It's tough to know what to expect from Tiger Woods on the course these days.
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we've decided a poker game with Jason Dufner wouldn't be a good idea. A panel of Olympic judges would probably be split on whether or not the guy even cracked a smile after winning his first PGA Tour event. On the other hand, we were definitely smiling with our picks showing up all over the leader board in New Orleans. But unlike Dufner, we're not resting on our laurels and taking this week off (You call getting married a good excuse?). Let's keep it going with our latest batch of predictions.
The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte for the 10th edition of the Wells Fargo Championship. In the past decade, it's an event that's grown quickly in stature, thanks in large part to Quail Hollow, a course that's very popular with the players. Not surprisingly, Quail Hollow wasn't designed by Greg Norman.
Random tournament fact: The closing three-hole stretch at Quail Hollow is known as "The Green Mile." It seems short, though, when compared to the plodding Tom Hanks movie of the same name.
Lucas Glover. The Glove, AKA Jason Dufner 2.0 (do you remember that lame celebration when he won the U.S. Open?), beat Jonathan Byrd in a playoff last year. This year, after injuring his knee in the ocean before the season-opening event at Kapalua, making it through a tournament is a big deal. Glover has broken 70 just one time in 15 rounds. And that one time, he followed it up with an 80. Yeah, we're staying away.
STUD OF THE WEEK
Phil Mickelson. Lefty has only finished outside the top 12 once in eight appearances in Charlotte. He has never won this event, but has come close, most recently when McIlroy blew past him on the back nine in 2010. Obviously, he also came close in his last outing, that little tournament they hold every year in Augusta, Ga. He may not pick up a green jacket this week, but we like him to get back in the winner's circle.
MANDATORY TIGER TALK
Most of the talk around Tiger Woods this week is about his lack of talking to the media
. A winner here in 2007, this was also the site where we first realized Woods' comeback from scandal wouldn't go smoothly. He missed the cut after shooting a second-round 79 in 2010 and missed the event with a knee injury last year. On one hand, Woods is coming off a T-40 at the Masters. On the other, he did win his last regular tour event by five shots. We're expecting something in between this week.
GUEST PICK OF THE WEEK
This week's pick comes from @KennyDaGambler via Twitter:
"My money is on Rickie Fowler. Young kids play well there and his past record is good."
Love the Twitter handle and good points. Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim had their breakthrough victories in this event and Fowler has been solo sixth and T-16 in his two trips to Charlotte. Speaking of gambling, I'll be back in Vegas this weekend for the Kentucky Derby and the Mayweather-Cotto fight. Feel free to pass along any "hot" tips...
Care to make a guest pick? Be bold and email me at Alex.Myers@GolfDigest.com
or tweet at me (@AlexMyers3
) for a chance to appear in next week's column. Or if you just feel like making fun of my picks or sharing your lock for the Derby.
WEEKLY YAHOO! ROSTER SELECTIONS
Starters: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Bill Haas, and Carl Pettersson.
Bench: Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, Bo Van Pelt, and Ben Curtis.
HE COULD BE NO. 1 (AT LEAST FOR A WEEK)
Rory McIlroy. Went 66-62 over the weekend two years ago to pick up his first PGA Tour win, but missed the cut last year in his title defense. Those two brilliant rounds are his only rounds under par at Quail Hollow. In other words, you'd probably be better off using him in another spot. But, given his body of work in the last year and his propensity to play musical chairs with Luke Donald for the No. 1 ranking, we'll slide him in the lineup.
THIS WEEK'S CAREER REVIVAL CANDIDATE
Jim Furyk. First, Curtis came out of nowhere to win and then Ernie Els nearly pulled off his own comeback win himself. Why not Jim Furyk this week? A former champ here (2006), Furyk has also been in the top 25 at Quail Hollow the past four years, including a pair of T-7s. After a terrible 2011 and a slow start to 2012, Furyk has also been playing much better of late with four straight top-11 finishes. Perhaps his new endorsement deal with 5-hour Energy is finally kicking in.
PLAY THE HOT HAND PICKS
Ben Curtis. After going six years of making the cut less than a quarter of the time, the 2003 British Open champion is in a groove. He followed up his surprising win at the Valero Texas Open with a T-13 in New Orleans.
Carl Pettersson. The big guy finally slowed down a bit with a missed cut in New Orleans, but his win at Hilton Head and two other runner-ups in 2012 are too much to overlook. Pettersson posted a T-9 here last year and we expect something similar this week.
SEMI-SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
Bo Van Pelt. BVP has two top 10s at this event in the past five years and is (very) quietly tied for first on the PGA Tour with four top 10s. Hence, the semi-sleeper title.
FREE FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE
If you drafted Josh Thole, you should trade him before his value disappears. Sure he's among the NL batting average leaders as a catcher, but he won't sustain that .375 batting average in balls in play, and he still has less pop than most pitchers. Like the excitement surrounding the Mets' start in general, the bubble will burst sooner rather than later.
GOOD VIBES PICK
Bill Haas. Haas made his first appearance in a PGA Tour event here while he was a junior at nearby Wake Forest (Go Deacs! Sorry, couldn't help it). He also picked up his first top five on tour here in 2006 and added a solo fourth last year.
DUDS OF THE WEEK
Anthony Kim. AK has three top 10s in five tries, including a win in 2008, but those days are a distant memory now. He finished T-82 (now, that's tough to do) last year and so far in 2012, he has made it to the weekend just twice in nine starts and is currently 204th in the FedEx Cup standings (again, tough to do).
Nick Watney. Only inside the top 20 once in seven tries here, Watney is also top dog in the Fantasy Fix doghouse for 2012. After another week of him letting us down, we are staying away for the foreseeable future. Highlighting these two guys also makes it easier to promote my latest project
(See also the bright red link above) centering around all the guys in the past decade who have been declared "America's Next Top Golfer." Perhaps, there's a reality TV show there. If you happen to be a producer at Bravo, hit me up.
*-- Alex Myers is a contributing editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him
and please follow him on Twitter
since he has self-esteem issues.*