Could this be Tiger’s week?
The golfing world is waiting to see if Tiger Woods has what it takes to win on the PGA Tour again and this week’s tournament, the Quicken Loans National, serves as a great opportunity.
Woods ($8,800) will meet a weak field at a course – TPC Potomac – where he can leave the troublesome driver in the bag.
Only Rickie Fowler ($9,400) will join the party from the world’s top 10 with some players resting, while others are playing in France on the European Tour.
TPC Potomac at Avenal Farm in Maryland is a par-70 7,107-yard course with only two par fives.
The greens are bentgrass and Pete Dye did have a hand in the re-design in 2009.
The course was used for this tournament last year after the event was previously held at the Congressional Country Club.
The track is tough with six par fours falling in the 450-500 yard range, while one of the par fives is a whopping 619 yards.
The rough is long and the fairways are tight in parts. The greens should run quickly too
Last week: Tough week. The column looked at nine players and only five made the cut. We had Paul Casey who stuck around for a T2 finish but blew it on Sunday.
Some surprising missed cuts made for a tricky week with very few teams in any competition getting nine through the cut.
This is a 120-man field so a stronger majority of players will make the cut, top 70 and ties.
The course was the fourth-toughest on the PGA Tour last season and there’s little course history to go off following the redesign nearly 10 years ago.
If you’re a course history type, a web.com Tour event was played here in 2012 and 2013. David Lingmerth ($6,600) won the event in 2012.
Other players who also have experience from the web events include: Jamie Lovemark ($6,600), Sung Kang ($5,800) and Chesson Hadley ($6,700), among others.
I will be looking at accurate players who can put it in the fairway. Kyle Stanley ($8,200) won this event last year at only -7, while losing strokes to the field putting.
Given there won’t be a lot of birdies out there, finishing points will be more important than a normal week on Tour.
Stars and scrubs could be the roster construction to go with but it depends on how you view the $6K range.
$8K & $9K Range
Francesco Molinari ($8,500) – This seems like a fair price when you consider the savings you can get by skipping Fowler ($9,400) and Marc Leishman ($9,000).
Molinari has flagged the big European Tour event in France this week to play here so he must think he can perform on this track.
The Italian is generally accurate from the tee and is sixth on Tour for strokes gained: tee-to-green this season. He can’t putt so just don’t check shot tracker on your PGA Tour app to tilt him missing three-footers.
Kyle Stanley ($8,200) – Being the defending champion can bring extra pressure but let’s hope Stanley can rise above it.
The American is an elite ball-striker and is third in this field for that metric, based on strokes gained.
He won the event with some iffy putting last year so if that could play ball this time out he will be fine.
Charles Howell III ($7,100) – Lost to Stanley in a playoff last year and has been in great form recently.
Chucky Three Sticks has made 10 straight cuts and is 27th on Tour this season for greens in regulation.
He might not win the tournament but his consistent play makes him a reliable type for your roster.
Byeong-Hun An ($6,900) – Continuing my theme of strong ball-strikers, I like Benny An.
He lost in a playoff to Bryson DeChambeau and Stanley at The Memorial recently and enjoyed a nice run of form prior.
The Korean was 29th at this tournament last year and is 18th on Tour for strokes gained: tee-to-green. He is strong off the tee.
Stewart Cink ($6,800) – The 45-year-old has been on the PGA Tour for more than 20 years but isn’t slowing down.
His past two starts have yielded T2 and T4 finishes, largely through his iron play.
Cink is eighth on Tour for strokes gained: approach and while he isn’t incredibly accurate from the tee, he should be able to club down at this course.
Jamie Lovemark ($6,600) – Lovemark is another player in a busy bunch searching for their first PGA Tour victory.
His form is coming around recently and he has made 11 of his past 12 cuts.
Lovemark played the web event here in 2012 and 2013 and finished inside the top 30 both times.
He plays tough courses well, evidenced by his seventh place at the Honda Classic in February.
Andrew Putnam ($6,300) – The web.com Tour graduate has made eight straight cuts and has been flushing his irons recently.
He was solo second at the FedEx St Jude Classic earlier this month and looks like a useful play at this price.
Corey Conners ($5,700) – Conners has made 16 cuts from 21 events, nice consistency for a guy at this quote.
He hits a lot of greens and can get it rolling when he needs to. If you play some expensive players up top then Conners could save you some salary.
Tyler Duncan ($5,400) – This might be a trap but I am ready to fall in. Duncan has crushed his approaches recently and sits inside the top 50 on tour for strokes gained: off the tee and approach.
He’s also made seven straight cuts.
Piece of Chalk: Kyle Stanley ($8,200) is really tough to avoid given his reliable tee-to-green game in this weak field.
Scrub-A-Dub: Give me all the Tyler Duncan at $5,400 this week.