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Golf Barometer: The Ichiro of Golf

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.

It's a combination of looking back (to Phoenix) and looking ahead (to those beautiful Pebble Beach aerial shots) in this week's edition of The Barometer.

UPGRADES

Mark Wilson:
He's a singles hitter in a game of bombastic power, but so what - he also has two trophies in three 2011 starts. There's still room for the boring but consistent player in this game, still room for the fairway-splitting machine off the tee, no matter how long the driver carries. A lot of career years show up in the second part of the 30s, so Wilson is right on schedule in his age 36 season.

Jason Dufner:
The former Auburn Tiger had a quiet little comeback of sorts at the end of 2010, and he's off to a steady start this time around, cashing three times in a row and just missing at the Phoenix Open last week. He's too talented not to have a win by now; I give him a 50-50 chance to break through before the end of the 2012 season. His putting was up-and-down last year, but he's regained his confidence in that area for the new season. He's still on the underrated list.

Tim Clark:
Precision trumps power at this week's Clambake; the courses in play are short by current PGA Tour standards, but the shotmaking demands are high. That plays right into the hand of Clark, who has four Top-12 checks at this event over his seven visits. Clark already has $571K banked this year, and it won't surprise if he doubles that figure this week. Put him on your short list of favorites.

Vijay Singh:
Maybe he can put together a comeback season after all. He was a birdie machine last week - collecting 24 en route to a T3 finish - and now he's working at a Pebble Beach track that suits his skills perfectly. Look for Singh to be a weekend factor again.

Nick Watney:
He should be on anyone's Top-5 list at The Clambake for very simple reasons. Ball-striking? Check - Watney is one of the best iron players on the circuit. Strong start in 2011? Check - Watney already has two six-figure cashes this season. Familiarity with the grounds? Check - he's made seven straight cuts here, including a T7 back un 2006. Get him in there.

DOWNGRADES

Camilo Villegas:
Another no-finish for the Gator, and it's time to get worried - this DQ was tied to a cranky back injury. This is the type of problem that could linger all season, obviously. If we were redrafting today, I wouldn't have Villegas in the Top 40.

Zach Johnson:
We'll see him at Riviera and at the Match Play as well, but keep in mind there's a wrist injury here as well as the toe problem. Johnson can't be treated as an elite player until we know for sure that he's healthy and his timing is back. Don't use him aggressively for the balance of the month.

Kevin Na:
He's slammed the trunk twice in a row, and The Clambake hasn't been his best event - he's never done better than T43 here, and he missed the cut when the U.S. Open came to Pebble Beach last summer. And you know the story with Na by now - he tends to be his worst enemy on the course at times, and negative momentum is often a problem. Let this storm go out to sea before you reinvest.

Nick O'Hern:
He needs to bag just under $400K over 13 events to continue to play under the Major Medical Extension tag, but so far it's been a train wreck - he's yet to cash a check through three events. The Clambake in theory should be a good event for him, but we can't use O'Hern until we see some results on the course.

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