February 15, 2011
Golf may be you vs. the course, but the end result is you vs. everyone else. That is what we do here with our Devil Ball Power Rankings, a glimpse at who is currently hot on tour, that will run every three weeks during the PGA Tour season (and now included a hint of the European Tour). These are the top-10 golfers currently playing, with nothing factoring in except the present golfing world, and it's our first installment of 2011.
1.) Mark Wilson: Sure, the 36-year-old missed the cut at Pebble Beach, but can you blame him? He flew in on Monday night after winning his second tournament of the year in Phoenix, and didn't have a ton of time to prepare after his Packers won the Super Bowl. He leads the FedEx Cup points list, the money list, and the wins list. Who would have thought Wilson would be the most dominate player of the season so far?
2.) D.A. Points: A quick jump up this list for Points, who was having a fine year before he took down the pro-am. A top 20 at the Waste Management and a fifth-place finish at Torrey Pines should have prepared us for his first PGA Tour win last week. Points was solid on the way in at Pebble Beach, and seemed totally comfortable in the moment.
3.) Bubba Watson: I expected a big year out of Bubba before the Farmers Insurance Open, but now with his second win in less than a year, and two other top-29 finishes, Watson could be near the top of this list when the season ends.
4.) Alvaro Quiros: We talk about our young stars all the time, like the McIlroys and the Fowlers of the world, but Quiros is only 28, and now has five European Tour wins. His latest came last week in Dubai, when he took down a very serious leaderboard with a final-round 68 when all the other heavy hitters were falling apart.
5.) Nick Watney: Can someone check and see if this guy's heart beats on Sundays? Is he, like St. Andrews, taking a rest day on Sunday and just doesn't realize it? So far this year he has fired rounds of 63-68-67 during the fourth round, and hasn't finished out of the top six in three events.
6.) Phil Mickelson: No, he hasn't won since the Masters, but Mickelson has been impressive, even with his B-game in 2011. A second at Torrey Pines, and a hot start at TPC Scottsdale until weekend rounds of 71, Lefty notched another top 10 at the AT&T. No, it isn't good enough for Phil, but it would be good enough for a lot of golfers out there, and it seems he's a few short putts away from breaking through this year.
7.) Steve Marino: The 18th at Pebble Beach aside, Marino has been in the hunt at two of his four events this season, finishing second at the Sony Open and fourth a week ago, which would have been better if not for a couple of loose swings to close out Pebble. As they say, you can't get hit by the train if you're not standing on the tracks, and Marino is right there, waiting for that first win to smack him. It'll come this season, there's no doubt.
8.) Jhonattan Vegas: The surprise story of 2011, this rookie has a win, and a tie for third and it's barely past the middle of February. Vegas seems like the type of kid that can get hot, stay hot, and ride it for a few tournaments, and with the swagger he now has, I think Rookie of the Year might not be the only award he can snag.
9.) Hunter Mahan: Sure, Mahan would probably like that three-putt back on the last hole at Pebble Beach to put a little more pressure on Points, but his final-round 66 jumped him up the leaderboard, and nearly into a playoff. He has two top-six finishes, and hasn't been outside the top 29 this year.
10.) Bill Haas: He's incredibly solid, and nearly repeated at the Bob Hope earlier this season, eventually losing in a playoff. Besides all that, he has continued a good year, with three top 10s already to his name and no missed cuts.