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Golf Barometer: The Tour's Ramblin' Wreck

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

Matt Kuchar:
He might be the best putter this side of Brandt Snedeker, and Kuchar's tee-to-green game is first rate as well. While Kuchar has a modest five victories in his PGA Tour career (a mild underachiever in that column), the last three have been significant events (The Barclays in 2010, The Players Championship last year and now the Accenture Match Play Championship). Kuchar has four Top-10s in majors in this fresh decade, including a T3 at Augusta last year. Look for the Georgia Tech product to knock down that final door soon.

Ian Poulter:
His game finally cooled off Sunday (losing to Hunter Mahan and Jason Day), but Poulter still deserves the tag of No. 1 Match Play golfer in the world, what with his heroics at the 2012 Ryder Cup. And don't forget Poulter won the Accenture in 2010, showing the world how much he loves to play in off-weather. He's due to win a British Open one of these years.

Fredrik Jacobson:
He's grabbed three straight Top-10 checks, and that trend has a strong chance to continue at The Honda Classic (where Jacobson has a strong resume). Jacobson's angelic putter gives him a chance anywhere, and he's smart enough to keep the irons in play most of the time.

DOWNGRADE

Dove Mountain:
It's time to remove this location from the WGC calendar. We've seen snow two of three years at the Accenture, and the players hate putting on the greens. And it's not like fans are flocking to the course - there were more people following the Smails-Noonan match at the end of "Caddyshack" than there were tracking Kuchar-Mahan on Sunday. Do the right thing, let's give this terrific tournament the surrounding it deserves.

Davis Love:
While Jim Furyk went out in the second round and Steve Stricker fell in the third (to Ian Poulter, natch), Hunter Mahan made it all the way to the Accenture finals for the second straight year. We're not forgiving and forgetting, DL3: your old boy's network Captain's Picks for the 2012 Ryder Cup (Furyk and Stricker over, among others, Mahan) were a gift to the Europeans. At least Mahan has all but ensured he'll be in the mix at the 2014 event; he has the perfect bulldog makeup for match play.

Rory McIlroy:
He's eventually going to get comfortable with his new Nike equipment (and yes, he's hardly played in 2013), but when you get to the top of the mountain with a set of routines and tools in place, why change anything? Some might say McIlroy really couldn't decline Nike's monumental offer, but at the end of the day, how many yachts can you water ski behind?

Luke Donald:
He didn't seem engaged during an ordinary first-round victory, and then Scott Piercy trounced Donald in the second round (7-and-6). Remember all those "the major is coming" pronouncements about Donald? No one is whispering that tune now. He's still a name player, but no one is afraid of the shadow Donald casts.

Ernie Els:
Normally you love dialing up the Big Easy this time of the year (and he likes PGA National), but after watching Els get yippy with a few short putts last week, I'm going to let him work things out before I write the endorsement.

Sergio Garcia:
When's the last time he had positive body language on the course? What happened to the smiling, energetic pup we saw back in 1999? Can we start this career over?

Tim Finchem:
The belly putter defense was no big surprise - you knew Finchem would protect the financial interests of his players - but why in the name of Billy Baroo did Finchem release the statement on Sunday? Let the Final Four stand on its own, commish. Timing matters.

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