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Golf Barometer: The Northwestern Grad can Close

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

Luke Donald:
He's the freshly minted No. 1 in the world, and he had to run down Lee Westwood to get it done. No denying it now, the Northwestern grad can close. Now let's see something snappy in a major. I wouldn't take him over Martin Kaymer, push to shove, but maybe I wouldn't argue with you if you happen to disagree.

Keegan Bradley:
He got the Byron Nelson win and did it in dramatic and clutch fashion - this one almost felt like two victories. The first domino is always the hardest one to push; look for a second victory inside of 12 months. Bradley can launch it off the tee, and he's got just enough accuracy to be dangerous.

Ryuji Imada:
His tie for third at the Byron Nelson came out of nowhere - he had just three paltry checks over his previous 11 starts. Imada remains a fun sleeper pick when the track favors accuracy and creativity; he doesn't have the raw power to compete when the layout favors the bombers. Still, we'll be pulling for him.

Nick Watney:
He's oh-so-quietly on the edge of superstardom, America's stud in waiting. He's only missed one cut all year and has eight checks of six digits or more, including the WGC-Cadillac win. We'll be shocked if Watney doesn't make a charge at at least one major, perhaps two. The PGA looks like the best fit for 2011.

Tom Watson:
OK, no one really cares about the Champions Tour (the "retirement plan" for PGA Tour players), but it's still cool to see Watson winning a major again, in a playoff no less. Ah, Stewart Cink, we'll always curse you for killing the Watson dream in 2009.

DOWNGRADE

Charley Hoffman:
The blonde bomber has lost his way a bit, with two trunk slams and a forgettable T26 at Sawgrass. Hoffman had a nifty close to last season, and we'd like to see it again, but he looks like someone who could use a short break.

Nick O'Hern:
Have too many past injuries taken their toll? O'Hern's playing everywhere he can, trying to get the mojo back, but he's only cashed in 7-of-15 events and is outside the Top 100 on the money list. He's still very accurate off the tee, but he's buried in three key stats: driving distance (174th), greens in regulation (104th) and putting strokes gained (165th). He's slammed the trunk in his last three starts.

HOLDING STEADY

Sergio Garcia:
The 66-66 start out of the gate got everyone excited down in Texas, then Garcia hiccuped with a 74-77 close. You almost get the idea that he plays best when he's not thinking, and he gets in his own way when there's something there for the taking. And what's with the waggling back in the equation, Garcia? Some golf psychologist could make a few million deconstructing this underachieving talent. To the couch.