This may be the deepest PGA tour field I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot of talent out there, with just a putt or two separating those who win from the others.
Patrick Cantley. Great college player. Has been solid on pro tour. I’ve seen better putters, but otherwise, I can find no flaws in his game. He knows how to win. Has a kind of Ice Man, Hogan-esqe demeanor on course.
Jon Rahm. The big Spanaird, who hits it far and accurately. Compact backswing that generates tremendous power with his lower body turn. Good, efficient short game. Can be a hot head after bad shots, but that can also be seen as passion for the the game, a good trait to have for the pro tour. A definite contender at the Masters.
Bubba Watson. Two time Masters winner. Can you bend it like Bubba? The guy has fun with this game, curving it this way and that, which is handy at Augusta National. But Bubba can be streaky, and hasn’t won much recently. He may contend but I think he won’t win again here.
Scotty Scheffler. Great young player with tremendous potential. Solid, all around game. Definite contender but probably not yet a winner at the Masters.
Brian Harman. Of small stature but built for golf in the tradition of Sarazen, Trevino, Pavin, Weir, and Langer. Consistent player, who always seems to be in contention. A lefty who is a solid ball striker. Not a particularly great putter. Probably not a winner at the Masters, but don’t count him out.
Phil. At 50, probably not a Masters contender, but who knows. Phil can still play this game with the best of them. If his chipping and putting are on, watch out!
Justin Rose. Steady player, with great experience and patience. Solid, all around game, he knows how to get it done. But if he derails, he often can’t get it back on track quickly. Personally, I wouldn’t bet on him, but he could definitely contend.
Collin Morikawa. This kid won the PGA, which was an amazing stretch of golf expertise. But like a deer in the headlights, he hasn’t done much since. I think he’s still in some shock. Great young talent though.
Matt Wolff. Another young phenom with a great attitude who obviously loves to play this game. A long and accurate driver of the ball with an unusual homemade swing that, like Furyk’s, I think will hold up over time. Was a close runner up at the U.S. Open, and could be a winner at the Masters. He’s got all the goods.
Viktor Hovland. This kid is a few putts close to winning on Tour. He’s got the game and the attitude. He’s a tough competitor. Watch him at the Masters.
Others to watch include Snedeker, Matsuyama, Finau, Champ, Cam Smith, Matt Fitzpatrick, Poulter, Varner, and…
Ricky Fowler. What gives with Ricky? He’s got the game. He knows how to win. He’s come close in a number of majors. Yet…he just doesn’t seem to have the mental attitude to sustain the kind of intensity needed to win a major. He’s a fan fav, a good guy, and I hope he breaks through. Perhaps this will be his time.
Hurrah for Darren Clarke! The merry Irishman faced down two of the best on the Champions Tour in Bernhard Langer and Jim Furyk for his first win on this Tour at the TimberTech Tourney Sunday by a shot, after a bird on the last. Darren is the type of fellow I’d love to play golf with and have a beer after. The former British Open champ has that kind of personality with his broad smile, easy going manner, and a willingness to poke some fun at himself, followed by a hearty laugh. I love his swing too: compact, efficient, and packed with power. I’ll do a blog at some point looking at his swing in more detail. I think there’s a lot to be learned from him.
And finally, a fond farewell to Sir Sean Connery, a great actor, made famous by his role as James Bond, 007, and an avid golfer. He died in his sleep at 90. I offer the lyrics to The Golf Song by Albert Hay Malotte.
The Golf Song (Golfer’s Lament)
Every month of the year
When it’s stormy or clear
There’s a place you can always find me
Very calm and serene
Looking down at the green
While waiting my turn at the tee
I may never shoot par
For my shots don’t go far
Though I swing and I slug with great force
Still I play right along
Doing everything wrong
You will find me all over the course
Oh, the golf bug has bitten me good!
I’m in love with a putter, an ir’n and a wood
Such a waste of time is a crime and a shame
But golf is a cra-azy wonderful game.
I’ve spent hours with a pro
Feeling sure they he know
How to help me with good sound advise
But the lessons I took
To get rid of a hook
Just gave me a terrible slice
I can’t rotate my hip
I don’t use the right grip
I suppose that I am pressing too hard
By the time that I add
All the strokes that I’ve had
I do secretly tear up my card
Oh, the golf bug has bitten me good…
I’ve decided to play
Eighteen holes every day
And perhaps now and then maybe more
For until I’m too old
Or so tir’d that I fold
I will try to improve at my score
If I paged at the cost
Of the balls I have lost
And equipment I bought at the shop
It will probably come
To the sizeable sum
But now it’s too late I can’t stop
Refr: Oh, the golf-bug has bitten me good.
This week’s event is the Vivint Houston Open. Defending champ is Lanto Griffin. DJ, Phil, Henrik, Sneds, and Jordan Spieth, among others, will be competing in this final brush-up before the Masters. Enjoy!
Oh, and one last thing. Please vote, if you haven’t already done so.
Phil Russell says
Another interesting and informative post. It’s amazing how competitive it is the tour. It seems like on Sundays , who ever is hot with the putter usually wins. I like watching Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson but it seems like age has caught up with both.No wins for either in a long time.
Stephen Altschuler says
It’s an exciting time to be following golf, Phil. Reminds me some of the early to mid 60s in that regard, which got me into this game. And the recent drama on Sundays verifies that and may bring a lot of youngsters into the game. Hope so. It’s a game which teaches a lot about life, and helped me through my teenage years. It’s helping me through some difficult later years as well.
Rose and Henrik, right. You’d expect them to be winning more. Age does catch up to these pros, doesn’t it. But Langer is 63 and still contends on a very competitive Champions Tour. Figure that one out!
Anyway,it’s fun to watch these guys…and gals. The Masters should be really exciting, I suspect.
Thanks for commenting, Phil. Be well.