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Golf Barometer: Texas Open Needs Johnny Miller

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

Ben Curtis:
He was leaking oil at the end of the Valero Texas Open, but his clutch 22-foot save on No. 17 turned into the stroke of the weekend. While Curtis's run at the 2003 British Open belongs in the fluke file, you have to be fairly talented to win four events on tour for a career. And the Ohio product does have three Top 10s in majors other than the 2003 stunner, including two deep runs back across the pond. Curtis is just 34; I have a feeling he'll retire with 8-10 titles to his name.

Matt Every:
He's one of the quickest players on tour (major props for that), and we're certainly impressed by four Top-10 finishes through 11 events, including the T2 in San Antonio. But if Every made any putts in the final round - his play on the green was dreadful the last 12 holes Sunday - he'd probably have that coveted first victory on his mantle right now. His Sunday scoring has been sterling all season, but it's a different world when you're in the final pairing. Hopefully he learned something from the experience.

John Huh:
A lot of players would have bagged it, literally or figuratively, after an opening-round 77. Huh circled the wagons, firing a 68-67-69 at the field and narrowly missing his second victory of the year. Huh is still a month shy of his 22nd birthday, but it's clear he belongs; he's made nine cuts already in 2012 and sits 13th on the money list. He's not a long hitter (120th in tee distance), but he grades out well in just about every other key component stat (which is why he stands 24th in scoring and 13th in all-around rank). This is what a new star looks like.

Bud Cauley:
Here's another youngster making hay - Cauley is 14 months younger than Huh but no less precocious. Cauley has cashed 10 times in 12 starts, including five checks inside the Top 20. His putting has been merely OK in his rookie year, not exceptional, but he ranks well in all the other key numbers we look at. The Alabama flash is here to stay.

DOWNGRADE

CBS Sports:
We knew they weren't taking this event seriously when they gave Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo the week off. In a week where we saw a mediocre field playing an ugly course, CBS found a way to play down to the level of competition; the telecast suffered without Nantz, an excellent traffic cop and context provider. (Maybe what this event needs is a shift to NBC - so Johnny Miller can tell everyone the truth about the watered-down product we're viewing.)

Tommy Gainey:
Give him credit for playing both rounds out, despite the 80-84 result that came from it. Gainey's still a bomber off the tee but otherwise his game is in utter chaos: he's 171st in tee accuracy, 166th in GIR, 161st in putting and 170th in scrambling. He's in the New Orleans field (playing for the third consecutive week), but maybe it's time for an extended break. A lot of things need fixing here.

Holding Steady

Kevin Na:
He stumbled to a 79 on Thursday and then called it a week, slamming the trunk and heading for the airport. Not everyone has the resolve of a Huh, I guess. Maybe Na has bad vibes from the course; remember he carded a 16 on the ninth hole in San Antonio last year. Na's game was in fine form prior to last week (three consecutive six-figure checks), so feel free to dial him up when he returns to competition.

Scott Piercy:
While a T18 finish from the Valero Texas Open would normally be acceptable, Piercy left a lot of cash on the table with his ugly nine on Sunday's final hole. He botched a couple of sand shots along the way, then bladed a third wedge across the green. Piercy decided to take the frustration out on his putter shortly thereafter, snapping it over his knee while he stalked toward the scoring area. Some old-school scribes might look down on this sort of display, but in this case, I'm in favor of it. There's nothing wrong with being human now and again, and considering how thin and boring things were in San Antonio, anything that manufactures excitement is fine with me.

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