Danny Willett continued his rich vein of form last week with victory in the European Masters. Richard Green had a good week too (not that one, though the Australian did finish 10th in Switzerland) as he took the weekly honours in our Fantasy Golf game. As well as the winner, his ‘ashmac’ team included three other top-six finishers – Fitzpatrick, Hatton and Garcia – to see him take the win by a single point.
Our game moves back across the Atlantic this week as we head to Virginia for the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans National. ‘Tiger’s Tournament’ – Woods is teeing it up this week as well as hosting – has been shared between Congressional and Aronimink Golf Clubs since its inception in 2007 but switches to The Robert Trent Jones Golf Club this time around.
The 7,385-yard par 71 has not staged a regular tour event since opening in 1991, but has hosted four Presidents Cups in that time. The views across bordering Lake Manassas are stunning with the layout itself a classic Jones design. Expansive fairways favour the longer hitters while large bunkers guard the greens, demanding precision on approach.
Course form is limited this week. The last Presidents Cup here was in 2005 and there have been changes to the course and those few players in the decade since. The longer hitters should enjoy this but those that prosper will have hit the greens and converted their chances.
A humid and calm four days are forecast with the only outside chance of rain on Thursday afternoon. Here’s my line-up this week…
Justin Rose, £4.5m
Defending champion (at Congressional) who is in form after a sixth-place finish at St Andrews. Top 30 on the PGA Tour in driving distance and greens in regulation.
Rickie Fowler, £3.5m
Too streaky to leave out with his last six starts yielding two wins but two missed cuts. Never got going at The Open but still finished in the top-30. Cream should rise to the top in a small field and he’s 10th in total driving on the Tour.
Jimmy Walker, £3.0m
Lightly raced this summer, playing just six events since the Players at the start of May. They included a second at the Byron Nelson and a 30th at The Open when he shot par or better in all four rounds. 17th in driving distance and first in strokes gained putting this term.
Russell Knox, £1.1m
Last three starts have been a real mixed bag for the Scot. He withdrew from the Travelers at the end of June before finishing 10th at his home Open at Gullane and missing the cut at St Andrews. He’d been a picture of consistency before that making 10 cuts out of 11, including two top-10s. Not the longest but very accurate – 10th in greens in regulation and fourth in proximity to the hole.
Stewart Cink, £0.8m
A veteran of the 2000 and 2005 Presidents Cups here and he went well in both. Fifth in Canada last week and 20th at The Open. He’s fourth in greens in regulation on the PGA Tour this season.
Johnson Wagner, £0.7m
Plenty of people in the States talking up his chances this week and it’s easy to see why. Went to college just down the road and has finishes of 32nd, fifth, 10th and 18th in his last four starts. 14 of those last 16 rounds have been in the 60s and he’s in the top 25 in greens in regulation and proximity to the hole.