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Golf Barometer: Welcome Back to No. 1, Ace

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.


Tiger Woods:
Well that settles that, I guess. Welcome back to No. 1, ace. While Tiger's iron play (75th in GIR) isn't all the way back yet and he's no longer Mr. Automatic on a Sunday, it's refreshing to see him at the top of the putting stats again. The lengthy Woods slump was fueled by putting woes and confidence problems more than anything; if he's finally licked that problem for good (thanks, Stricker), the sky is the limit.

Keegan Bradley:
He's probably the favorite this week, off a crisp T3 chasing Tiger last week and a T4 back in Houston last year. Bradley's balanced stat profile gives him a chance to win anywhere - he's inside the Top 80 in all the essential component numbers, adding up to the eighth-best scoring average.

Phil Mickelson:
A good time to give him a shot, as he won the Houston event in 2011, and it's a course that rewards Mickelson's risk-reward style. A balky putter held Mickelson down for a chunk of 2012, but that hasn't been an issue this season.

Jordan Spieth:
It was a controversial move when the 19-year-old traded his University of Texas schoolbooks for a shot at turning pro, but so far, so good. The T2 at the Puerto Rico Open might not mean a lot to fantasy owners, given the weakness of that field, but Spieth also showed his stuff at the Pebble Beach Clambake (T22) and the Tampa Bay Championship (T7). No one wake the kid up; he's not supposed to know how much harder professional golf really is.

Boo Weekley:
A lost weekend of 76-77 at the Arnold Palmer doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, but let's consider the positives. Weekley is finally feeling good about his health and his swing again, and as a result he's cashed in seven consecutive events (including a pair of six-digit cashes). Don't forget Weekley was a Ryder Cupper as recently as 2008, and he doesn't turn 40 until late July. There could be a second act to this career.

Ben Kohles:
Make it four straight checks cashed for the 23-year-old kid, including a T7 at Tampa Bay and a T14 at the Arnold Palmer. Kohles is a Dallas native, so look for a hearty cheering section down south in Houston. Kohles is a throwback when it comes to young, successful players - he's not bombing the ball anywhere (151st in tee distance), but he knows where every shot is going (fifth in accuracy).


J.B. Holmes:
First came four missed cuts in five events (with a paltry T50 check left over), and now Holmes will be sidelined 8-12 weeks with a broken left ankle (those darn rollerblades). It's frustrating to see Holmes, who's been through brain surgery of all things, struggle to get a break in 2013.

Ricky Barnes:
He's slammed the trunk in six straight events, despite a nifty bit of work with the irons (he's eighth in GIR). Barnes has been erratic off the tee (135th in accuracy) and his putter hasn't been sharp for a couple years (he's 118th in strokes gained this season). Forget the sleeper talk, he's been asleep for a while.

Mike Weir:
A rib injury forced him to withdraw last week and might keep him out of The Masters, on the 10th anniversary of his 2003 triumph. Weir had a couple of early rounds of promise in January but struggled to follow up on the weekend; that's quickly been forgotten on the heels of four straight missed cuts. There's nothing to see here.

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