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Power Rankings - Quicken Loans National

A new chair fixes a lot of issues. We've all been there, sitting, shifting, aching while the numbness alternates from one cheek to the other. For the better part of the last year, I've suffered with a sub par throne (being a golf writer, it irks me that "sub par" is synonymous with poor quality since being under par is what you want) to bring you the best in fantasy golf analysis. If I even meet the designer of the chair I've been using, I'll beat them with their own hard plastic armrests. Granted, I bought the chair, sight unseen, for a reasonable price, but no one should ever have to deal with a terrible seat. 

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, but Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here. Lay-Up may contain players who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided. - Risk and Reward - Click Me! Click Me!


Last Week - RBC Canadian Open

Now that I'm all comfy and happy, I'm ready to drop some knowledge. Not here, of course, probably somewhere no one else can find it. Including myself. Jason Day, though, sure seems to have found something, netting his first career multiple win season with his victory at the RBC Canadian Open. By most pundit accounts, Day should have been doing that for years with his clinically beautiful swing and ridiculous power, however, I'm not entirely surprised. Two reasons, the first of which is obvious. 

Day's health has been a mixed bag for much of his career, limiting competitive reps and, subsequently, his ability to close with consistency. Second, which lesser known, even to the commentators at the Canadian Open, is his two way miss. I should have written the name down, but the announcer kicked off Saturday's coverage talking about Day's swing and his tendencies, particularly with his miss being to the right. While he does miss to the right, it is his left miss that is far more deadly. That's where he hits his really foul balls. As a fairly straight hitter, having the combination of distance and two-way miss that Jason Day has is a death knell for most players, including Tiger Woods. That's how good this guy is, that he can win with one of the most dangerous attributes for poor golf shots.


This Week - Quicken Loans National

Here's what you need to know this week - Robert Trent Jones Golf Club has never hosted a professional stroke-play event. Note that I said "stroke-play". RTJGC has hosted four President's Cup events, the most recent being in 2005. There are a few players in this week's field with experience here, but with nearly a decade passed, none of them resemble the players they were then. At 7,385 yard, the Par-71 at RTJGC is neither exceptionally long or short by today's standards, and with little to go off of in terms of course history, look to current form and the usual trifecta of GIR, Stroke Gained:Putting, and Total Driving. 

For those of you not familiar with my Power Rankings, 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.

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Power Rankings

  1. Justin Rose - TA: 20.5, CHG: (+18.8) -  As a two time winner of this event, its hard not to look at Rose's history and salivate. Try to put that out of mind, however, since this is the first time through for him. The more significant notables would be his T6 at The Open and solo-second at The Memorial. Rose also happens to sit 9th in Total Driving and 9th in Ball-Striking. He weakness, if you could call it that, is his putting, ranked 82nd on Tour.
  2. Andres Romero - TA: 27.00, CHG: (+13.2) - He would have been a shoe-in for my Risk and Reward column if I had time to put one together last week. On that note, he pulled a respectable T34 to continue a string of solid play which includes two other Top 10s and a Top 15 in his last five starts. Statistically, he middle-of-the-pack at best, but given the relatively weak field and his solid play, he'll make an excellent pick in a variety of formats.
  3. Will Wilcox - TA: 30.00, CHG: (+17.6) - Rested a tweaked wrist as a precaution last week. Wilcox finished 2nd at the Barbasol Championship behind an implacable Scott Piercy after finishing 8th at the John Deere Classic. Wilcox is fairly long and happens to be extremely accurate, ranking 16th in fairways and 6th in GIR. Happens to lead the All-Around ranking at this moment as well. So long as his wrist is up to the task, he's a solid pick.
  4. Chris Stroud - TA: 33.8, CHG: (0) - After a promising 2014 season, Stroud appeared ready to have a Carnegie Hall moment. Whether it was the pressure or simply fatigue, Stroud struggled through much of this year. Then he made it to the Travelers Championship. Since a T10 there, he's logged a Top 5 and two other Top 40s until running aground at the RBC Canadian Open, his fifth week in a row. Should bounce back just find this week after getting a weekend of extra rest.
  5. Shawn Stefani - TA: 34.71, CHG: (-5.2) - Last year's runner-up is in the midst of another career year. With several tournaments left in the schedule, he's poised to crack the two-million mark for the first time. When he's not missing the odd cut, Stefani has only finished worse than 41st once, so when he cashes a check, its usually a respectable one. Statistically solid at 25th in Total Driving, 18th in Ball-Striking and 51st in SG:P.
  6. Scott Langley - TA: 35.17, CHG: (+9.2) - Langley has six Top 25s this year. Under most circumstances, he's a write-off or an extremely flyer pick. Of those Top 25s, however, four have come in his last five starts. Hence his inclusion here in a weak field. Should still be a decent value in most leagues and will likely be on very few radars.
  7. Stewart Cink - TA: 38.5, CHG: (+5.2) - One of a handful in the field with experience here, Cink is heating up at just the right time for that to play to his advantage. Coming off a T20 at St. Andrews and a 5th place finish in Canada, Cink leaped from on the FedEx Cup bubble to firmly inside the safe zone. He's a long way removed from his last victory, but given his slight edge with experience, he might just break through again.
  8. Russell Knox - TA: 38.67, CHG: (-16.6) - I'd feel better about his inclusion here if he hadn't missed the cut at the Open Championship, but it also happen to be the young Scotsman's first major. Chalk it up to nerves. Knox had made seven straight cuts prior, if we're excluding a W/D at the Travelers. About as solid a ball striker as they come, Knox is having a career year, so expect a quick bounce back.
  9. Tony Finau - TA: 40.5, CHG: (-2.8) - You want mettle? How about eight Top 25s in nine starts. Finau bounced back from a disappointing MC at the John Deere Classic with his 14th Top 25 of the season at the RBC Canadian Open. He currently sits 40th in the FedEx Cup standings, above proven, multiple winners like Russell Henley, Ryan Palmer and Harris English. 
  10. Rickie Fowler - TA: 43.00, CHG: (0) - Here's a slightly worrisome stat: After his Players win, Fowler posted a T30 then a missed cut. After his Scottish Open win, Fowler posted a T30. Here's hoping for something better than a missed cut. With two wins in six starts, he's trending in the right direction. Statistically, he's a master of little but a dunce of nothing, though, like most, could benefit from better putting.
  11. Steven Bowditch - TA: 43.00, CHG: (+4.4) - It'd be easy to forget Bowditch, given his relatively low profile, but you shouldn't. In 2015 alone, he's won more money than in the previous two years combined. Missed the cut at the John Deere Classic and bounced back with a T30 at St. Andrews, his first Open Championship. Banked three straight Top 25s prior to the John Deere. Archetypal bomb-and-gouger with a decent putter to back it up. 
  12. Pat Perez - TA: 44.63, CHG: (+1.2) - By most accounts, Pat Perez is having a solid year, even without a single Top 3. Perez is relatively accurate and an above average putter, so he should acquit himself well this week in a shallower field. Perez has made his last ten cuts, including six Top 25s and a Top 5. Just one round over par in his last twelve.
  13. Chad Campbell - TA: 45.25, CHG: (+0.4) - Went ice-cold on the weekend, posting 3-over combined on Saturday and Sunday to squander an excellent chance at taking home the hardware. Regardless, his 11th place finish was his sixth straight cut and his third Top 25 in that stretch. Thursday and Friday at the Canadian Open showed what he can do with a hot putter which all he really needs to complement a solid game tee-to-green.
  14. Danny Lee - TA: 48.00, CHG: (0) - Lee barely relented after his first PGA Tour victory at The Greenbrier Classic. His T3 behind Tom Gillis' Cinderella story and Jordan Spieth's continued march toward world domination was nonetheless impressive. Flew across the Atlantic to get cut at St. Andrews, tough, but not unexpected given it was his fifth straight start since the U.S. Open and his 29th start of the season. He's rested and should be a solid pick in his 30th start of the season.
  15. Jimmy Walker - TA: 48.25, CHG: (+15) - Barely edging in due to the WDs of Brendon Todd and Russell Henley, Walker has been relatively flat since a T2 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Still, Walker is dangerous anywhere he goes because there simply isn't a better putter on Tour. In a weak field, Walker should rise to the top on his flatstick talents alone, it just so happens he's excellent from tee-to-green as well.
Thanks for Reading!

Kyle Donovan