Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Nelson Predictions

Time to make a prediction for this week's Byron Nelson Classic. The Big 4+1 - Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, plus Retief Goosen - are all in the field, as are most of the other top players in the world. Plenty of names to choose from.

One name that comes to mind first is Jim Furyk, who is due to break through with his first win since 2003. He's been playing great this year, and was part of the 3-way Wachovia playoff last week.

But I'm going with someone else, and yes, it's one of the biggies: Ernie Els. Now, personally, I think Els is just a smidge below Vijay, Tiger and Phil, both in current terms and on a career basis. His doesn't win as much on the PGA Tour (mainly, but not wholly, a function of the fact that he doesn't play as much on the PGA Tour), and his stats are usually just a wee bit off of those of the other three. It's a tiny distinction, and Els will certainly retire as one of the Top 50 golfers of all time, perhaps even one of the Top 30 if he can grab another major or two. (Tiger will retire as No. 1, Mickelson in the Top 20, and Singh in the Top 25.)

Ernie's American outings have yet to produce a victory in 2005, surely a disappointment for him. Especially disappointing was his showing at The Masters, where illness prevented him from even sniffing contention. But he's been en fuego in Europe over his last couple tournaments, running away from the competition two weeks ago. True, it's easier for a great player to win on the European Tour because the European Tour isn't as strong as the U.S. Tour. But Els' scores would win on any tour.

And his scores will win at the Byron Nelson Classic this week. Fitting, because he's a Byron Nelson kind of guy. You can make your own predictions by clicking on the "Comments" link below.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Are you saying PM is a better golfer than VJ? ...VJ has 3 majors compared to Phil ..Ernie has 3 majors and has been a top 10 player for the last 10 years ..Phil just has one major..As it stands - VJ and Els are a notch above Phil.

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  2. Yes, Phil is a better golfer than Vijay or Ernie, overall, although to this point in their careers both Vijay and Ernie are ahead of him in terms of career value. That's not a contradiction. Vijay and Ernie have slightly better career accomplishments to this point, but Mickelson's "peak value" is higher. He hasn't found that peak yet, while Vijay and Ernie have. I'm certain that Mickelson will be ahead of both of them when his career is done. But, yes, it's just an opinion - and thanks for sharing yours.

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  3. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Nice picks. Actually any picks with me are fine.... people are so flaky today that they don't want to commit and never commit to being wrong.

    We are having fun (humbling fun) by having a group at work play in the espn golf challenge (Mercedes drive to Hawaii or some such). Anyway, some weak we play an internal game of my scrub (cheapest player) can beat your scrub. Thus you wind up learning and watching some of the up and comers. This game is acutally more fun than the real fantasy golf; but we are all stupid - nobody had Purdy or O'Hair this past week - CB

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