Balls in the Air: St. Jude Classic
By Stephanie Wei under General

Welcome to Balls in the Air, where I size up my Fantasy Golf picks of the week, featuring guys to watch (or not) and interesting story lines. Disclaimer: Don’t yell at my if my picks suck. There’s no mathematical formula to my attempt at predicting something as random as golf scores.

No disrespect, but does anyone really care about the St. Jude Classic? It’s the week before the US Open and the World Cup officially starts on Friday. I’m guessing even most of the die-hard golf fans will be watching soccer on Saturday at 2:30pm EST. What’s going on then? The US vs. England game. Duh. Even the US and UK embassies are already trash-talking and making friendly wagers!

Well, because this Fantasy Golf thing happens weekly, I still mulled over my picks. There are actually quite a few marquee names (more than usual at least) in the field. I suppose most of them want the reps before the US Open, which is also why I didn’t pick guys like Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood or Ian Poulter — they wouldn’t want to use all their energy before major championship week, would they? Bah, who the hell knows, anyway. So, here we go.


Heath Slocum: It was kinda slim pickings, but these tournaments are the kinds where some relatively unknown usually plays well — I don’t consider Slocum in that category anymore since he won The Barclays, a prestigious FedEx Cup event. The guy is steady and has two top-tens this year.


Justin Leonard: Like I said the other week, he’s having a crappy year, but he has a solid record at TPC Southwind with two wins and three top-tens — and playing in a funk or not, he’s still better than much of the field. Maybe this will (finally) be his breakthrough week!


Robert Allenby: Because of his record at this event in recent years: T4, T2, T12. No brainer even though he MC’ed last week — which was of course when I called him my “almost safe pick.” Just my luck these days, but that can always change, right?

Rory McIlroy: The kid is good. He won at Quail Hollow. Somehow he quietly managed to grind out a T10 at The Memorial. But he also might just be playing for the reps before the US Open.


Brian Gay: He’s the defending champion and two other top-fives in the last six years. Then again, he also has two other MCs in that same time period.

Fredrik Jacobson: The best five-handicapper in the world! Why wouldn’t I pick him? Because why the hell not! — and he seems to play decently at these lower profile events. I also love his untucked shirt with his gut almost hanging out on his otherwise skinny body.


Ben Crane: The slowest player on the Tour has been creeping his way near the top of the leaderboard recently. He won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines earlier this year and in his past three starts, he has three top-tens to show for them. But, really, the fact of the matter is he’s better than the other options.


DJ Trahan: He’s been in a bit of a funk after a solid start this season with three top-tens and six top-25s under his belt. But on Monday in the US Open Sectional qualifier, he fired 75-65. Yes, he grinded it out in the grueling 36 holes even though there was no chance in hell he was going to qualify. That’s what I call perseverance! Grit! Determination! Guts! He’s a solid contender with one half of the field preparing for Pebble and the other half being…umm….”sucks” was the word Intern Kevin used. And Trahan was really nice during the ferry rides from Liberty National last August. For some reason, we were on the same boat every day I took it back to the city. I mean, isn’t that reason enough?

Alright. Your turn. Oh yeah, U-S-A, U-S-A!