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Weekly Preview - Bob Hope Classic

Greg 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

Last Year: Pat Perez shot a final-round 69 on his way to a three-stroke victory over John Merrick.

Players to Consider:

  1. Chad Campbell

    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.

  2. Charles Hoffman

    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.

  3. Mike Weir

    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.

  4. John Merrick

    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.

  5. D.J. Trahan

    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:

  1. Pat Perez

    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.

  2. Daniel Chopra

    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.

  3. Carl Pettersson

    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.

  4. Chris DiMarco

    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.

  5. Joe Durant

    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.

Article first appeared 1/19/10

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:

This week: Bob Hope Classic

Group A

  1. Justin Leonard
  2. Ryan Moore

Slim pickens' in Group A this week, but both of these players could make a major charge to the top come Sunday. Leonard won this event in 2005 and finished runner-up in 2008. Moore is ready for a breakout year and should be able to take advantage of the easy scoring this week.

Group B

  1. Charley Hoffman
  2. Chad Campbell
  3. Webb Simpson
  4. Michael Sim

A few strong players this week in Group B, lead by Chad Campbell and Charley Hoffman, who have played very well here over the years. Webb Simpson tied for fifth in his only appearance here last year. Sim is the wonder kid, and it looks like he'll take the PGA TOUR by storm this season. If that's the case, I want in early.

Group C

  1. Mike Weir
  2. John Merrick

Unlike last week, Group C has plenty of firepower this week. I like the players on my team, but it was hard to leave off Justin Rose who's played well here in the past. Weir and Merrick should be solid this week though, so no worries there.

Starters Round One

  1. Ryan Moore
  2. Michael Sim
  3. Webb Simpson
  4. Mike Weir

A couple things to keep in mind this week. First, this event starts on Wednesday, and the cut is not made until after Saturday's round. Second, there are four courses in play this week, and the players will tee up on all four prior to Sunday. With that in mind, here are the rankings from easiest to most difficult: PGA West (Nicklaus), La Quinta, PGA West (Palmer) and Silver Rock. In years past, there was a big difference in difficulty level, but since Bermuda Dunes was taken out of the mix, these courses play pretty close to each other. If there is a large discrepancy at any point this week, it will likely be due to wind having more of an affect on a certain course. That said, use the course ranking if you have a toss-up situation. Now, since most first-round picks are toss-ups, I'll use the course rankings to make my first-round line-up. Leonard, Hoffman and Campbell start at Silver Rock, so I'll sit them in round one. That leaves, Moore in Group A, Simpson/Sim in Group B and Weir in Group C.

Round Two and Going Forward:

After the opening round I'll regroup and figure out the best plan going forward, be it using the course as the determining factor or the players themselves. Hoffman and Campbell should both start Thursday as they get Silver Rock out of the way on Wednesday, and they are the best players in Group B this week. Same situation with Leonard as he also is done with Silver Rock after Wednesday. Neither player in Group C plays Silver Rock on Wednesday, so I'll keep an eye on which player tees it up at the PGA West (Nicklaus) course and start him. After that, I'll probably lean toward the players who are on the Nicklaus course and avoid those at Silver Rock, while keeping in mind that how the golfer is playing will also factor in.