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What a difference a few months and a few inches of grass can make on a golf course!  Oh yes, there’s also the pressure of contending for one of golf’s biggest prizes too.

Back in February, the field at the AT&T managed its way around Pebble Beach with very few problems, shooting an average of around half a stroke under par.  The only problems arose on Sunday, when the wind picked up from a wonky direction that players had never really seen before.  That sent average scores up to +2.  Still though, AT&T Champion Dustin Johnson finessed his way through two rounds at Pebble with an average score of -6.

Fast forward a few months, put in some championship rough and toss in the intense pressure of playing for the US Open title and it was a whole different scenario.  For a lot of the field and some of the pre-tourney favourites, Father’s Day weekend turned into a pants-crapping competition that netted scores of +5…and that’s if you were just playing average golf.  Poor old Johnson capped his defense for bragging rights on the course with a smooth 82.

The advantage quickly swung to the Steady Eddy (or maybe that should be Steady Seamus?) with the calm approach, who was lugging around the lightest load in his Levis.

Call me a cynic, but I would have thought that the added pressure this weekend would have been more than offset by the fact that players didn’t have to put up with the on-course antics, slow play and pelt-gouging lunges of guys like Bill Murray, Justin Timberlake, George Lopez and Ray Romano.  That’s gotta be worth something, doesn’t it?  It would be to me.

But, of course, I digress.  And if you’ve read any of my previous articles you know that I majored in Digression, with a minor in Blatherskiting, at my alma mater, Abnormal State.

So, before we venture into revealing this week’s selections for the Travelers Championship, let’s take a look and see how I fared against my nemesis, D&D this past weekend at Pebble Beach:

Derek’s Picks                                                          D&D (Daughter & Dartboard) 

Ernie Els 3  $480,687   Lee Westwood T16  $108,458
Retief Goosen T58   $18,368   Dustin Johnson T8  $177,534
Tim Clark T12  $143,714   J.J. Henry CUT  
Phil Mickelson T4  $303,119   Francesco Molinari CUT  
             

Total This Week                $945,888           Total This Week                     $285,992

Season Total                     $1,595,203           Season total                            $1,947,206

Finally…after 4 weeks I end up on the right side of the ledger!  Let the horns blast out and the birdies sing (and drop) the unorthodox Vuvuzela Gambit paid big dividends!!!

Speaking of Vuvuzelas, I hope you’ve been watching the matches at the World Cup.  After a slow start and a few unexpectedly boring games, the action this past week has been really magnificent, with some MAJOR upsets scored by several teams punching waaaay above their weight (the Kiwis, Ghanaians and Serbians have been on fire!) 

And now that England has finally recovered from their tragic case of Craniitus Sphincterosis, have pulled their heads out of their hinder regions and decided to actually play some real football, there’s lots of reasons to cheer at Chez Aubrey.

On a purely personal note, any World Cup where France goes home early is a good World Cup.  Any World Cup where France AND the Italian Diving Team go home early is one to stand up and really celebrate!

Hmmm…that was weird.  As soon as I wrote that my office was rattled by a small earthquake.  I didn’t realize I had any readers in the Vatican!

Okay then, I think it’s time to re-focus and talk about some golf now before the lightning starts firing off in my general vicinity?  Not content to rest on my astounding one-in-a-row streak, here we go with this week’s picks for the Travelers Championship in Connecticut:

Hunter Mahan

If you’re paying close attention…and haven’t nodded off yet, you’ll detect another strategy with this week’s trades.  See if you can pick up on it…

I’ve done really well with Mahan the past few years in our golf pool and Hunter leads the charge this week, by a long shot.  His performance at the past 4 Travelers championships has been nothing short of fantastic: T4 in ’09, T2 in ’08, win in ’07 and T2 in 2006.  

If you subscribe to the “horses for courses” approach to fantasy golf pool selections, then Mahan absolutely, positively has to be on your roster.  Get him a bucket of oats and a good rub-down…and he’ll be ready to rock this week.

Ryan Moore

He doesn’t have as much experience as Mahan, by a few years…but Moore is another guy who should be a contender this week.

He went lights-out and finished T4 at this tourney in 2009, so he should have some happy thoughts about the way the course fits his game.  

 After a great 2009 season, this year must be a bit of a disappointment for Moore and I think this weekend offers one of his best opportunities to turn things around and score a win.  Definitely worth a pick.

 

Bryce Molder

Another young gun I think has a better than average chance of lighting it up this weekend and scoring a win.

Molder finished a very respectable T19 in last year’s tourney, having only played the course a few times.  He’s also been one of the more consistently surprising performers so far this season, racking up 5 top 10 finishes so far.  

Perhaps even more importantly, he wasn’t involved in the carnage last weekend at Pebble.  Failing to qualify for the US Open, Molder could sit back in his living room with a nice cold beer and watch his friends get eaten alive.  He’s coming into this tourney fresh and not at all shell-shocked and demoralized…like a good chunk of the field who played last weekend.

Hell…I picked this guy a few weeks ago when he wasn’t even in a tournament.  I’d really better pick him now that he is in one!

Matt Kuchar  ***

He’s a hard guy for me to figure out and, since turning pro his game has been up and down like a toilet seat…BUT I think he’s riding a nice wave of confidence right now and he’s worth a flutter for the Travelers Championship.

The biggest factor is his T6 showing at the US Open.  While everyone around him was stepping on their private parts on Sunday (with cleats!), Kuchar turned in a fantastic final round of 66…one of the few sub-70 performances on Father’s Day.

With that Disney-esque goofy grin pasted on his face all the time, in many ways he’s a taller, thinner version of Mickelson…minus the man-jubblies, of course. And when he’s on his game (like right now), I think he can be just as threatening to the rest of the field.

***Author’s note.  Just announced: Matt Kuchar had to pull out of the tournament due to the death of his grandmother.  Thanks VERY much to alert reader Shark for filling me in on that news!

My replacement pick is:

Ben Curtis

Coming off a very respectable showing at Pebble Beach (T14 with a fantastic closing 68)…and with a spectaclar season under his belt so far, I think Curtis is more than a fair trade for poor old Matt Kuchar. 

Plus, Curtis has some happy thoughts about the course too…finishing T4 in 2009 and T13 in 2008 at the Travelers Championship.  Based on the stats, he’s a good pick this week for all the same reasons Matt was.  Consider Curtis a shorter, steadier version of Kuchar, without the goofy smile.   BUT, he does have man-jubblies!

Okay, now that I’ve revealed my picks for the week, let’s sojourn down to the basement to see what my little girl can conjure up with tungsten in hand:

D&D Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  • Jeff Gove
  • Paul Stankowski
  • John Huston
  • Roland Thatcher

And that’s it for this week folks.  Fingers crossed!

Please keep those comments and feedback coming in…and remember, if you haven’t done so already, you can scoop a dozen Pro-V1’s by signing up for your free account on the new CanadianGolfer.com.

‘til next week.

Cheers,

Derek

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derekaubrey

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Shark;

    Thanks VERY much for reading my latest article…and for the timely tip on Kuchar. Very sorry to hear that he had to pull out because his grandmother died this afternoon.

    I’m going to invoke the author’s privilege of making a change to my picks, since the tourney hasn’t started yet..and I’ll replace Kuchar with Ben Curtis.

    Cheers,

    Derek

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