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Golf Barometer: The Best American is ... ?

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.


UPGRADE

K.J. Choi:
There's nothing dynamic about his game, but there he sits, 13th in scoring average and third on the money list. A patient, calm mindset goes a long way, along with sterling scrambling ability (he's eighth in that stat). By the time you hit your early 40s on the PGA Tour, you know who you are. Choi probably has a 50 percent chance to bag a major before he calls it a career.

David Toms:
He's going to spot everyone distance off the tee, but there's always room for someone who hits fairways (second in driving accuracy) and locks down the irons (second in GIR). And Toms also stands 10th in putting strokes gained, his shocking playoff miss to the side. There's fire left in the LSU Tiger, plenty of good golf left. His shoulder problems appear to be in the rear-view window.

Ian Poulter:
The old-school guard of golf probably didn't like Poulter's sprint-and-finish approach on Saturday night - Poulter started hoofing it, looking to beat the horn and get some extra sleep the following day. But I say golf needs more personalities like Poulter, more colorful and honest players, more stars willing to engage the public on the course and in social media. If you follow just one touring pro on Twitter, Poulter should be that guy. He hasn't had a super year with respect to his PGA Tour spot starts - only one big check, way back at the season opener - but he hasn't missed any cuts either. Keep him in mind for the final three majors, especially the British Open.

Paul Goydos:
He was the first to finish at 11-under Sunday, but it was also the story of Goydos's life - he knew the number wouldn't be good enough and said as much during a frank on-air interview. Still, there's nothing wrong with banking $646K for a non-victory, and Goydos has quietly cashed in 10-of-14 events, good for the 37th spot on the money list. Consider him when you need to go a little deeper in your weekly selections.

Zach Johnson:
Slowly but surely he's feeling strong and coming around (T6 at Wells Fargo, T12 at The Players). He finished both events well (68 two weeks ago, 66 last week); now let's see it when Johnson is closer to contention. Johnson makes for an intriguing semi-sleeper at next month's U.S. Open.

DOWNGRADE

Tiger Woods:
How deep in a 2011-only redraft would you need to go before you'd take Woods? Top 10? You're crazy. Top 15? Top 20? He's obviously not healthy, and he hasn't been anything special when on the course. Not that Tiger struggling at Sawgrass is a big story; he's always despised the layout. The challenge of 18 majors gets larger by the day.

Stephen Ames:
He's got just two piddly checks in his last five starts, and it's not hard to put the pieces together here: his driving is all over the map and his putting has been terrible (no matter what distance you grade him on). Ames is no longer an every-week starter in standard leagues.

HOLDING STEADY

Padraig Harrington:
It's been a bizarre up-and-down season for the international star; he's missed the cut in three of his last six PGA Tour events, but his hits have all banked $129K or more. On a week-to-week basis this looks like someone not trusting his swing, and someone who's not sure where it's going off the tee. Play the market when you get to your summer calcutta schedule; don't race to Harrington, but be ready to swoop in if the room discounts him. Contention in the majors is often just as much about nerves and experience as it is about raw ability and current form.

Nick Watney:
If he brings his B game on the final 36 holes, he's an easy winner at The Players. But maybe we should flip it around - it's encouraging to note that Watney can finish T4 at a stacked event without his best stuff on the weekend. Right now, Watney's the best American on the circuit.

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