Weekly Preview - Bob Hope ClassicGreg Vara RotoWire.com Golf Writer
It's awfully early in the 2010 season, but if the first two events are any indication, it's going to be an exciting year. Major-winner Geoff Ogilvy snatched the first event two weeks ago, and Ryan Palmer, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, won last week at the Sony. As if that weren't enough, it appears as the big names came ready to play out of the gate this year. Steve Stricker shook off a tough third round last week and made a run at the leader on Sunday, and Retief Goosen posted the round of the day earlier in the morning. I'm not sure this has anything to do with the absence of Tiger - after all, it's been years since he played in Hawaii - but we might be seeing a different mind set from these top players already. If that's the case, then the drama should increase ten-fold when Woods does return, which it seems now, will be sooner rather than later.
What the Sony Open means:
Ryan Palmer: Palmer picked up his third PGA TOUR victory last week, and this one could end up the most important. A win this early in the season could do wonders for his confidence for the remainder of the year. Not to mention all the doors it opened. Hello Augusta.
Robert Allenby: Allenby again failed to close the deal last week at the Sony. For those keeping track, that's almost nine years since his last victory on the PGA TOUR. The good news is he's not wilting under pressure, it's just not falling into place. My guess is the streak will end this season.
Steve Stricker: Stricker picked up where he left off last season. A poor third round all but ended any realistic chance of him winning last week, but that didn't stop him from playing extremely well during the final round. Early indications are that Stricker will be a force to be reckoned with all year.
This week: Bob Hope Classic
Players to Consider:
Campbell has a solid track record at this event. He won in 2006 and finished in the top-10 last year, and he is coming off a nice showing last week at the Sony.
Hoffman has played this event three times and has yet to finish outside the top-20. His best showing came in 2007 when he won this event.
Weir's been hit or miss at the Bob Hope, but when he's on, he's really on. He won this event in 2003 and finished in the top-5 in 2006 and 2009.
Merrick finished runner-up at this event last year and T-19 the previous year. Over the past two years, he's a combined 47 strokes under par. It's safe to say he likes this event.
Trahan missed the cut here in his first two tries, but he turned it around in 2008 when he won this event. He followed that with a top-15 last year.
Players to Avoid:
Perez won his first PGA TOUR event at the Hope last year, which means this will be his first time defending. Not a recipe for success.
The Hope is not for everyone. For starters, it's five rounds and a pro-am. Some players don't adjust well to the format, and Chopra is one of them. He's played here six times and missed the cut in four.
Pettersson has also struggled at this event. He's teed it up five times here and only made the cut twice. His best finish was T-35 in 2006.
The golfing world keeps waiting for DiMarco to return, but he's well past the point of expecting something to happen. At this point, it will be a surprise if he finds his old form again.
Durant cruised to victory here in 2001 when he shot 36-under, but he's only cracked the top-20 once since then. He's almost guaranteed to make the cut, but he won't finish high enough to justify the pick.