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Golf Barometer: Keep Smiling, Kooch

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:
The win at the Memorial, on the heels of the solo second at Crowne Plaza, has Kuchar in the Player of the Year discussion. He's yet to miss a cut all year, he's second on the money list and his angelic putting (14th in strokes gained) bails out his ordinary play off the tee (161st in total driving). It all adds up to a No. 5 rank in scoring average, and one of the top-five favorites for the U.S. Open.

Scott Stallings:
It's been a season of streaks for the 28-year old. Two six-digit cashes in January provided a nice push off, but Stallings only made 3-of-11 cuts following that. We understand if you didn't have him in the circle of trust for the Crowne Plaza Invitational (T4), but it's all systems go after a second straight T4 (you love the superb 67 closer at Jack's place last week). Despite the erratic results, Stallings offers an easy-to-love bank of component stats: 24th in total driving, 65th in GIR, 63rd in strokes gained putting. Look for more consistency into the summer events.

Tim Clark:
He's back in fine form, grabbing checks in 5-of-7 starts including three big-money checks. Clark certainly is one of the favorites for this week's St. Jude Classic (where he's cashed four times in a row), and his steady ball striking at a shorter U.S. Open track make him a sleeper candidate for the second major.

John Rollins:
He's quietly cashed 11 times in 15 starts, including a T4 two weeks back at the Crowne Plaza. Rollins is one of the longer hitters on tour (293.6 yards a poke) and he's 10th in GIR play, which sets him up well at most tracks. His scoring has also been extremely consistent during all fours rounds of play - he doesn't fade when in weekend contention.

Ken Duke:
The 44-year-old doesn't have anything flashy in his bag, but he's scored eight decent checks and is inside the Top 100 on the money list. You could do a lot worse for your final roster spot in a deeper league. Duke's last six cashes have come at T31 or better - while he's not stuffing the oversized check into his car or gathering a lot of TV time, those dollars add up. Duke basically gets it done as the new Fred Funk: he's fourth in tee accuracy, walking straight down the middle on most holes.

DOWNGRADE

Richard Sterne:
We liked him as a possible U.S. Open sleeper, but the South African has decided to pass on the invitation. Keep him in mind for July's British Open, where his chances (theoretically) look a lot better.

Retief Goosen:
Back problems are lingering injuries for so many golfers, especially those in their 40s. Goosen's cranky back is going to keep him out 4-6 weeks, and his last significant tournament showing came in early February. It's a lost year for the Goose.

HOLDING STEADY

Dustin Johnson:
His game has been a mess since the T13 at the Masters - a withdrawal at Sawgrass and a trunk slam last week. But Johnson is also the defending champ at the St. Jude Classic and he's staring at a weak field, so go ahead and dial him up.

Nick Watney:
It's been a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't type of year for the former Fresno State Bulldog. Just when Watney looked to be just about unstoppable - three major checks from mid-April to early May - a couple of hiccups come into play: trunk slams at The Players and the Memorial. There isn't a major lag in his major component stats (a leaky year in sand saves isn't a big deal) - so we're inclined to give Watney the benefit of the doubt.

Jordan Spieth:
He's a late drop out from the St. Jude Classic, that's a little frustrating. But you can't blame the kid for the decision - he made it into the U.S. Open through sectional qualifying, so it's a good time to take a week off. The 19-year-old hasn't been fazed by life on the big boy tour - he stands 11th in total driving and seventh in all-around ranking. Look for him to make the cut at Merion.

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