The Florida Swing is officially here. Always a nice point in the season as basically all the big names have made their 2019 debuts and the Masters is within shouting distance. Four straight events in the Sunshine State with perfect weather is always ideal, and PGA National is a fantastic venue to kick things off. Headlined by the infamous Bear Trap, this is a course where on many holes Par is a very good score. Before we get into Honda, let’s see how I performed in Mexico City.
WGC Mexico Power Ranking Grade: C
A tough week to grade given it was a non-cut event but a very mediocre week as a whole. Some bright spots and some way-off-the-mark picks combined to bring me a grade in the C range. Once again my #4 slot turned out to be where the winner came from, as DJ played tremendous golf for four consecutive days and dominated the field. I was way off with my #1 selection, as Jon Rahm could not get anything going on the greens for most of the week, leading to multiple animated reactions from the Spaniard. Rory and Tiger were both in my rankings and both played very solid golf, while Marc Leishman and Rickie Fowler were unable to get anything going.
-10 of 12 golfers ranked finished in the top 40.
-7 of the 12 golfers ranked finished in the top 20.
-4 of the 12 golfers ranked finished in the top 10.
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. Rickie Fowler– Sloppy in Mexico City in his first start after victory, but returns to familiar ground this week and a place that he’s found the winner’s circle. At his best when he is limiting big numbers and playing freely, and this is a week where par is a welcomed score for most of the round. Rickie will be there on Sunday.
2. Justin Thomas– Has played a lot of really good golf in consecutive weeks so fatigue is a slight concern, but simply can’t put him any lower than #2 with the type of golf he’s playing. Shot 62 to close on Sunday and will look to take that momentum with him to PGA National.
3. Webb Simpson– Struggled early in Mexico before finding some mojo on the weekend. Has been as consistent as heck the last 18 months and no signs of that changing as the Florida swing approaches. 5th place finish at Palm Beach Gardens a year ago.
4. Brooks Koepka– Predictable pedestrian outing in Mexico City after over a month away from competition. Returns to his home state at a course he has yet to break into the top 25 in four starts. Something tells me that changes after this week.
5. Gary Woodland– Gary continues to roll along nicely to start 2019. A second place finish at Honda in 2017 shows he can go low here. Putter will likely tell the story for him as it often does, but this is a man that can tear a course apart when he is striking it well.
6. Billy Horschel– One of the harder players on Tour to predict because many of times the results can be very sporadic. Billy the Kid knows how to win when he is in contention; but consistently getting there has always been the challenge. 8th and 4th place finishes in 2016 and 2017 respectively, followed by a missed cut a year ago. Proceed with hope yet caution.
7. Adam Scott– It has been quite the start to the year for Scotty. Ball-striking of his prime days has returned and he seems to have gained some confidence on the greens with the flagstick in. Has tamed PGA National before and will look to do it once again.
8. Cameron Smith– This will be the Aussie’s first trip to the Bear Trap and first-timers do tend to struggle here but he is in too good of form not to make this list. No real weakness in his game and plenty of motivation to break into the OWGR Top 20 for the first time in his career.
9. Daniel Berger- Lost to Paddy Harrington here in an iconic playoff in 2015. Second place finish last week in Puerto Rico. 2018 felt like a letdown and Berger is very motivated to get back on track. It could start this week.
10. Sergio Garcia– Has a great history at PGA National and played well last week in Mexico City but I still need to see more. Failed to find much consistency in 2018 and this is a big year for Serg to get back on track. Can he take the next step this week?
11. Charl Schwartzel– Wild Card here but the South African seems to always be at his best when least expected. Played well in Puerto Rico last week and is very motivated to get back on track in 2019 after a tough couple of years.
12. Sam Burns– 8th here a year ago in his debut. This young kid flat out has game and this week could be the week he takes things to the next level. Moxie and toughness of a veteran player and can really strike it. Look out for Burnsy.
Tough courses provide for entertaining golf and this week should be no different. Enjoy the Bear Trap, bask in the perfect weather, and look forward to an exciting Sunday Finish.