In the week prior to most PGA Golf tournaments, I like to visit PGATour.com to check out Rob Bolton’s Power Rankings. I was surprised to see that Rob has the world’s number one, Tiger Woods ranked 11th for The Honda Classic that gets underway on Thursday at The PGA National Golf and Spa Championship Course. A 62 in the final round, and finishing T2 to Rory McIlroy in 2012 gets no respect.
He might have a point however! Tiger has four consecutive starts in 2014 without a top ten finish. That is his poorest performance in two years, and goes back to the days when he was recovering from knee surgery, and marital problems. We haven’t seen much improvement in Tigers long game in that period, and his precise wedge game along with his putting stroke have also deteriorated in the early 2014 going.
If I’m not mistaken here, The Honda Classic, and PGA National is one of the few venues where Tiger has never won. Who know’s maybe 2014 is the magical year that he can Get-er-Done here.
I like Mr. Bolton’s other picks as well. Although he made these picks prior to knowing 2013 US Open Champ, Justin Rose would withdraw due to physical problems(Ranked number 1), I do like his 2, 3, and 4 picks however. Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, and Rory McIlroy are all good top picks in this event.
Schwartzel is coming off of an excellent showing on The Sunshine Tour, he finished T5 at Riviera two weeks ago, and has played well in Palm Beach. He got two wins late in 2013, and is playing pretty well at this point. The success in his game rests mostly on his putter. When the South African is on with the flat stick, he is nearly unbeatable.
We all saw what Graeme McDowell can do in Match Play last week at Dove Mountain, and the 2010 US Open Champ tends to do better in a head-to-head match than he does when not challenged on every hole. Look out if he gets in a shootout on Sunday afternoon.
Rory McIlroy is not the same golfer we saw here 12 months ago. He has his driver somewhat under control, and that will be the determining factor for how he will fare in the Bear Trap. Rory has an impeccable short game, and can also be unbeatable if his putter heats up.
Where I disagree with Mr. Bolton’s picks are his 9th ranked player, Rickie Fowler. After what I saw at The Accenture Match Play Championship last week, I think we have to push Rickie up the ranking a notch or two.
With a new-found long game, Rickie can be a real threat at any venue on the PGA Tour. If Dove Mountain didn’t wear him out, I expect for him to compete for the remainder of the run up to the Masters, and I think the run starts in Palm Beach.
I was disappointed that FedEx Cup leader, Jimmy Walker wasn’t in the field this week. I think to become a legitimate top-tier player on the PGA Tour, Walker needs to compete on the Florida Swing with the best in the world. His early success in 2014 has come at somewhat easier golf courses with less than stellar fields.
As usual, The Honda Classic starts the run to Augusta in April, and affords the fans a peek into who is ready to contend when they get to the Masters next month. Who is ready to play for a Green Jacket, and who isn’t.
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