The Deutsche Bank preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
Let’s not dwell on the Barclays, as the pain of seeing our stable favourite outplay our pick is still too fresh in the memory.
We are now down to the last 100 – though only 99 tee it up – at TPC Boston.
The course is nothing like Bethpage Black with numbers up to 22 under winning multiple times down the years.
Two things therefore spring to mind. Yes you can spray it a bit (Jason and Jordan take note with 20 and 27 fairways last week) but you also better be sinking some putts. Does this rule out Rory? He has a new putter and grip and it all looked a bit awkward at The Barclays with endless short missed putts. Jason has acknowledged he is guessing off the tee but looked a danger when he got to 7 under off the back of some crazy putting. Jordan hit 4 fairways on Saturday and while it looked bad there were a few minor misses. His putting though looked fragile in between the usual makes. Dustbin revealed he’d basically chilled out for three weeks and while that looks a good idea on paper given the run coming up it must have taken the edge off his game. You could flip these arguments on their head and make a case for all of these top four. Stenson withdrew citing a minor niggle but given the time he spent on the practice ground afterwards it looked more like “where the hell is this going to go Pete”. Until he gets back to form you couldn’t have him –which to be fair could be on Friday – we have a Friday start this week.
As an aside to Speith. He openly dislikes the poa annua greens in play at Bethpage Black and these bent grass greens will suit him more.
As usual there is a case for and against all these top players but the against is strongest when price is factored in. Yes they could all win but they are best left alone.
Patrick is no doubt fresh from his celebrations and has a 4th here last year. Is he a repeat winner? The case we have made all year is about his consistency and that if he putted well he’d contend. So it proved but we missed the boat. At the price we will death ride him for the back up.
Rickie? The bogey free streak was necessary for him to build his score and maintain a lead but he wasn’t actually making any notable putts. There was one long one mid round which he thought was in and then he made nothing and Patrick was solid tee to green, around them, and on them. Fowler won this last year and on paper a 7th looks good but it was a bit of a car crash considering he led by 2 at one stage. Plus his price is half what is was last week. Love you Rickie but no thanks this week.
Rose is still wrapt up in Olympic glory and has a poor record here by his standards.
The former Mullet of the Year finalist has quietly come back into some form. Thirteenth last week was his best finish for months amid some middling performances. He finished third here last year having led by three at one stage and won in 2010 posting the record equalling 72 hole score of 262. Hoffman’s effort at Bethpage Black was all the more impressive since he languishes in 176th in Driving Accuracy. He does however hit 64% of his greens despite that. He has a win and one top 10 from 24 starts this year so is hardly Mr consistent. Missed cuts at the Open and USPGA have been followed by four rounds in the 60’s at the Travellers and that really nice finish at The Barclays. Noticeably he has begun to drive the ball much better and he posted his first positive stokes gained putting for 6 events at The Barclays to boot. A man who likes the course, is driving it well and putting well is a solid wagering proposition.
Runner up here in 2014 when he claimed the Fed Ex Cup – a performance that acted as a catalyst for the US team to change their selection procedure – Horshel has a similar profile to Hoffman. He hasn’t won but is showing his best form now. Missing the cut at the Open and finishing down the field at The PGA preceded some good play in both the Wyndham and The Barclays. In both cases good ball striking was backed up by better than seasonal average putting. To have hit 73.61% of the fairways at Bethpage Black and nearly 70% of greens was a great tee to green performance. He backed this up with a strokes gained putting figure of 0.251. At the Wyndham his figure was 0.967. These suggest improvement on the greens a trend that if it continues makes Billy a danger. He has looked awkward to say the least over the ball with an odd severely open stance – but hey, if its working – and with five of his last eight rounds in the 60’s he’s in form with no Ryder Cup distractions.
We nearly went for him last week and his performance at The Barlcays was enough to plump for him here. Can he make the Ryder Cup team? Maybe with a win. We did pick him for The Wyndham on the basis he could shoot low scores and Thomas has shot a 62. Low scoring will be needed this week.
He has now won and posted six top tens in 2016 plus he hits 66% of greens. He will need to improve his putting but his strokes gained putting stats are somewhat offset by great tee to green play. We’ll take a chance he is able to build on last week’s effort and post some low numbers as he’s shown he can do.