Well, well, well. It’s here. Masters week is upon us and everyone who is a fan of golf couldn’t be more excited. If you’re like me, you probably get pretty pumped just thinking about it. With most of the top players in the world having great seasons so far, it’s set up to be one of the best Masters yet. Before we get to the azalea’s in Augusta though, let’s take a look at the Valero Texas Open, and see if any of our big movers in either direction could have an impact this week.
Corey Connors: To be quite honest, trending up might be putting it lightly. Corey Connors had one of the best weeks in the world. During a Monday qualifier, this man hit a 30 foot putt to simply get himself into a playoff, and then managed to win the 6 man playoff to earn himself one of the last bids into the Valero Texas Open. All he did from there was play the best golf of his career, carding 6 birdies in his last nine holes to shoot a back nine 30, posting -20, and winning by 2 shots. Simply remarkable. We’ve seen Connors’ name pop up on leaderboards in the past, but it’s safe to say this was a life changing week. Not only did he earn a Masters invite, but he secures a big payday and doesn’t have to lose sleep worrying about keeping a tour card for a long time. Good for Corey, and he could be a name to watch in the next few months.
Chaz Hoffman: Herrrrreeeee’sssss Chazzy! Chaz Hoffman is like a Grizzly Bear, he takes the winter off to hibernate, but when spring rolls around, he inevitably wakes up and is strolling around the woods (leaderboards) looking to spoil someone’s party. And what do you know, the week before Augusta, the perennial first round leader plays by far his best golf of the year, shooting 4 subpar rounds, including a blistering weekend, to take a solo second in Texas. Every year, we see Chaz at about -7 come Friday afternoon, lurking around after he held the first round lead, wondering if this is finally the year we’ll have to watch this jackass ruin the Masters. I’m not actually a Chaz hater, but if he were to ever win the Masters I wouldn’t exactly be pumped. Until that’s an actual worry, I will continue to crack up at his early round dominance.
G-Mac: Graeme McDowell is the definition of a grinder. And he seems to be rounding into form to make a return to relevance at some of golf’s biggest stages. After his win at the Puntacana Championship secured his spot in Portrush for…The Open *insert British narrator voice*, Graeme fired a Sunday 66 to share 7th place in Texas. He didn’t earn the invite to the Masters he wanted, but much like Jim Furyk, Graeme knows his window of time for competitive golf is closing, and wants to take advantage of this good form. Given his ability to make the most of what he has, his determination, and his love for difficult courses, look for G-Mac to show up in at least a couple of big tournaments later this year.
Tony Finau: What a stinker Finau put up this week. After a solid start to the year, Finau has been floundering a bit lately, getting bounced early in Austin and now finishing T-61st in one of the worst fields on tour. He did well enough to make the cut, but he looked very out of sorts. Usually Finau’s putting is his only weakness, but lately the ball striking has not been up to par. He didn’t seem comfortable over majority of his shots this week, and had the look of a man who was hoping rather than knowing when the ball was in the air. I know he has a solid history at Augusta, but I would stay away from the top 15 player in the world for the time being, especially considering the plethora of great players teeing it up this week.
Billy Horschel: Billy Boy was pretty awful this week, shooting +6 in his two rounds to comfortably miss the cut. Now, everyone has bad weeks on tour, but this one is more alarming because not only is this a course Horschel has had ample success at, but he seemed to be hanging on by a thread recently. His putting has been saving him for a good amount of this year, which can only last for so long. Horschel has been an excellent ball striker for years, so while I don’t expect this to continue, he is a tough man to back right now with Major Championship season upon us. Combining his streaky nature with the grinder that he is, it wouldn’t shock anyone to see Horschel play well any given week. But given the title of this segment, he lands on my stay away list seeing his recent performances leading into Augusta.
That will wrap up our biggest movers this week, as there is really no one else of significant relevance that had a bad week. Fowler moved on to Augusta about mid day Saturday, and Spieth saw enough from himself through Friday to know he can put his name in the mix at arguably his best course in the world. Expect nothing short of greatness this week from the best players in world, and I look forward to sharing some more content with you folks next Monday. Have a great week, and go Tiger.