Carebear’s Tour Championship Preview

September 24, 2009

The Tour Championship’s claim to fame used to be that it was the only PGA tournament named after a fictitious tournament from the Academy Award winning film, “Happy Gilmore,” but since the start of the FedEx Cup a few years ago, the tournament has taken on the role of being…well, the Tour Championship.  Sort of.

If the winner here is in the Top 5 in the FedEx Cup standings as of today, they will get the big check, and the Cup.  If the winner comes from outside the top 5, any number of things can happen.  Bob Harig wrote a good article about possible outcomes here.

The FedEx Cup system is obviously flawed, but the PGA has made progress with it since its inception, and they are praying for a win from either Tiger, Stricker, Furyk, Zach Johnson, or even Heath Slocum as this would make the system look good.

29 Nobodies, and a Tiger

Its fair to say Villegas is somewhere lifting weights this week, and Kim is somewhere lifting 12oz, but doing far more reps than Camilo

Its fair to say Villegas is somewhere lifting weights this week, and Kim is somewhere lifting 12oz, but doing far more reps than Camilo

Moving on, the final will consist of only a 30 golfer field.  Unfortunately, a lot of the big names in golf have not made the cut for the final event. You won’t see last year’s champion Camilo Villegas out there, or everyone’s favorite Spaniard, Sergio.  Ian Poulter’s bubble popped two weeks ago, and Adam Scott’s bubble popped when Kate Hudson dumped him.  Anthony Kim won’t grace the fairways of Eastlake, and even last year’s FedEx man, Vijay did not qualify to vie for the coveted Gold Jacket.

Its a shame we wont see what Poulter wouldve worn this week.

Its a shame we won't see what Poulter would've worn this week(Getty Images).

So who is in the tournament you ask? Well, a lot of boring guys who hit fairways and greens.  Apparently, that is how you win golf tournaments.  Monsters of the sport like: Jerry Senden, Kevin Na, Marc Leishman, and Jason Dufner are all gonna be there to get those ratings up (all solid players, but not exactly Arnie Palmer clones).  Phil made it, Tiger will be in Atlanta, and Paddy and Geoff fill out the list of interesting players.  It is a group of good players, but it is also a field boring enough to know that TV cameras will follow Tiger, and only Tiger this weekend.

So, without further ado, my predictions.

My Four Horsemen:

With a name like Eldrick, it has to be good.

With a name like Eldrick, it has to be good.

Tiger Woods
Tiger did not win a major this year so you have to think this becomes a major for the winningest player this season.  If he won Eastlake, no one could consider this a disappointing year for Woods.  It would be his 7th win in 17 events, pretty ridiculous.  Also, he dominated two weeks ago at the BMW.  Tiger has two wins and three runners up finishes in this tourney. It hasn’t been his most consistent year, but Tiger is the clear favorite.

Jim Furyk
Jimmy played very well in the battle for 2nd place at the BMW two weeks ago.  Furyk is making a case for big changes in the FedEx Cup by having a chance to win the thing without winning a single tournament this season.  The very bald, 39-year old has turned it on of late, and has shown that the FedEx Cup is really about winning late.  He really was in no position to contend until a 15th place finish in New York, 8th in Boston, and T-2nd last week at Cog Hill. If he stays hot, he could easily take the Cup.

John Senden
This guy led the tour in Greens in Regulation this season, and can strike it off the tee, as well.  Senden has no wins this season, but has made it to the weekend twenty times.  The Aussie is one of those guys that could play spoiler in Atlanta.

Zach still hasnt taken this jacket off.

Zach still hasn't taken this jacket off.

Zach Johnson
Eastlake is a solid course, but not necessarily one for the longer hitters.  At 7,154 yards, this is a course where this field could put up low scores. Also, Atlanta has been ravaged by rain of late, so the greens should be a little softer at least for the first couple days.  So guys like Johnson who pound fairways and greens, but don’t boom it off the tee can contend.  Johnson could finally prove hes a legitimate, albeit boring, star on the PGA tour with a victory and FedEx Cup.

With only 30 guys in the field at least I can be assured that my guys will be playing on the weekend.  I got about a 13% chance of actually getting the winner this week.


Even though the field is a bit depleted, this should be a good battle, and with there being a good chance that the winner at Eastlake will take home the $10 Million FedEx check, look for nerves, and Tiger intimidation to be in full effect.

Heres a free lesson.

"Here's a free lesson."

And if Shooter beats Happy, Happy quits golf, and Shooter turns Happy’s old room into a trophy room.  Anything can happen at The Tour Championship.

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Carebear’s BMW Championship Preview

September 10, 2009
The beautiful FedEx cup.  Golfs biggest prize.  I love corporate sponsorship

The beautiful FedEx cup. Golf's biggest prize. I love corporate sponsorship

The FedEx Cup is winding down and heating up as the tour rolls into LeMont, Illinois this week.  Steve Stricker took over the lead in the cup standings with his victory in Boston and Tiger is still reeling from a few tough losses, but finished strong at the Deutsche Bank. 

Cog Hill is a different animal than it was even last year.  The new 7,300 yard track should make this event finish closer to par than year’s past, but since I am never right when it comes to any of this I will just get to this week’s picks. 

My Four Horsemen:

1. Camilo Villegas:

Camilo is the defending champ of this event, and should defend it pretty well.  He finished well back in the pack last week after withdrawing the Barclays with a wrist injury.   So basically, I have nothing good to report about him except that he won last year. 

2. Jim Furyk

Some men can pull bald off, put the Srixon hat back on, Jim.

Some men can pull bald off, put the Srixon hat back on, Jim.

Furyk played well last week in Boston finishing tied for 8th and finished tied for 3rd at Cog Hill last year.  He is yet to win this season, but has 8 top-10’s.  His length off the tee will hurt him a bit (180th on tour, but he puts it in the fairway) but don’t be surprised to see him in the running. 

3. Paddy Harrington

Paddy started off so slow this season, but has been on a tear of late.  He just seems to find a way to give tourneys away on Sunday, though.  In his last four tourneys Paddy has finished 2nd, 4th, 10th, and 2nd, only Tiger puts up numbers like that regularly.  It seems Harrington has found his game its too bad he uses Wilson clubs or maybe he’d win every week. 

4. Geoff Ogilvy

Geoff had a solid week in Boston in what must be a frustrating season for the big Aussie.  Two wins will make anyone happy, but he won two of the first five events, and has since struggled a bit.  Ogilvy came back last week finishing 7th, and when he is on he is one of the top-5 players on tour.  He has the length to be a serious contender if he puts it together this week. 

My Darkhorse Surprise Guys

I dont know how I feel about Under Armour on a golf course, but Johnsons got a shot(Getty Images)

I don't know how I feel about Under Armour on a golf course, but Johnson's got a shot(Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson

He hits the hell out of the ball, but doesn’t hit the fairway much.  Finished tied for fourth last week, and this is a new course for everybody this week so who knows. 

Sean O’Hair

This being a course the players are not completely familiar with will put Sean O’Hair’s name out there as well.  He is becoming less of an underdog with every tournament he plays, but I will pretend he still is one.  A great ball striker, he may be the story that Villegas was last year here. 

Where’s Tiger?

A familiar image in the past couple months

A familiar image in the past couple months

Tiger has as good a chance as anyone, but he’s too popular a pick.  I really want to see how he deals with all these close defeats, though.  To think the man has played 15 events, made 14 cuts, and has 12 top 10’s and the season’s been a bit of a disappointment just speaks of how much better than everyone else Tiger is. 

FedEx Cup

This is the last tournament before the Tour Championship so it has some big implications.  The FedEx Cup will be guaranteed to the winner of the Tour Championship if they are in the top-5 of the cup standings going into the event.  So the BMW becomes a crucial event.  2,500 points will be awarded to the player who is #1 heading into Eastlake as well, making him hard to catch unless someone in the top-5 wins the Tour Championship. 

I don’t understand it either.  PGATour.com tries to explain it, but it may as well be in Swahili because I have no idea. 

Really at this point, Tiger, Stricker, and somehow Heath Slocum are the only guys with a chance to be number one going into the final, but there is a pretty large chance that the last tournament will decide the Cup unlike year’s past.  

As my colleagues did with their football picks, I will encourage you not to bet based on my predictions.  If this is your first time reading one of my tournament previews I tend to be very, very wrong.  But enjoy the tournament. 

A Little Champions Tour Sidestory

Mike Reid, Loyal to clubs or cheap bastard? (Photo/ Getty Images)

Mike Reid, Loyal to clubs or cheap bastard? (Photo/ Getty Images)

Golf is a sport where people often cite ever changing technology and ever rising prices when it comes to the clubs in player’s bags.  A few weeks back Mike Reid took down took down the Jeld-Wen Tradition shooting a 16 under 272 at Crosswater Resort in Oregon.  The surprising thing was, he was hitting ancient clubs.  Here’s a look at the old man’s bag and the club’s values from the PGA value guide.

I will list the High end prices, too. 

Driver:
Titleist 983K, 7.5 Degree (gotta have a sweet swing to hit that one)  $31.30

3 Wood:
Taylormade 200 Tour(I could barely even track this down) $23.65

5 Wood:
Taylormade Burner Raylor(This thing is ancient. I had to search ebay to track it down so I don’t have an exact value, but bidding starts at.) $40

Hybrid:
Titleist 909H- pretty new club- $71

Irons:
(4-E)Ben Hogan Apex Forged, btw, the 1986 models.  The Value Guide has no value on these and the only set I found on ebay was selling them more as antiques I think.  Lets value them at $200 for both nostalgic and former great club value. 

Wedges
Mizuno MP: $ 50
Titleist Vokey $ 50

Putter:  TP Mills Tradition- we will leave this out for sake of argument because it costs more than my whole bag. 

Sans putter his bag costs a grand total of $465.95
So if your excuse for not golfing is that you don’t have clubs, just know that Mike Reid won a big old man tournament with less than a $500 bag.  It would be hard to find any small time muny champ with less than a $500 bag.