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Golf Barometer: Phil is an Old 42

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

Modified Stableford:
Ah, it's back. It's been a long time, my friend. I've missed you. The Reno-Tahoe Open will use the Modified Stableford scoring system instead of medal play, a format that rewards daring and aggressive play as follows: 8 points for double eagle, 5 points for eagle, 2 for birdie, zero for par, and minus 1 for bogey and minus 3 for double bogey or worse. I don't see why we can't have one of these dances every year. (What, you want some Reno-Tahoe picks? Put me down for JB Holmes, Pat Perez and Spencer Levin. I'm not sidling up with Padraig Harrington this week.)

As for everyone else at the WGC event ...

Jason Dufner:
He's never played Bridgestone, but so what? Did he look out of place across the pond? The Duff just keeps rolling and waggling along, never letting any moment get the best of him. His breakthrough year hasn't been a fluke; I'll chase him next year in my auctions.

Ian Poulter:
Just when you think it's an off year, he punched a T9 at the British Open. He hasn't missed a cut in 2012, and he's starting to get that nerve back on the greens, that bounce in his step. Look out for him down the stretch.

Peter Hanson:
Although he sounded a little starstruck at the Masters, he did finished T3. He also grabbed a T4 at the Cadillac Championships and a reasonable T23 at the British Open. The bigger the field, the more I trust this still-underrated Swede.

Robert Garrigus:
He's taking this week off, then it's all systems go at the PGA. Garrigus couldn't make any putts in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, frittering away his three-shot lead, but he was calm in in the post-tournament conference, and he knows he's very close to winning again. Garrigus hits the ball longer than just about anyone and has finished second on three occasions this year. Getting mind and body in shape goes a long way.

DOWNGRADE

Adam Scott:
He says he's over the heartbreak at the British Open, but what is he really going to say? I still can't believe that putt on 18 didn't fall. Scott has his life in order and certainly has the emotional centeredness to get over this devastating defeat eventually, but it won't happen right away. Don't look for him to be anywhere near the lead at Bridgestone.

Jim Furyk:
Talk about your major-event hangovers. Furyk hasn't looked sharp since the back nine letdown at the U.S. Open, and the timing couldn't be worse - now is not the time for anyone to take a break, with the final major closing in and then the playoffs. It's been a solid comeback year for Furyk, but I think the final chapter has already been written.

Phil Mickelson:
He's been out of sorts for a while (he was gone in 60 seconds at the British Open) and this isn't an event that suits his eye - Mickelson has just one strong check (a T4 in 2008) over his last eight visits here. If I gave you even money on Mickelson ever winning another major, which way would you go? All of a sudden he's looking like a very old 42.

Brandt Snedeker:
He's looked uncomfortable in two starts at Firestone, and if you don't bring your A Game this week, you have no chance against a star-studded field. You want precise iron play at this event, but Snedeker is T124 in greens in regulation.

HOLDING STEADY

Tiger Woods:
He used to be automatic here, but hard to imagine the event has his full attention this week with the PGA just around the corner. Look for one strong round that pushes him into the Top 15, but I'll be very surprised if he wins.

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