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Déjà Vu…All Over Again!

I’m starting to detect a disturbing pattern with my selections for poolside friends.  And it’s one that has me quite puzzled and, frankly, unsure how to proceed.

You see, the past two winners on the PGA Tour were guys that I actually chose to win…Pettersson last week and Appleby this week.  If you’ve been following this column though, you immediately recognize the problem; I chose them to win too early. 

I chose Pettersson to be victorious at the John Deere Classic, 3 weeks too soon. I selected Appleby to hoist the trophy in “Dubious Picks…and Mrs. Doubtfire” the week before that, 4 weeks too soon.

Predictus Prematuris!

As someone who has used marketing research pretty extensively…and has taught it for years at the college level, I’m the first to admit that two in a row of anything doesn’t represent a trend.  Still though, after two straight weeks, I am starting to feel a bit like the Fantasy Golf Prognosticator’s version of Marty McFly…with much worse hair and a bad habit of smother-hooking tee shots when they really count. 

I get the uneasy feeling that I should have kept my Lotto Max tickets from 3 and 4 weeks ago and then bought those numbers for this week’s $50 million draw.        

Oddly enough, it seems that the event that started this bending-backward of the space time continuum can be tracked back to the week I actually made my first successful pick. 

Five weeks ago I correctly prognosticated Steve Stricker’s win in Illinois.  Since then, it seems that my picks are coming up aces…but weeks too late and in reverse order???  Somehow I angered the Pool Gods by beating the odds and getting one right…and now the planet has spun off its axis and we’re hurtling at breakneck toward the center of the universe.  Sometime in the future we’ll travel far enough back in time to get to the moment of the Big Bang…except, since we’re going backwards, it’ll be the Big Pucker.

So…now what the hell do I do with this information?  Do I disregard it entirely and continue to sift through the sheep entrails each week, trying to figure out who has the best shot, based on a combination of current form and past performances at a particular course? 

Or, do I just hop into my souped up Delorean golf cart, toss in some banana peels and old golf socks, tweak the flux capacitor and scream back to the future…to simply recycle my picks from a few weeks ago?  I’ve looked at the list of players…and they would make attractive, logical picks, I think. 

Where is Doc Brown when you need him for advice?  Probably fondling Mary Steenburgen behind the caddy shack again…damn him!

Okay, so since everyone knows that I didn’t pick Appleby to win this week.  Let’s take a quick look to see how the characters I did pick fared on the PGA Tour’s latest debut event.

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

Kevin Na T36  $      25,833 Tim Herron T51  $     13,893
Daniel Chopra Cut   Charles Howell III T9  $    138,857
Trevor Immelman Cut   Brandt Snedeker T16  $     90,000
Nick Watney Nada George McNeill Cut  
This Week’s Total    $      25,833 This Week’s Total    $    242,750
Season Total    $ 4,216,008 Season Total    $ 3,440,971

Brutal.  My best horse finishes 36th, two of my stars don’t make the cut…and one of my chosen ones decides to pull out of the tournament and not even give me the courtesy of an e-mail to let me know, so I can make a swap for him.  There’s gratitude for ya!

By the way, it’s probably almost redundant to mention this, but the “dark side” whiners were out in full force again this week…complaining bitterly in every on-line forum they could crash, about Appleby’s utterly fantastic finish of 59 on Sunday. 

They’re now using Appleby’s record-tying score from this week, then adding Pettersson’s brilliant 60 from the Canadian Open last week…to arrive at the stunningly moronic conclusion that the PGA has to take immediate steps to ensure that we never see another Tour event held at a “pitch and putt” like St. George’s or The Greenbrier!!!”

One quick look at the great players who didn’t make the cut in each of these events should be enough to dispel this kind of crap…but apparently it’s not. 

Why can’t these goofs realize that the PGA Tour’s slogan is much more than just a clever marketing line?  These Guys ARE Good!  Actually, I think that slogan damns the players with faint praise.  Compared to the rest of us mere mortals, these guys aren’t good…they’re GREAT!

Why then should it surprise any of us when one of them draws deep on his incredible skills and does something remarkable?  Why do some feel the need to denigrate the achievement by pawning it off as a deficiency in the course or the field?  It’s truly sad.  I’ll say no more about it.

The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

Lee Westwood – One of the hottest players on the planet right now, Westwood is a choice that’s really comfortable to put at the top of the list.

Not only is he in great form, he’s also excelled in the “big” tournaments so far this season; 2nd at the Open Championship, 2nd at the Masters, 4th at the Player’s Championship.  Oh yes, he also racked up a win at the St. Jude.

He’s also shown really fine form at this tournament in the past few years.  Few players have racked up a more impressive handling of Firestone over the past couple of years; T9 in 2009, T2 in 2008.

Phil Mickelson – A top 4 finish at the US Open and a win at the Masters are on the resume so far this year for this former “best player never to have won a major.”

Since Mickelson finally got that monkey off his back, he’s been a perpetual threat to keep his cool for 72 holes and walk away with the hardware every time he tees it up at golf’s biggest tournaments.

Firestone is a course that seems to me to be well-suited to the swash-buckling Phil who always lurks in the background waiting to surface.  If he decides he wants to fly by the seat of his pants for 4 days and just “go for it” (no matter what he has to go over, under, through or around to get to “it”) Firestone strikes me as the course where it seems he could do just that.

Nick Watney –I picked him last week…but he withdrew at the last minute for personal reasons.

Other than feeling a little snake-bitten because he didn’t show up, I think all of the reasons I had for picking Watney last week are just as valid for this weekend’s event.  

Hunter Mahan –I’m not going to entirely ignore what’s going on with my recent selections, so what the hell…here’s my Marty McFly selection for the week.  I picked him prior to selecting Pettersson and Appleby, so if there IS any truth to this bizarre theory of mine, then he’s in the bullpen waiting to rack up his next win.

And before you (logically) assume I’ve completely gone off my nut, I would like to point out that there are some pretty good reasons to give Mahan a check mark this week.

In the past few years, he’s logged an impressive record at Firestone.  He finished T4 last year and T10 the year before that.  Each year, he finished just 5 strokes behind the eventual winners.

If he can get his putter working this week, I think Mahan might be able to turn the historical tables and open up a 5 stroke gap over the other guys in the field tocome away with the win.

Okay then, now that I’ve made my picks known for the latest WGC event, let’s see what fiendish ways my daughter managed to conjure up to humiliate me this week with her careless lobs:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • Paul Casey
  • Stewart Cink
  • Bubba Watson
  • Ian Poulter

In addition to the WGC Bridgestone this weekend, we have another event happening for the rest of the PGA Tour players outside the world’s top 64, of course. 

Here, in point form, are our selections for Turning Stone:

Derek’s Picks 

  • Matt Bettencourt
  • Brendon de Jonge
  • Charles Howell III
  • Bryce Molder

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • Stephen Ames
  • Charlie Hoffman
  • Billy Mayfair
  • Michael Bradley

 And that’s it for this week folks.  Hit ‘em straight!

 Cheers,

 Derek

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