Dustin Johnson: He's had a meandering and somewhat inconsistent season, but he pushed off nicely with the tie for second at the British Open, and the win last week pays a lot of bills (literally and figuratively). That's how talented Johnson really is; he can have what almost feels like a disappointing year and yet, bam, there he is, No. 3 on the money list. He's the logical favorite at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where his prodigious length gives him a distinct advantage. The 2010 blow-up at the U.S. Open should be a distant memory now. If Johnson takes a half-step forward with his putting and wedge game, he could forge out a dominant career.
Camilo Villegas: He was a zombie on the course for a solid 6-7 months, but maybe he can turn it on just like that. A T9 at Wyndham got Villegas back on line, and he followed that with a creamy-smooth 68-66-65 last week and T6 finish. Two weeks ago, he wasn't a sure thing to even make the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Now, it looks like the Gator will be around for a while. A little confidence and a few good iron shots sure go a long way.
Thomas Bjorn: He's having a dynamite season at age 40, with last week's crazy win at the Johnny Walker, the sole fourth at the British Open and the Match Play victory in February over Tiger Woods (back when that sort of thing impressed us). Bjorn has traded a little tee accuracy for distance this season, and his putting has been the best it's been in about five years. Nothing fazes him on the course.
Brandt Snedeker: His game was in the toilet into last week, so of course Snedeker threw a 70-66-61 at the field and surged into a tie for third by the end of the 54-hole event. Snedeker's one of the shorter hitters on tour and this hasn't been his best iron season, but when you're fourth in putting and 14th in scrambling, you've always got a chance.
K.J. Choi: It looked like he was in the chase for Player of the Year after the win at Sawgrass, but Choi hasn't really been heard from since - he keeps cashing checks, mind you, but his only contention came at AT&T National two months ago. He hasn't cracked the Top 30 in his last four starts, and while we expect him to last into the final round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he doesn't look like a major threat to win the whole thing.
Pat Perez: He played just one messy round last week before withdrawing, signing for a 79 and leaving the grounds. Perez actually was steady with his ball striking, but his putting was horrendous. Perhaps the near miss at Reno a few weeks ago has turned into a hangover effect, even though he did run T17 at Wyndham. Perez is known for blowing hot and cold, and the steam was coming out of his ears last week. It would be a surprise if he contended in Boston.
Stewart Cink: He's only 38, but isn't he starting to seem a whole lot older? Cink has just one Top 10 on the season and has been playing out the string of late, making just two cuts (nothing better than T30) in his last six starts. Look for another mediocre showing in Boston this week, which will excuse him from the playoff season. When you're 156nd in tee accuracy and 106th in GIR, it's going to be difficult to beat anyone.
Matt Kuchar: He's only missed three cuts all year, and he's run in the Top 10 a whopping nine times (after 11 visits last year), so we're used to Kuchar on the weekend. But shouldn't he have more than one victory over the last year and half, given how well he's played? One of the keys to his game is staying balanced on Sunday - his scoring ranks by day are as follows: fifth, seventh, second and 45th. If Kuchar learns to get out of his own way a little bit, stardom is there for the taking.
Tiger Woods: So he's got the Presidents Cup spot, even though he did nothing to earn it in 2011. Don't make Freddie look a fool in November, Tiger. You're not playing for yourself, you're playing for your country and most of all, the respected veteran who vouched for you.