RotoWire Partners

Golf Barometer: Lindsey Vonn, Farmers MVP

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:
At the end of the day, you get the idea Lindsey Vonn cleared Tiger's head more than Sean Foley ever could. Ah, I know, I know, the Woods-Vonn pairing isn't official, and maybe it's just another media runaway story. This much is inescapable: Woods was in complete control of his game at San Diego, and was relaxed and comfortable in the media room as well. It's been a while, hasn't it? A monster year is looming.

Brandt Snedeker:
While catching Woods was never in play on Monday, there's nothing wrong with a tasty $536K in the bank and a second big paycheck in three starts. Snedeker's guts and putting stroke give him a chance at any event, and his iron play (often a detriment last season) was nearly letter perfect at Torrey Pines. Baby, you're a big star now.

Robert Garrigus:
He's on the cusp of breaking it wide open, starting with a T16 at the Humana No-Challenge and a T6 at Torrey Pines. Garrigus can hit the ball to Pluto, we've always known that, but the rest of his game has vastly improved the last 12 months. Now in the sweet spot at age 35, Garrigus might see a Ryder Cup or two before his prime comes and goes. Hopefully the three playoff losses have taught him a thing or two; if Garrigus gets that elusive second win early this year, a huge season should follow.

HOLDING STEADY

Phil Mickelson:
He made some regretful tax comments, we all saw that, but Lefty made a skillful up-and-down in public the rest of the week, handling himself well in the middle of the firestorm. Alas, Mickelson's game was surprisingly shaky in his comfortable Torrey Pines playground: he never broke 70 en route to a no-op T51. Maybe the energy of Phoenix will help him get back on the beam.

Charles Howell:
He's no stranger to fast starts, so the three Top-10s shouldn't throw you for a loop. But can Howell keep it going when the fields get deeper and tougher, or when the major season comes calling? Too many times we've seen CH3 turn into a pumpkin before the year is half over. Keep in mind he didn't have a six-figure paycheck from February through September last year. It's an obvious sell-high, gamers.

DOWNGRADE

Vijay Singh:
Wait a minute, Vijay Singh might have bent the rules or outright cheated, using a banned substance? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. What's next, Santa Claus isn't real? Singh's ability to block out distractions is well-documented, but he withdrew from the Phoenix Open on Thursday morning (ostensibly because of a back injury), a day after admitting he used deer-antler spray. To be fair, it is possible he could have used a banned substance unknowingly.

Blake Adams:
We figured he's be a Top-100 player for sure in 2013, but a balky hip is going to require surgery. It's encouraging that Adams won't need a full replacement and his career can make a strong comeback at age 37, but it's hard to imagine him doing a lot for the rest of this season.

Spencer Levin:
He was in the Phoenix Open field for a while before ultimately dropping out - the thumb probably isn't right yet. And there's no guarantee that Levin is going to play anytime soon, or even during the complete calendar year 2013. That's how cloudy this situation is, and how dicey thumb injuries can be.

Belly Putters:
The anchoring ban seems like a fait accompli, it's just a matter of whether the PGA Tour wants to get on board before the 2016 clampdown. Finally, common sense wins out. It will be interesting to see how established stars like Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott and Webb Simpson adjust.