Ryan Moore hits a tee shot while wearing one of his tamer outfits.
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we wonder if painter's caps on the golf course are going to become all the rage. OK, so we're not really wondering that. What Fredrik Jacobson's first PGA Tour title showed us again, though, is how deep the competition is in the pro ranks these days. We know, we know, it all sounds like "wah, wah, wah, excuses, excuses." You don't want to hear it, so we'll just move on and try to pick this week's winner to get back on track. Let's get to it.
The PGA Tour heads back to the Philadelphia area for the AT&T National. For a second straight year, the event will be played at Aronimink GC instead of Congressional CC due to the recent U.S. Open. As a result, we'll have to rely a lot more on who's playing well right now vs. course history. For example, it doesn't really help us to know that Gary Player won the 1962 PGA Championship here.
Random tournament fact: Host Tiger Woods has only played in this event, now in its sixth year, three times. Somehow, I don't think that's what AT&T had in mind when they signed up to be the title sponsor.
Justin Rose. At this point last year, Justin Rose was the hottest player in the world and his swing instructor, Sean Foley, was the game's hottest coach. Now both guys are in such need of love they would probably show up to your July 4th backyard barbecue if invited. Actually, Rose played well in March and April, but has cooled off in the warmer weather, missing the cut in three of his last five events.
STUD OF THE WEEK
Ryan Moore. One of our picks last week, Moore would have faced Jacobson in a playoff at the Travelers if he hadn't missed a 4-foot par putt on the last hole. Still, it's tough to get down on a guy who shot a closing 63 to nearly pull out a win, especially when he did the same thing at this tournament last year. His final-round 65 was almost enough to track down Rose. Our tip to Mr. Moore: Stop falling behind by so much.
Nick Watney. He's cooled off a bit since an incredible start to the season, but he's still a safe weekly play. Watney shot four rounds in the 60s in Hartford to finish T-13. Plus, he finished T-7 at Aronimink last year. He's also the highest ranked American in the field, which leads us to...
DUD OF THE WEEK (NOT IN THE FIELD)
Dustin Johnson. If you're expecting to see a lot of fireworks from American golfers this July 4th weekend, think again. We single out DJ since he's not in the field despite playing in Germany this past weekend, but the lack of U.S. talent at Aronimink runs much deeper. None of the top-five ranked Americans are in the field and No. 7, Tiger Woods, will only be there in ceremonial fashion due to injury. Speaking of ceremonial fashion, what are the odds AT&T can convince Woods to don a tricorn hat and a powdered wig in honor of our country's birthday? Now that would sell some tickets.
FAN MAIL BREAK
"Hey, Alex. Big fan. I've heard a lot of talk about the decline of American golf, at least I've heard myself talk about it a lot. I was just wondering what's your take? Sincerely, Johnny Miller."
Thanks for asking, Johnny. Well when we've got a guy using a kid's putter being our low representative at our national championship, that's not a good sign. But seriously, our two big guns are down right now, while the rest of the world has stepped up. If they can get it back to bridge that gap to the next crop of young guys coming up, the ole red, white and blue will be fine. OK, so Johnny didn't really write, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Please feel free to e-mail me
with comments, questions or just to make fun of my picks. And of course, you can follow me on Twitter
MORE PATRIOTIC PICKS
Bo Van Pelt. BVP has quietly become one of the most consistent players on the tour. His T-13 at the Travelers gave him four straight top-15 finishes. What did he do in this tournament last year? That's right, another top 15, with a T-11.
Jeff Overton. A solo third was one of the Indiana product's numerous high finishes last year, but he hasn't done much since his famous "Boom, baby!" yell at the Ryder Cup. It's not that he's played terribly (14 cuts made in 16 events), but he hasn't been able to put four good rounds together often (just two top 10s and three top 25s). He's due for a good performance this week.
BACK ON TRACK SELECTION
K.J. Choi. The Korean Juggernaut had a surprising missed cut in the U.S. Open at Congressional -- a course on which he won the inaugural edition of this event in 2007 -- his last time out. We fully expect him to be playing on the weekend this time, though, while whistling "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Well, at least we expect the first part.
DUD OF THE WEEK (IN THE FIELD)
Kevin Stadler. We've predicted on several occasions that it's time for this guy to get his first PGA Tour win. This is not one of those occasions. Walrus Jr. has missed the cut in five of his last eight events. Even worse, he finished dead last at this tournament last year. By four shots.
FREE FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE
Beware of groundball pitchers. Sure, groundballs are favorable to flyballs that can leave the park, but those who rely on them too much are usually not providing many strikeouts. When those grounders start finding holes, their ERAs start to soar. That's why guys like Mike Pelfrey, Fausto Carmona and, this year until recently, Charlie Morton can go through great stretches. In the long run, though, playing those guys simply trying to put the ball in play can be a dangerous proposition. But some times, living a little dangerously can pay off...
HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD PLAY
Andres Romero. Could we be seeing the re-emergence of a Fantasy Fix favorite? Romero has been relatively quiet the last two years, but his T-6 in Hartford could be an indication that he's found his game. His 11-over-par performance on the weekend here last year is a bit scary, but if the streaky player is heating up, he could provide a lot of help to your team. Is it just a coincidence that his initials are the same as the ones for American Revolution? Fine, it is. But hey, if a Swedish golfer wearing a painter's cap can win on the PGA Tour, then a mountain biker from Argentina certainly has a shot at a second tour title. I'm pretty sure even Ben Franklin would agree.
*-- Alex Myers is a contributing editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to e-mail him
and please follow him on Twitter (@AlexMyers3
) since he has self-esteem issues.*