The different conditions of Boston may bring the forgotten man of 2009, ANTHONY KIM, back into contention. The big-hitting Californian looked to have the perfect game for this track last year when opening with two rounds of 66. He fell away over the weekend, but left the impression that he would be a regular contender here in the years ahead. Kim hasn’t really enjoyed the last three big events, all of which penalised his tactical inexperience to some extent, but his previous form was encouraging. Third behind Woods at Congressional, and the same position in the Canadian Open, were fine efforts and confirm that even if this season has lacked the spark of 2008, Kim retains a contender under the right conditions.
A number of high-class short-hitters, including Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson, were overlooked because of their lack of power. Geoff Ogilvy may well have been a selection on a course where he’s twice previously made the top 6, if only he could boast any decent form over the last few months. Angel Cabrera has also been largely disappointing this year, besides winning the Masters and finishing fourth at Bridgestone, but does have the game to thrive around this course. Pebble Beach winner Dustin Johnson has caught the eye recently, and as a very long-hitter, could be dangerous on his debut.
Marginal preference at around the same odds as that lot is for LUCAS GLOVER. Fair play to Glover, who has proved in the weeks since that his US Open triumph was no fluke. His eight starts since Bethpage have yielded five top 25s, and two of the three failures were no surprise given the nature of the courses in question. Top 5s at both Congressional and Hazeltine mean Glover has made the places in five of the season’s biggest US events, confirming his suitablity for these thorough long game examinations. As he twice made the top 15 at Boston at an earlier, less prominent stage of his career, Glover warrants much respect.
Best of the outsiders could be the erratic RORY SABBATINI. As I’ve written so many times over the years, Sabbatini is never a man to rely on, unless he’s being opposed on tough, narrow golf courses. He’s done nothing since winning the Byron Nelson Championship in May, though in his defence nobody expected Rory to thrive in events like the US Open or Open Championship. TPC Boston, a risk-reward course that encourages his attacking style, looks an infinitely more suitable test, and its no surprise to see that he finished sixth here in 2007.
As for the rest, Brandt Snedeker remains a man at the peak of his powers, but didn’t do much on either previous visit to this course. Several other big-hitters, including Nick Watney, John Merrick, Charles Howell and Bubba Watson, came in for consideration at silly prices. Watney particularly takes the eye on both driving distance and recent form grounds, but will need to improve dramatically on five missed cuts to date at TPC Boston.