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Golf Barometer: Rose in Bloom

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

David Lynn:
He didn't get a ton of air time for his T4 at the Honda, but let's not miss the story. Lynn was the sneaky second-place finisher at last year's PGA Championship, and he's already grabbed four checks in his initial year on the American tour. A strong putter and an underrated wedge game can make up for what Lynn lacks in dynamic ball-striking talent. Breakouts don't happen in other sports in the Age-39 season, but golf is an exception - and Lynn's experience and mettle gained from the European Tour will serve him well in his new challenges.

Justin Rose:
Two match-play wins and a T4 at the Honda make for a nifty start to the U.S. part of the schedule for Rose. He also was in fine form at the Doral opener, carding a 68. Rose's tempo and pace on the course is something to emulate; he never looks rushed in any movement, but he also doesn't trip himself up with indecisiveness. If Rose gets a little more consistent with the putter, he should be able to bag multiple majors (yes, plural) over the next 5-10 years.

Peter Hanson:
He didn't look comfortable during that shocking 80 in L.A. a month back, but Hanson's hardly missed a shot since (two wins at the Accenture, T13 at the Honda, minus-5 opener at Doral). Hanson had three strong showings in the majors last year (T3, MC, T23, T7, in order) and is a name to keep in mind when the calcuttas come around. Playing the PGA Tour full time certainly can't hurt his chances for the three stateside majors.

DOWNGRADE

Rory McIlroy:
The surprising walkaway at the Honda won't be a big story going forward; McIlroy is a good kid and he'll learn from it. And eventually he'll get adjusted to his new equipment - he's too smart and too talented not to. In the meantime, heads up if you see Rory firing off the tee - he's 164th in tee accuracy. His guts-of-a-burglar putter isn't working its magic yet in 2013, as he stands 92nd in strokes gained on the greens. If you entered a fresh draft today, you'd have to take Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker, at minimum, over McIlroy.

Ben Curtis:
He picked up a cushy $87K at the Tournament of Champions, a limited field event, and since then it's been a bunch of no-shows (MC, T51, T58, MC). Curtis has been in the 60s just once all season, a combination of horrendous ball striking and surprisingly-mediocre putting (to be fair, his blade stats are lagging because he's not putting the ball close). Let Curtis grab some bench while he works through his slump.

HOLDING STEADY

Michael Thompson:
You never can discount the possible confidence and performance spike that's often tied to any victory, but let's also remember Thompson did absolutely nothing in his first four starts (three trunk slams with a T78 at the Farmers Insurance Open). He's 115th in driving distance, 135th in tee accuracy, 157th in GIR, 96th in putting strokes gained. What's to be excited about? You grab him if you have a freeroll at the end of your roster, but don't get aggressive with the move. Thompson's win might go down as one of the flukes of the season.

Lee Westwood:
It was disappointing to see him roll a 74 on the final day of the Honda, and no one would ever bet a nickel on any Westwood putt. That said, he still finished ninth in a week without his best stuff, and Westwood doesn't seem spooked by all the talk of him being majorless. He's still mentally tough and unlikely to beat himself; don't slam the window shut yet.

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