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Wyndham Championship Preview: Can Kim Conquer?

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

It's commonplace for the television cameras to keep an eye on any possible participants in an upcoming playoff. That was true Sunday when CBS had cameras on both Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson as they awaited their fate. If only they had a camera on the PGA rules officials as Dustin Johnson attempted his putt that would have temporarily made him the 2010 PGA Champion. On a Sunday afternoon where almost all that could go wrong, did, the one saving grace was that Johnson missed his par putt on the 72nd hole. Johnson's story will live in infamy for many years to come, but had he made that putt, it would have taken the situation to an entirely different level. That said, he missed the putt, missed the playoff and we all saw what happened next. Before we move on, though, let's look at what happened, and believe me, there is plenty of blame to go around, but unlike most in the media, I don't put quite as much on Johnson. Johnson is responsible on a number of levels. He hit the errant shot that put him in the bunker, he failed to recognize he was in a bunker and he grounded his club. Johnson could have avoided the situation by avoiding any one of the previous three mistakes. Still, a rules official was walking with the group, and it is now well documented that the rules officials do not offer advice - they must be asked - and therein lies the problem. The PGA was well aware that a situation like this could occur during the week, so much so that it went out of its way to let the golfers know about the course rules. While it's not technically the responsibility of the PGA to help the players who don't ask for help, they knew full well that there was bound to be confusion about the bunkers, so why not step in? Yes, the rules are the rules. No, the officials don't help unless asked. You can't change the rule, so why not change the approach? There was simply too much at stake to remain quiet in that spot. Major league baseball has a rarely enforced clause called "for the good of the game." The PGA saw the potential for disaster and did everything it could to prevent an occurrence from happening. The problem was, that prevention came four days prior to Johnson's shot, not four seconds.

What the PGA Championship means:

Martin Kaymer: Kaymer is the third of the first-time major winners on the PGA TOUR this season, but he probably has the highest upside of the bunch. Kaymer's had plenty of success overseas, but he's struggled on this side of the pond. That's a thing of the past now, and we'll all have an eye on this threesome as we head into 2011.

Dustin Johnson: Johnson certainly looks like the best of a solid young crop of players, but unlike some, I'm not about to crown him the favorite for the next major. After all, look at how he's performed with the lead in a major. He melted down at the U.S. Open, and as soon as he took the lead at the PGA Championship, he sent a drive a mile right. He's got the talent, now he just needs to work on the mental aspect. He'll put it all together, but let's not put him on the pedestal just yet.

Nick Watney: It's funny, I spent my entire Sunday thinking the theme of my opening was going to revolve around Watney's collapse, until the Johnson fiasco. I was shocked to see the rate of Watney's dissention into the abyss on Sunday. What is it with these younger players? Why can't they play with the lead?

This week: Wyndham Championship

Last Year: Ryan Moore shot a final-round 67 on his way to a playoff victory over Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler.

Players to Consider:

  1. Ryan Moore

    I generally avoid the defending champ, but with only last year's results and recent play as factors this week, there aren't many better options than Moore.

  2. Jason Dufner

    Dufner did not make the cut here last year, but he's coming off a very nice showing at the PGA Championship last week and should be able to carry over some of that momentum.

  3. Kevin Stadler

    Stadler lost in the playoff last year, and though he's not playing well recently, he did pick up a top-five in Reno last month.

  4. Fred Couples

    Couples finished fifth here last year and has been playing well lately, just not on this tour. Couples certainly realizes that his chances on the PGA TOUR are going to be few and far between and that he'd better take advantage while he can.

  5. Carl Pettersson

    It looks like his run is over, but then again, he did play fairly well last week at Whistling Straits. If Pettersson is anywhere near the form he was a month ago this week, he'll be in contention late Sunday.

Players to Avoid:

  1. Anthony Kim

    Kim is one of the biggest names in the field this week, but he's not playing well, and after a poor performance last week, I'm not expecting much from him this week.

  2. Mike Weir

    Weir is another big name who's off his game. I am sure he's trying to gain a little momentum before the FedEx Cup starts next week, but unless he improves a great deal in one week, he'll be in poor form entering the final stretch.

  3. Henrik Stenson

    Seeing Stenson's name in the field this week was just plain bizarre. I realize that he's already in the States because of the PGA Championship, but I wonder what his motivation is behind playing in this event. Perhaps he's trying to get his game right before he heads home.

  4. John Daly

    Why is it that when John Daly plays poorly at an event he's just as likely to WD as miss the cut? I'm sure he has legitimate reasons, some of the time, but for fantasy purposes, you simply can't rely on him to finish any event.

  5. Derek Lamely

    Lamely won in Puerto Rico earlier this year and has been in cruise control ever since. Well, that's not quite true, he did card a top-10 after his win, but he's accomplished virtually nothing since the beginning of April.

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:

This week: Wyndham Championship

Group A

  1. Ryan Moore

  2. Jason Dufner

Not exactly the high-powered players that I'm used to from Group A, but these two are the cream of the crop this week. At best, either could win. At worst, you should have at least one player available for the weekend.

Group B

  1. David Toms

  2. Kevin Na

  3. Kevin Stadler

  4. Fred Couples

Toms was in good position heading into the final round at the PGA Championship last week, which certainly gives him a leg up on this field. Na has been anything but spectacular this season, but he's only missed three cuts all year, and it's events like this where you need realiable players to fill out a starting line-up on the weekend. Stadler often excels at these lower-tier events, and Couples, well Couples needs to make a move here to keep his standing on the PGA TOUR and possibly jump into the top-125.

Group C

  1. Carl Pettersson

  2. Brandt Snedeker

Pettersson and Snedeker each played well enough last week to play the weekend and threaten the top-20. Of course, neither closed very well, but that should change this week under much more friendly conditions.

Starters Round One

  1. Ryan Moore

  2. Fred Couples

  3. Kevin Na

  4. Carl Pettersson

I'm playing the chalk early this week. Moore is the defending champ, which worries me a little, but he's growing into a complete player and with that comes the necessity to play well under the spotlight. Couples and Stadler both played well here last year, and I'm hoping that helps them get an early start this year. Pettersson was close to making a move last week, which could equate to a very low round out here at some point this week. Let's hope it comes early - like the first round.

Round Two and Going Forward:

his being only the second year at this venue, it's hard to get a good feel for how the week will play out, but with a handful of players who managed to get around this course in good shape last year, I have some ideas. First, I think Moore may start slowly, but he'll get it figured out by Friday. Dufner did not play well here last year, but it's hard to ignore how he played last week. He'll get into the line-up at some point; I just don't have an idea when right now. Group B has a couple guys who played well here last year, and they'll get the benefit of the doubt all week. If there's a question of who to start, I'll lean toward Stadler and Couples. That doesn't mean, though, that Toms or Na can't force my hand. A solid start from either player will likely result in a Friday start. Pettersson could start all four rounds this week, if he shows his top form. Pettersson is extremely streaky and if he gets going early, I won't even consider pulling him.
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