Phil Mickelson is a winner once again on the PGA TOUR. The ageless wonder found victory #44 after a week of deadly iron play, vintage wedge work, and a red-hot Sunday putter. In other news at Pebble, Paul Casey had more closing issues, Jordan Spieth started hot before faltering, and DJ could not ride the momentum he found in Saudi Arabia. Let’s see how we did.
Pebble Beach Power Ranking Grade: B-
Is #4 the Magic Number?? For the third consecutive week, the player slotted 4th in my rankings has gone on to win the golf tournament. Phil joins Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler as the man in the highly sought after fourth spot. As a whole, this was a solid to above-average week for me, with some good calls and some predictions that were way off the mark. Sneds and Shane Lowry let me down with missed cuts, Kiz and Branden Grace teased with hot starts, and Jason Day continued a very steady start to the year.
-10 of my 12 golfers ranked made the cut.
-6 of the 12 finished in the Top 30.
-2 of the 12 finished in the Top 5.
After a pedestrian week, it is time to get to LA and get back to work. Riviera CC is about as pure a course as it gets, and this is a week with an absolutely loaded field. The world’s best will be out and about, and I am anticipating quite the show. Onwards!
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– If not for his best-friend’s greatness in the desert, he likely would have found the winner’s circle in Phoenix. That was Phoenix. JT will be hungry and he checks all the boxes.
2. Jon Rahm– A man that has tamed plenty of golf courses his first time seeing them. Has gone 8th, 6th, 5th, and 10th in four starts in 2019. Rahmbo isn’t here for a Top 5 this week. We will see if he can get it done.
3. Dustin Johnson– Could never quite get it going last week at Pebble. He now returns to a course where he has won at and contended on several occasions, with more rest. A scary thought.
4. Tiger Woods– The man in the magical 4th spot this week?! None other than the game’s most captivating player. Is this a reverse jinx? No, I expect Tiger to play very well this week and be right in the mix. Riviera is the one course that has kinda had his number over the years, but we all know how this man tends to respond to challenges. Look out for El Tigre.
5. Tommy Fleetwood– Eased into the 2019 season last week with a middle of the pack finish at Pebble. Now heads to a course where his tee-to-green game should flourish and got the experience he needed playing Riviera last year. The first win on the PGA TOUR seems imminent and this just might be the week.
6. Phil Mickelson– At 48 years old and fresh off a win, Phil’s bound to just coast along this week right? Not so fast. When Lefty is hot, he is hot, and after leading the field at Pebble in SG: Approach, I don’t see that iron play disappearing anytime soon. A man that has gone on record saying he will get to 50 wins should find plenty of motivation to keep playing well at a course he loves.
7. Rory McIlroy– Has been one of the toughest players to predict over the last 3-4 years due to extremely sporadic results. By ditching the European Tour and turning his sole focus to American golf, is this the year he gets back to 2014 Rory? Time will tell, but this would seemingly be a course that sets up perfectly for him if he is driving it straight.
8. Xander Schauffele– Has found my rankings in every single event he’s played in thus far. Finished 8th in his debut here a year ago and will look to follow up on that with another strong performance. No weaknesses and as gritty as they come.
9. Hideki Matsuyama- A world class ball-striker at a course where great ball-striking is mandatory. The only reason he is not higher on this list is because of what he tends to do with the putter on weekends.
10. Jordan Spieth– Can the Golden Child finally put four solid rounds together? Appeared close to turning the corner at Pebble before sputtering on the weekend. It is going to take an awful lot for me to keep him out of a Rankings altogether, and I have seen enough to believe that great golf could return this week.
11. Marc Leishman– Leish has gotten to the level where he is pretty much a fit at any track on this tour. Will fly under the radar with the amount of stars in the field, but that is quite often when he is at his very best.
12. Tyrrell Hatton– My sleeper for the week. Yes he is a first-timer and Riviera tends to punish rookies, but T-Bone is in good form and wants his first on the PGA TOUR badly. Keep your eyes out.
Hopefully Mother Nature cooperates and we get a relatively rain-free week out in The City of Angels. Expect a star-studded leaderboard and plenty of drama on Sunday.
S/O to Lefty on his 44th once again, and see you all next week.