Pick your Pro is one of those games in which you hunker down for a couple of days and try to organize yourself in picking one pro at one event. The game could start either this week, or after the Super Bowl. Some games start on the Florida swing and others start at the Masters. No matter what, we have done the work in organizing things for you in making your choice. This is very hard to do, but with some help of GOLFstats you will find this a big time saver for you.
Remember the rules, you can choice a player just once over the course of the season, so if your Pick Your Pro starts this week, you have to pick 40 different players. The cardinal rule, if you chose a player and he doesn’t play, you get zero so make sure and do your best to make sure that you have 40 chances by picking players that will participate in events. This year with the change of schedule to accommodate the Olympics will make it really hard.
One big tip in doing your list, lot’s of you will go down the list of tournaments and put players in. That is wrong, specially in West Coast swing events that don’t give out as much money as the majors, WGC and FedEx Cup playoffs. So work your way from the bottom of the schedule up, first with majors, then FedEx Cup events and then WGC events. By doing this you will get off to a slow start but if done right, by the time the U.S. Open rolls around you will not have used your big guns and you will find yourself climbing those rankings very quickly.
Also it’s very important to look at a PGA Tour schedule with the purse of each events. This list from PGA Tour will help. You want to pick your marquee guys in events that pay over $7 million dollars. You don’t want to waste a Jordan Speith, Jason Day, Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson on an event like the Hyundai Tournament of Champions that has a $5.9 million dollar purse. The same with most of the west coast and Florida swings. Yes the Honda and Arnold Palmer events are big, but again with purses of $6.1 and $6.2 million it only hurts to pick a big player. It’s better to take a Rory McIlroy at the Masters were 3rd place pays almost as much as the winner at the Honda gets.
One last thing, make sure that you have no multiple picks, it’s really easy to do and you will feel terrible when that multiple player wins that second event and you get nothing because you used the pick for an earlier tournament.
We have organized this into two parts, first is all 40 events that you have to pick a player for. We give you some short keys for the event, then give three or four choices. Then I give my key choice for that tournament.
The second part is a list of players, off of today’s (Monday, Jan 4th) World Rankings. We list our choice for the player and then give out a number of different alternatives. The most important thing is we have full links to eight year glances for each tournament and player, this will save you hours of work in making and organizing your picks.
Hope this is helpful and saves you some time
I will be updating the results of my picks each week to see how they did
Hyundai Brandt Snedeker Finished T-3rd, $381,000
Sony Open in Hawaii Chris Kirk Missed Cut, $0
CareerBuilder Challenge Matt Kuchar Finished T-49th, $14,053
Farmers Insurance Marc Leishman Missed Cut, $0
W.M. Phoenix Open Hideki Matsuyama Winner, $1,170,000
AT&T Pebble Beach Patrick Reed Finished T-6th, $243,250
Northern Trust J.B. Holmes Finished T-11th, $144,160
Honda Classic Russell Knox Finished T-26th, $39,816
WGC-Cadillac Dustin Johnson Finished T-14th, $120,000
Valspar Luke Donald Finished T-22nd, $52,959
Arnold Palmer Kevin Na WD before Tournament
WGC-Dell Match Play Paul Casey Finished T-51st, $52,000
Puerto Rico Brendon De Jonge Finished T-60th, $6,570
Shell Houston Open Cameron Tringale Finished T-19th, $73,950
Masters Rory McIlroy Finished T-10th, $230,000
RBC Heritage Kevin Kisner Finished T-69th, $11,859
Valero Texas Open Charley Hoffman Winner, $1,116,000
Zurich Classic Danny Berger Finished T-20th, $64,909
Wells Fargo Phil Mickelson Finished T-4th, $287,438
Players Championship Henrik Stenson Missed Cut, $0
AT&T Byron Nelson Jason Dufner Finished T-24th, $54,020
Dean & Deluca (Colonial) Zach Johnson Finished T-17th, $93,800
Memorial Bill Haas Missed Cut, $0
FedEx St. Jude Billy Horschel Did Not Play, $0
U.S. Open Jason Day Finished T-8th, $247,806
Quicken Loans Brendon Todd Did Not Play, $0
WGC Bridgestone Keegan Bradley Did Not Play, $0
Greenbrier Classic David Lingmerth Event Canceled, $0
British Open Adam Scott Finished T-43rd, $31,322
Barbasol Boo Weekley Finished T-11th, $65,333
RBC Canadian Jim Furyk Finished 13th, $135,700
PGA Championship Justin Rose Finished T-22nd, $76,636
Travelers Ryan Moore Finished T-17th, $83,490
John Deere Johnson Wagner Finished T-5th, $175,200
Wyndham Webb Simpson Finished T-72nd, $10,920
Barclays Sergio Garcia Did Not Play, $0
Deutsche Bank Rickie Fowler Finished T-46th, $22,731
BMW Champion, Bubba Watson Finished T-20th, $99,025
Tour Champion. Jordan Spieth Finished T-17th, $166,600
For the 39 events I was in the money 29 times with winnings of $5,270,547.
I picked two winners, Hideki Matsuyama at the Phoenix Open and Charley Hoffman at the Valero Texas Open.
In the 39 events I had eight top-10 finishes and of the 39 picks I had 21 in the top-25.
The biggest disappointment was my finish. After the Wells Fargo I had earnings of $3,943,055 or an average of $207,539 per event for those first 19 events. But in the next 20 events I only had earnings of $1,262,583 for an average of just $63,129 per event. The biggest problem of the last 20 events I only had two top-ten finishes.
Look at each tournament on the PGA Tour in 2016
(each tournament heading has a link to events 8 year glance, each player name has link to 8 year glance)
Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Event has been played on the Plantation Course at the Dapalua Resort since 1999. Hard to pick a guy because it’s not an event that someone plays year in, year out. You have to win a tournament in the last year to get in so some like Webb Simpson, who plays well in this event isn’t playing. But here are three that are playing this year
Jordan Spieth – Was runner-up in only start in 2014, he is the best putter in the field and should be the favorite
Dustin Johnson – In his last three starts has been in the top-ten, won in 2013. Didn’t play last year
Jason Day – Can overpower the course, in two starts was T-3rd last year, T-9th in 2011
Brandt Snedeker – Course sets up for him, did finish 3rd in 2013
My Choice – Brandt Snedeker
Sony Open in Hawaii
Event has been played since 1965 on the same course. Accuracy means a lot this week, ball striking also is key on this old style course. Drastic changes were made to course after 1998 making it harder for the pro’s. They turned two short and very easy par 5s (1 & 13) into very tough par 4s which help make the course very challenging.
Jimmy Walker – Has won the last two years, yes his game has changed making this course perfect for him. Look for him to be in contention in 2016.
Harris English – T-3rd last year, 4th in 2014 and T-9th in 2013. He seems to have this courses number
Chris Kirk – Has the game for this course, yes wasn’t very good last year finishing T-26th but that’s because he shot a third round 74, the only time he has been over par in 20 rounds. Like him a lot on this course in which he has a 67.45 scoring average on and is a total of 51 under par on.
Charles Howell III – Has eight top-tens and been under par 38 of 50 rounds. Only problem, he has never been considered a winner despite finishing runner-up twice
My Choice – Chris Kirk
Event has some changes that will make it very hard to gauge this year. First is a new sponsor and the event changing from the Humana Challenge to to CareerBuilder Challenge. But the second is course changes, the Palmer private course which has been the home course of this event since 2009 and 14 of the last 17 years is no longer on the rota. Also out is PGA West Nicklaus course while La Quinta Country Club is the only course off the old rota that will be used in 2016. The TPC Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West will be joining the rota. TPC Stadium Course, which will serve as the host course and site of the tournament’s final round, has a rich history all its own. The Pete Dye-designed course was built in 1986 and immediately vaulted into the ranks of the nation’s most unique and exciting courses hosting this tournament in 1987. But it was deemed “too tough” and changed to the Palmer Course. Doesn’t matter the course held six Skin Games, the Liberty Mutual Legendss of Golf on the Champions Tour while the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, which is next door held the finals to the PGA Tour six years. So we know both of these courses will be great venues for the PGA Tour. But for those playing this year and for yes to try and pick winners, it’s a new slate so we have to look for guys that play well on desert courses and probably 2016 will see a first time winner. So here are three good choices, based on players that have had a good track record in the desert:
Bill Haas – Always seems to play well in the Coachella Valley, in 50 rounds in this event been under par 45 of them.
Zach Johnson – TPC Stadium Course seems to be right up his alley, plus in five events over 20 rounds has never been over par.
Matt Kuchar – Another guy that does well in the Coachella Valley, change to TPC Stadium Course could prove good for him
My Choice – Matt Kuchar
Farmers Insurance Open
Event has lost some of it’s luster over the years with some marquee players playing in Abu Dhabi, but for this year it’s up against Qatar which is the weaker of the three desert swing events on the European Tour. But on the Asian Tour the Singapore Open is back and is getting Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Ian Poulter and Angel Cabrera, robbing the Farmers of some marquee names. That and the fact that Tiger Woods probably won’t be in the event makes this a wide open event in which long hitters seem to dominate. Three rounds are played on the tough South Course with one on the easy North Course, a course that you have to go low to win. Luck plays a factor in tee times, since Torrey Pines is above the Pacific weather can be different any time in the day, some could have calm conditions in the morning and then in the afternoon winds will make the course tougher:
Jason Day – Defending champion he was runner-up in 2014 and T-9th in 2013, can’t see him playing bad on these courses
Scott Stallings – Lost in playoff last year and won in 2014, he seems to have figured out how to play at Torrey Pines. Was suspended for three months between July and October for violating the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy, but has come back and seems to have recaptured his game.
Marc Leishman – His record could be a lot better if he only played better on the weekend.
Brandt Snedeker – Had an impressive run between 2010 and 2013 were he won once and was runner-up twice so he does play well on these courses.
My Choice – Marc Leishman
Waste Management Phoenix Open
Just like all the other desert courses, making lot’s of birdies is important. But making this course a bit special, it’s not a course for bombers, you need to show some shotmaking to play well. Putting is so important on this course, with perfect greens means making lot’s of putts inside of ten feet, so looking for good putters to do well:
Bubba Watson – Has played in this event 9 times and in the 34 rounds he has played only been at par or over five times Has been runner-up last two years so you have to think that he will be in contention in 2016
Hideki Matsuyama – Was T-4th in 2014 and runner-up last year.
Hunter Mahan – Won in 2010, seems to know how to go low on this course.
Brendan Steele – Keep him in mind since he has three top-tens in the last four years.
My Choice – Hideki Matsuyama
AT&T Pebble Beach
The AT&T Pebble Beach brings on some special problems; it takes a lot of patience to endure this week with amateur partners. Another problem is the luck of the draw, someone could be playing at Spyglass that is tree lined on the back nine and may not get the brute of a heavy wind that some player’s encounter at Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula. For some that play in the late afternoon the conditions of the greens get dicey, especially since Poa Annua greens get bumpy and hard to predict. So it takes a special breed of player to endure this:
Jordan Spieth – Has played well in all three of his starts, putts well which means he will make a lot of birdies.
Dustin Johnson – The guy seems to own this place, in eight starts has been in the top-ten six times.
Patrick Reed – He is ready to break out in this event, been 30 under par in just 12 rounds played.
In thinking about Riviera the myth is that it’s this classic course for great ball-striking and precision driving. That’s not true, of the last 19 winners at Riviera only six have finished in the top-25 in driving accuracy. In greens hit in the last 19 years only five winners have been in the top-five for the week while eight have been out of the top-ten. The key to winning at Riviera is not ball-striking but making lot’s of putts. Since 2003, Riviera is always in the top-ten in most putts made from ten feet and in. In that period, all of those that have played at Riviera made 85.15% of those putts while the last 13 winners average making 87.71% of their putts from ten feet in.
Charl Schwartzel – Knows how to go low at Riviera, in 12 rounds played has only been over par once.
J.B. Holmes – Had a stretch between 2008 and 2012 in which he finished four times in the top-8 and once T-12th
Dustin Johnson – Another course that Johnson seems to own with four top-threes in last six starts.
At the Honda and PGA National, historically all of the winners have some connection to playing well on Bermuda by either being born in Florida, South Africa or Australia or having moved to the Southeast. Hitting greens is very important, since moving to PGA National in 2007 six of the nine winners and nine of the fourteen runner-ups at Champions were ranked in the top-ten in greens hit.
Russell Knox – In two starts been runner-up and third.
Justin Rose – Been in the top-five in three of his last four starts.
Luke Donald – A total of nine under in his five PGA National starts, has been in the top-ten in his last four starts.
My Choice – Russell Knox
The PGA Tour has held a tournament at Doral since 1962. In the 53 years their have been 39 different champion with only seven of them born in the Northeast or North Central United States. Since 1990 there have only been three, all of them live in Florida today, the last was Jim Furyk in 2000. So it only makes sense that the champion will be from a region of the Southeast, the South and Southwest of the United States, along with Australia, Great Britain and South Africa. Since 1990, 17 of the 24 champions have had ties to the state of Florida. (Northeastearn or Northcentral winners, we don’t count defending champion Dustin Johnson even though he has a home in Florida, but officially lives in South Carolina.)
Bubba Watson – Another place that he has done well at but hasn’t won. In his last four starts finished runner-up twice and 3rd once, is 32 under in those 16 rounds.
Rory McIlory – Four top-tens in last five starts, he seems to do better in calm conditions but still can play the course.
Dustin Johnson – The defending champion always seems to play well at Doral, four top-12s in last five starts.
Adam Scott – Has been close to winning in 2015, ’13 & ’11.
My Choice – Dustin Johnson
This event is one of the hidden gems on the PGA Tour. Accuracy is more of a premium at Copperhead than length, course can’t be overpowered. Course average of all drives in 2015 was 4th lowest on PGA Tour, since 2005 been in bottom six every year. Look at all Valspar champions, only long drivers were Gary Woodland in 2011 and Vijay Singh in 2004. Others were in the middle to bottom of the pack in average driving distance, so this is the one course that short hitters can do well on. The last six winners have been gone on to have great seasons as they have finished the year of their win inside the top-30 in FedEx Cup standings, a perfect example was 2015 winner Jordan Spieth went on to win two majors, win the FedEx Cup playoffs and ended the year the number one player of the year.
Jordan Spieth – A total of 15 under in his 12 rounds, he knows how to play the course.
Luke Donald – Four top-six’s in last five starts, his game seems well suited for the Copperhead course.
Justin Rose – His game is best suited for this course, he just hasn’t shown it to us yet since in 9 starts has only two top-tens with the best being a T-5th in 2011. Still have to think that he will have his day on this course.
My Choice – Luke Donald
Making Bay Hill really tough is the high Bermuda rough. In the stat “Rough Proximity”, over the last six years Bay Hill ranked T6th last year, 3rd in 2014, 1st in 2013, 6th in 2012, 3rd in 2011 and 2nd in 2010. So what does this mean? That there is a penalty for hitting drives into the rough because it’s hard to get your ball close to the hole. So in looking for a player that does well at Bay Hill you want to find one that not only hits lot’s of greens and close to the hole, but players that can handle rough by getting the ball closer to the holes than others. There is no real rhyme or reason on who wins, since 1979, 12 of the winners either became first-time winners or had only won once before, just like Matt Every winning for the first time at Bay Hill in 2014 and then winning again in 2015.
Henrik Stenson – Guy gets better each year he plays this course, last year was runner-up so you have to think a win is close.
Kevin Na – Has finished three times in the top-ten in his last five starts including runner-up in 2010.
Event has drastically changed, last year it moved to Harding Park with a new format. This year moves to it’s permanent home the Austin Country Club. No matter what, Match Play is a different format which eliminates a good portion of those that play on the PGA Tour, so look for those that have a good record in this event plus plays well in the Ryder and Presidents Cup:
Paul Casey – This guy knows how to do well in match play and has to be our favorite.
Jim Furyk – Has a great match play record and has played on the weekend the last two years.
Rory McIlory – Can’t go wrong with the defending champion, he loves to go Mano-a-mono.
Hunter Mahan – Has had a terrific run the last five years.
My Choice – Paul Casey
Played opposite of the Match Play, it’s important that you chose a player that won’t be in the top-64 of the world rankings. There is no rhyme or reason to winning this event. Since it’s a second tier event it’s a combination of a PGA Tour and a Web.Com tour stop. So there are no real favorites because there are no true marquee players that you know of. One thing of the past winners, none of them achieved great success on the PGA Tour so this is for many just a stepping stone to get full time access to the PGA Tour. Still it’s important to find the players with the best record in this event.
Boo Weekley – Seems to love this event, was T-6th last year, also T-3rd in 2013. He is a very good choice because he always makes cuts.
Scott Brown – Three top-tens including winning this in 2013
Brendon De Jonge – Has finished in the top-14 in four of his five starts including T-3rd in 2010.
My Choice – Brendon De Jonge
Interesting to note that since the Golf Club of Houston was first used in 2006, results show that the course is in the top 25% in length of drives while in driving accuracy it’s in the middle of all the other courses used on the PGA Tour. What this means is that longer hitters that don’t hit fairways have a slight advantage over straight, short hitters. That is why the list of champions at Golf Club of Houston included long hitters as Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim, Phil Mickelson and last year with J.B. Holmes.
Cameron Tringale – Three top-tens in last four starts, in five starts is 43 under par. Has shot under par in 11 of his last 12 rounds.
J.B. Holmes – This course is perfect for his game, maybe that is why he has a win and a runner-up finish.
Russell Huntley – Been 26 under in his 12 rounds, has come close to winning this event in his last two starts.
My Choice – Cameron Tringale
There are a few things that all winners at the Masters have in common. First it’s precise ball striking, like a Ben Hogan, length and power like Tiger Woods, deft touch with a putter on the steeply contoured greens like a Ben Crenshaw and the mind and wisdom of a Jack Nicklaus. All of these are what it takes to win the Masters. The key stat of all the Champions of the Masters since 1995 is hitting greens. Of those 21 Champions since, only four were not in the top-ten in hitting greens, while six of them have led that stat.
Jordan Spieth – Can’t go wrong since in two starts has won and finished runner-up.
Phil Mickelson – He is one of five players that have dominated this event, been in the top-10 15 times. Yes his game has slipped, but he knows how to play well at Augusta National.
Rory McIlroy – Has the game to win at the Masters, but can he endure the pressure of this being the one major he hasn’t won?
My Choice – Rory McIlroy
Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America, it’s a totally different experience in which ball placement is upmost over power. Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue so look for a precision player to win.
Luke Donald – Has played the most consistent in this event over any other PGA Tour event. Can’t go wrong with a guy that finishes 2nd three times and third twice.
Jim Furyk – Defending champion seems to know how to play on this course.
Kevin Kisner – Was very impressive in his runner-up finish last year.
My Choice – Kevin Kisner
Since TPC San Antonio joined the PGA Tour in 2010, it has never been out of the top-20 of toughest courses on tour and been in the top-eight four of the last five years. Last year it was the 2nd hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 74.52 average. The reason that TPC San Antonio is so hard is getting it on the greens, last year the course had the 2nd hardest greens to hit on the PGA Tour as only 51.73% of them were hit. That has been the norm of the course, in it’s six years on the PGA Tour it’s never been above 7th ranked in greens hit.
Charley Hoffman – In ten starts has only one finish higher than T-13th. Was runnerup in 2011 and finished T-3rd in 2014. He has played in every event played at TPC San Antonio and in 24 rounds is 31 under, the best of anyone that has played on this course.
Daniel Summerhays – finished T-4th last year, T-2nd in 2014 and T-7th in 2013.
Billy Horschel – Has a pair of third place finished in the last three years.
My Choice – Charley Hoffman
The tale on TPC Louisiana is that you don’t have to be a straight driver to do well, so we can consider this a bombers delight as many of it’s champions hit the ball a long way. It’s hard to find a potential winner, as of the 10 champions at TPC Louisiana, five of them have been rookie winners. Also this is a transient type of event that has a lot of turnover with the lack of players showing repeat loyalty from year to year.
Justin Rose – The biggest marquee star that shows up from year to year, he won last year and has been in the top-15 the last four years.
Daniel Berger – Showed a liking to this course as he was 18 under in finishing T-6th in his first start.
Jason Dufner – Have to wonder if he will play in this event again, hasn’t played since 2013 when he finished T-42nd after winning in 2012. In 26 rounds has a 69.54 average so he should seriously think of putting this back on his schedule.
My Choice – Daniel Berger
Not only are the fairways at Quail Hollow hard to hit (3rd hardest on tour last year, no higher than 8th last 12 years) but it’s been hard getting it close to the hole on shots into the green. Last year the proximity to the hole was 40 feet, 0 inches making it the 6th hardest course on tour in getting it close. This stat is the norm for Quail Hollow, it was 2nd in 2014 & 2013, 3rd in 2012 and 1st in 2011 & ’10. So looking for a good choice look for those that lead the strokes gained from tee to green category.
Phil Mickelson – Of all the courses on the PGA Tour he has been the most consistent on this one, in 12 starts has only finished outside the top-12 twice. He was runner-up in 2010 and 3rd in 2007, 2013 and T-4th last year so this is a course you can bet on him playing well on.
Rory McIlroy – Always a good bet on this course, in 6 starts has won it twice and been runner-up once.
Webb Simpson – Lives just down the road, was T-2nd last year and 4th in 2012. The stat that is most important is that in 2015 he was 7th in strokes gained tee-to-green which makes him a player to think about.
My Choice – Phil Mickelson
The most important stat for players who what to win, hitting greens. Going back to 2000, every winner but fjve has been in the top-10 of greens hit as five have led (Sergio Garcia-2008, Stephen Ames-2006, Fred Funk-2005, Adam Scott-2004, Hal Sutton-2000). In 2012 Matt Kuchar was T3rd, hitting 53 of the 72 greens, in 2013 Tiger Woods was also T3rd hitting 55 of 72 greens. In 2014 Martin Kaymer also finished 3rd, hitting 54 of 72 greens, but last year Rickie Fowler ruined the momentum as he hit only 45 of 72 greens which ranked T-51st, the worst performance in greens hit for champions since 1997.
Sergio Garcia – The guy always hits lots of greens and that’s probably why he has won this event and was runner-up last year.
Henrik Stenson – Does hit lot’s of greens, showed it with his win in 2009.
Zach Johnson – Call it a feeling for this year, but he always hits lot’s of greens and was runner-up in 2012.
My Choice – Henrik Stenson
AT&T Byron Nelson Championship
Eight of the past 11 champions didn’t have a top 20 in the month before the Nelson and six of the won for the first time at TPC Four Seasons. Statistically four of the last five winners were in the top-10 in hitting fairways so keep an eye for players who hit it straight and are looking for their first PGA Tour win. One last thing, this is a very transient event, of the 15 players in the top-15 in 2015, only six had played the previous year and four of them played in their first Nelson in 2015. So look for the unexpected.
Charley Hoffman – Very loyal to this event he has four top-tens including a runner-up last year.
Jason Dufner – Won in 2012, he has three top-tens in seven starts.
Tony Finau – Shot four rounds in the 60s as he finished T-10th in his first Nelson.
My Choice – Jason Dufner
First order of business is getting a title sponsor now that Crowne Plaza left. Colonial Country Club is a relic to a bygone era. Accuracy off the tee, precision iron play and scrambling prowess are keys to success. TThe most important stat, total driving since the course has doglegs on 12 of the 14 driving holes, ones in which drivers just don’t work. So you can see this is also a course that short hitters do well on.
Jordan Spieth – Course that he should win on, his putting really plays a big part in this event.
Zach Johnson – Since 2009 he has owned this event winning twice, 3rd once and 4th once. Look for him to find a way into contention on Sunday.
Chris Kirk – Defending champion who has played well since 2011, he is 29 under in his 20 rounds and has seven rounds of 67 or lower.
My Choice – Zach Johnson
Muirfield Village has the same characteristics seen on most U.S. Open courses, especially this year with the Open going to Oakmont. Many feel that on any given year it could hold a U.S. Open. It has the length, tight, tree line fairways with three-inch plus rough and fast undulating greens. So it’s not surprising that of it’s 30 different champions, 16 have won 66 major championships
Hideki Matsuyama – Has shown a liking to this course, in 8 rounds have been under par each of them as he is 25 under in the two events he has played.
Justin Rose – Has a very inconsistent record in this event, but the bottom line is he should content every time he plays in it.
Bill Haas – This a guy that count do well anytime on this course, was T-4th in 2013.
My Choice – Bill Haas
TPC Southwind is a course that can be overpowered but this doesn’t mean the course is a rollover, since it ranked 10th on the PGA Tour in 2015 in accuracy. There is thick rough to contend with, but again those that hit it accurately will score low this week. But the course is really hard in hitting greens as last year it was the 7th hardest greens to hit on tour, while in 2014 it was 6th and in 2013 it was the 2nd hardest. Since 1989, only four champions (Dicky Pride in 1994, Notah Begay III in 2000, Dustin Johnson in 2012 and Harris English in 2013) were younger than 30. Six of them were over 40, the oldest being Woody Austin in 2007 at 43 years, 4 months, Greg Norman in 1997 at 42 years, 4 months and 2006 winner Maggert who was 42 years, 3 months. Last year’s winner Fabian Gomez was 36 years, 7 months and 18 days old.
Billy Horschel – Has shown a liking to this course finishing in the top-ten the last three years.
Camilo Villegas – Has been 16 under on this course in last 12 rounds.
Phil Mickelson – His type of course, in last three starts is 24 under as he has shot 67 or lower six times.
My Choice – Billy Horschel
The Open returns to Oakmont, which which will be playing host to it’s ninth U.S. Opens. It has also hosted five U.S. Amateurs, three PGA Championships and one U.S. Women’s Open. The 13 total professional majors are more than any other course in America, save for Augusta National. The course is very special, some consider it the hardest course in America. It will play to a par 70 and around 7,255 yards, it has a course rating of 77.5 with a slope of 147. The greens are considered some of the best in the country, they are so lightning fast that the USGA have to slow them down for the U.S. Open. The reputation of Oakmont is that it doesn’t need any prep for the U.S. Open, the membership likes it tough and very little has to be done to get it ready. Rumor has it that Oakmont is on a list that given a couple weeks notice could hold any professional tournament if something terrible happens to one course. So yes, the winner will be someone special.
Jason Day – This course could be tailor made for Jason, it plays perfectly for all of his strong suits including putting.
Dustin Johnson – His game should be perfect for Oakmont, just like Angel Cabrera, Johnson will be able to overower the course since he is so straight. It will come down to how he putts.
Justin Rose – He should do well at Oakmont, he was T-10th the last time he played it in 2007. Rose knows what it takes to play well on Open courses and he should be in contention on Sunday.
My Choice – Jason Day
Event goes back Congressional, site of the 1997 and 2011 U.S. Open along with holding the 2007, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’13 and ’14 Quicken Loans. Most believe that, like it would be in a U.S. Open, the key statistic will be fairways hit off the tee. The rough will be at 4 inches which will be costly for players that don’t hit it straight. Just look at the winners of the last six AT&T’s and ’11 U.S. Open played at Congressional to see how key these stats are for the winners. In 2007 K.J. Choi was T-5th in fairways hit, T-5th in greens hit and T-5th in putting which is a deadly combination. In 2008 Anthony Kim was T-12th in greens hit and T-8th in putting while in 2009 Tiger was T-7th in fairways hit, T-3rd in greens hit and T-13th in putting. When Rory McIlroy won the ’11 Open at Congressional, he was first in greens hit. In 2012 Tiger was T-9th in putting so it just shows you have to play week in the fundamentals of golf to win at Congressional. In 2013 greens hit was the key for champion Bill Haas who ranked T-4th while he was T-11th in putting. In 2014 Justin Rose was T-11th in fairways hit and T-13th in greens hit and putting. Last year the event was played down the road at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.
Billy Hurley III – Local boy has shown a liking to Congressional, was T-8th in 2014 and T-4th in 2012.
Brandt Snedeker – Another that has played well at Congressional, not only was he T-8th in 2013 and T-5th in 2009, but also finished T-11th in 2011 U.S. Open.
Brendon Todd – May be a good longshot pick, has played well at Congressional
Justin Rose – Normally would be the favorite, but with the demands placed on players over this summer he may skip this event, so probably not a good pick.
My Choice – Brendon Todd
Have to be careful in choosing a player this week. With the change of schedule in which this is opposite the French Open, it won’t count on the European Tour so don’t count on any Europeans to participate this week. Firestone is one of the most respected courses on the PGA Tour. The par-70 layout plays to over 7,400 yards and if there is a key to the course its the long par 3s and par 4s. Three of the par 3s play over 200 yards while eight par 4s play over 440 yards. You have to be accurate with your drives (Course was 1st in driving accuracy in 2015), as the fairways are very well bunkered and bordered with high rough. Shots into the greeens, usually with long irons, have to be precise (course ranked 3rd on PGA Tour in 2015) and if the players do get a break its in the greens, they are pretty flat with very little undulations (Course ranked 46th out of 52 courses in overall putting average in 2015).
Bubba Watson – Never played well in this event until he finished 2nd in 2015, this could mean he has figured out this course
Keegan Bradley – Past champion along with finishing runner-up and fourth.
Rickie Fowler – A course he does well on, he was runner-up in 2011 and was 10th last year.
Patrick Reed – Was T-4th in 2014, he is 11 under on this course in 8 rounds.
My Choice – Keegan Bradley
Aggressive play, that’s the name of the game this week at the Barracuda Championship. This will be the 5th year that the Barracuda has gone over to this scoring system making it one of the most distinctive events on the PGA Tour. Along with the Dell Match play, the two are the only tournaments on tour that aren’t stroke play events. The modified version of the Stableford method is one that makes for a lot of excitement as points are awarded for low scoring and points taken away for poor scoring. Nothing is given for par, with 2 points given for a birde, 5 points given for a eagle and for the rare double-eagle, 8 points. For those that make a bogey they have to subtract 1 point and for a double bogey or worst 3 points are deducted. So instead of the lowest number of strokes winning the tournament like the rest of the tour stops, the player making the most points wins. One last thing, you want to make sure on your choice because it’s opposite the Bridgestone, so don’t pick anyone in the top-75 of the World Rankings.
Brendan Steele – It’s it long and makes lot’s of birdies, finished 4th in 2013, he has three top-tens in his last four starts.
Jonathan Byrd – Another who does well in this format, was runner-up in 2013 and T-3rd in 2014.
J.J. Henry – The defending champion has won it twice under this format.
My Choice – Brendan Steele
Event has only been played six times, but the tournament still hasn’t seen a winner who led after either the first round, the second round or the third round. It’s been a come-from-behind haven for this event, with no 54-hole leader yet able to close the deal on the final day. Three of the five winners have come from at least four shots back – Jonas Blixt (2013), Ted Potter Jr. (2012) and Stuart Appleby (2010) while 2011 winner Scott Stallings was one back of Anthony Kim, Cabrera was two shots back in 2014 and Danny Lee was a shot back last year. One thing to watch for this year, because of the change of scheduling Greenbrier will be the week before the British Open, so a lot of marquee players won’t play as in past years.
Brendon Todd – In 12 rounds has only been over par once as he is 24 under. Best finish was T-4th in 2014.
Kevin Kiser – Showed a lot last year that he can win on this course by finishing 2nd, losing to Danny Lee in the playoff.
David Lingmerth – 26 under in 12 rounds, only been over par once.
My Choice – David Lingmerth
The ability to adjust to the elements, especially wind and rain, is often crucial at The Open. Over the years wind has played a big role in winning at Royal Troon. Putting is going to be a premium this week. Now everybody is making a big deal that the last six winners at Troon have been Americans, a better stat is that the last seven winners at Troon have been a great putter that excelled on the greens of Troon. Even the last winner at Troon, Todd Hamilton may never achieved the overall success of his career, he was still considered a good putter. So the winner at Troon, weather American or not will be a great putter, that seems to be a key to winning at Troon.
Adam Scott – Yes he may not be the greatest of putters, but he makes up for the weakness with great ball striking. He has finished in the top-ten the last four years as he is 27 under in those 16 rounds.
Rory McIlroy – Have to think that he will be well ready to play this year since he wasn’t able to defend his title last year. Troon is a lot like Hoylake, the course he won on so expect him to be in contention.
Paul Casey – Guy has the game to win, a bit of history was made when Casey was the first round leader at Troon in 2004 when he shot 66. Went on to finish T-20th.
My Choice – Adam Scott
An alternative event for the British Open, the tournament is played on the Grand National course of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika, Alabama. In looking at the stats from the first event played last year shows that hitting lot’s of greens is important along with hitting the ball far.
Will Wilcox – Not only was he runner-up last year, but also 2nd in greens hit in 2015.
Ricky Barnes – A player that we can see winning, he finished T-3rd last year.
Boo Weekley – A player that does it a lots of greens, finished T-6th last year.
My Choice – Boo Weekley
Event returns to Glen Abbey, a course that has held 27 Canadian Open. Greens are contoured and well bunkered which means that those that scramble will do very well. Over the years Glen Abbey got a reputation as a long hitters kind of course, but if you look at all of the champions since 1990 all but Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh were short hitters. Another thing, most of the winners at Glen Abbey fade the ball, that makes sense since five of the six holes that bend go to the right, a Jack Nicklaus design trait. This event will probably suffer from the summer schedule changes as it will be inbetween the British Open and the PGA Championship, so don’t be surprised if many stars skip this week.
Jason Day – Show that he is perfect for this course after winning last year, but it may be a struggle for him with it wedged between the British and PGA Championship.
Jim Furyk – A two time winner of this event, but those wins weren’t at Glen Abbey. In his 13 starts only finished twice in the top-ten at Glen Abbey, last year (T-4th) and in 2013 (T-9th). Hopefully he will be healthy by then.
Matt Kuchar – Has played well at Glen Abbey, was T-7th last year and T-2nd in 2013.
My Choice – Jim Furyk
The PGA returns to Baltusrol, were Phil Mickelson won his first major championship in 2005. The Club itself has a rich history of major championships with seven U.S. Open’s and Women’s Opens being played on it. But of all the majors played at Baltusrol only the 1954, ’67,’80 and ’93 U.S. Open’s have been played on the lower course, along with the 2005 PGA Championship. Historically Baltusrol produced the lowest scores in U.S. Open history when Jack Nicklaus tied the 72 hole mark when the Open was played there in 1967 and in 1980 broke that mark when he shot 272. In 1980 two of the three 63s in U.S. Open history was shot in the first round and in 1993 Lee Janzen tied the 72 hole scoring record that Nicklaus accomplished in 1980. So Baltusrol has been associated with low scoring, but the course was toughen and Phil Mickelson shot 276 on it in 2005. Hitting greens is important along with some good putting, but more importantly experience is always the key to winning majors these days.
Justin Rose – This is the type of course that Rose does well on, Rose finished 4th last year.
Dustin Johnson – Has shown that he can play well on courses in New Jersey, this could be the perfect place for him to win.
Rory McIlroy – Has a good history on playing well on any PGA Championship course.
My Choice – Justin Rose
Course changes from it’s post U.S. Open spot to being played after the PGA Championship. This date will have problems because it’s the week before the Olympics and many marquee names could decided to go get ready in South America instead of playing here. Tournament is notorious for having close finishes, since 1983, 24 of the 31 tournaments have been decided by either a shot or a playoff, including last year when Bubba Watson beat Paul Casey in a playoff.
Bubba Watson – Guy always does well in this event, is 89 under making him the lowest active player that still plays in this event.
Graham Delaet – Been a very good 28 under in his last 12 rounds, was 3rd in 2013 and 4th last year.
Ryan Moore – Course is perfect for him as he has five top-tens in nine starts. Best was T-2nd in his first start in 2006 and 2011.
My Choice – Ryan Moore
Talk about a course for those that like to go low, TPC Deere Run is the place to score low on the PGA Tour. In 2015 the course played to a 69.65 average making it the ninth easiest course on the PGA Tour. So what makes it so easy? Last year 32 eagles and 1,803 birdies were produced, both being some of the lowest numbers of any course on the PGA Tour in 2015. 13 of the 18 holes played under par, with the par 4, 14th hole being the easiest par 4 with a 3.791 average meaning that 43% of those that played it made either eagle or birdie. The only problem, the event is being played a month later and will be opposite the Olympics so it probably won’t have many marquee players including it’s defending champion Jordan Spieth.
Zach Johnson – This guy seems to own this event and probably won’t care if he doesn’t get to play in the Olympics. He has a total of six top-tens, but in the last five years he has a win, a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds.
Johnson Wagner – Is 34 under par in his last eight rounds, was T-5th last year and T-7th in 2014.
Steve Stricker – Can’t go wrong with this guy since he has seven top-tens including three straight wins in 2009, ’10 & ’11
My Choice – Johnson Wagner
Sedgefield is a very versatile course. Length is not critical because the course plays at about 7,127 yards, just a notch below average for a PGA Tour event. With length not being a factor, players are afforded the opportunity to use either driver or long iron off the tee. The most-critical thing for the field is to manage the slope of the course. To do that, ball control and accuracy are key. Look for the winner to be someone who doesn’t like to muscle up with the driver, and just settle for using a long iron for control. Past winners of the event are some of the best iron players on tour. The likes of Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Mark O’Meara, Davis Love III, and Steve Elkington have hoisted the trophy. Look for the winner to be able to manage the surroundings, as the undulations are the most difficult part of the golf course.
Webb Simpson – Past champion who seems to play his best at Sedgefield, is he is 77 under for his 26 rounds played, the best of any player since the tournament moved to Sedgefield in 2008.
Carl Pettersson – He too has played great on this course, is 74 under including a win in 2008.
Bill Haas – While we are talking about under par figures at Sedgefield, Haas is 75 under in his rounds played at Sedgefield since 2008. His best finish was T-2nd in 2014.
My Choice – Webb Simpson
Event moves back to Bethpage, which held the 2012 Barclays and the 2009, ’02 U.S. Open. Course is tough but since the PGA Tour will play it at a par 71, it’s easier to play than the U.S. Open. In 2012 it was the 15th hardest course on tour playing at a 71.718 average. The key to playing it well is hitting lot’s of greens, when Nick Watney won in 2012 he was T-2nd in greens hit, of the top-8 players, five of them were in the top-ten in greens hit.
Sergio Garcia – Has always played well at Bethpage, was 4th in the 2002 U.S. Open, T-10th at the 2009 Open and T3rd when they played the Barclays at Bethpage. Could of won in 2002, finished with a 74 in the last round, in 2012 finished with a 75, so he plays great at Bethpage.
Dustin Johnson – Also has done well at Bethpage, was T-40th in the 2009 U.S. Open and T-3rd in 2012. He could overpower this course and does hit lot’s of greens.
Bubba Watson – Another that will do great, was T-10th at Bethpage in 2012, finished T-18th in the 2009 U.S. Open and finished 3rd last year at Plainfield.
My Choice – Sergio Garcia
TPC Boston is a course that long players have dominated. The fairways are easy to hit, each year it ranks high in fairways hit, last year 63.16 of the fairways were hit. So players can rear back and overpower the course as some of the longest hitters in golf have won the Deutsche Bank. Another secret to playing well is dominating the par 4s, the scoring average was 4.01 on par 4s. Looking at the stats from its 13-year history, look for those with sharp iron games to produce the best score. Look for a smart player that doesn’t attack the holes but plays placement golf to win. Of the 13 winners, three led the greens hit category (winner Henrik Stenson led in 2013) while the first eight of nine winners were in the top-ten. Last year’s champion Rickie Fowler was 6th in greens hit.
Jason Day – Plays well on this course, in last six starts only finished outside the top-15 once.
Rickie Fowler – Came out of nowhere to win last year, seems to have learned how to play this course.
Henrik Stenson – Should of won last year, was runner-up, T-26th in 2014 and won in 2013.
My Choice – Rickie Fowler
Event moves back to Crooked Stick, outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, where it was played in 2012. Back then it had a stellar leaderboard with Rory McIlroy winning followed by Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood, with Tiger Woods and Robert Garrigus finishing fourth and Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson finishing T-6th. The keys from that event was making lot’s of birdies, dominating the par 5s and good putting.
Dustin Johnson – Have to like this past winner of this event, was T-6th when it was played at Crooked Stick in 2012 and T-7th last year.
Bubba Watson – He was T-12th in 2012, but since has played well the last couple of years.
Rory McIlroy – Can’t go wrong with this guy, winner in 2012 and T-4th last year.
My Choice – Bubba Watson
As was proven in past tour Championships played at East Lake, it favors those that hit lot’s of greens. In the 12 played since 2004, seven of the champions including the last two winners Henrik Stenson (2013) and Billy Horschel (2014) led the greens in regulation stat with only one champion not being in the top-ten. Last year Jordan Spieth was T-9th, hitting 47 of 72 greens.
Justin Rose – Seems to get better each year he plays here, been in the top-ten the last four years including runner-up finishes in 2012 and last year.
Jordan Spieth – Win last year and T-2nd in 2013, game is perfect for East Lake.
Paul Casey – Only played twice, T-4th in 2010 and T-5th last year.
My Choice – Jordan Spieth
Here is part Two of this, the players. The order is off the World Rankings as of Monday, January 4th. The first column is their rank, player name. The next column is my Key choice for a player in a certain event and the Other key events is for those that I like in a tournament. Again, you can only pick one player.
(Clicking the players name links to his 8 year glance).
1 – Jordan Spieth Key Choice: Tour Championship Other key events: (Hyundai T of C, AT&T Pebble, Valspar, Masters, Colonial National & Tour Championship)
2 – Jason Day Key Choice: U.S. Open Other key events: (Hyundai T of C, Farmers Insurance, U.S. Open, RBC Candian Open & Deutsche Bank)
3 – Rory McIlroy Key Choice: Masters Other key events: (WGC-Cadillac, WGC-Dell Match Play, Masters, Wells Fargo, British Open, PGA Championship & BMW Championship)
4 – Bubba Watson Key Choice: BMW Championship Other key events: (WM Phoenix, WGC-Cadillac, WGC-Bridgestone, Travelers Championship, The Barclays & BMW Championship)
5 – Henrik Stenson Key Choice: The Players Other key events: (Arnold Palmer, The Players & Deutsche Bank)
6 – Rickie Fowler Key Choice: Deutsche Bank Other key events: (WGC-Bridgestone & Deutsche Bank)
7 – Justin Rose Key Choice: PGA Championship Other key events: (Honda Classic, Valspar, Zurich New Orleans, Memorial, U.S. Open, Quicken Loans, PGA Championship & Tour Championship)
8 – Dustin Johnson Key Choice: WGC-Cadillac Other key events: (Hyundai T of C, AT&T Pebble, Northern Trust, WGC-Cadillac, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, The Barclays & BMW Championship)
9 – Jim Furyk Key Choice: RBC Candian Open Other key events: (WGC-Dell Match Play, RBC Heritage & RBC Candian Open)
10 – Patrick Reed Key Choice: AT&T Pebble Other key events: (WGC-Bridgestone & AT&T Pebble)
11 – Adam Scott Key Choice: British Open Other key events: (British Open & WGC-Cadillac)
12 – Sergio Garcia Key Choice: The Barclays Other key events: (The Players & The Barclays)
13 – Zach Johnson Key Choice: Colonial National Other key events: (Career Builder, The Players, Colonial National & John Deere)
14 – Branden Grace No Key Choice: No other key events:
15 – Hideki Matsuyama Key Choice: WM Phoenix Other key events: (WM Phoenix & Memorial)
16 – Brooks Koepka No Key Choice: No other key events:
17 – Kevin Kisner Key Choice: RBC Heritage Other key events: (RBC Heritage & Greenbrier Classic)
18 – Louis Oosthuizen No Key Choice: No other key events:
19 – Danny Willett No Key Choice: No other key events:
20 – Matt Kuchar Key Choice: Career Builder Other key events: (Career Builder & RBC Candian Open)
21 – Shane Lowry No Key Choice: No other key events:
22 – Paul Casey Key Choice: WGC-Dell Match Play Other key events: (Northern Trust, WGC-Dell Match Play, British Open & Tour Championship)
23 – Kevin Na Key Choice: Arnold Palmer Other key events: (Arnold Palmer)
24 – J.B. Holmes Key Choice: Northern Trust Other key events: (Northern Trust & Shell Houston)
25 – Marc Leishman Key Choice: Farmers Insurance Other key events: (Farmers Insurance)
26 – Jimmy Walker No Key Choice: Other key events: (Sony Hawaii & AT&T Pebble)
27 – Thongchai Jaidee No Key Choice: No other key events:
28 – Martin Kaymer No Key Choice: No other key events:
29 – Byeong Hun An No Key Choice: No other key events:
30 – Russell Knox Key Choice: Honda Classic Other key events: (Honda Classic)
31 – Bernd Wiesberger No Key Choice: No other key events:
32 – Emiliano Grillo No Key Choice: No other key events:
33 – Victor Dubuisson No Key Choice: No other key events:
34 – Andy Sullivan No Key Choice: No other key events:
35 – Charl Schwartzel No Key Choice: Other key events: (Northern Trust)
36 – Phil Mickelson Key Choice: Wells Fargo Other key events: (Masters, Wells Fargo & FedEx St. Jude)
37 – Justin Thomas No Key Choice: No other key events:
38 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat No Key Choice: No other key events:
39 – Robert Streb No Key Choice: No other key events:
40 – Anirban Lahiri No Key Choice: No other key events:
41 – Billy Horschel Key Choice: FedEx St. Jude Other key events: (Valero Texas & FedEx St. Jude)
42 – Matthew Fitzpatrick No Key Choice: No other key events:
43 – Bill Haas Key Choice: Memorial Other key events: (Career Builder, Memorial & Wyndham Championship)
44 – Chris Wood No Key Choice: No other key events:
45 – Soren Kjeldsen No Key Choice: No other key events:
46 – Jamie Donaldson No Key Choice: No other key events:
47 – Danny Lee No Key Choice: No other key events:
48 – Scott Piercy No Key Choice: No other key events:
49 – Chris Kirk Key Choice: Sony Hawaii Other key events: (Sony Hawaii & Colonial National)
50 – Brandt Snedeker Key Choice: Hyundai T of C Other key events: (Hyundai T of C & Farmers Insurance)
52 – Daniel Berger Key Choice: Zurich New Orleans Other key events: (Zurich New Orleans)
53 – Charley Hoffman Key Choice: Valero Texas Other key events: (Valero Texas & AT&T Byron Nelson)
55 – David Lingmerth Key Choice: Greenbrier Classic Other key events: (Greenbrier Classic)
61 – Ryan Moore Key Choice: Travelers Championship Other key events: (Travelers Championship)
69 – Cameron Tringale Key Choice: Shell Houston Other key events: (Shell Houston)
70 – Keegan Bradley Key Choice: WGC-Bridgestone Other key events: (Arnold Palmer & WGC-Bridgestone)
73 – Webb Simpson Key Choice: Wyndham Championship Other key events: (Wells Fargo & Wyndham Championship)
78 – Luke Donald Key Choice: Valspar Other key events: (Honda Classic, Valspar & RBC Heritage)
80 – Brendon Todd Key Choice: Quicken Loans Other key events: (Quicken Loans & Greenbrier Classic)
81 – Brendan Steele Key Choice: Barracuda Championship Other key events: (WM Phoenix & Barracuda Championship)
88 – Tony Finau No Key Choice: Other key events: (AT&T Byron Nelson)
99 – Daniel Summerhays No Key Choice: Other key events: (Valero Texas)
102 – Harris English No Key Choice: Other key events: (Sony Hawaii)
133 – Jason Dufner Key Choice: AT&T Byron Nelson Other key events: (Zurich New Orleans & AT&T Byron Nelson)
137 – Charles Howell III No Key Choice: Other key events: (Sony Hawaii)
140 – Brendon de Jonge Key Choice: Puerto Rico Other key events: (Puerto Rico)
152 – Boo Weekley Key Choice: Barbasol Championship Other key events: (Puerto Rico & Barbasol Championship)
160 – Graham Delaet No Key Choice: Other key events: (Travelers Championship)
171 – Carl Pettersson No Key Choice: Other key events: (Wyndham Championship)
182 – Scott Brown No Key Choice: Other key events: (Puerto Rico)
187 – Camilo Villegas No Key Choice: Other key events: (FedEx St. Jude)
192 – Johnson Wagner Key Choice: John Deere Classic Other key events: (John Deere Classic)
Hope you enjoyed this look