by Aaron "1-iron" Garry - 08/03/2005
Hand it to the "1-iron" - That's why he writes the columns and you read 'em.. Let's look at his Top 6 from the Buick Open:
1. Tiger Woods: 2nd Place
2. Vijay Singh: 1st Place
3. Billy Mayfair: Tied for 45th
4. Chris Dimarco: Tied for 12th
5. Jim Furyk: Tied for 6th
6. Geoff Ogilvy: Tied for 12th
Looks pretty good - don't it?
For the record, Vijay Singh annihilated Tiger Woods on Saturday en route to becoming the first three-time winner of the Buick Open. While Woods made a Sunday charge, he looked visibly distressed on Saturday as Singh laid claim to an eight shot tournament advantage after the first six holes. It was a curious chink in Woods armor, as he's been so steady the past couple weeks. "1-iron" wonders if a combination of the Battle of the Bridges, the heat and the pressure of the Tom Izzo pro-am had something to do with Woods inconsistent play. Not to mention, it's difficult for anyone (Even the word's best) to throw four rounds of sub-65 golf on the board. The 71-61 start was a reminder of how unbelievable and dominant Woods can be when he's on top of his game, but the 65-66-63-70 for Singh was a reminder that the rest of the PGA Tour isn't going away anytime soon.
To the beat of "When Doves Cry" - By Prince.........
Modified Stableford Scoring Format. As a refresher:
Double Eagle +8 points
Eagle +5 points
Birdie +2 points
Par 0 points
Bogey -1 point
Double Bogey or more -3 points
Thursday - All 144 Competitors compete
Friday - All 144 Competitors compete, and the field is reduced to 70 at the end of play.
Saturday - 70 players compete, field is reduced to 36 at the end of play.
Sunday - 36 players compete. All scores are cumulative.
As a personal note, "1-iron" loves this golf course. Loves it! However, his chances of playing at Castle Pines were greatly reduced this week when his Fiancée's maid of honor decide to cut ties with her boyfriend, who was "1-iron's" sole link to getting on the coveted track. Truly a disappointment, but think of the "1-iron" as he begins his quest to reconcile the two in hopes of re-gaining the chance to play Castle Pines.
18 shots -- International Odds and Picks
6 Who Will:
Davis Love III
"1-iron's" No. 1 pick
1. Davis Love III (15/1): The 1990 and 2003 Champ is back looking for victory number three at Castle Pines. His 46 points in 2003 were a sign that Love knows how to play this golf tournament. Something just looks right about DL3 at Castle Pines.
2. Mathias Gronberg (Field 3/1): WHAT? You heard me baby - Mathias Gronberg. T9 last year at the International makes him a solid pick when you realize that in the last 3 events, he's gone T6 (BC), T29 (Milwaukee), and T32 (Buick). Love his game right now.
3. Phil Mickelson (8/1): I was under the impression that Philly Mick took the entire 3 weeks before a major to practice at the course. Apparently this is not the case as he puts it in the air in Colorado this week. The 1993 and 1997 Champion looks to break his 48-point scoring record he set in '97. The only question the "1-iron" has is whether Phil has his focus a week before the major. He's also the 1998 and 2000 Runner-Up.
4. Chris Dimarco (15/1): What a tank job at the Buick!! Sitting in 3rd place going into Sunday's final round, CD had a chance to put some heat on Zach Johnson and get himself a Top 3 finish for the week. Nope! CD folds like a house of cards. Oh well, he's a stud at the International. He's been in the top six, three of the last four year, and is gearing up for his second favorite major this week.
5. Tom Pernice Jr. (Field 3/1): The 2001 Champion is coming off a weak missed cut at the Buick. However, he's won this tournament and finished solo second last year. Has 5 Top 25's this year and was playing relatively well before the Buick.
6. Jose Maria Olazabal (50/1): Ollie finished T12 last year, but won the golf tournament in 1991. Ollie's playing terrific this year with 5 Top 10's capped off by his T3 at St. Andrews 3 weeks ago. Always plays well at Castle, and this year won't be any deviation.
6 Who Can:
7. Bob Tway (60/1): 2005 has been a rejuvenation of sorts for Tway. He's got 3 Top 10's and stands at 53rd on the Money List. Finished T9 last year and T10 in 2003. Keep a close eye on the 1986 PGA Champion this week.
8. Steve Lowery (Field 3/1): Disappointed us all when he missed the Saturday cut badly last year, but has provided some of the most dramatic moments in International history. His 2002 hole outs on 15 (Eagle) and 17 (Double Eagle) will never be forgotten by the "1-iron." He's the 1994 Champ of this event and was runner up in that fabled 2002 edition.
9. Kevin Sutherland (100/1): Go get 'em Bagels!! T12 last year at this tournament, "Bagels" comes in playing very average golf. He's only missed two cuts this year, but I expected a lot better. He's 53rd in birdies, so he can get the ball in the hole.
10. Retief Goosen (10/1): Odd that the Goose tees it up this week. I'm sure the Denver residents are thankful that Goose will put that electric personality on display this week for them. He's the 2003 Runner-up and is clearly focused on winning the PGA in two weeks at Baltusrol. Either way, I'm not betting against him this week.
11. Sergio Garcia (12/1): 7 Top 10's and a win at the Booz Allen Classic a few months ago. Sergio is coming to Denver fresh off a T5 at St. Andrews and he's having a tremendous year. 18th place in 2002 and 38th place in 2003, this really isn't a tournament you associate with El Nino. We'll see, keep him on the radar.
12. Nick Dougherty (75/1): He'll do well here. He'll do well at Baltusrol. He'll do well wherever he tees it up. One of Europe's young stars makes his American debut this week. 18th on the Euro Order of Merit and should be looking to win at Baltusrol next week. 23 years young - keep him on the radar.
6 Who Won't:
13. Esteban Toledo (Field 3/1): "The Man from Mexicali" will come out swinging but "1-iron" thinks Castle will simply be too much for the short-hitting Toledo. Missed the Cut last year, finished T56 in 2003, finished T30 in 2002. The number back the "1-iron."
14. Rich Beem (Field 3/1): The Beemer is gassed up, but unfortunately there's a lot of Ethanol in the tank as opposed to diesel. He's the 2002 Champ, but aside from Atlanta this year, we've transitioned to the Porsche. Missed the last 9 cuts, and this week should be number 10.
15. Jeff Maggert (125/1): 5 Top 25's this year, plays well in majors - but hasn't played the International since 2000 where he finished T63. This week doesn't look good, but let's talk next week.
16. Ben Crane (40/1): I can't even imagine watching this guy while at high altitudes. He's going to be responsible for several respiratory problems this week due to slow play. Like I said a few weeks ago, he's got an unusual quandary. He's playing great, but he's unbelievably slow. Won the US Bank two weeks ago, and missed the cut at his last international in 2003. He has to come back to earth this week.
17. Fred Couples (40/1): In his whole storied career, Freddie's never won or finished second at Castle Pines. T3 at the British at St. Andrews should be a nice vault to the PGA, but this isn't the kind of tournament for Fred. His last International in 2003 was a T34. Boom-Boom may be Missed-Cut this week.
18. John Cook (Field 3/1): He's the 1987 International Champion and he's actually playing pretty well entering the 2005 edition. 3 Top 25's this year and a T18 at the Buick Open. T24 at the 2004 International, T42 in 2001. He'll be a nostalgic pick, but not by me.