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Golf Barometer: No Denying Tiger's Upgrade

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

Tiger Woods:
No denying this upgrade, as Woods is the leader in the Player of the Year chase, even without a major victory. He's won three times in his last seven starts, he came in second at the Honda Classic, and none of the two major winners (Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson) have done anything that special. Woods can still be erratic off the tee now and again, but his iron play has been exquisite all year and his putter is starting to turn around. The dominator we saw in the salad days is probably never coming back, but I'll be surprised if Woods isn't the No. 1 ranked player in the world before the year is through.

Bo Van Pelt:
I'm going to put him in the Upgrade file, but there is one fly in the ointment. First the good stuff: BVP is 16th on the money list and has cashed 13 times in 16 events. The stat page is terrific: 38th in GIR, sixth in putting strokes gained, fifth in total driving, fourth in all-around rank, 13th in scoring. He has the most Top-10 finishes this year, and he's fourth in final-round scoring average. He has three Top-20 finishes in his last six majors, including a T8 at the 2011 Masters. So riddle me this - how in the heck does a player this good only have one career victory? Makes zero sense to me. Van Pelt should have been a star by now, but the window is closing fast (he's 37).

Robert Garrigus:
He figures you might as well go big or go home. Although Garrigus is a modest 10-for-17 on cuts made in 2012, he's grabbed six checks over six figures, including a T4 run at AT&T National. The putter is still the thing standing in front of a major breakout, but when you're third in driving distance and 15th in GIR, you're going to have some deep runs. It's just a matter of keeping the ball findable more often than not; like most big hitters, the spray chart is all over the map.

Chez Reavie:
We wrote him off after six straight trunk slams - and that came on the heels of three mediocre months - but Reavie seems back in form. He played four crisp rounds at Hartford en route to a T11 finish, then backed it up with a T15 showing at AT&T National. Reavie will be priced out of some tracks because of his lack of power, but he's still a handy precision player on his better days. He could be a Top 50-60 player the rest of the way.

DOWNGRADE

Camilo Villegas:
How do we reconcile his standing on the money list - 140th? What's a player of this talent level doing that low? The shocking errors are coming around the green, where Villegas - the former spiderman - sits 102nd in putting strokes gained and 99th in scrambling. His tee-to-green game hasn't been that bad: 49th in total driving, 62nd in GIR. The short shots are the ones doing him in.

Angel Cabrera:
He's run into some physical problems this year and it certainly shows in his play: 5-for-14 on cuts, nothing inside the Top 20. It's sad to see The Duck waddling around with a sourpuss on his face, but no one wants to fly home on Friday. For the majority of the year, Cabrera hasn't had a clue where the ball is going off the club. His contention window in majors is probably over.

Ben Curtis:
His ballistic four-week run in the spring (victory, T13, T5, T2) put him back on the map, but did Curtis make a mistake taking too much time off since? He's only played twice since mid-May, a missed cut and a T34. We'd like a show of good faith at The Greenbrier Classic.

Robert Allenby:
What happened to that consistent ball striking we all fell in love with? Maybe it doesn't matter when you roll the ball like Allenby does - he's 172nd in putting strokes gained, and he's at an age where that trend is unlikely to fix itself. Allenby has only played well once in his last 12 starts (the deep run at St. Jude). In shallower leagues, you have our permission to drop Allenby and seek out someone younger, fresher, plush with more upside.