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"Abridged Too Far…?"

(With apologies to the veterans of Remagen)

This column will be unusually short this week.  Yes, I’ve promised that once before, but this time I really mean it!

For reasons I won’t divulge (and which you don’t want to hear anyway…trust me), let’s just say that I don’t have the energy or electrolytes or concentration to crack off another chapter of War & Peace for you after my latest intimate encounter with 73 feet of 8″ diameter fire hose.

You’re welcome.

So then, here’s a quick re-cap of how we did in last week’s tournament…with special thanks to “Gimme,” one of my three readers, who wrote in to point out that I forgot to add a tally on my little girl’s ledger the week before (damn him!)  The “oversight” (cough, cough) has been fixed now.

Results – The Farmer’s Insurance Open

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

T13

 $                 96,667 Brandt Jobe

CUT

 $                             –
Nick Watney

T60

 $                 13,020 Kevin Kisner

CUT

 $                             –
Phil Mickelson

CUT

 $                         – Chris Riley

T33

 $                     41,700
Brandt Snedeker

1

 $            1,080,000 Rocco Mediate

CUT

 $                             –
This Week’s Total  $            1,189,687 This Week’s Total  $                     41,700
Season Total  $            3,109,848 Season Total  $                1,195,208

The Phoenix Open

It was a little more challenging than I thought it was going to be to make up the roster this week.  And the reason for that is guys that I was looking forward to picking AREN’T in the field. 

Nick Watney bailed out Tuesday.

Defending champ Hunter Mahan buggered off to the Middle East, succumbing to the lure of a huge appearance fee and a really cool trophy.  (“While My Qatar Gently weeps.”) 

World #1 Luke Donald is Ghandi…and so are his buddies Rory and Lee and Jason and KJ and Martin and Alvaro and Retief and Sergio…and on an on….  they’re all in the Middle East this week.

You know, maybe it isn’t the appearance money drawing the cream this week after all.  That field looks amazing and it would be a blast to be there challenging those names.  Hell, it’s going to be fun watching them…and watch I will.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not crying that the Phoenix field is weak, because it isn’t by any means…but there are definitely some shining stars that didn’t put the whole “surviving the 16th at Scottsdale” experience very high up on their priority lists.

Derek’s Picks

Brandt Snedeker – He was very good to me last week, so why not dip into the Brandt well one more time?

A lot of golf writers and analysts have said that Snedeker essentially backed into his latest PGA Tour victory on the weekend.  Thanks to Kyle Stanley’s Van de Veldian performance on the back 9 at Torrey Pines, that might be true, to a degree.  But posting a final-round 67, along with another 67 in the opening round and a smooth 64 Friday sounds like some really solid golf to me.  And overcoming a “moving day” 74 on Saturday, not to mention a 7-stroke deficit,is pretty impressive stuff.

So Snedeker is the hot ticket this week. ..and that always makes a player worth a look.  Looking at his record here also makes him a pretty good pick, I think.  Brandt was T8 at the 2011 Phoenix Open and T9 in 2008.  He was also on his way to making a really good charge in 2010, before he became unravelled on Sunday and shot a 78.

Posting back-to-back wins on the PGA tour are tough, for sure.  Despite that, I’m still going to go with Snedeker this week.  He’s riding some powerful mojo right now that is wise not to ignore.

Webb Simpson – Two years ago, I probably would have said “Webb Who?’  And, if you’re really honest with yourself, most of you probably would be in the same camp.

Fast forward a little in time and I now find myself looking for his name on the field sheets…almost before seeking out any others.  What a difference a year and a bit can make!

Simpson returns to the PGA Tour this week, after taking some R&R time off after the Hawaii swing.  And Hawaii was pretty good to young Webb, so he could certainly afford some play time.  He started the season tied for 3rd at the Tournament of Champions…and then finished top 40 (38th) at the Sony Open birdie-fest.

As far as his performances on this track are concerned, he doesn’t have much of a history to dig into.  Remember, he’s only been a PGA Tour pro for a few years.  He shot a respectable -2 in his opening rounds in 2010…but failed to make the cut.  Last year, he came back with a lot more experience under his belt…experience of being on the Tour, of playing the TPC Scottsdale and of handling the unbelievably rowdy crowd surrounding the course.

He came home at -14 and finished T8, just 4 strokes out of the lead.  The boy learns fast!   

Based on his astounding 2011 form and the way he played here last year, I think it’s really tough not to take him anywhere he tees it up…and I’m definitely putting him on “Team Derek” this week.

Bill Haas – I thought long and hard about taking him at the Farmer’s last week…but didn’t.  It just didn’t feel like the right time to repeat a selection…and his T64 finish at Torrey Pines (when I did take him) seems to have proven me right.

And of course, the selfish bugger shot the lights out last week, posted a -12 and finished T4! 

BUT…since we’ve moved on to Phoenix now…and this is the Waste Management Open we’re talking about, I feel perfectly comfortable in recycling this week.  It’s in the spirit of the whole event right?  In fact, it’s probably my duty to the environment or science, in some twisted, “saving electrons for CERN” kind of way.

But I’m still going to leave Mickelson in the Blue Box this week.  There’s no point in getting carried away with the concept here…and missing the cut last week on a track he should have easily dominated gives me no happy thoughts on Hefty until he shows us some better form.

So then, keep in mind Haas’ T4 finish last week.  First check mark in his column.  Throw in a top 30 at Phoenix in 2011 and a T9 in just his third start here and he’s probably worth a go.  Check two.  Then there’s that whole, “winning the FedEx Cup last year” thing.  Check marks 3 – 9,999,998.

Rickie Fowler – fowler was one of the guys I discarded from my “short, but not quite short enough list” last week.  And in the end, I turfed him for Brandt Snedker…which seemed like a stroke of genius.

If only I had kept Rickie and punted Phil instead, I would have been on fire.

Every golf wag on the planet basically says the same things about Fowler.  It goes something like this; “he’s too good not to win,’ “it’s just a matter of time,” “a future threat to the records books” and, of course, “what the hell is wrong with his hair…and that stupid hat…and those clothes???”

Rickie lit it up last week at Torrey Pines, shooting a very solid -13, to finish T13.  Last year, he was just a stroke out of a playoff behind Hunter Mahan with a -15.  The year before that, he was in grade 7 and his parents grounded him for the weekend, so he couldn’t play.

To my bent and twisted way of thinking, if ever there was an appropriate course for Fowler to break his cherry, it’s this week in Phoenix.  With his youth and talent and derring do…combined with some of the truly goofy stuff we’ve seen out of him (the painful music video, his latest TV ad, his clothes, etc.) it seems like destiny that he should lift his first pro trophy in front of tens of thousands of drunken frat boys in Phoenix.

And now that I’ve had my abbreviated regurgitation, here’s how daughter responded on the dart board this week:

  •         Blake Adams
  •         Matt Jones
  •         Anthony Kim
  •         Y.E.Yang

And that’s all for now folks.  As always, thanks very much for reading…and enjoy the action this week!

Cheers,

Derek

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