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Golf Barometer: We're Hawaii Bound

David Ferris

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

Forget Vincent Price and Old Mr. Hanalei; when we head to Hawaii, we're here to talk about golf. Let's see where some of the stocks are headed - both for this week specifically and long-term - as we kick off the 2011 PGA Tour.

UPGRADE

Ernie Els:
He didn't rest on his laurels after last year's wonderful comeback on the PGA Tour - Els won the South African Open in December (for the fifth time) and also had a T5 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Els has to be seen as one of the favorites at the Tournament of Champions this week; he won this event in 2003, and he's finished third or better four times.

Jim Furyk:
He won this event in 2001 and has been in the Top 5 on four other occasions. Furyk was 10th in tee accuracy lat year, fifth in scoring and 16th in scrambling; consistency never goes out of style.

Sean O'Hair:
It's one of the strongest sleeper formulas going - find someone who didn't win last year whom you otherwise trust. O'Hair won't be able to play in the Tournament of Champions, of course, but you'll get plenty of run out of him elsewhere. Putting is never going to be the strongest part of his game, but he couldn't repeat last year's slump on the greens even if he kicked the ball.

DOWNGRADE

Bubba Watson:
This is not the course where I want to risk anything with him; he's never been over the Kapalua layout, and I think he's going to struggle to get accustomed to the greens. The air show off the tee is fun, sure, but that doesn't promote consistency either.

Anthony Kim:
It's been a deliberate slog of sorts since he got his thumb fixed - nothing in the Top 15. The high upside remains, but I'd like to see a show of good faith first.

Ian Poulter:
Normally he's an anywhere, anytime sort of pick, but I wouldn't opt for him in a one-and-done format this week, as he's making his debut at the event. Maybe he'll will his way into contention - it's a small field, after all, and Poulter is as clutch a putter and competitor as there is - but there's a lot to be said for local knowledge.

Rory McIlroy:
It's a shame we're not going to see him as a full-time member of the PGA Tour in 2011. Count on somewhere between 8-10 events for our purposes.

HOLDING STEADY

Geoff Ogilvy:
His earnings have decreased for four consecutive seasons, and now a finger injury is going to keep him from defending in the opener, but I'm not going to collapse the stock here. It was surprising to see Ogilvy miss seven cuts last year, but a finger injury should be something easy to come back from, and he's still in the prime of his athletic career at 33. Use the news from this week to your advantage.

Louis Oosthuizen:
He's going to get to the magical number of 15 events as a PGA Tour rookie, so don't be spooked by Oosthuizen skipping the opening two tournaments. He's thinking long haul and doesn't want to spread himself too thin at the beginning of the year. You can still bid with confidence.

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