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Golf Barometer: About Time for Dufner

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

Jason Dufner:
In a lot of ways, the first victory was an "about time" story. Dufner's stat profile this season is consistent and balanced: eighth in total driving, 29th in GIR, 13th in scoring average. If he can find a little more consistency on the greens, he could step up a level and become the type of player who contends for a Ryder Cup spot. But one request, Duff: lose the waggling on the course. The last thing golf needs is more rain delays on the course.

Ernie Els:
There's no shame losing in a playoff, and Els was classy and likable in the post-match interviews, as usual (Tiger Woods would learn an awful lot observing Els for a week or two). Els still hits the ball wonderfully - he's 26th in total driving, 15th in GIR - but the off-and-on putter will determine how often he wins again. I have a feeling he'll be heard from at Sawgrass in a couple of weeks.

Luke Donald:
It was another brilliant but stealth week from Donald, as he finished 65-66-67 in New Orleans and grabbed a sole-third finish without a lot of attention. He's now bagged three big paydays in his last five starts in the U.S., though all anyone can seem to remember is the no-show at the Masters (T32). Donald doesn't turn 35 until the end of the year, so it's too soon to call him this generation's Colin Montgomerie. He's too good not to win a major at some point.

Ben Curtis:
As wonderful as the victory was in San Antonio, let's be fair here: the field was awful. To fully trust Curtis as a roto play again, we needed him to validate the victory with another strong outing, and he did just that at the Zurich Classic (T13), in the middle of a strong field. Now we can dial up Curtis with some confidence this week at Quail Hollow.

Ken Duke:
The 43-year-old journeyman has stepped back into relevance, cashing 10-of-12 times, including three Top-10 checks. Duke's now 51st on the money list for the year, impressive considering no one had him as a Top-150 player into the season. Duke's a short hitter off the tee and hasn't had the best iron season, but a decent eye on the green and a bulldog's mentality with scrambling have served him well. Now he needs to work on the Sunday scoring, where he ranks 149th this season.

DOWNGRADE

Tiger Woods:
Come on, Eldrick, what's with bagging the Quail Hollow media gig in favor of a fan-driven social media hit? We all know what that's about: just another transparent effort for Team Tiger to control everything possible. You're not appearing more human in this regard; it's just another step away from the public, another flip off to the fans that would be happy to love you again, if you'd just give them a chance, a good reason to.

Ricky Barnes:
Another trunk slam in New Orleans for Barnes, and he's failed to make even $20K in any of his last seven starts. He's still bombing it off the tee, but he has no real idea where it's going, and he's lagging in iron play (162nd in GIR) and putting (176th). Time to push him out of our Top 90.

Retief Goosen:
He hans't done a thing stateside this year - nothing in the Top 30 - mostly because of a wayward driver and an inconsistent iron game. Goosen still rolls the ball coolly on the greens - that's how he made his name in the majors last decade - but until the ball striking steps up, we're not particularly interested. He's also had trouble scoring on the weekends, especially on Sundays.

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