April 26, 2010

Fantasy Fix

Through the use of statistics, trends, course-matchups and sometimes a magic eight ball, we will do our best to help you set your fantasy golf lineup

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I'm not picking against Jim Furyk this week in Charlotte.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I'm not picking against Jim Furyk this week in Charlotte.

Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we, too, would give Peter Kostis a big hug if we knew we were about to get a check for $1,152,000.

Jason Bohn provided a snappy, feel-good ending with his win in New Orleans, but with all due respect, that was just an appetizer for one of the meatiest two-week stretches on the PGA Tour. The big boys, including Tiger and Phil, will be out in full force this week in Charlotte at the Quail Hollow Championship and any of golf's top stars that aren't there will certainly show up next week at the Players. Here are some thoughts on how they will fare in the Queen City.

STUDS

Tiger Woods: What's not to like here? He's been in the top 11 all four times he's played, including a win in 2007. Woods clearly likes Quail Hollow as a golf course, which is a big reason why he's attended this event so frequently and partly why, as a result, the tournament has achieved such lofty status in a short amount of time.

It's too easy to include Woods in the conversation whenever he's playing, so in the future, I'll try to use extra discretion when throwing his name out.

I said I'd try to avoid weighing in on my newfound nemesis, Jim Furyk, as well, but I can't help myself. Furyk has had a remarkable run here the past five years with a win (2006), a runner-up, a solo seventh and a T-11 last year for a total of more than $2 million in earnings. Add that to the fact that he's the hottest player on tour with his two recent wins and there's no reason to shy away.

Another hot player with a strong track record in Charlotte is Anthony Kim. Despite revealing an injured thumb that may require surgery, AK is in the midst of the best run of his young career with a win in Houston and an electric back-nine charge at Augusta to finish third. Now he returns to the site of his most impressive victory, a five-shot win in 2008. In fact, he's only been over par in one of his 12 rounds at Quail Hollow.

One more big name to throw out there, since there are so many this week (Sorry again, New Orleans), is Lucas Glover. It was here last year where the South Carolina native showcased the ability to hang with the best in a strong field, a precursor to his major triumph in the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Glover finished one-stroke back of Sean O'Hair and he also has two other top 10s at Quail Hollow to his credit.

DUDS

Kevin Na: When it comes to Quail Hollow, it's more like Kevin Nada. The young gun has done little to nothing in his four appearances with his best showing coming in 2007 with a T-50. Throw in a missed cut, a T-73 and a WD after an opening-round 78 last year, and you have to wonder why Charlotte is even on the guy's schedule. In 10 total rounds, Na has been in red figures just once.

It's been a great season for Matt Kuchar, but his track record here leaves little to be desired. Kuchar has done no better than T-51 in his five starts at Quail Hollow and he's missed the cut two of the past three years. He's only made it to Sunday three times, but whether it was worth it is questionable as that has resulted in a final-round scoring average of 76.

I hate to keep picking on__Ben Crane__, but this is another event in which he's had no success. After his first three trips to Charlotte resulted in a T-60, an MC and a T-65, Crane waited three years to return last year and missed the cut again. Rumor has it that he planned on staying the weekend to watch his good friend Rory Sabbatini play until Sabbatini missed the cut as well.

Finally,Padraig Harrington has had more than his share of triumph in major championships, but his play (MC, T-43, T-75) in a tournament that usually boasts a similarly strong field has been a little surprising. Then again, that T-75 in 2005 could have been a lot better if not for the 80 on Sunday.

SLEEPERS

Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner: I was going to mention this guy last week before the Zurich Classic and didn't at the last minute. Of course, he promptly went on to finish T-7 in New Orleans. Dufner finished T-5 here last year by posting four straight rounds under par, but I like him more because of the consistency he's shown in 2010, with 10 made cuts in 11 tournaments. He's also amassed five top-20 finishes already, including a T-18 against another strong field at Doral.

Bill Haas returns to the city where he was born and the state where he became a collegiate star at Wake Forest University. He's had an up-and-down career at Quail Hollow with three missed cuts, but he also boasts three top-25 finishes, including a T-4 in 2006.

And for my borderline sleeper pick of the week, I'm going with Adam Scott. The Australian finished in the top 25 in each of his first four trips to Quail Hollow, including a solo third in 2006 and a T-8 in 2008. His recent play (T-14 at the Shell Houston Open and a T-18 at the Masters) indicate his game might be coming back. Yes, Scott missed the cut here last year, but when didn't he miss the cut last year?

-- Alex Myers is a contributing editor for GolfDigest.com.