The early word on the street after Tiger Woods announced via Facebook last week that he would be returning to action this week at the Quicken Loans Championship, was that this would be a rehabilitation start for the 14-time major champion.
Come on! I’ve never seen Tiger Woods enter a tournament that he didn’t think he could win, and I don’t think his appearance at Congressional Country Club will be anything less than an effort to win this event. That’s what Tiger Woods does, and that’s why, as sports fans, we love him.
Although it would be neat to put Tiger in the Fantasy Picks this week, I think there is too much rust on his golf game to be coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon with a chance to win. I’m convinced he will want to avenge the final round 79 at Doral three months ago and make the cut, but win the tournament?…..No!
Although K.J. Choi has missed the cut at Congressional in his last two appearances, he won the inaugural event(The AT&T National) back in 2007. I liked what I saw from the 44 year-old South Korean last week at TPC River Highlands when he finished T2 with Sergio Garcia. The broadcast crew made light of Sergio’s bad luck on the 18th hole, but K.J. caught a bad lie on 17 that I felt kept him out of a playoff with Kevin Streelman. Choi isn’t a big hitter, but when on, has an excellent short game, and as we saw last week, a great putter.
Jason Day has the biggest ax to grind this week at Congressional. The 26 year-old Aussie was in line for the number one World Ranking after winning the Accenture Match Play Championship back in January, but a problem with his thumb kept him out of the action during most of the Florida Swing when he would have been facing the best players in the world through the Masters. I feel like the T18 finish last week in Connecticut was the result of being worn out after the grind at Pinehurst. He will back on his game this week, and heads my list of players who will be playing for Tiger Woods’ hand-shake when it’s over on Sunday afternoon. And that number one ranking thing!
It’s been almost a year since the 20 year-old phenom won his first and only PGA Tour event at Deere Run, and I think he’s hungry to lift another trophy on a Sunday afternoon. He led after 36 holes last year at Congressional before finishing in solo sixth position. He has finished in the top 20′s in 14 events this year, and six out of the last seven tournaments. Spieth is a very streaky player, but the good news is, his lows are pretty darn good. If he can get his attitude straitened out, and his putter on-track, he can win any tournament where he tee’s it up. A hand shake, and a trophy from Tiger Woods would go a long way to putting the T2 at Augusta in his rear-view mirror.
It’s time Keegan! I’m not sure which putter Keegan Bradley will have in his bag this week, but whichever one gets the ride around Congressional Country Club needs to carry him to a much-needed win. He got close at Pinehurst with a T4 finish(no one was beating Martin Kaymer) and really needs to play his way onto the Ryder Cup team. This kid has the game to be a regular winner on the PGA Tour, but just hasn’t gotten it done in the past couple of years. It’s been a long time since that 2012 win at Riveria and this would be a good week for Keegan to re-assert himself as a top player in this sport.
I’m not sure what happened to Billy Horschel after he won the 2013 Zurich Classic, but whatever it was, wasn’t good. What happened to the animated, firy competitor we saw before his only win on the PGA Tour? We need to find that guy. The Florida Gator has all of the tools in the bag to win at Congressional, and all he needs to do, is step up, and do it. Although T26 is his worse finish in his last four starts, that qualifies for “who cares”. He needs to find that Gator Pride, and needs to be finishing in the top 10. Maybe this will be his week.