by Aaron "1-iron" Garry - 06/06/2005
Last week -
In the movie "St. Elmos Fire," Jules Jacoby (played by the up and coming starlet Demi Moore) offers this dandy of a comeback to Billy Hix's (Rob Lowe's) romantic advances - "you break my heart Billy - but then again, you break everyone's heart". During this surreal week of golf, "1-iron" offers that same cautionary statement to Vijay Singh. "Vijay, you break my heart, but then again - you break everyone's heart." Kind of has a nice ring to it for the world's so-called No. 1 player. After two weeks off and obviously little or no practice, Vijay returned to the PGA Tour this week in pedestrian fashion with a 77-74 to miss the cut and finish T98th.
While Vijay was disappointing his throngs of Fijian fans, Fred Couples and Bart Bryant were busy dueling to the end for the Memorial title. The surprising twosome gave us some fantastic golf down the stretch, and "1-iron" would like to commend the grittiness of Bryant, as he saved par from a water hazard on 18 with a 15-foot putt to secure the victory. While he's not a household name, "1-iron" will always enjoy watching toughness and determination as exemplified by Bryant.
One other thing of note, David Toms, who's had his ups and downs with this column had a very disturbing incident take place yesterday on the 9th hole after he 3-putted his way out of contention for the tournament. A "fan" from Columbus, Ohio had the nerve to applaud when Toms missed his par putt and then put the cherry on top when he yelled "Go Freddie" in support of Couples after his applause. Toms made his bogey putt and then flipped the fan the clown to show his disgust at the situation.
Two Things here:
A. Toms has to be mature enough to ignore outbursts like this from the gallery. He clearly flipped the bird and then snapped at reporters afterwards when they brought the incident up. As a "professional" there is no room for this kind of stuff on the PGA Tour. Tim Finchem should act on this, and fine Toms for his behavior - even though it was somewhat warranted.
B. The crowd in Columbus needs a reality check in the worst way. As much as Toms' behavior reeked of un-professionalism, it would've never been an issue had the fine citizens of Columbus not chosen to ignore the correct etiquette while attending a golf tournament. Sadly, many of these beer-bellied, rib-stained people were acting in a similar manner. "1-iron" thought the fans in Columbus were obnoxious and over-the-top in their support of Couples on Sunday. It came across as unintelligent and amateurish. But, when you are forced to read the Columbus Dispatch each day, maybe that's what you evolve into.
This Week at the Booz Allen Classic:
The tour moves to the Washington DC area for the Booz Allen Classic. While this tournament is normally held at the TPC of Avenel (Yes, the one you shot 56 at in Sega PGA Tour '93), it takes a one-year break while the course undergoes renovations and improvements. During the break, the tournament is extremely fortunate to have Congressional Country Club as the venue this year. This venerable course has hosted several major championships including the 1995 US Senior Open (Tom Weiskopf) and 1997 US Open (Ernie Els), and will be the site of the 2009 US Amateur, and the 2011 US Open.
Because of the US Open style course, as well as the timing (the week before the US Open in Pinehurst), the Booz Allen Classic has drawn an absolutely stunning field for this year's edition of the event. With the exception of Tiger Woods, every big name player is in the field this week. Last year, Adam Scott held off Charles Howell by four shots to take the $864,000 prize. While the field wasn't nearly as impressive as this year's will be, the victory validated Scott's resume and vaulted him to near-superstar status. "1-iron" sees another strong performance this year from the Aussie heartthrob.
In order to substantiate his picks for the week, "1-iron" believes past results at Avenel are a moot point. Instead, I'm choosing to focus on the 1997 US Open results at Congressional, as well as performances in the last five weeks of competition.
18 Shots for the Booz Allen Classic
6 Who Will:
1. Sergio Garcia (29/1): Four Top 10s this year and a playoff loss to Vijay Singh at the Wachovia on the Eastern Seaboard in Charlotte a few weeks ago. Serg loves the big stage, and gears up for the full fields.
2. Ernie Els (10/1): Won the 1997 US Open at Congressional, and traditionally begins to heat up around US Open time. Even though he's not playing so well (T45 Memorial), he's always a threat on US Open style courses.
3. Padraig Harrington (27/1): This years Honda Classic winner has been playing well overseas, and has two top 10s in the states in limited events.
4. Luke Donald (24/1): One of golf's coolest customers has the mental makeup to contend this week, and next.
5. Retief Goosen (15/1): See Ernie Els. Two time US Open Champion who loves to grind it out in places where the winning score is less then -5. Straight hitter, who unassumingly gets it done around the greens. Took the week off after a nice week at the BMW Masters to prepare for the Booz Allen Classic.
6. Greg Owen (100/1): 12 of 13 cuts on tour this year with seven top 25s and three top 10s. He's as sure a thing as there is out there this year, and that's saying something for a guy who didn't even have a bio in the PGA Tour media guide before this year.
6 Who Can:
7. Phil Mickelson (10/1): Skipped Jack's tournament to practice for the US Open. Won the Bell South before the Masters, no reason he shouldn't contend at Congressional. T43 at the US Open in 1997, but obviously we've got a totally different player and personality on our hands now.
8. Tom Pernice Jr (125/1): 72-72-72-68 at the Memorial and a T24 to show for it. four Top 25s this year and the last five weeks have shown improved finished after improved finish. Did not play in 97 at Congressional.
9. Jim Furyk (16/1): T8 at the Memorial and loves the US Open layouts (T4 in 1997 at Congressional, winner 2003 at Olympia Fields). Hasn't won yet this year, but keeps knocking on the door.
10. Lucas Glover (70/1): T8 at Memorial and the confidence keeps building. six Top 10s from this phenom and looking for a high impact W at the Booz Allen Classic.
11. Fred Couples (40/1): His game was a thing of beauty on Sunday in Columbus. His second place finish looked effortless and if he finds that touch for a second week in a row - he may be collecting the winners check instead of second place money. He's got all the tools for Congressional. Tied for 52nd in 1997 at the US Open there.
12. Harrison Frazar (150/1): Good week at the Memorial (T24) and quietly continues to rack up nice finishes while contending at times. If he puts it all together, he'll be there Sunday at the Booz Allen Classic.
6 Who Won't:
13. Vijay Singh (9/1): Unbelievable to find the No. 1 player in the world in this column, but something's not right in Vijay-ville. He was hitting it all over the lot in Columbus, and he looks bored and sluggish on the course. With the US Open one week away, this is not the time for him to go into full slumber. By the way, can anyone dream of a Vijay-Colin pairing at Pinehurst. The foot wedges will be out in full force.
14. Jesper Parnevik (125/1): His shtick is becoming somewhat of a novelty act while it takes away from his performances on the course. His card at Muirfield is peppered with 5's and 6's where he needs 3's and 4's. He's got several missed cuts this year, as well as many finishes in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. This shouldn't be much different.
15. Pat Perez (150/1): Such a talent, but such a temper. When you have a hot-head like this, if it starts to get bad, it gets to worse quickly thereafter. He's got to take his foot off the throttle a bit. Far too talented to miss the cut at the Memorial. Is one mis-step away from a fine, a suspension, or being Steven Gangluff on the Nationwide Tour.
16. Stewart Cink (40/1): Unbelievable how different Cink has been this year from last. At the Memorial he shoots 69-69 his first two days to get himself into contention. Last year, he'd have cemented that with a couple more sub-70 rounds. This year, he goes 76-74 to finish T45. Not good karma heading into the tournament where he missed a bunny to win his first major.
17. Mike Weir (50/1): 76-75 Missed Cut at the Memorial and no hope in sight for the wiry Canadian. His best days may be behind him.
18. Mark O'Meara (100/1): We know he doesn't have the skills he once had, but a 73-79 finish to drop him into at Tie for 67th at the Memorial is not one we're going to look at favorably. Did T36 in 1997 at Congressional.
*All odds are approximate. Please check Bodog for updated odds.