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Golf Barometer: The Clambake

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

Phil Mickelson:
New driver, confident putter, outstanding body language from the word go. It's going to be a fun 2013 season if Phil and Tiger are as ready as they've looked in the opening month.

Dustin Johnson:
He's got a sterling record at Pebble Beach and seems happy as can be with Kid Gretzky on his arm. Johnson won't be signing for any 99s at The Clambake, but a handful of 66s would work nicely. If Johnson ever gets comfortable as a putter, the sky is the limit - he has No. 1 overall potential.

Padraig Harrington:
It was a grin-and-grind show en route to a T9 in Phoenix, albeit the 70 on Sunday was a tiny bit of a letdown. Harrington is still just 41 and might have a major or two left in him, albeit he's no longer a horse for any course. He's had success at Pebble Beach (both in The Clambake and during the U.S. Open), so keep an eye on him this week.

Steve Marino:
If he's healthy, he can have a breakthrough season - that's our story and we're sticking to it. Marino's T15 at the Farmers Insurance Open got the ball started, and he looks good at The Clambake this week, an event he's been close to winning (deep runs in 2010 and 2011). Make sure he's not sitting on your waiver wire.

DOWNGRADE

D.A. Points:
Physical problems ruined his second half of 2012, and he hasn't hit the ground running this year, either (T64, MC, MC). Most of his ball-striking numbers are in line, but a wonky putter (142nd in strokes gained) has been the taxing club through the opening month. He can't be treated as a Top-100 player.

Sean O'Hair:
He's playing for the fourth straight week, but maybe time off makes more sense - he's slammed the trunk three consecutive times. His iron play has been respectable, but that's seldom going to matter when you're 153rd in tee accuracy and 175th in strokes gained putting.

Vijay Singh:
There's the banned substance controversy and now a sore back to boot (if we take last week's WD at face value). And while Singh has aged gracefully on the circuit, he does turn 50 later this month. The circus leaves town for everyone eventually.

HOLDING STEADY

Retief Goosen:
He's finally ready for his 2013 PGA Tour debut on the heels of August's back surgery. A T20 at the Volvo Championships is reason for optimism, but erratic putting is to be expected for the opening month or two.

Charley Hoffman:
A grinder's grinder, he decided to take this week off after initially sitting in the Pebble Beach field. Hoffman's T10 at the Humana No-Challenge was a solid push, but he's followed that with a T34 and a missed cut in Phoenix. Perhaps he's owned something down the line, as his consistent stat profile adds up to the No. 13 slot in all-around ranking. Rest up, concrete blonde.

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