Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Mulligan: Putting a Premium at Phoenix

I want to start by patting myself on the back for my cleverly alliterative title. I wanted to work "Phil" in there somehow, but couldn't figure it out. I would pay a pretty penny to putt my Pinnacles like Phil in Phoenix. . . Anyway, the Tour heads back to Phoenix this week for the craziest stop on Tour. The fans always come out to party in Phoenix and cheer on the hometown heroes (many PGA players live in the area). TPC Scottsdale is a course of average difficulty and you can expect putting to be the difference this week (and I needed another P for my title). For this reason, I am going with players with hot putters in 2010 who have seen success here in the past.

First, Brian Gay is really emerging as one of the best players on Tour, but there are certain courses that seem to suit him better than others. He has played well so far this year. He plays well at TPC Scottsdale and he finished tied for sixth here last year. He is putting well this season (actually second on Tour) and he has the type of game that is really consistent on the courses he likes. He is a no-brainer this week. My crystal ball (actually an 8 ball that one of my college roomates stole from a bar) tells me he will hoist a trophy this week.

I also expect the best putter on Tour this season, Brandt Snedeker, to play well in Scottsdale. Snedeker has finished 21st or better in four starts in 2010, likely thanks to his solid putting thus far. He did miss the cut here last year, but he finished tied for eighth in 2008. I think he will have a good week.

Phil Mickelson has had an average 2010 to this point, but everyone loves him in Phoenix. Could this be his breakout week? Maybe, maybe not. I am speculating here, but despite his bad putting in 2010 I think Phil will have a good week like he usually does when he converses with the crowd during a tournament.

Sleeper: This week’s sleeper pick is based 100% on a gut feeling. There is no plausible reason for this pick other than the fact that I want to pick him. Boo Weekley is the type of guy who can ride the raucous Phoenix crowd to a good finish intermingled with a few Happy Gilmore style putter-as-bull dances – Ridin’ the Bull Baby.

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