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Crowne Plaza Invitational Preview: A Match Made in Heaven

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.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Well, sometimes you can. And sometimes you are Brendon Todd, who while in transit to his first win on the PGA Tour was overshadowed by the runner-up. Through no fault of his own, Todd became the sideshow to Mike Weir who finally started to show glimpses of his Masters winning form after years of struggling.

Actually, struggling doesn't quite encapsulate the state of Weir's game since winning the Green Jacket in 2003. To be honest, Weir didn't struggle immediately after his Masters win, he actually followed his 2003 season with a few quality seasons, but that makes his dramatic drop-off in 2010 even more confusing. Weir's game started to fade in 2010, but by 2011, he had gone full Ian Baker Finch. In 51 starts spanning 2011-2013, Weir made only 11 cuts and little more than $200K. A far cry from just a few years prior when he was earning more than $200k a week on the PGA Tour. Prior to his runner-up showing last week, his status among golf fans had dropped so far that even a handful of quick starts earlier in the year were met with skepticism. Heck, even the most ardent Weir supporters weren't sure he could hold up for four full rounds last week. But hold up he did, and hopefully this is the start of Weir's return.

As for Todd, there may be a time when Todd gets the best of all worlds, but respect and admiration are earned on the PGA Tour. It's why we felt so bad for Weir over the past three years. Weir put his time in, he earned the right to eat his cake.

This week:
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - Colonial C.C., Fort Worth, Texas

Last Year:
Boo Weekley shot a final-round 66 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Matt Kuchar.

Players to Consider:

Zach Johnson

Horses for courses. It's used quite often in reference to golfers, but it may not be more appropriate than in this case with Johnson and Colonial. It's a match made in heaven. Colonial is short and puts a premium on ball-striking. Enter Johnson, who's won here twice in the last five years and finished inside the top 10 the other three years.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth had a rough one last week, and by rough I mean he finished outside the top 25. That's where the bar is set for Spieth, though. If he's not contending, it's a lost week. That shouldn't be a problem this week as he's worked his way around this course with some success already, and we all know how much his game has improved the last 12 months.

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar cooled off a bit last week when he could only manage a T7 at the Byron Nelson. If the prior sentence doesn't spell it out clearly enough, Kuchar is still on fire. He's played well here before also, so there's no reason to think he'll hit the wall this week.

John Huh

Huh is starting to heat up at the right time. He's earned top-20s in two of his last three events and returns to Colonial this week where he's finished T11 or better in his two starts.

Boo Weekley

Weekley has been hit or miss here in his five starts, but considering one of those hits was a win, he's probably worth a look this week. Throw in a top-5 last week at the Byron Nelson and the stars may be aligning again for Weekley.

Players to Avoid:

Brendon Todd

Todd played great last week, and there's a chance he'll ride that momentum into this week, but the more likely scenario is that he starts well but hits the wall at some point, possibly before the weekend. It's just too much to ask of anyone to play well just days after such a huge win.

Nick Watney

Horses for courses works both ways, and in the case of Watney this week, that's not a good thing. Never mind the fact that Watney is struggling, he's never played well here and that's not about to change this week.

Trevor Immelman

Immelman, like Weir, has had his issues since winning the Masters, but Immelman's play has generally been at least decent over the last few years. That won't be the case this week, though, as his track record here is awful. Five starts and only one made cut.

Adam Scott

Crazy, right? Maybe not. Scott has played here just twice and as mentioned previously, the golfers here are generally comfortable with the setup or they aren't. Considering all the places that Scott could be used later in the season, using him this week seems like a mistake.

Justin Leonard

Leonard is a Texas guy, like Jordan Spieth. But unlike Spieth, it doesn't seem to matter concerning Leonard anymore. There was a time when Leonard was money in the state of Texas, but that time has come and gone. In his last four starts here, Leonard has missed three cuts and finished T79.


Last week:
Keegan Bradley (T29) - $43,944; Season - $2,823,541

This week:
Zach Johnson - If there's a better place to use Johnson, I'm unaware. He was certainly playing better golf early in the year, but his track record here trumps current form. It's not like he's played awful lately, it just seems like it because he set the bar so high early in the year.


Rank: 17,815

This Week:

Group A:
Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler

Group B:
Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas

Group C:
John Huh, John Senden


Last week:
Keegan Bradley; Streak - 2

This week:
Zach Johnson - Doubling up worked again last week, and considering Johnson is a mortal lock to make the cut this week, I might as well double-up again this week, this time with Johnson.

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