By Nick DeConti
AT&T National at Congressional consisted of stories of the normal and abnormal flavors. While the course was torn up with century-old trees crashing down, and for the first time I can remember, spectators weren’t allowed on the course, we witnessed an outcome that can give us “normal” feelings from the past. Tiger Woods has now won three tournaments this year, and two this month. With this win, he has surpassed Jack Nicklaus for second all-time in career wins with 74. He only trails Sam Snead now, who has 82 career wins, a milestone Tiger certainly has in his sights. That’s not the only one though.
Of course Tiger will want to hold the record for most majors won in a career, which he may or may not do, but the one that is closer to being achieved, and could be done this week at the Greenbrier, is hitting the mark of $100 million in career earnings on tour. This is a tremendous milestone that I’m sure nobody even thinks of achieving when they step out on the PGA Tour for their first tournament. Except for Tiger, maybe.
The Greenbrier Classic will showcase a solid field that has five of my top-10 in the power rankings playing this week. Speaking of power rankings, here they are!
1. Tiger Woods (last week: 7)
(See above). The only player with three wins this season, with two in the last month, deserves no other spot on this list than the summit. The world will be excited to see how he finishes in his first start at The Old White, good or bad. There’s a possible Comeback POTY award in his future.
2. Jason Dufner (LW: 1)
Dufner is still the most consistent player on tour, but he hasn’t played in a tournament since the Crowne Plaza (2nd) in late May. Maybe he’s gearing up for Lytham, but he needs some competitive golf under his belt before then. Hopefully the lack of competition doesn’t break up the tremendous season he’s had so far. Dufner is inactive again this week.
3. Webb Simpson (LW: 2)
The U.S. Open champion will be in the field at the Greenbrier this week, a tournament that he co-led going into the weekend last year, and playing better golf now than he did last year. He could certainly be a contender to win this week in Sulphur Springs.
4. Hunter Mahan (LW: 6)
Hunter picked up his fourth top-10 finish this season at Congressional, and has been playing solid golf over the past month with an average finish of 19th. You can always find Hunter near or at the top of the leaderboard every weekend.
5. Matt Kuchar (LW: 3)
Mr. Consistent didn’t play at Congressional last week, but with a tie for 8th at the Travelers, he still finds himself on this list. He won’t be at The Greenbrier this week, and will continue to drop in the rankings if he doesn’t play, though he definitely deserves to be here.
6. Marc Leishman (LW: 8 )
The 2009 Rookie of the Year winner moved up this week in the rankings without playing, due to the inactivity of the rest of the leaderboard, and riding his recent win. He is in the field this week at The Greenbrier, and will most likely need a good finish to stay here.
7. Jim Furyk (LW: 4)
Jim had a T34 finish at AT&T National last week, but has been playing very solid golf lately. He should do well this week, and a good finish for him could keep his recently gained momentum moving in the right direction.
8. Bo Van Pelt (LW: NR)
BVP found his way into the Top 10 this week by having a good week at Congressional, getting into a boxing match with Tiger Woods where he slipped up late and settled for a second-place finish. He has six top-10s this year and has been in the to-25 in five of his last six tournaments.
9. Rickie Fowler (LW: 5)
There’s no doubt that Rickie has the talent to be on this list, and he really found his form in May. His last two tournaments have been less than stellar, and he will not be in the field this week. Although he will most likely find himself off of this list next week, he can easily make his way back on.
10. Seung-Yul Noh (LW: NR)
This 21-year-old has been playing outstanding golf lately and by picking up two top-10s in three weeks with a career-best T4 at Congressional. The momentum that he’s been carrying over these last few weeks can certainly give him an opportunity for a repeat of his finish at the AT&T National.