Is it safe to say that the era of Rory McIlroy has begun? The supremely talented youngster won yet again last week, just three weeks after taking home the PGA Championship by a record 8 strokes. Despite playing just 14 tournaments so far this year, McIlroy has put together an impressive season, with six top three finishes, and two other top tens. He is now the world #1 ranked player by a sizable margin and has clearly shown the fortitude to get through the mid-season struggles that resulted in poor finishes at the U.S. and British Opens. His three wins on the PGA Tour so far this year put him tied with Tiger Woods for the the most in that category, and having beaten Louis Oosthuizen by just one stroke this week shows he can win the close ones too. This week was dominated by James’ team, but there was other movement amongst the leaderboard as well. Let’s take a look.
James’ team was on fire this week, and it led to him having the third highest tier three single week performance of all time, and the highest since 2010. Led by McIlroy, who sits just five points back of Luke Donald’s single season point record set in 2011, James team laid waste to the field this week, carding three top four finishes en route to a 290 point finish. In addition to McIlroy’s 150 point win, Louis Oosthuized contributed 75 with a second place finish, and the resurgent Phil Mickelson was eight under on the weekend to grab a share of fourth. Throw in 15 points from a Jason Dufner top 25 and the win puts James more than 350 points ahead of second place, and on pace to break his single season points record.
Finishing a distant second this week was Bryce, who has now passed Beast and is back in position for a podium finish. Led by Woods, who is averaging more than 40 points per start this year, Bryce posted 130 points and swung by Beast to lay claim to third place. Aiding in Woods’ effort was Dustin Johnson, who is a FedEx Cup machine with wins in 2010 and 2011 and off to a great start this year with back-to-back top four finishes. Cap it off with top fifties from Ernie Els and Bill Haas and Bryce wound up with the second best total of the week.
Third place this week goes to a resurgent Fuchs squad, which posted it’s third straight 100+ point week. Despite not getting his roster in and benching a top ten from the suddenly elite Brandt Snedeker, Fuchs still managed to break the 100 point barrier this week and pass Lawrence for fifth place thanks to top ten finishes from both Ryan Moore and Jeff Overton. John Senden is quickly becoming one of the best grinders on tour, and has now gone seven straight tournaments scoring at least 15 points, including 25 this week. Another ten came from Schwartzel and it was a pretty good finish for Fuchsy, who will certainly be excited to get the red hot Sergio Garcia back next week.
Although Beast managed a respectable 70 points this week, he will not be happy about falling back into fourth place. As the only manager other than James to make it to the podium in the first two seasons, Beast is fiercely competitive and wants the pride that goes with a top three finish. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are doing their best to make that happen, with both registering top fifteen finish after they both carded goose eggs last week. Matt Kuchar and Bo Van Pelt’s matching top fifties are disappointing for Beast, as he expects more from his elite players, and they’ll need to come up big in the remaining two tournaments if Beast is going to find the podium once again.
Adam Scott’s collapse at the Open Championship is apparently affecting Brent’s team far more than anyone would have guessed. Since the meltdown at Royal Lythem, Brent’s squad has averaged just 60 points a week, despite the fact that four of the six tournaments were tier three or higher. His team has also registered at least six goose eggs in three of those six weeks. This week was another disappointing one for Brent, with an Osicki’d Luke Donald managing just ten, while Adam Scott contributed a top ten in the lone bright spot of Brent’s week. With Fuchs passing Brent, the league’s resident Andy Murray lover finds himself just 105 points out of last place and the first overall pick next year.
Lawrence will have a golden opportunity over the next two weeks to get out of the basement, as he sits just over 100 points behind Brent for sixth place. The benched win from Nick Watney last week certainly hurts Lawrence’s chances, but a top 25 from Keegan Bradley keeps him in it. Top 25s from Webb Simpson and Nick Watney also contributed to Lawrence’s week, giving him 55 points. If Lawrence can get a couple of big finishes coming home he has a shot at passing Fuchs and finishing in fifth place.
It’s not often that Dave finds himself at the bottom of the wrap-up, in fact this is the first time in more than two months that Dave has finished last in points. Unfortunately it was the worst possible timing as James gained more than 250 points on Dave, giving Dave a massive deficit to overcome if he hopes to take home the crown and prevent an unprecedented threepeat for James. With just 35 points, this week was a write-off for Dave as Bubba Watson and Justin Rose both missed the cut, and Graeme McDowell failed to crack the top fifty. Lee Westwood has bounced back nicely from a pair of missed cuts with a top five finish last week and top fifteen this week, while Zach Johnson has failed to make an impact since his top ten finish at the Open Championship. Dave will likely need a pair of wins coming home if he wants to get back to first place, something that’s not out of reach considering the talent on his team.
Well that’s the wrap up for this week gentlemen. Just two more weeks of golf left this year, and just a reminder to get your rosters in for the final two weeks…even if you’re distracted by football. Enjoy!