The PGA TOUR moves from San Diego to Scottsdale this week, in my eyes two of the most underrated cities this great country has to offer. TPC Scottsdale will be the host track this week, and this is a course that yours truly broke triple digits on, so we are rolling in with some great karma. Let’s quickly rehash what turned out to be a pretty exciting Farmers at Torrey Pines before we get into “The Greenest Show on Earth.”
Farmers Insurance Open Power Ranking Grade: A-
This wasn’t quite a good enough week to move into firm A territory, but I would consider my Farmers performance a definite success. To recap, Justin Rose played unbelievable golf all week in San Diego and posted a ridiculous 21 under par for the tournament to go onto win. You could argue my placement of him at #4 may have even been a bit low, but as I wrote last week “Putting him anywhere outside the Top 5 on this list would be asinine.” In addition to having JR in my top 5, I also placed Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm #1 and #5 respectively in my rankings, and both finished the tournament T5 at -14. A misfire on Rickie at #2 as he never quite got it going with the new golf ball, and slotting Jason Day at #8 proved to be a little bit too low.
-11 of my 12 ranked golfers made the cut.
-9 of the 12 finished in the top 35.
-4 of the 12 finished in the top 5.
Certainly not a perfect week, but I’m not going to complain about a week where I had the winner inside my Top 4 and had 11/12 make the cut. As always, the ship must keep on moving. We’re onto Phoenix.
This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year for a myriad number of reasons, but this year in particular will make it a little bit bigger. I will be on the grounds this week in Scottsdale and am looking forward to being in the galleries and watching some of my favorite names in the game and Amateur Hour alumni tee it up. With a Monday qualification from Mr. Clutch himself, Max Homa, there will be 5 Ammy Hour alums in competition this week, and we look forward to following all of them. Toss in the presence of Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner and you really can’t ask for much more as a patron. Time for the rankings.
Standard Disclaimer: For non-major Championships I will be ranking 12 golfers a week, and for the Majors I will be going 20 deep. I don’t rank for guys that I think will be in the mix, I rank solely on likelihood of winning the golf tournament. Thus, whoever I give the #1 spot to each week, is the guy I feel is most likely to reach the winner’s circle, and so forth down the list. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1. Justin Thomas– Hasn’t quite figured out TPC Scottsdale yet with zero top 10s in four starts, but I think this is the year he tames it. Played solid in Hawaii and then returned to his home in Jupiter to fine-tune the game. It will show this week.
2. Jon Rahm– Loves desert golf, and more importantly loves the Arizona Community after his time as a Sun Devil. Rahmbo will want it badly this week and the form is clearly there. If Jon can avoid the spaz-out, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see him get is first WMPO title.
3. Webb Simpson– Quietly has been one of the most consistent men on tour the last year or so. Lost a memorable playoff here to Hideki in 2017, and will be motivated to finish one spot higher in 2019. Continues to roll the rock at an elite level.
4. Rickie Fowler– I don’t care about the new golf ball, there won’t be a man in the field who wants it more this week after the near-misses and family ties to the area. Knows this golf course inside-and-out and has all the shots. Looking forward to watching Rickie go low.
5. Xander Schauffele– Placed 17th in his debut in the desert a year ago. Continues to fly under the radar while playing great golf on a weekly basis. Expect to see X right in the thick of things on Sunday afternoon.
6. Tony Finau– Going with current form here as Tony has missed the cut in 3/4 trips to the desert. With that said, he is a different player now and should feast on all of the Par 5s. As with many weeks, the putter will be the difference between a solid tournament and a great one.
7. Matt Kuchar– A fan favorite everywhere he goes, but especially in the desert. First start since he found the winner’s circle in Honolulu, but I don’t expect to see much of a hangover from Matty. A golf course he has had plenty of success on.
8. Phil Mickelson– Simply put, the King of this tournament. The three-time champ and all time earnings leader will captivate the galleries once again with his wizardry. I am a little weary following the close call in La Quinta, but always worth a look out West. Lightened schedule has him fresh and ready to get after it again.
9. Hideki Matsuyama– Selling this man this week despite all other fantasy gurus raving about him. Yes, I know the history here and I know the form he showed at Torrey. Until I see him string together consecutive starts with solid play, I am off the wagon.
10. Gary Woodland– The defending champ continues to play rock solid golf everywhere he goes. Has put the close call at Kapaula behind him, and will be hungry to defend his title. As good a ball striker as there is in this field.
11. Alex Noren– Disastrous opening day at Torrey will scare many off, but I think the Swede will be ready to go this week. 21st in his debut in the desert last year and still looking for his first victory Stateside.
12. Bubba Watson– Dominated this golf course in 2014 and 2015, but has not returned to that form since. Has always been a lightning-in-a-bottle type of player, and maybe this is a week he catches it again on a track he’s had success on. Worth a look.
Looking forward to an epic week at the most attended tournament of the year on Tour. The Amateur Hour Social Media’s will be rocking, and you better believe Jack, Kevin, and I will be mixing it up with the maniacs on 16.
Cheers to a great week ahead!