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Pet My Aroniminky!

Twice in the fleeting span of three weeks, the PGA Tour has yielded first-time winners that have been anything but “overnight sensations.”  Harrison Frazar took the St. Jude Classic 3 weeks ago; his first win in 355 starts on Tour.  This week, it was Fredrik Jacobson, claiming victory for the first time, in 189 kicks at the cat, at The Traveler’s Championship.

Jammed in between of course was the US Open, won by Rory McIlroy.  Young Rory, at 22, is much closer to being a legitimate overnight sensation…if you disregard the fact that he’s actually been a pro since 2007.

Put the three of them together and it’s like a juicy veal sandwich…served up on a bun that’s well beyond its “best before” date.  No disrespect intended.

For those of you ruled by superstition, or armed with a playful sense of serendipity, it’s easy to see a trend developing here…one you might be inspired to follow for your Fantasy Golf Pool picks in the weeks or months ahead.

And so, as a public service of CanadianGolfer.com, I offer the following list of PGA Players for your consideration.  Each has the one criterion that fits the Frazar/Jacobson mould (or is that mold?)…they’ve been plugging away for a loooooong time and have yet to score their first win on Tour.  Following this tortured logic to its natural conclusion then, these are some of the other guys who are due:

Jay Delsing – 549 starts with no win

Larry Rinker – 525

Skip Kendall – 385

Robin Freeman – 380

Marco Dawson – 356

By the way, none of these guys is in the field this week, not even as alternates…so you don’t have to feel compelled to make use of this incredibly invaluable information right away.  But all are still “active” Tour players…so keep your eyes peeled on upcoming field sheets and get ready to spring into action when you see one of their names surface on the list.

“I’ll take Paul Lynde for the block…and Jay Delsing for the win” Peter.

So now that I covered the longest-serving Tour pros who haven’t won, I guess this would be a good time to open up my own personal wounds and see who didn’t win among my selections for last week’s Traveler’s Championship:

The Traveler’s Championship – Results

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Bubba Watson T38 $       27,000 James Driscoll 5 $        240,000
Hunter Mahan T43 $       18,840 Troy Merritt Cut $                    –
Brandt Snedeker T24 $       46,425 Marc Turnesa DQ $                    –
Kevin Chappell Cut $                – Kenny Perry Cut $                    –
This Week’s Total   $         92,265 This Week’s Total   $           240,000
Season Total   $  11,734,046 Season Total   $        3,891,061

So much for my “Bubba sweeps all Insurance-sponsored tournaments” theory!  With a measly $27k in earnings this week, he probably barely won enough to cover his annual premiums on the pimped-up RV, complete with jumbo-sized velour Elvis painting and optional mechanical bull.

The AT&T National – Derek’s Picks

One of the criteria I tend to use each week in making my (often tragically incorrect) selections for this column is how players have done at a particular venue in years past.  It generally provides a good guideline in identifying “horses for courses,” or at least gives me a nice frame of reference to start sifting through the chaff.

That formula works well for almost every event, except for the Majors that aren’t held at Augusta every year…and, unfortunately, the AT&T National being held this week.

Up until last year, the AT&T National was held at Congressional…which was the host course for this year’s US Open.  So naturally, I cross-referenced the current list of hot players with some of the more recent results at Congressional, to come up with all my brilliant non-Rory picks for the year’s second Major.  Doh!

Unfortunately for us prognosticators, the AT&T National has only been played at its’ current location, Aronimink Golf Club, for a single year…and so we don’t have a plethora of yearly stats and leader boards to use to help us make our blunders.

Other than last year’s event, the last time the Tour stopped here was waaaay back in 1962, when it hosted the PGA Championship…and the winner that year has just slightly more chance of winning the event this week than Jay Delsing does.  (Unless you were to actually ask the ’62 winner…Gary Player…who would probably look you straight in the eye and tell you, in all seriousness, that he had a wonderful chance to win this year)

And all the many golf history buffs reading CanadianGolfer will probably pillory me if I didn’t include this notorious little tidbit about the course; Aronimink was to have been the host course for the 1993 PGA Championship as well…but ended up withdrawing their participation under storm clouds of controversy, justifiably brutal media coverage and an overwhelming outcry from the public.

The reason was that the private club didn’t have a single black member…and didn’t seem likely (at least back then) to correct that situation any time in the near future. It goes without saying that that is not the case any more…nor has it been for a very long time.

And so, with a dearth of recent tournament info available (and setting aside the chances of Gary Player making a comeback), here’s what the sheep entrails tell me might happen this week at Aronimink:

Ryan Moore – He was a mere 3 feet away from keeping Freddie Jacobson’s victory drought alive and unwell last week on the 72nd hole of the Traveler’s Championship.

Whether it was a minor push or a slight misread remains a mystery, but Moore’s short par putt skimmed the edge of the cup and defiantly stayed above ground.  That single missed putt (for a closing 62!) gave Jacobson all the breathing room he needed to make a comfy par on 18 and win by a stroke.

Despite finishing in second place, Moore’s play last week was absolutely inspired.  He turned in rounds of 64-70-64-63.  Even more impressive, I thought, was the positive demeanour and composure he showed when he had to face the dreaded post-round interview, with the even more dreaded Peter Kostis.

Always the creative, insightful type, Kostis somehow managed to come up with a question no one else would have possibly thought of…”how do you feel right now Ryan?”

(“Hmmm…let’s see…I just missed a 3-footer I could probably sink 99 times out of 100 and cost myself a chance to win a PGA Golf tournament and an extra half a million bucks.  Hey, that’s a GREAT question!  You know Peter, I think I feel like singing!”)

To his great credit, Moore’s answer to the question was calm, cool, collected and appropriately optimistic.  While admitting that the final putt would probably “sting for a while,” he was also grounded enough in reality to appreciate that he just put together an amazing 4 rounds…and had a lot to be proud of.

For that reason alone, I think Moore is worth a nod this week. He deserves to get right back in the saddle and finish one off.  The fact that he finished in second place at the AT&T National at Aronimink last year (losing by one stroke to Justin Rose), just makes the call all that much easier for me.

Nick Watney – He started off the year red-hot.  In his first 5 events on tour, his worst finish was 9th.  And that includes a fantastic win at the WGC Cadillac Championship, where he waxed the best 65 other players in the world.

Since then, Watney has cooled down somewhat, missing two cuts (one of them the US Open), but still racking up 5 more top 20 finishes, including two additional top 10’s.

Watney doesn’t need to do anything else this year to call it a major success…but you can tell that he really want to!  The slump in his shoulders walking off his 36th hole at Congressional spoke volumes about his hunger to get back in the winner’s circle…and do a lot more, before the season is done.

Watney is also one of the highest-finishing players from the 2010 AT&T in the field this week.  He finished 7th here last year and should have some pretty good happy thoughts about turning in a really good performance this week.

Robert Garrigus – This pick is all about Congressional…and has nothing to do with any glorious history Garrigus might have at Aronimink.  In fact, in last year’s event, Garrigus finished deep in the pack, turning in ho-hum rounds of 73-69-76-71 to end up in 67th place.

Nope, Garrigus is on my list this week, precisely because of the performance he turned in at the US Open 2 weeks ago.  Armed with that goofy kiddie putter and nerves of steel, Garrigus turned in an inspiring and really fun to watch 4-day total of 278…6 under par, to tie for 3rd place.

In most past years, that would have been more than enough to win the US Open…and comfortably too.  And, if it weren’t for a kid named Rory and his suddenly acquired Green Lantern superpowers, it might have been enough to get the job done this year as well.

After his amazing US Open performance, Garrigus simply has to be riding a new personal high of confidence.  I think that bodes really well for his chances this week in Pennsylvania.

Bo Van Pelt – Here’s another guy that has to be riding a pretty strong wave of positive mental mojo right now…and should be primed for a great performance this week at the AT&T National.

First, he turned in 4 really solid rounds (66-65-69-67) last weekend at the Traveler’s to finish T13.  The week before that, on a MUCH tougher course, he turned in a top 15 performance at the US Open, finishing at -2…despite not only shooting himself in the foot, but blowing it off at the hip, with an opening round of 76!

A lot of guys would have schlepped around the course and mailed in their performance on day two after an opening round like that.  Not Van Pelt.  He scratched and clawed and scraped his way back, to get into the final 5 groups on Sunday afternoon.

That’s the kind of stuff stars build on…and Van Pelt should come into this tournament zoned in on the great work he did in the final three rounds of the US Open…and then again last week.  He also has some good, if limited, local history at this week’s course…finishing T11 in this tournament last year.  Look for Bo to do well this week.

And now we draw our attention to the games room downstairs, to see what my daughter managed to come up with with her dart tosses this week:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard

  • · Stephen Ames
  • · Joe Durant
  • · Charles Howell III
  • · Nick O’Hern

And that’s all for now folks.  Have a great week and enjoy the tourney!

Cheers,

Derek

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derekaubrey

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Now that was a fun read! “Peter,…I feel like singing…” Comedy Gold! Oh, good picks for this week too. Of course, I don’t have any of them in my pool. So they are all destined to do well. Cheers.

  • Another delightful read (and I’m giggling again) … I’d be thrilled if Nick Watney won this week !!

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