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 me if my picks suck. There’s no mathematical formula to my attempt at predicting something as random as golf scores.
Well, good morning! I just took a redeye from Seattle back to NYC and I’m feeling awfully chipper this morning. Okay, not really. But I’m writing up “Balls in the Air” before I take a nap. I’m supposed to go to Turning Stone this week, but that’s still TBD — I made those plans before I knew I was going to the PGA Championship (Milwaukee, here I come!). I’ll decide depending on my mood after napping.
Alrighty, so who’s going to shoot 59 this week? Well, probably no one because I think the course is a little more defensible against the long-hitters and it’s setup to be a tad more like a major. Let’s be real — if someone else comes in with a 59 this year, it’ll take away from the novelty even more. Soon it’s going to be like coming in with a 65. No big deal.
Anyway, without further ado, my picks for the week.
Tiger Woods: Haven’t you heard? Firestone is, like, Tiger’s favorite course! It fits his eye! Well, the guy is struggling, but he’s won the past four times he played this event, so you’d think the odds are looking pretty good. Oh wait, that was the old Tiger. Who knows what the new Tiger will do. It’s tough to leave him off the roster, though.
GROUP A BENCHER
Steve Stricker: He finished T6 last year. In his last start, he placed T55 at the British Open. The week before, he won the John Deere Classic with super low scores, including a 60. Most important, he’s second in FedEx Cup points!
Lee Westwood: My favorite to win this week. With a chance to overtake Tiger for number one in the world, he’s been the most consistent player at majors and big events in the past two years. Fact of the matter is he’s playing like the best in the world. Screw dem rankings. Westy finished 9th last year and T2 two years ago.
Nick Watney: Not a great record here, but the young American was the low American at the British Open last month. He has six top-tens on Tour this year. Perhaps he’s ready to make some more noise, or I was just really tired when I made my picks.
GROUP B BENCHERS
Rory McIlroy: In his debut at Firestone last year, he finished T68. Coming off a T35 at the Irish Open and a T3 at the British Open, his game should be prime to take on another big event. Hell, I don’t know, but I like the kid.
Padraig Harrington: He was locked up in duel with Tiger Woods last year before he got flustered when some rules official put them on the clock on the 16th hole. Tiger made a birdie and Paddy hacked his way to a gut-wrenching triple-bogey. Ugh, it was painful. He ended up finishing T2. Paddy’s game is starting to turn around with a second place finish at the Irish Open last week.
Justin Rose: Missed the cut at the British Open, but he’s playing well in America these days. Two wins in a five-week span. Look for him to continue to play well.
GROUP C BENCHER
Edoardo Molinari: The Molinari brothers are on fire this summer. One of them always seems to be in the mix. So it doesn’t seem too far off to pick one of them. I’ve been going with Edoardo — he’s not the strongest ballstriker, but he’s a really good putter.
Alright, who ya got? Drop ’em below. Goodnight.