Anyone can pick Phil Mickelson to win at Torrey Pines, or Robert Allenby, or Ernie Els, or Hunter Mahan. My goal in this weekly piece is to give you five possible selections you might not be thinking about. Let's head down San Diego way and see what's going on with this week's Farmers Insurance Open.
Steve Marino: Perhaps I'm using a liberal definition of sleeper by tabbing Marino here, but he's yet to win on tour and he's not among the Top 20 favorites this week, so that's good enough for me. His Torrey Pines run last year was done in by an opening-round 78, but he grabbed two solid checks in the previous years (T23, T20). There isn't an obvious weakness in Marino's game - other than the empty mantle, I suppose - and that's the type of versatility that will serve you well at this week's challenge. He's one of the Top 5 players on tour without a victory, that's for sure (say howdy to Tim Clark when this infamous club meets up).
Nathan Green: He made it to a playoff when they came to Torrey Pines in 2006 and don't overlook Green's T11 check from 2008. He's generally known as a better scrambler than ball striker, and you certainly need a creative mind to work your way about the two tracks here.
Michael Sim: The Aussie isn't one of the longer hitters out here but the rest of his game (straight off the tee, true on the greens) should translate to the assignment in San Diego. If the setup turns out to be similar to a U.S. Open look, that's fine with Sim - he can call back on his T18 experience last year at Bethpage Black. Sim was the dominant player on the Nationwide Tour last year, and that's always a good place to start as you try to identify 2010's best sleepers.
Chad Collins: While no one expects this journeyman to win the tournament, we have to tip our caps at the way he's come out ready to go in 2010 (T16 at the Sony Open, then a T10 at the Bob Hope). If you play in a pool where the Top 100 golfers or so need to be owned, I'd consider looking into Collins right now. His stat profile is well balanced from tee to green, which will help offset the fact that he's never played in this event, and his gritty scrambling (he's 11th on tour in that stat) will come in handy. And like Sim, Collins showed plenty of game last year on the Nationwide Tour, where he was the No. 2 player last season.
Alex Prugh: He's another Nationwide Tour graduate that has already gotten our attention in 2010, grabbing a T5 check at the Bob Hope last week. Prugh is currently ranked first in total driving, 26th in scrambling and 43rd in putting average, and while his game will get a much sterner test at Torrey Pines, I'd like to at least put this U-Dub product on my scouting list. (For what it's worth, I've already added Prugh in my 130-golfer bloodbath league with the Rotowire guys, and we only get one addition per month. Sim was gone, while Collins, oddly, remains available. We'll see if I tabbed the right guy.)
Let's hear your sleeper selections in the comments, and we can also discuss picks and pans for the Yahoo Fantasy Golf game as well. Game on.