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Golf Barometer: Welcome Back to the Other Tiger

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

David Toms:
There's a fine line between confidence building and emotional scarring in this game. Had Toms not rallied Sunday after his meltdown Saturday, had Toms not settled down and secured the Crowne Plaza title, we'd have to openly wonder if the events of the last two weeks did more harm than good. But this meta discussion can be tabled now; the LSU product has his victory, he's fourth on the money list and his iron play has never been better. Welcome back, Tiger.

Ian Poulter:
His inspired victory over Luke Donald at the Volvo Match Play Championship was great theatre if you happened to catch it. Poulter probably is the best match-play specialist in the game now, and we like his chances to make a significant run in one of the majors this year, probably the British Open. He has all the shots, he has the nerve of a burglar around the greens, and no moment is ever too big for him.

Zach Johnson:
Three big checks in a row, and he's played superbly on Sundays (68, 66, 65 in those three events). The early-season physical problems are long forgotten, and the timing and confidence is back in place as well. Keep Johnson in mind at the U.S. Open.

Jack Nicklaus:
Suddenly 18 majors is looking pretty darn safe, isn't it? Sometimes we wonder if Jack's dominance in the 1970s gets just due: he won seven majors in that decade and he was in the Top 10 in 35-of-40 majors over those 10 years (26 of those were Top 5s). Winning, and dominating, is harder than it looks.

DOWNGRADE

Jim Furyk:
A lot of touring pros would gladly take Furyk's season (nine checks, 56th on the money list), but it's a notable disappointment for the likable Pennsylvanian. Furyk's ball-striking stats are in line with career norms, but he's struggled with the flat stick. He needs to see some putts drop before the U.S. Open comes around. If the event were this weekend, we wouldn't pick him for the Top 25.

Zach Miller:
He looked like a rookie to watch after a five-check string in the early season, but Miller has been a mess since. He's cashed just twice in his last seven turns, banking $38K; it's been a problem with tee accuracy and messy iron play. He's going to struggle to stay inside the Top 125.

HOLDING STEADY

Luke Donald:
If he were a relief ace, you'd want him in the seventh and eighth inning. Donald has elite stuff, but closing hasn't been his strong suit.

Rickie Fowler:
A T16 check at the Crowne Plaza doesn't sound so bad until you consider that Fowler opened with a 63. At times he might play a little too quickly (not that we'll ever complain about that), and he might trust his ability to make the miraculous shot a little too much. But we're just nitpicking at the kid; he's still just 22, remember. When the first victory comes, look for the next bunch to fall like dominoes. And we'd still bet on multiple major titles.

Adam Scott:
He is who he is, a paper cup in a windstorm. The WGC-Cadillac (T6) and the Masters (a superb T2, so close to winning) seemed to be a springboard, but since then Scott has a solid check at the Texas Open and then two whiffs (MC at the Players, T65 at the Crowne). Maybe he's too handsome and too engaged in the good life to ever really take this game by the horns.