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The McGladrey Classic Preview: Can Kuchar Take Advantage?

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.

With his win last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions event, Dustin Johnson took yet another step toward becoming one of the elite golfers on the PGA Tour. The problem is, DJ appears to be on a treadmill. That's not a knock on Johnson, he's one of the best in the game already. His win last week came as no surprise, yet there's something still missing. Johnson has made a career out of flashing his talent every so often and cashing in while making us all wonder how good he can be. But for those of us who see the potential for something more, his career has been somewhat frustrating. Perhaps this isn't the time to bring it up - after all, he just won a WGC event, and the WGC events are held in high regard - but coming up big in certain spots has never been the problem. The problem is, we never know when it's going to happen. Figuring out who will play well from week to week is almost impossible in golf, so not knowing if DJ will show up during a given week isn't all that uncommon. But what is uncommon is his knack for disappearing for long stretches during the season. Golfers at his level, or more importantly, the level above, don't do that often. Whether it's the start of something big, one thing is certain, he's started the 2014 season in style. Unfortunately for us, we won't know if he's turned the corner for quite a while because the treadmill gets unplugged after next week's event, so when Johnson disappears this time, he'll do so with everyone else.

This week:
The McGladrey Classic

Sea Island Resort, Seaside Course, Sea Island, GA

Last Year:
Ian Poulter shot a final-round 65 on his way to a two-stroke victory over four players.

Players to Consider:

Webb Simpson

Simpson decided not to join the rest of the PGA Tour and head to the Far East two weeks ago, and that decision could pay off this week as he's bound to be well rested. He's also coming off a win in his most recent start at the Shriners and was runner-up in his most recent appearance at this event.

Charles Howell III

Charles Howell III in the state of Georgia? Count me in. Howell III has fared well on this course with two Top-10s in three tries. He's also playing well coming into this week with consecutive Top-10s. Howell III was not in the field last week, which means he had a week to acclimate.

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar does not have a great track record here, but it's good enough to give him some consideration this week. He's earned Top-25s in his only two starts here, but nothing higher than a T20. On the bright side, most of the Top 50 in the world are absent this week because of travel from China.

David Toms

Certainly not the first name to come to mind most weeks at this stage in his career, but his track record here indicates he might be worth a look. Toms has two Top-3 finishes at this event in three starts. Perhaps he's just got a good feel for this course.

Kevin Stadler

If it were as simple as using course history each week, well, then, it wouldn't be very hard to predict the outcome at all. I bring it up because Stadler has only played here once with little success, but his game looks good, so he's worth a look. Stadler has four consecutive finishes inside the Top 33 in the last six weeks.

Players to Avoid:

Zach Johnson

Johnson won just a couple months ago, so it may seem he's not, but he's actually only played once in the past four weeks, and that was a T40 at the Shriners. Add to that his less-than-stellar track record at this event and it looks like a good spot to pass on Johnson.

Tommy Gainey

Gainey is the defending champ, which depending on the golfer, can be good or bad, but I don't think that will even come into play this week as Gainey is just too far off his game. Gainey has played only twice in the last eight weeks, and he missed the cut both times.

Lucas Glover

Glover has a Top-15 at this event, which might put him on the radar, but if you look at his recent form, there's no reason to gamble on him this week. Glover has made only one cut in his past four starts and that was a T64 at the CIMB Classic.

Brian Davis

Davis has done a little bit of everything at this event - except play well. Three years ago he missed the cut, two years back he withdrew and last year he made the cut but finished T79. There's only one thing missing on his resume a DQ.

Bud Cauley

If there is such a thing as a jinx, then I hope this serves its purpose as I think Cauley is a good player who's just in a rut, but something just isn't right and hopefully he can work it out during the offseason. His track record here is pretty good, so maybe he snaps out of it this week, but you never want to take a guy hoping he'll turn his game around.