Jon: Is anyone playing better golf than Brendon Todd right now? The answer you’re looking for is “No way, no how!” His past five finishes are as follows: T5 at Quicken Loans, T17 at the U.S. Open, T8 at the Memorial Tournament, T5 at Crowne Plaza, and a victory at Byron Nelson. Todd is Mr. Consistent right now, and I think he is about to HAMify The Old White at Greenbrier.
Tom: With only four past tournaments to sample from, it’s kind of difficult to determine a “horse for this course.” However, there is one player who is 3/4 in cuts made here, which resulted in two T4s and a T2 last year, and who happens to be playing the best golf of his career and remains number one in the FedEx Cup race… For these favorable reasons, Jimmy Walker is your safest play this week, in my opinion.
Dave: Bubba Watson. Yes, you read that right. I am picking the Masters Champion who’s playing the season of his career to be my safe bet. He’s the world number 3, and is coming in with 25/2 odds. I would think that is enough to say he’s a safe bet. Also, rumor has it Bubba will debut a new driver this week. I’ve always thought that new gear gives you extra confidence. Bubba will do well this week.
Dark Horse for the Week?
Jon: I don’t know how dark horsey he is, as he’s had some quality finishes at Greenbrier in the past few years, but Ted Potter Jr. is my dark horse this week. This guy has been like a prison inmate with no friends the past few weeks, and by that I mean he’s been cut…a lot. Potter Jr. has been cut 13 times this season, and is nowhere near any sort of reputable standing in either the FedEx Cup or the World Golf rankings. Therefore, I’m of course going to make him my dark steed to ride for no other reason than his history at Greenbrier and, well, I just have a feeling.
Tom: I went with no rhyme or reason last week, and picked a player who was right in the mix until Sunday, so I’m following that strategy again. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano is a great player from Spain who relocated his family to the States this year to play more PGA events, and has nothing but a measly T26 finish in the Masters to show for it. I think he breaks through this week and begins to validate his decision to move across the pond.
Dave: Pat Perez is hardly a household name. But he did attend ASU just like Phil Mickelson, Paul Caesy, and Jake the Snake Plummer. He’s had a few decent finishes this year including a T-2 at the Farmers Insurance Open and a T-8 at the Sony Open in Hawaii but the rest of his results aren’t worth typing. Regardless of his lackluster performances, he’s had a spit of luck at The Old White TPC in the smokey West Virginia mountains. In 2010, he was T9, in 2012 he T27 and in 2013 he finished T6. Not too bad for the 118th in the world. Furthermore, Pattie has been working a lot with Joseph Mayo who’s known on the tour as being a heck of a swing coach.
Unexpected Player to Miss the Cut?
Jon: After an abysmal showing at Congressional, I’m picking Keegan Bradley to miss the cut this week. He’s been up and down and generally a head case this year, and I don’t think he gets it done at Greenbrier. This could be considered hedging my bet though, because if he proves me wrong then my fantasy team might get a boost and I won’t be hanging my head for long. I think he held on at The U.S. Open, but anyone watching clearly saw how he had to scramble for his top 5 finish. Hitting fairways have become a rarity for the twitch doctor, and I see him riding the pine on Saturday and Sunday.
Tom: I’m going with Marc Leishman to miss the cut, and considering it unexpected because I had actually picked him to win originally. The Aussie, who first made a name for himself by hanging around in contention at the Masters last year, has been at the top of his game as of late, which you think would bode well for him. Coming off a T11 at the Travelers where he got his first win in 2012, Leishman held a share of the 36-hole lead at Congressional before slipping with 2 over-par rounds on the weekend. While experts are considering him a favorite this week, I’m actually going the opposite way and saying he will continue to struggle.
Dave: Jonas Blixt. Last year’s champion will have an awful showing. I predict that he will be sharing a plate of pickled herring and lingonberries with Freddie Jacobson on Saturday night watching the results. Even though Blixt won this tournament last year and finished T2 at the Masters, he has gone back into the proverbial phone booth and put away his cape…Or whatever Swedish superhero Agent Marc Saunders wears. He has been cut in 3 out of his last 4 tournaments and tossed in a T74 in the 4th. Expect him to be underwhelming.
Favorite to Win?
Jon: While I may have hedged on Keegs to miss the cut, I am going all in with Brendon de Jonge, another member of my fantasy team. De Jonge, aka the Legend of Baggy Pants, is poised to make it rain all over Greenbrier’s precious bent-grass. Brendon de Jonge has finished T17, T52, T4, and solo-3rd in the past four years. Couple that with a strong showing last week at the Quicken Loans National, and I think he’s going to let people know the mighty call of Zimbabwe. Only the good de Jonge!
Tom: With no heavy favorites this week, this is as big of a crapshoot as any. See above for safe picks, if safety is a premium in your style of betting. But for the sake of throwing one more name into the mix, I’m picking Kevin Na to get the win in White Sulphur Springs (yes, that’s the name of the bo-dunk town that is home to one of the country’s glitziest resorts). He has been Na-cking (had to, right?) on the door to get a win with a strong T12 finish at the U.S. Open, and a heartbreaking playoff collapse at the Memorial Tournament in his last two starts. Na has three more top 10s, including another runner up, on the season, and I think it is his time to shine.
Dave: Webb Simpson is going to sashay away with the win this week. He has had some luck on this course the last few years as he had top-10 finishes in 2011 and 2012. Moreover, he fired a 64 to open in 2013 before becoming irrelevant. With a rank of 15th on the PGA tour for birdie average and some firm finishes of late, I’d say the Greenbrier is gonna get caught in his Webb.
Jon: Brendon de Jonge, Jimmy Walker, Bill Haas, Brendon Todd
Never have I felt so strongly about a foursome. Not only am I going with the wicked hawt Brendon Todd, but I’m also snagging Tom’s safe bet of Jimmy Walker. Couple that with big daddy Jonge and you have a surefire team. What’s that? I have one more pick? Bill is his name and Haas is…well… he’s a hoss. Bill Haas has notched 3 top 10 finishes this year, and he also pushed a playoff at the Greenbrier two years ago. Haas knows how to win, and I absolutely give him a shot this week. This week’s team I will be naming the Four Old White Horsemen. They will come in and wreak havoc on The Old White course at the Greenbrier, and consequently net a great week of fantasy golf picks.
Tom: Jimmy Walker, Kevin Na, Steve Stricker,
Jeff Overton Chris Kirk
It is always a good rule of thumb, as a gambling man, to bet on the players you have already picked (Walker and Na, in my case), though I would like to use this space to mention other names I highly considered like Daniel Summerhays (my sleeper pick last week who has good vibes on this course), and Brendan Steele who has been firing on all cylinders lately. Still, I added Steve Stricker and Chris Kirk to the mix. I originally had Jeff Overton, but was disappointed to learn of his withdrawal from the tournament. Good lesson to all you gamblers out there – always double check your guys before Thursday! Now I’ve gone back to one of my original favorites in Chris Kirk.
Dave: Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman.
Webb and Bubba for my reasons listed above. Capt. Kirk has had a couple of respectable finishes of late with top 15 finishes in the Memorial, Colonial and the Players, and he is thirsty for more. I’m disagreeing with Tom and going with Marc Leishman. Great Scott! We have Aussies for Days. (Adam Scott and Jason Day are both Australian…keep up) Mr. Leishman seems to have caught his stride with 5 top 25 finishes in his last 6 events with 2 of those being top 10. I can see some Aussie Aussie Oy Oy chants rolling across the West Virginia mountains this weekend! Have a safe and wonderful 4th!