtract nine months from the five month window that covers the Masters to the PGA Championship. It's simple. August through January is a "Trojan zone" and, in a Ryder Cup year, you need to stretch that through March. Tiger learned this the hard way when the thought of having his first baby the day after the 2007 U.S. Open had to contribute to his losing the tournament by a stroke.* I don't care if it was the U.S. Open. You know as Tiger was walking out the door that Sunday, Elin said, "I can't believe you're playing golf today."


* Rumor has it that he wanted to name the baby "Second F-cking Place Woods".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Greenbrier Preview

I've got about five more interesting FGRs in the pipeline* but between the upcoming holiday and the fact that no one in the Mid-Atlantic can turn on a home computer or has any expendable battery power on their iPhone, I don't think anyone is reading this anyway so why waste them. That makes this a good week to take care of some housekeeping with a brief follow-up on Tiger's win at Congressional, a look ahead to the Greenbrier and an overdo update of the FGR World Rankings so turn your head and cough because, with the exception of that first endnote, it's about to get very golfy.

The AT&T Update

That was a nice win for Tiger but let's keep it in perspective by remembering the following:

(1) He has one top 10 in the last eight majors (the 2011 Masters);

"Way to make it convincing
Bo. I'll have the $2M wired
to your account."
(2) He out-dueled Bo Van Pelt who is one of the most talented players on tour but is not a closer as evidenced by his lone victory at the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship and the fact that he had 217 yards left for his second shot on the par-5 16th hole with one hand on the trophy and then chopped his way to a bogey, bogey, bogey finish. (Right on cue as it followed Gary McCord's recitation of his impressive stats and question to Nick Faldo, "why doesn't this guy win more?" to which Faldo responded something about handling the final round nerves. I like bashing announcers but that was A+ work by those guys);

(3) The big pressure shot for Tiger on Sunday was the driver on 16 when he was still tied for the lead and he blew it left leading to a bogey. If Van Pelt had hit his second shot on the green and then two-putted for a birdie like he should have, Tiger would have been down by two with two holes to play and we probably have a different ending.

The good news for Tiger is that it's been a while since he went toe-to-toe with a decent player on Sunday and watched the guy hand him the tournament like everyone used to which has to be a confidence builder. He also played three rounds in the 60's on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so signs point to continued progress. Let's just not get ahead of ourselves until we see him do something at a major on Sunday other than make an insignificant birdie putt ten holes in front of the leaders followed by one of his crowd pleasing "can you believe that's the first birdie I've made in 20 holes" reaction shots like he hasn't been in the same position at every major for the past two years.      

The Greenbrier Preview

We get one more decent field this week before everyone skips the John Deere Classic to get ready for the British Open (that's everyone except for Steve Stricker who seems more interested in racking-up a bevy of John Deere Classic titles than winning a major). With these rankings, I'm still operating under the assumption that you've used guys like Tiger and Phil already or if not, you're planning to use them elsewhere.

Suzanne Stonebarger (right) and her partner,
Michelle Moore, thankfully take promoting
their volleyball careers very seriously. 
1. Webb Simpson
2. Brendon DeJonge
3. John Rollins
4. Steve Stricker
5. Rickey Barnes 

I don't think you could be any looser than Webb Simpson will be but at the same time he is the kind of guy who wants to build on his first major as opposed to the kind of guy who wants to spend the next two months driving around the country in a red '69 Dodge Charger with a confederate flag on the roof showing-off his green jacket.

I'm going with DeJonge and Rollins based on current performance and the Jonger's past success at this event. You can almost bank on a top 10 for Stricker because this is the kind of 3rd tier event where he shines. (I hate taking shots at Stricker but, in the words of the Bill Parcells, "you are what your record says you are"). Rickey Barnes will be lucky to make the cut but I needed an excuse to include a picture of his girlfriend.

The FGR World Rankings

My almost forgetting to update the FGR Rankings after the U.S. Open probably had something to do with Rory McIlroy's recent slump which has completely undermined the formula that was rigged to put him at the top. However, the fact remains that Rory has still been the best player over the past two years with more top ten finishes (10) in the nine tournaments I use to determine these rankings** than any other player. (Luke Donald has 9 and Lee Westwood has 8 but neither have won a major or a WGC event for that matter). Here are the current standings alongside the "official" World Golf Rankings:

FGR Rankings              World Golf Ranking

McIlroy 123 Donald 9.96
Westwood 89 McIlroy 8.89
Watson, B. 86 Westwood 8.33
Kaymer 86 Woods, T. 6.70
Donald 82 Simpson, W. 6.62
Oosti 74 Watson, B. 6.25
Scott, A. 69 Kuchar 5.90
Schwartzel 64 Dufner 5.75
Kuchar 58 Rose 5.61
Mahan 57 Mahan 5.41
Day, J. 54 McDowell 5.16
Hanson, P. 53 Stricker 5.03
Dufner, J. 52 Johnson, D. 4.89
Bradley, K. 50 Mickelson 4.86
Johnson, D. 47 Kaymer 4.84
Toms 42 Scott, A. 4.68
Watney 41 Schwartzel 4.60
Mickelson 38 Johnson, Z. 4.58
Rose 38 Fowler 4.49
Fowler 37 Oosti 4.49

The biggest movers after the U.S. Open were David Toms who went from No. 28 to No. 16 and Jason Dufner who jumps from No. 21 to No. 13. Ironically, we lost the 2010 and 2008 U.S. Open champions in the process as the points for Graeme McDowell's win and Tiger's 4th place finish at Pebble Beach dropped out of the formula. You may also notice that Webb Simpson does not make the FGR Top 20 despite his win at Olympic as he is a victim of the "Darren Clarke Rule" which states that you have to finish in the top 10 of at least two of the qualifying tournaments over the past two years to be considered. Believe it or not, but that U.S. Open win is the only top 10 Simpson has ever had in a major, WGC event or the Players. Remember that the FGR rankings are designed to identify the players who get it done on the biggest stages against the best in the world. 

Actually, Webb Simpson's win will probably result in the adding of the FedEx Cup events to the equation as he is clearly one of the best 20 players in the world right now. I'm stubborn but I'm not stupid. (Don't say it).  Even if I just give a point for a win in a FedEx event, it would qualify Simpson for the rankings and put him in 14th place which would be about right for a guy who has never had another top 10 in a major. The problem with adding the FedEx events is that it means I'm probably going to have to add a few corresponding European events and that's a slippery slope that could lead me right back to something like the "official" World Golf Rankings. I'm going to ruminate on this today when I'm walking 18 holes in 100 degree heat (a Gold Bonds situation if there ever was one). Hopefully the answer will come to me in the form of a hallucinogenic visit from Mac O'Grady.***
I can see  it. I CAN SEE IT!!!


* The current FGR backlog would look like all of the projects in my garage if I had a garage and, more importantly, if I had any projects. Now that I have achieved a station in my life where I have effectively removed the phrase, "going to the office on the weekend" from the equation, I think the two most lifeblood draining things I could have on my agenda are "home projects" and "moving furniture." I even have a hard time watching Home Depot commercials. I'm convinced that those smiling people in the paint department are either high as a couple of stunt kites or have been recently lobotomized.  

** The nine tournaments are the four majors, the four WGC events and the Players. For a complete explanation of the rankings (along with one of the hottest pictures ever posted on the FGR - and I don't mean the one of Cameron Diaz) check-out the FGR World Golf Rankings.

*** Mac O'Grady is a player and instructor who believes that the game should still be played with blades and persimmon and, to prove his point, he finished 5th in the 2010 Australian Senior Open using vintage clubs. But my favorite O'Grady fact is that he was good enough to be a touring pro playing right handed and was a scratch playing left-handed so he applied for amateur status as a lefty. When that was denied, he tried to enter a two-man tournament called the Chrysler Team Championship by himself playing one ball right handed and one left handed. Deane Beman, who was to the PGA Tour what Bruno Kirby's character was to the radio station in Good Morning Vietnam, didn't let him do it. (I miss Bruno, one of the most underrated comedic straight men ever - Bruno Kirby). 

Happy 4th of July. Now let's go blow some shit up.