Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Travelers Championship - Power Rankings

I’d like to start out talking about the World Cup because, mostly, I’d just like to avoid talking about my picks for the U.S. Open. With Pinehurst knocking away Bubba Watson’s shots like Tim Howard breaking up Ghana’s scoring chances, I was left with little in the way of points by Sunday as my other picks slowly faded out of the top 10. This spring has been particularly harsh for me and my totals show it, so with the second major out of the way, I’m playing catch up.



 

The Travelers Championship Risk and Reward


For those of you that are leading your leagues, I’ll be noting which options should help you maintain your advantage. If you’re behind, like your humble prognosticator, I’ll be noting the riskier options that might give you the leg up (pun intended, Mr. Clint Dempsey) on your front-runners. If I've left someone off that you think belongs here, comment with the name of the player, where in the list he belongs, and who should come off.
  1. Marc Leishman – A Top-3, two top-25’s and no missed cuts in May meet at strong recent track record at TPC River Highlands. Followed up his win here in 2012 with a solid, but not overly impressive T30. Should be well rested after a 2-week break.
  2. Sergio Garcia – Coming off a middling showing at the U.S. Open but did so while coming off a knee injury. If he’s healthy this weekend, he’ll contend if his T3 at The Players is any indication. A Risky choice, given the injury, but expect leaders to skip him in favor of some they think will be more reliable. A perfect bench play in Yahoo! Group C.
  3. Charley Hoffman – Hasn’t missed a cut since February, with 4 top-25’s and a T5 in the 9 tournaments since. T7 in 2013 and T2 here in 2012 adds proven course history into the mix. Definitely due for a win and a must start in Yahoo! Group C.
  4. Matt Kuchar – A top-10 and three top-20’s surround an uncharacteristic missed cut at Colonial. A T8 in 2012 is his best finish here. If you’re in the lead, and have starts for him, make room for him this week.
  5. Dustin Johnson – I’m still not sure which Dustin Johnson is going to show up since his missed cut at the Masters. Two top-10’s paired with two top-25’s since look good, but, given that his length isn’t as much an advantage at TPC River Highlands, we’ll see who shows up.
  6. Retief Goosen – Ah yes, the Goose. With his back finally healthy again, he’s been playing with renewed energy. A T-5 in his last effort here matches his consistent recent form with 7 consecutive made cuts. He’s been solid and, at 18th in strokes-gained putting, he’s a dark horse if he continues to roll the rock so well. If you’re behind, he’s worth a roll of the dice.
  7. Brendon de Jonge – As a model of consistency, de Jonge has placed 29th, 30th, 28th, and 28th in his last for tournaments. While consistency like that doesn’t usually mean winning tournaments, if he can keep it together for all four rounds, he’ll threaten for 1st. A T8 in 2012 is his best finish here.
  8. Bubba Watson – Now, before everyone calls me crazy for putting Bubba Watson this low when he's having such an excellent season AND has a T6 and playoff loss in the last two years, know that these rankings are comprised of recent tournament rankings and past performance at the tournament combined. The missed cut at the U.S. Open hurt his numbers, and I'm not saying he shouldn't be used. His 3rd place finish at Memorial and Masters victory are perfect examples of just how good his year has been. Leaders, you should use him. Catching up? Steer clear, as his utter frustration at the U.S. Open may have rattled him.
  9. Keegan Bradley – After his missed cut at The Players, Bradley has been finding form again. Two top-30's and a T4 at the U.S. Open suggest that he might be rounding into form for the summer. T18 and T29 in his last two visits to The Travelers.
  10. Ryan Moore – A T7 at last year's tournament jump-started a made-cut streak that didn't end until this year's Northern Trust Open. His latest efforts have been somewhat mixed, with a missed cut at the HP Byron Nelson and a T48 at the U.S. Open. Two top-20's and a Top-30 in his last 5 starts.
  11. Bo Van Pelt – BVP was on a decent hot-streak with a Top-15, Top-20, and Top-30 in three starts after missing the cut at the Wells Fargo. That was until he met last week's iteration of Pinehurst #2 and booked a T63. Moderate success the last two years with a T24 and T43. If you're looking for a dark horse and don't trust Goosen, this is your play.
  12. Brian Davis – Two Top-15s in his last 5 starts, though the other three have been lackluster at best. Brian Davis is here on the merit of a T30 last year and a T4 in 2012. As with Van Pelt, he's somewhat of a sleeper pick despite good course history and reasonably solid form of late.
  13. Zach Johnson – On a string of 6 made cuts, but only has one Top-15 and one Top-30 in that stretch. Johnson has made the last two cuts here, but has placed no better that T58.
  14. K.J. Choi – Missed the cut at the Wells Fargo, but posted a T13 and T28 to follow it up. Made the cut, but posted a T43 last year.
  15. Billy Hurley III – By this point, you're all looking at me cross-eyed, but remember, this is just recent tournament performance and course history. Hurley has made 4 consecutive cuts since missing at the Wells Fargo, including a Top-20 and a Top-30. T47 here in his last start.

Kyle Donovan
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