January 25, 2013

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2013 Farmers Insurance Open: 4 Who Can Win

By: Tyler Vespa

With the PGA Tour season now in full swing, we’ve seen 3 pretty different winners. Dustin Johnson won the rain shortened Hyundai Tournament of Champions to win his 7th career PGA Tour event. University of Georgia rookie Russell Henley won the Sony Open by 3 strokes over Tim Clark to end the Hawaii Swing. At age 41, Brian Gay won the opening event of the West Coast Swing, the Humana Challenge in a playoff over Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth for his 4th career win. So a rookie, an over 40 and a 5 year, 28 year old PGA Tour veteran all have a victory early in 2013.

Villegas currently sits at +4 in the Farmers Insurance Open.

This is where that wild opening to the season ends. I’m going back to the book. Tiger Woods makes his 2013 PGA Tour debut at Torrey Pines right near his hometown of Cypress. San Diego’s son Phil Mickelson comes to his home track fresh off of a T37 at the Humana, where save for his opening round of even par 72, he may have won the event.

With that I give you 4 guys who can this week along the California coast:

  1. Tiger Woods- 6 wins in this event. 5 other top 10’s at this event.
  2. Phil Mickelson- 2 wins. 5 other top 10’s at this event.
  3. Brandt Snedeker- Defending champion. 3 other top 10’s at this event.
  4. Nick Watney- 1 win in 2009, 3 other top 10’s at this event.

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One of these 4 is going to win. Personally, I’d love to see Tiger and Phil go head-to-head right in their own backyard. Tiger beats Phil with a birdie on the par 5, 18th hole. Rivalry renewed. PGA Tour victory number 75 for Tiger.

September 14, 2012

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FedEx Cup Finale: Previewing The Tour Championship

By: Tyler Vespa

This is it. This is the final event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Each year at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, the winner of the Tour Championship is crowned, and since 2007 the FedEx Cup champion, who wins 10 million dollars.

Could Steve Stricker come from 16th to win the Fed Ex Cup?

Heading into the Tour Championship, which begins September 20th, any player ranked in the top 5 of the season-long FedEx Cup standings controls their own destiny. Meaning, any player ranked in the top 5 will win the FedEx Cup if they can close the deal in Atlanta.

Before 2009, the player ranked first in the regular season standings could accumulate enough points to only have to finish each playoff event. Since 2009, there was a new points reset installed before the Barclays which gave each player ranked in the Top 30 a mathematical chance to win the FedEx Cup, or in other words it made the final event, the Tour Championship the determining factor of who wins the 10 million dollars.

Each year before 2010, the player ranked first in the FedEx Cup heading into the Tour Championship won the FedEx Cup. The last two years, the winner of the FedEx Cup came from outside the top 5. Jim Furyk was ranked 11th when he won in 2010, and Bill Haas was ranked 25th last year.

Heading into the 2012 finale, here are the 5 players that control their own destiny:

  1. 1. Rory McIlroy
  2. 2. Tiger Woods
  3. 3. Nick Watney
  4. 4. Phil Mickelson
  5. 5. Brandt Snedeker

(With a victory, they also win the FedEx Cup)

Out of those 5, my top 3 to win the Tour Championship are:

  1. 1. Tiger Woods (Finished outside Top 10 only once at East Lake, that was in 1998)
  2. 2. Phil Mickelson (Only other multiple winner at East Lake since 1999)
  3. 3. Nick Watney (Only other player with a previous top 5 finish at East Lake, he was T4 in 2010.

My sleeper pick to win the FedEx Cup from outside the top 5 is:

Ernie Els (Has 6 top 10’s in eight starts at East Lake for his career)

My dream scenario is to see a playoff between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for the FedEx Cup title. In the end, I hope Tiger beats Phil to revenge his lost to Phil earlier this year at Pebble Beach. Will it be a third installment? In 2000 and 2009, Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods at East Lake. Take the gloves off.

April 12, 2011

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Surviving the Masters

By: Joe Williams

99 players teed it up at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday to compete for the green jacket. Charl Schwartzel was the last man standing on Sunday afternoon. He survived one of the most wide-open and unpredictable finishes in Masters history. If he is anything like me, he is still wearing that green jacket.

If you missed it, here’s how the field narrowed from 99 players to one Masters Champion:

November 25, 2010 – Tiger Woods will never forget this Thanksgiving Day. As we all know, his life changed in a major way and he hasn’t won since. (Just kidding about his elimination. Tiger could have won this tournament.)

Monday, April 4: No amateur has ever won the Masters. It is too tall an order for a group of guys who are probably just happy to be playing in the Masters. Players eliminated: David Chung, Jin Jeong, Lion Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, Nathan Smith, and Peter Uihlein. 93 players still alive.

Wednesday, April 6: Luke Donald wins the Par 3 Contest. No winner of the Par 3 Contest has won the Masters in the same year. Players eliminated: Luke Donald. 92 players still alive.

Thursday, April 7, 8:51 a.m.: Aaron Baddeley’s tee shot on the first hole ends up in a woman’s lap. When he arrived he marked the ball’s spot underneath her chair with a tee and took a drop. This is not the way you want to begin a major championship. Baddeley goes on to shoot 75. Players eliminated: Aaron Baddeley. 91 Players still alive.

Thursday, April 7, Round 1: You cannot win a tournament in the first round but you can play your way out of it. Just ask Martin Kaymer. He came into the week at the top of the world rankings but shot a 78 in the first round and went on to miss the cut. He was not the only big name to struggle in the first round. Players eliminated: Mark O’Meara 77, Padraig Harrington 77, Martin Kaymer 78, Ben Crenshaw 78, Ian Woosnam 79, Tom Watson, 79, Craig Stadler 80, Arjun Atwal 80, and Henrik Stenson 82. 83 players still alive.

Friday, April 8, 12th hole: Matt Kuchar stood on the 12th tee at 3-under par and within a few shots of the lead. His tee shot vanished as it landed. They finally found the ball but he had to take a drop on the other side of Rae’s Creek and walked away with a double-bogey. Graeme McDowell ran into trouble on 12 as well. He took a triple-bogey and missed the cut by two shots. Players eliminated: Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell. 80 players still alive.

Friday, April 8, Round 2: Only the top 44 and ties get to play the weekend at Augusta. Those who miss the cut can only think about what might have been. Players eliminated: Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, Sandy Lyle, Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, Rory Sabatini, Hiroyuki Fujita, Kevin Streelman, Anders Hansen, Louis Oosthuizen, Gregory Havret, Jason Bohn, Yuta Ikeda, Carl Pettersson, D.A. Points, Retief Goosen, Peter Hanson, Jhonattan Vegas, Ben Crane, Heath Slocum, Jerry Kelly, Stuart Appleby, Mark Wilson, Kevin Na, Francesco Molinari, Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Robert Allenby, Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover, Tim Clark, Stewart Cink. 45 players still alive.

Saturday, April 9, Front Nine: It’s moving day. Those who just made the cut have no room for error. They need to go low. Players eliminated: Kyung-Tae Kim, Ernie Els, Nick Watney, Camilo Villegas, Steve Marino, Alex Cejka, and Paul Casey. 38 players still alive.

Saturday, April 9, Round 3: Anything can happen in the final round of a major championship. If you can stay within shouting distance of the lead, you’ve got a shot. Players eliminated: Jeff Overton, Trevor Immelman, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Justin Rose, Bill Haas, Robert Karlsson, Charley Hoffman, Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Ryan Moore, David Toms, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Sergio Garcia, Ryo Ishikawa, Ricky Barnes, Ricky Fowler. 20 players still alive.

Sunday, April 10: Rory McIlroy holds a four shot lead at -12. Anybody within range of second at – 8 has a shot to make a run if McIlroy struggles and comes back to the field.
1st hole – Alvaro Quiros and Martin Laird make bogey. Ryan Palmer makes double bogey. 17 players still alive.
3rd hole – Y.E. Yang makes bogey. 16 players still alive.
4th hole – Steve Stricker, Edoardo Molinari and Bubba Watson make bogey. 13 players still alive.
5th hole – Phil Mickelson makes double bogey. 12 players still alive.
3rd hole – Charl Schwartzel holes out from the fairway for an eagle to go -11 and tie for the lead. Fred Couples and Geoff Ogilvy are seven shots behind two players. 10 players still alive.
8th hole – Tiger Woods makes an eagle to get to -10 and a tie for second. Bo Van Pelt and Ross Fisher are five shots behind two players and six shots off the lead. 8 players still alive.
11th hole – Lee Westwood makes bogey and drops to -5 with three players tied for the lead at -10. 7 players still alive.
10th hole – Rory McIlroy makes a disastrous triple-bogey to fall out of the lead. He is just two shots behind but it is too hard to recover from a mess like that. 6 players still alive.
16th hole – Adam Scott nearly makes an ace but settles for birdie to go -12. Angel Cabrera falls four shots off the pace. 5 players still alive.
17th hole – K.J. Choi makes a bogey and drops to -9. 4 players still alive.
17th hole – Charl Schwartzel makes birdie to take the lead at -13. Tiger Woods is in the clubhouse at -10. 3 players still alive.
18th hole – Charl Schwartzel makes birdie to win the Masters by two shots over Jason Day and Adam Scott.
Your winner: Charl Schwartzel

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