Like most tournaments post-major, the pickings are slim this week. There are a few solid choices, but expect their price to be high and for all of the competition to be playing them. If you're behind, navigating this week will be crucial as the season starts to come to a close. If you're ahead, you may want to consider saving some starts on the front-runners if you're low, as there are going to be plenty of options that look risky but should work out well. Sedgefield, the course for this week, plays to about 7,100 yards, so while distance helps, it won't be as critical as it was last week at Valhalla. Expect high-percentage GIR players who hit accurate drives to perform well.
In this week's edition of the Power Rankings, and those going forward, I'll be listing the Top-15 with their Total Aggregate (TA), a number that combines recent performance with course history and some select other metrics, and the change (CHG) from the last tournament they participated in. Total Aggregate is out of 100, with a lower number indicating a better ranking, as described in Movers and Losers.
- Hideki Matsuyama - TA: 25.67, CHG: -7 - His 36th place finish at the PGA Championship was a little rough considering how well he had been playing and it's his worst finish since a T38 back at the Wells Fargo. Of course, there are worse problems to have, like missing the cut, which he hasn't done since the RBC Heritage. Finished T15 here last year.
- Robert Karlsson - TA: 29.67, CHG: -0.6 - Like Matsuyama, Karlsson didn't really make himself relevant during the PGA Championship, placing 47th overall. Heading into Valhalla, he had Top-15 preceded by a Top-10 and a Top-5. He's been steadily climbing the world rankings, from 229th up to 110th, since his last missed cut at the Open de Espana.
- Joe Durant - TA: 30.5, CHG: +10 - Not bad for a guy that qualifies to play over on the Champions Tour. Durant has made four consecutive cuts, during which time he's placed no worse than 31st, including two Top-15s and a Top-25. He's tied for 12th in his last two attempts at Sedgefield, so Durant has both the form and the history to perform well this week.
- Bill Haas - TA: 30.92, CHG: +1.6 - I keep waiting for him to wake up this year, as he's been making cuts like they're going out of style, but has generally failed to make anything of his chances. He's finished no worse than 41st since the U.S. Open, but no better than 23rd either. In a weak field, expect all of that to change, especially since he finished T20 last year and T7 the year prior.
- Brandt Snedeker - TA: 32.17, CHG: -0.4 - Three Top-15s and two Top-25s in his last six starts, Snedeker has finally found the form he was missing for the better part of the year. Currently, he's riding a streak of eight made cuts. His weak spot is a relatively poor history here, with two missed cuts sandwiching a T28 in 2012.
- Retief Goosen - TA: 33.83, CHG: +4 - Finished 25th at the Barracuda Championship and 12th the week prior at the RBC Canadian Open. Goosen has made 12 consecutive cuts since missing at the Valero Texas Open, which should make him an extremely safe pick this week. Usually, he's a fairly good value in salary leagues, and with a T17 in his only effort here, he should get some good mileage.
- Michael Putnam - TA: 34.8, CHG: +10.2 - Putnam hasn't played the Wyndham before, but that shouldn't remove him from consideration. He's been playing well since a missed cut at the FedEx St. Jude, posting a Top-5, Top-15, and Top-25 in the five tournaments he's played since. His T47 at the Barracuda should be taken with a grain of salt, as he doesn't make a ton of birdies, which will hurt in Stableford scoring.
- Ernie Els - TA: 35.17, CHG: +18.6 - Fresh off a T7 at the PGA Championship, Els is looking as sharp as he's been since a T4 at last year's U.S. Open. His form has been good as of late, with a 12th place and 26th place finish preceding his solid run at Valhalla. Tied for 20th last year and 30th in 2011.
- Stephen Gallacher - TA: 36.8, CHG: 0 - His missed cut at Valhalla is his first since consecutive misses at the U.S. and Irish Opens. Prior to last week's effort, Gallacher posted a Top-5, Top-15, and Top-20 in four tournaments. This year, if he's been making the cut, he's been making good use of his time, with a win and six Top-10s in 2014.
- Patrick Reed - TA: 38.92, CHG: +8.2- He's slowly rounding back into form after his hot start to the year. His 59th at Valhalla wasn't that great, but he typically doesn't show up well at the majors. Where he tends to excel is in weaker field events, like his win here last year, so expect him to perform well again this time around.
- Billy Horschel - TA: 39.5, CHG: -8.8 - Hasn't really met anyone's expectations this year, much less his own, as he's been relatively up until the summer. Starting in June, he's posted two Top-10s, two Top-15s, and a Top-25 in seven efforts. Missed the cut at The Open and pulled T59 at Valhalla, but in a relatively weak field, he should stand out.
- Bud Cauley - TA: 39.92, CHG: +9.6 - Needs a good finish to make it to the playoffs, and he's been playing like it in his last handful of efforts. He's four for his last five with a Top-5, Top-15, and Top-25, and if he can put together another high-finish, he'll make the Race for the Cup. Finished 3rd here in 2012.
- Andres Romero - TA: 40.33, CHG: +14.6 - Romero has been playing some consistent golf since missing the cut at the Travelers Championship. Starting with a T5 at the Quicken Loans National, he's made five consecutive cuts with a Top-20 and the aforementioned fifth place. Missed the cut here in his last two efforts, but posted a T28 in 2010.
- Carl Petterson - TA: 42, CHG: -7.6 - The all-time money leader at this event missed the cut last year, but had consecutive T4's in 2011 and 2012. Won here in 2008. He's cooled off a little bit since posting back-to-back Top-10s recently, as he missed the cut at the RBC Canadian Open, ending a streak of five made cuts.
- Shawn Stefani - TA: 44, CHG: +6.2 - Posted a career-best second place at the Quicken Loans National and followed that effort up with a T35 at the Greenbrier and a T13 at the John Deere Classic. He missed the cut at The Open, but managed to make the cut on the number at Valhalla, but never really rose out of that spot. Finished T45 in his only effort here.