‘And just like that, the pressure is off. For the better part of the last three years, the golf watching public has been wondering when Rickie Fowler would finally deliver on his undeniable talent and marketability. So it seems fitting that he do it on the same course that Rory McIlroy did the exact same thing just two years ago. It also seems fitting that his victory came in a sudden death playoff with the very same McIlroy, boosting the rivalry that PGA Tour commish Tim Finchem has been dreaming about since Fowler and McIlroy showed up on the scene. The only playoff hole was nothing short of spectacular, with Fowler and Points belting their drives 300+ yards straight down the fairway, and that’s when the magic began. After McIlroy put his drive 339 yards down the middle of the fairway with his THREE wood, Fowler put the pressure on with a Mickelson-like wedge shot, that landed and stuck just four feet from the pin. Neither Points or McIlroy could get close to the pin, and Fowler drained his putt to take the tournament. This weekend was just another example of the incredible golf that we’ve been treated to in 2012. This week we had Rickie with his breakthrough win, Rory trying to regain #1 and get his second win of the season in the process, Webb Simpson trying to win on the course that he is a member at, Nick Watney trying to regain his form from last year, and Tiger going through more swing troubles and missing the eighth cut of his career. All that and more in this week’s wrap up!
If you didn’t think Brent was back in it before, you better believe he is now. It seems like just yesterday that Brent’s team was the epitome of futility, struggling just to get a top ten. He now finds himself just 15 points out of fourth place, and very much in the running. With 100+ points in three of his last five weeks, Brent’s team has finally hit it’s stride. While the Ernie Els trade was certainly questionable, the recent addition of Rickie Fowler is already paying off, with the youngster having earned 150 points in the past two weeks. It’s a good thing that Rickie took the trophy this week, as Brent didn’t have much else to be excited about. Sang-Moon Bae earned a goose egg, and Brendan Steele wound up with 5. Brent’s team is clearly vectoring up, and if Gary Woodland finds his form from last year(a big IF), Brent’s team should continue to climb the leaderboard.
Despite earning 115 points(his 7th 100+ point week of the season) this week was still a bit of a letdown for James. Going in with a Major calibre lineup, and with a very good chance at a win on Sunday, 115 points is disappointing. We’ll start with McIlroy, who despite being unable to seal the deal in regulation, still has 60 or more points in four of his five starts this season, as he contributed 60 of James’ points this week. Webb Simpson was leading going into the final round, and with a membership at Quail Hollow, you had to think the tournament was his to lose. He did just that with a stretch of bad play on Sunday, ending up alone in fourth place and contributing 40 points. Perhaps the biggest disappointment this week was the wasted mulligan on Ben Crane, who’s weekend collapse wound up earning James just ten points. Mickelson’s bogey on 18 cost him a top 25 and he wound up with a top fifty, while Howell III missed the cut. James closed the gap on Dave for the second straight week, and is within 150 points of the lead.
Dave has looked utterly unstoppable throughout the first half of the season, and this week proved no different, as he still managed to register two top tens and come away with 75 points. Lee Westwood has been on fire this year and has 225 points in just six starts, contributing a top five this week. Jonathan Byrd contributed Dave’s other top ten, sneaking in with a 69 on Sunday. Dave’s other five points came from Brendon de Jonge, who has been the living embodiment of everything that Dave’s team isn’t up to this point in the season. After three straight top tens, Cameron Tringale failed to register, while Zach Johnson couldn’t follow-up his second place finish three weeks ago with any points this week.
Although Lawrence’s 75 points this week was his highest total since the Masters, this was not a happy week for the league’s newest member. Not since David Hearn decided to hire Praz as his caddy has a worse golf-related decision been made than dropping Rickie Fowler. Despite the fact that Retief Goosen has registered just 35 points so far this season, Lawrence still decided to drop the talented Fowler instead and it has backfired horribly. That’s not to say that all of Lawrence’s decisions have been bad. The pickup of Ben Curtis has rewarded him handsomely with 55 points in the last two weeks. Nick Watney was a product of his trade with James, and after failing to contribute last week, Watney enjoyed a top ten and thirty points at Quail Hollow. Carl Pettersson continued to disappoint with just five points, and Kevin Na and Vijay Singh failed to score at all. If Lawrence doesn’t right the ship quickly, he could find himself with the first overall pick for the second year in a row.
Fuchs has been so quiet lately that I almost forgot he was in the league! Although he is certainly slipping in the trash talking department, his team has still been cruising along on autopilot. After three disappointing weeks that saw him earn just 50 points, he exceeded that number this week alone. Ryan Moore seems to have found his stride in the last few weeks, with a top five this week and top ten two weeks ago. After a brief rough patch, John Senden carded a top fifteen this week to get back on track, and Jeff Overton contributed his own top fifty. The fact that Hunter Mahan couldn’t even make the top fifty is surprising, considering that Quail Hollow is a ball striker’s course, and like his owner, Mahan is one of the best ball strikers out there. Johnson Wagner has also reverted back to his old self and missed the cut, giving him 0 points in his last three starts. Fuchs still sits comfortably in third, but he needs to get his game back on track if he’s going to stop Brent from stealing his podium spot.
After two seasons of nothing but excellence, it seems that Beast’s team has fallen off as of late. He has gone a scary 27 weeks without a win, and his keepers just don’t seem to be playing enough. While top tens are always helpful, Beast needs to get someone on his team who can win tournaments other than the John Deere Classic. In typical Beast fashion, he managed another top ten this week, although Jason Day was never in contention. However it is encouraging to see that Day is beginning to get his game back on track. It was discouraging to see that Jim Furyk and Bo Van Pelt could only muster five points between them, as they have been two of his best players over the course of the season. The five points between Sabbatini and Levin was far less surprising, as they have not been very good this season. Beast needs to make a trade for someone who can win tournaments and he needs to do it soon or he’ll be finding his name on another record, and it will be in red.
I don’t want to sound mean, but Bryce’s team this year has been a train-wreck. After starting so well with wins from Bill Haas and Tiger Woods, his fighting spirit has all but disappeared over the past couple of months. He has earned just 100 points over the past five weeks(that includes the Masters), and finally finds himself in the same position he was in last year. His recent trade for Ernie Els was a good move, as Els is playing some of his best golf right now, but that couldn’t help him this week. Much like the last four, this week was a disaster. Tiger missed the cut and looked totally lost in doing so. Bill Haas, Aaron Baddeley and Martin Laird combined for five points, and David Toms managed a top fifteen to somewhat salvage the week. The scary thing about this week is that this was Bryce’s good lineup. Dustin Johnson shows no signs of returning from injury any time soon, and Bryce could use his help badly. If he’s still in last place by the U.S. Open, it may be time to start the all-too-familiar process of selling.
Well friends, that’s the wrap up for this week. Hope you enjoy!