The Deutsche Bank experts' picks

August, 31, 2011

Each week of the golf season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories below: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows this track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who can take it low this week), Super Sleeper (an unexpected player who could contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.

Want another opinion? Check out's FOREcaster page. senior golf writer Michael Collins

Horse for the Course: Gary Woodland
Ranked fifth in driving distance on the PGA Tour at 310 yards, he is the first player who should be on your radar now that Irene has turned the TPC Boston into a bomber's paradise. He's ranked ninth on tour in greens in regulation, meaning he'll give himself plenty of chances to go low.

Birdie Busters: Phil Mickelson
When he beat Tiger Woods here in 2007, Mickelson shot 16 under, and it was one of the few times when he hit a higher percentage of fairways than greens (77 percent of fairways vs. 69 percent of greens). Cool temps -- it's not expected to hit 80 once during the tourney -- will mean soft fairways, giving Phil a chance to be aggressive with the big dog. And we know how much he loves to let the big dog eat!

Super Sleeper: Robert Garrigus
He's known for two things on tour -- long drives and an itty-bitty putter (only 28 inches!). Well, last week at the Barclays he benched the baby putter and went with a standard length -- for him, a 34-inch putter is a long putter. The result was disastrous and even caused his caddie to tweet, "What were we thinking changing putters in the playoffs?!"

Garrigus has put "baby" back in the bag, 'cause no one puts baby in the corner!!! And a good week is needed if he's gonna make it to Chicago, as he's 67th on the FedEx Cup list.

Winner: Scott Piercy
Talk about playing with house money! This Vegas native has gone from not knowing where he was going to be playing every week to now looking pretty secure into the BMW Championship (50th in FedEx Cup points going into Deutsche Bank). He also shot 64-65 on Friday and Saturday at Barclays. He's got all the tools now to win this week -- long off the tee, confidence with the putter, and a great attitude. Piercy goes all-in. senior golf writer Farrell Evans

Horse for the Course: Vijay Singh
In 2004 and 2008, Vijay Singh won the Deutsche Bank Championship at the 7,488-yard par-72 TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. His 22-under total in '08, matched by last year's winner Charley Hoffman, is the lowest 72-hole total in the nine-year history of the tournament. The 48-year-old '08 FedEx Cup playoffs champion is coming off a tie for third at the Barclays.

Birdie Buster: Jonathan Byrd
Since a win in January at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a loss in a playoff to Lucas Glover at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, the five-time PGA Tour winner has missed five of nine cuts. But last week at the Barclays he finished fifth and contended late in the final round until he stumbled with two bogeys.

Super Sleeper: Y.E. Yang
The '09 PGA Championship winner closed the Barclays last week with an 8-under 63 to finish in a tie for sixth. The 39-year-old South Korean is one of 11 players this season to make the cut in all four majors.

Winner: Matt Kuchar
The 33-year-old top-10 machine is going to take the lead in the FedEx Cup playoffs with a win this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. His game is in excellent form. Two sloppy bogeys kept him out of a playoff last week at the Barclays, where he finished second behind winner Dustin Johnson. Last year, Kuchar finished in a tie for 11th at the Deutsche Bank. senior golf writer Bob Harig

Horse for the Course: Steve Stricker
The man who has never missed a round in the FedEx Cup playoffs also has never been outside of the top 15 at the TPC Boston, where he won two years ago.

Birdie Buster: Brandt Snedeker
He's getting hot at the right time, shooting a final-round 61 at the Barclays. He's sixth in the FedEx Cup standings.

Super Sleeper: Ben Crane
This week's bubble boy, Crane has slipped to the 100th and final eligible spot for the Deutsche Bank and needs to jump 30 spots to move into the top 70 and advance to the BMW Championship -- after dropping 14 spots a week ago.

Winner: Adam Scott
His first victory on the PGA Tour came at the Deutsche Bank and he's been on a strong run of late, with top-10s in three of his last five events, including his victory at Firestone. He is 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings. senior golf editor Kevin Maguire

Horse for the Course: Steve Stricker
After missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship in its first three years from 2003-05, Steve Stricker probably never wanted to return to the Boston area. Good thing for him that he did; Stricker's worst finish since is a T-13 in 2008, and he posted a victory in 2009.

Birdie Buster: Jason Day
If it wasn't for Charley Hoffman's final-round 62 last year at TPC Boston, Day likely would have been in a playoff at the Deutsche Bank Championship instead of finishing T-2. This will be his fourth start at the second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and he's improved his finish each year. Only one more spot to jump for a second PGA Tour victory.

Super Sleeper: Charlie Wi
Wi comes into Boston at 65th in the FedEx Cup standings knowing full well that only the top 70 get to play in two weeks at the BMW Championship. He's made the cut all five times he's played this event, and a high finish this week would go a long way toward continuing his season all the way to East Lake and the Tour Championship.

Winner: Phil Mickelson
Since its inception in 2003, the Deutsche Bank Championship seems to yield either a star winner (such as Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh or Adam Scott) or a champion the average golf fan probably couldn't pick out of a lineup (see: Charley Hoffman and Olin Browne.) This year, Lefty continues that trend, as he finally gets over that British Open near miss and returns to the winner's circle for the second time at TPC Boston.




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