Let's be honest and up front this week, amigos – we're getting quantity over quality at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic. No Top 10 players are on the grounds, no major names. Sure, Justin Leonard is a pleasant chap, and Chad Campbell looks primed for a big year, and this could be the spot for Tim Clark to break through. There's always some reason to watch. But at the end of the day, we're looking at a five-day birdie fest without a ton of curb appeal.
Here's hoping the weather plays nice – the early forecasts are ominous – and let's see if we can pick some fantasy sleepers out of the hat.
Ben Crane: His reputation for slow play has tended to obscure the bigger story here – Crane has some game. He's already bagged a couple of wins on tour and consider his earning rank over his eight-year career: 48, 63, 184 (injured), 58, 19, 76, 50, 71. He's never missed a check in seven visits to the Bob Hope, including a fifth-place run in 2004 and a 12-place finish two years back. Fear the turtle.
Charley Hoffman: I'm using a very broad definition for sleeper with Hoffman because he's somewhere in the Top 15-20 range with the oddsmakers this week. If you're in a one-and-done pool it might be a good time to dial up the Concrete Blonde; he captured the Bob Hope Classic in his 2007 debut and he's followed that up nicely the last two seasons (T8, T19).
Mathew Goggin: I feel like I've been chasing this one for a while, a no-win player who's overdue for a victory. Goggin has four checks in five stops at The Hope, including a T39 two years back and a T19 last year. He knows how to do the five-day crawl.
Fredrik Jacobson: The Swede grabbed a T15 check the last time he made this stop, and he's managed to collect around $4 million stateside the last three seasons despite a modest schedule over here. Jacobson is four years away from his 40th birthday – I have a hunch we'll see his career season show up sometime in the first half of the decade.
Bill Haas: He's yet to make a deep run through five visits to the Bob Hope but he's at least comfortable with the format and the pace of play (finishes of 25, 16, 27, 19, 34). You're getting a solid pedigree here, of course – Jay Haas was an established touring pro for years – and the younger Haas quietly worked his way into the Top 100 last year. Haas will need straighter driving elsewhere on tour to be a factor – it's probably the only notable weakness in his game right now – but this week at the Hope, feel free to grip it and rip it.