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Golf Barometer: Couples: King of the Fairway Gait

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

Webb Simpson:
An impressive win over a decent field last week at Wyndham, and there's a bunch of snappy numbers on the profile: excellent distance (36th), acceptable accuracy (85th), radar irons (15th in GIR) and a ton of red numbers (third in par breakers). And Simpson ranks 12th or better in scoring for all four days on tour; the big moments don't throw him at all. His upside looks unlimited at age 26.

Davis Love III:
There's still plenty of fight in the Tar Heel: he's cashed in eight of his last 10 starts, with four checks more than $100K. You worry about his putting now that he's 47 - and he's buried in those stats - but he's still a dynamite ball striker (33rd in tee distance, 19th in GIR). And his enthusiasm to play seems as fresh as ever.

Camilo Villegas:
He was right on the FedEx Cup cut line - 125th - before a T9 at Wyndham pushed him into the playoffs with room to spare. It's the first sign of life from Villegas in two months - he made less than $12K in his previous six starts. But he didn't forget how to play golf completely at Age 29. Keep an eye on him at The Barclays.

Tommy Gainey:
Yes, we know he wears two gloves while he plays - mentioning that is like mentioning that John Olerud used to wear a helmet in the field. Gainey's mid-summer slump appears to be over, as he's cashed in four of his last five starts, with two Top 10s and a T17. If his putting gets a little more consistent, especially on the weekend rounds, he can make a deep run in the playoffs.

Fred Couples:
The Presidents Cup is largely on his mind these days, and his cranky back doesn't allow him to play that much (he's also dealing with a hip issue), but it was tremendous to see him take down John Cook in a playoff at the Senior Players. Couples might have the best fairway gait of all time; everything looks casual, effortless and cool.

Downgrade

Steve Marino:
He finished second a couple of times in the first quarter of the year, but he's been lost for most of the summer. Marino heads into the playoffs with three straight missed cuts, and he hasn't been close to contention since late March. At some point you flick the label, and he goes from potential sleeper to perennial disappointment.

Alex Prugh:
He quickly got our attention during his snappy rookie-year debut, but Prugh has quickly lost his way during the sophomore season (172nd on the money list, just 11 cuts made). Most of his stats short of driving distance look messy, but it's really the wayward driver - he's 148th in accuracy - that's making the rest of his game look bad. He was a solid iron player and putter last year, that will come around when he stops blasting his driver all over the planet.

Holding Steady

The Belly Putter:
It's not just for the geezers anymore - Adam Scott's been doing fine work with it, and Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson just scored victories with the magic wand. It doesn't make me like it any more, however. There should be a limit to how long a club can be, especially on the big-boy tour.

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