The chatter prior to the final round at the The Barclays surrounded Tiger Woods. Could he make up two shots and come from behind for his sixth victory of the season? Would a sixth victory lock up another player of the year award? And what of the back? Was it something minor or would it derail his chances at The Barclays as well as the FedEx playoffs? As the round got under way, it was Phil Mickelson making the charge. Mickelson started well off the pace Sunday, but a quick start had some thinking he could make up a huge deficit. After it became evident that Mickelson didn't quite have enough, the focus turned to Matt Kuchar, who inexplicably fell apart Sunday. Kuchar's meltdown was difficult to explain, after all, he entered the FedEx playoffs with the second most points and never really had trouble closing before. This is golf, though, and even the best can have one bad day. Kuchar had left the scene, Mickelson didn't have any holes left and it looked as though Tiger could actually pull this out. In the end, though, just like the gaggle of players around him, Woods also came up short. By the time the smoke cleared it was Adam Scott on top. The guy no one saw coming ... until it was too late.
This week: Deutsche Bank Championship
Last Year: Rory McIlroy shot a final-round 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Louis Oosthuizen.
Players to Consider:
1. Tiger Woods
Will the back hold up this week? Something tells me the extra day off this week will do him wonders. Woods doesn't have a crazy-stupid track record here, though, just three consecutive top-15s coming into the 2013 Deutsche Bank.
2. Adam Scott
A surprising win last week at The Barclays, and now he returns to the site where he's had a ton of success, especially the last three years. Scott has three consecutive top-5s here, and there's no reason to think it won't be four after this week.
3. Jim Furyk
Again in the hunt last week at The Barclays, but again, no juice down the stretch. Furyk was never in position to win Sunday, but he was smack-dab in the middle of the pack chasing the leaders all day. Furyk has the track record to once again contend.
4. Phil Mickelson
I surmised last week that Phil might phone it in during the playoffs after the year he's had, but he did anything but last week. With a T6 last week, Mickelson appears ready to make a run. He's had more success on this track compared to the one last week also, so who knows, maybe another win this week.
5. Brandt Snedeker
He's coming off a missed cut last week, which is never a good thing, but his track record here (three consecutive top-6 finishes) is hard to ignore, and he's proven time and again that he can turn it on very quickly. Look for Sneds to get back on track this week.
Players to Avoid:
1. Nick Watney
Watney snapped out of his funk last week at The Barclays with a top-10, but let's not forget that he had a pretty strong track record at that event going in. That's something that he doesn't have this week at the Deutsche Bank where he's missed the cut in five of his past nine starts.
2. Luke Donald
Donald's history at this event is impressive, but his game is lacking something lately, and I don't think he'll get it turned around this week. Donald has missed three of his last five cuts on the PGA Tour and is coming off a ho-hum T41 last week.
3. Patrick Reed
Reed was on a roll heading into the Fed Ex Playoffs last week, but that quickly came to an end with opening-round 73 that was followed up by a second-round 75. With his win at the Wyndham, Reed pretty much made his entire season. I have to imagine his focus is just a little off right now.
4. Ian Poulter
Poulter has found nothing but trouble at this event in his six trips here. He's made the cut only twice and has nothing better than a T45 to show for his efforts. At 70th on the FedEx list, Poulter will be fortunate to make it to the next event on the schedule.
5. Graham DeLaet
Great year for DeLaet and a great showing last week at The Barclays, but I doubt he'll be able to back up that effort this week. DeLaet entered last week off consecutive missed cuts and surprised everyone with a runner-up finish. Perhaps he worked out some kinks in his game, but I'd rather assume his performance last week was a bit of fluke and not an indicator of things to come.
YAHOO! FANTASY GOLF
1. Tiger Woods
2. Phil Mickelson
Pretty clear-cut in Group A this week. If you have the starts left to grab these two, then you probably should. I selected Tiger last week, but decided not to use him. Considering he didn't win, that's probably a good move, but there are only three events left and now is the time.
1. Webb Simpson
2. Jim Furyk
3. Justin Rose
4. Keegan Bradley
I entered last week with a dilemma. I had three strong players, Rose, Bradley and Kuchar with only two starts left. I decided to use only Kuchar from that group, a move that looked very wise ... until the final round. This week I'll leave Kuchar out of the mix and add Bradley and Rose to the roster. Simpson and Furyk remain on the team from last week.
1. Adam Scott
2. Rickie Fowler
I liked Adam Scott enough last week to mention him in my writeup for Group C, yet I decided not to put him on my roster due to start limitations. This week there's really no decision to be made, Scott is a must. As for Fowler, call it a hunch. His track record here is poor, but his game looks good.
Starters Round One
1. Tiger Woods
2. Webb Simpson
3. Jim Furyk
4. Adam Scott
As mentioned, I'm all-in on Tiger this week. Two starts left, one after this week, and I plan on getting maximum value, which means a start Friday. I'm starting the same pair out of the blocks in Group B this week as last week. Furyk and Simpson played well last week and I fully expect good efforts from both players this week. Somewhat easy call in Group C. I say somewhat because this is my final start for Scott, so I would be justified in waiting one round, but like Tiger, I want full value this week from Scott.
Round Two and Going Forward:
Although I'm looking to get the most out of Tiger this week, I won't be completely blind to what Mickelson is doing. He certainly could force my hand, but it looks like a four-round start out of Tiger. Furyk has a fairly-strong hold on one of the starting spots in Group B, but the other one is likely in the air after the first round. Rose is probably the first one in off the bench, but I'll let the opening round determine who gets the crack at the second starting spot. Since I'm burning my final start on Scott in Group C, I'm going to give him at least two rounds, if not more. I'll probably stick with Scott even if he starts poorly Friday.