Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Buick Without Tiger? Fine.

I’m sure Rocco Mediate will have a little easier time this week out in Grand Blanc, Michigan after taking a gimp-kneed Tiger Woods the distance at Torrey Pines. Woods’ season is now over and will not be in any field for the remainder of the 2008 season.

Even though Rocco lost to Woods in sudden death, he will try and ride some of that momentum into the Buick Open, a tournament he won back in 2000.

Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club lays out as a narrow track with tall trees lining the rough, meaning that players will be forced to be straight off the tee and will have to scramble a bit to avoid losing strokes.

So who are the guys to watch? I’ll give you two of them.

Heath Slocum (who’s real first name is Tyler, but Heath sounds a lot cooler), has 4 top-10 finishes in his last 7 starts and is coming off a 4th place finish at last week’s Travelers Championship. His keeps his ball in the fairway on 74% of his drives, making him 9th in Driving Accuracy on the PGA Tour.

Briny Baird is a guy that wouldn’t necessarily be pegged for a victory on the tour because he's never won anything. But he’s having a very good season as he is currently 39th on FedEx Cup standings and 29th on the Money List). He’s already surpassed his last year’s money total by over $400,000 and has reached the $1 million mark for the first time since 2004.

Moreover, the guy can save himself strokes. In 67 rounds this year, Baird makes par or better on 62.15% of his holes after missing the prox (14th in Scrambling on the PGA Tour). 10 top-25 finishes and a 4th place at this year’s Players Championship also shows he can make his run at the money.

Oh, and one of Briny's best finishes? He tied for 2nd place at the Buick Open in 2003.

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