All tournaments, at least those of the non-major variety, may be created equal, but in just a half dozen years the Quail Hollow Championship has elevated itself above the pack with a quality golf course and, after The Players, perhaps the seasons deepest field ' non-Grand Slam division.
The Charlotte, N.C., stop may not have a title sponsor, although Wachovia is still paying the bills, it has a marquee other tournaments covet and a fantasy lineup that looks more like a PGA Tour all-star game.
Pick a Foursome: Tiger Woods has won here, but Phil Mickelson may be the better pick this week. Lefty has been consistent at Quail Hollow, not a phrase associated with Mickelson very often, with four top-15 finishes in his five starts, and seems to like the way the layout fits his eye.
The tougher call may be going with Furyk, a hot hand with history on Tobacco Road, over the likes of reigning Masters champion Angel Cabrera (Quail Hollow looks a lot more like Oakmont than Augusta National) and defending champion Anthony Kim.
Picks: Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Sean OHair, Rory Sabbatini
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).
Salary Cap: Quail Hollow has quickly ascended to mid-major status on the PGA Tour and mid-major talent is normally expensive. Mickelson makes quick work of the cap while Marino and Howells recent play make them worth the check. Simpson has slowed a bit since his hot start, but for the price hes a steal.
Picks: Phil Mickelson, Steve Marino, Charles Howell III, Nick Watney, Webb Simpson (Total: $9.859 million)
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.
Pick One: Jim Furyk. Quail Hollow is a U.S. Open Lite and Furyk, even the 38-year-old version, is an Open machine who can, when hes on, hit fairways, greens and every putt that matters. He placed 2-1 here in consecutive years and his seventh-place finish in 08 would have been much better if he managed to hole a putt longer than 10 feet on the weekend.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
In addition to my PGA Tour Pick One, the GolfChannel.com staff will be offering up their picks to win. A player can be picked a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.
|Rex Hoggard||Phil Mickelson||Three double bogeys for the week cost Lefty a shot at that turquoise-colored coat last year and a 3-over-par week at the 18th in 2007 kept him well behind Tiger Woods. But the Masters inspired Mickelson and Quail Hollow will be slightly more user-friendly this year, with rough heights capped at 2 inches, which should benefit Phil.||$1,964,312|
|Jay Coffin||Sergio Garcia||After consecutive missed cuts its time to make something happen so well go with Sergio Garcia, a man who has never missed a cut at this event. I say he heads into The Players to defend his crown on a winning note.||$3,579,565|
|Mercer Baggs||Jim Furyk||Past champion who always seems to play well at Quail Hollow. Long overdue for a win (2007 Canadian Open).||$3,433,253|
|Erik Peterson||Jim Furyk||Good players love when Tigers in the field, because they can show up and just do their thing. Furyk is the quintessential Fly-Under-The-Radar-er||$2,672,336|
|Brian Koressel||Stewart Cink||Has had a pair of top 10s the last two years and I like his current vibe coming into the week.||$3,184,636|
|Dena Davis||Anthony Kim||Despite some injury issues this year, AK will be back on top of his game this week. The kid just likes this place: tied for fifth in '07 and won in '08 here, his only two starts at Quail Hollow.||$2,645,819|
|Jerry Foltz||David Toms||I'm running out of justifications for my picks as I'm in last place. My rally starts now. Go DT.||$1,962,409|