Brad Faxon carded a 9-under par 61 in the final round to force and win a playoff with Tjaart Van Der Walt at the 2005 edition of the Buick Championship. Many times in this column, “1-iron" has paid respectful homage to Faxon for his loyalty to the history, tradition and rules of the game of golf. Faxon is a great ambassador for the game, and is someone who is not afraid to speak his mind about controversial issues. This column wants to congratulate Brad Faxon on a job well done in Hartford.
This column would also like to point out the stellar play of Tjaart Van Der Walt. Lost in the thunder of Faxon's 61 was TJVDW's 64 to put him into contention as well. It's been a rough 2005 for TJVDW, but the $464,400 he won in Hartford virtually assures him a PGA Tour card for 2006.
A minor thumbs down to Wes Short Jr. , who was disqualified for signing for a 3 at No. 8 (he had a 4) and a 4 at No. 5 (he had a 3). How in the world does this happen. . . . . twice. . . . . on the PGA Tour. . . . . .in 2005? “1-iron" has been telling folks to stay away from Shorty for quite some time, and these scorecard shenanigans will do nothing to change his mindset.
Also a quick word to the victims of Katrina. “1-iron" would like you to know that his thoughts are with you during this difficult time. When something like this happens, trivial items like the PGA Tour need to take their place in the back of the priority line. It will be no easy task re-building the gulf cost of the United States, but “1-iron" believes it can be done. Again, “1-iron's" thoughts are with you - please be well.
Tiger Woods laces up the spikes in Boston for the Deutsche Bank Classic. Vijay Singh is the defending champion, after holding off Woods and Adam Scott by three shots last year, however Singh won't compete due to back spasms. The TPC of Boston is back to yield more low scores, and Singh's 16 under from last year probably won't get the job done this year. The course is playing at just over 7,400 yards, however there are plenty of birdie opportunities on both sides. “1-iron" looks for a winning score of 20 under to come out on top.
Whenever you have Woods in the field, it's a doozie - but throw in Couples, Johnson, O'hair, Immelman, Love III and Chopra - then it's an absolute party. Because of the time of year (think pigskin and gridiron), “1-iron" believes that the PGA Tour needs to have its stars in the field every week to keep up. If the Tour can't produce Woods, Singh, Mickelson, etc every week during this time of year, then it's pointless for the networks to try and draw ratings against the likes of College Football and the NFL. Face it, people aren't going to watch Frank Lickliter II in a playoff against John Rollins if Coach Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats are on ESPN2. It just isn't going to happen. In all seriousness, it's great that we have a good field this week - but we need it every week.
18 Shots - Deutsche Bank Classic Odds and Picks
6 Who Will:
1. Tiger Woods (3/2): Five Wins, 11 Top 10's, 15 Top 25's, two Majors (Masters and British), leads the money list. . . . . . Check Please. T2 last year at this event.
2. Tim Petrovic (75/1): Winner at Zurich. Hails from the Boston Area. T6 at the International and played three solid rounds at the Buick last week. Keep an eye out for the Homer.
3. Trevor Immelman (60/1): T5 at the Masters with Woods in the field. T15 at the British with Woods in the field. T17 at PGA Championship with Woods in the field. T19 at NEC with Woods. . . . you know the drill. If Woods’ is in the field, keep an eye on Trevor. Little guy with a big game.
4. Sean O'Hair (40/1): Comin’ to Boston HOT! What a splash this young man has made on the game this year. The young 23-year-old who was released from his father's “contract" has made 19 of 23 cuts and won the Greater Milwaukee Open. Up next could be the beginning of a big rivalry with Tiger Woods.
5. Daniel Chopra (Field 3/1): “1-iron" is rollin’ the dice with Daniel “Lamb" Chopra again this week. Now pgatour.com is starting to steal “1-iron's" work as it relates to Chopra. Is nothing sacred? fourth place here last year and went T12 & T15 at Buick Open and the International before missing two cuts in a row at Reno and the Buick Championships.
6. Dean Wilson (Field 3/1): Huh? You remember when he teed it up with Annika? Me too, but the “1-iron’ has kept an eye on his game as well. Two Top 10's in the last four weeks, playing very well.
6 Who Can:
7. Davis Love III (12/1): Playing awesome the last two weeks he's been in the field. T7 at the PGA Championship and T13 at the NEC. Skipped the Deutsche last year, so he'll be coming in a little inexperienced.
8. Fred Couples (50/1): Three Top 10's and seven Top 25's this year. Guy looks like a million bucks while doing it too. T28 at Firestone is a good sign and announced he's out of the World Match Play in favor of the 84 lumber in a couple weeks. Could be a sentimental money pick this week.
9. Ryan Palmer (75/1): “Palm Tree" rolls into Boston with a 2nd, a 3rd, and five Top 25's this year. He's also fresh off a 3rd place finish at the NEC where he closed with 68-67-69. His game is ripe for the pickin this week and at 75/1 he might be worth a shot.
10. Hank Kuehne (100/1): The big dog is ready to eat at the TPC this week. Looked great while finishing 4th at the International but hasn't played well all year. Should be ok for 2006, but could use one more great tournament to cement his status. T6 at the Deutsche last year, this course is Taylor-Made for him.
11. Brad Faxon (30/1): Fax can be the first player to win in Hartford and Boston in the same year. Mark my words, he can do it. He's playing so well and has a renewed sense of confidence. No way I bet against him this week. Big props to the Fax Machine.
12. Zach Johnson (25/1): Has begun to salvage a mediocre year with his play as of late. Last four weeks have gone T2 at Buick Open, T17 at PGA Championship, T9 at NEC, and T42 at Buick Championship. He's playing well and should carry it into Boston.
6 Who Won't:
13. Charles Howell III (40/1): Why? Why is he still out there grinding away when his game needs serious fixing? The crazy thing is that he's missed three of his last five cuts, but when he plays well (Solo 5th at the International, T15 at PGA), he plays well. He may turn it on, but “1-iron" doesn't see it this week.
14. Mark Brooks (Field 3/1): Ugly year. Has only made eight of 18 cuts and has withdrawn twice. Finish of T10 at Byron Nelson has been the only bright spot. This won't be a good week, especially when paired with Woods and Franco the first two days.
15. Harrison Frazar (Field 3/1): “Where have you gone, Harrison Fra-aa-zar?" He's made 15 of 25 cuts but only has $325,000 to show for it. His spot in 2006 is in serious jeopardy. His scoring average ranks 133rd on Tour, and that's a big problem. This probably won't be the place to fix things.
16. David Hearn (Field 3/1): This young man from Canada qualified for the Tour through Q-school in 2005. It looks like he'll have to do it again. 8/16 missed cuts and only $145,000 in official money. 155th in putting gives him a great deal to work on.
17. Jason Gore (100/1): The lovable big-man from Van Nuys makes his 2nd membership start on the PGA Tour this week after a T73 at the Buick Championships. He's still getting settled into his new fame and he surely won't be in this spot for long!
18. Wes Short Jr. (Field 3/1): Got DQ'd for two incorrect holes last week - how does he top it this week? In “1-iron's" doghouse - big time!
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