Experts: Wachovia Championship

Diary of a Golf Handicapping Expert

On Thursday I didn’t make it to the couch for 3-6 p.m. golf viewing. Now checking scores on I see a thumbnail of Sean O’Hair atop the leaderboard. I picked him in the outright and head-to-head over Luke Donald. Sweet. O’Hair looks like Ewan McGregor in the mini photo. I say to myself, May the force be with you, Sean.

Later: Donald finishes two shots back. Other two outright picks do OK: John Rollins shoots an even 70. Arron Oberholser shoots 71. Good shape heading into Friday, though I don’t like Donald so close.

Checked online around 11:30 to see O’Hair’s head still on top! He birdied the first hole to go to -6! I check online again and see he dropped one on the second, while Brett Wetterich birdied the second, joining O’Hair. (I can’t see Wetterich’s mini head because I haven’t clicked on his scorecard---I only open the scorecards of my three outright picks and the head-to-head challenger, and sometimes a notable or two, like Vijay and Mickelson, as is the case this week.) My other two outright heads---Oberholser and Rollins---are so far down the page I stop scrolling. I do this thing which is totally ridiculous and probably speaks to psychological problems that haven’t yet been uncovered, but I do this thing where I say, in my head, I say, well, boys, if you’re not making moves, if I have to scroll that far down to see you, I’m not going to scroll. You have to move up for face time. It’s insane, talking to the little heads. I know this. The same kind of fandom psycho rationale is at play when your team loses and you weren’t able to see the game for some reason, or missed a play or an at bat even, and bad things happened, your team lost or something situationally undesirable happened and you think, Dammit!, if I was there that wouldn’t have happened! If I was watching in my usual place with my usual shirt on that wouldn’t have happened!

Checking in a few hours later: O’Hair’s eagled the 7th! I watch the computer for like half an hour, long enough to see his little head birdie the ninth. He’s -8. I am happy but also well aware that every week this happens to me. I get a guy in the lead or near the lead on Thursday and Friday and by Sunday he’s long gone and hard to find.

I go to the gym, find an open TV, click to the Golf Channel and start running. O’Hair bogeys 13, then 15 and I think, just stay under par for the round, stay like this, I’ll take pars the last three holes. And that’s what happens, except it’s maddening because he has a short birdie try on 16 and doesn’t hit it enough, yip yip. On 17 he leaves another just short. Donald had just chipped in from farther back for birdie. Donald leads. Oberholser and Rollins make the cut at even and +1, respectively. They’ll be teeing off hours before TV starts tomorrow---I’ll check their little heads online around 11. I need them to move their heads up fast because I don’t like the looks of this O’Hair-Donald matchup.

Morning read-in. I have to check and make sure what I saw last night is true and that the Red Sox have indeed won their last six meetings against the Yankees, who are 8-13. The NFL draft starts at 11:00. The Patriots need a linebacker, cornerback, safety and wide receiver. To at 10:00 a.m., where I see John Rollins has bogeyed the first. Barring a really low day from here on, he has no chance. Oberholser needs to go low, too. O’Hair tees off at 12:31. I’ll be at the community garden. Plan to leave the sports world until three or four, when golf coverage will be underway and the Sox-Yankees game starts.

3:00 Back from garden. O’Hair’s head now T4, he’s even through six. Some guy named Michael Allen is -5 through 10 holes, and one behind Scott Verplank, who’s -3 on the day, -8 for the tournament and in the lead. Rollins went -4 and stands at -3 for the tourney, probably too far back but he moved on moving day. Oberholser is nowhere in sight. I will not scroll down.

4:00 Scored a TV for golf viewing at the gym. Two of the other sets were already on the draft and Red Sox-Yankees. The Patriots picked a safety from Miami. O’Hair’s got three holes to play and he’s six shots back of leader Donald. Another promising week down the tubes in a few hours.

Checking in at 2:00, Rollins is making a move that is nothing more than a tease. He’s -4 through six holes, -7 for the tournament, three back of Donald. In other news, the Patriots traded a 4th rounder for Randy Moss. That could be real good.

None of my guys are in sight by the end. Verplank wins. My game is Nationwide Tour at best on the weekend ...

The double loss week, a unit and a half, brings my season total to -7.3 units. I have a quote as solace, David Brent quoting Dolly Parton: "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain."

At this week’s Wachovia Championship we have a tough course in Quail Hollow and a nasty, long, watery 17th that will be a nice prelude to the island 17th at Sawgrass.

Take Tiger Woods (5-2), 1/6 unit: This is a warm-up for TPC but Tiger is Tiger. Playing a pro-am round with Michael Jordan would be distracting to just about any other golfer but Tiger.

Take Vijay Singh (18-1), 1/6 unit: The FedEx Cup leader is somewhat quietly having a great year. Putting much improved. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win at least one more.

Take Stephen Ames (80-1), 1/6 unit: Nothing spectacular but consistently good and he doesn’t get rattled. I like him on a tough course.

In the head-to-head, take Vaughn Taylor over Luke Donald (6-5), 1 unit: Taylor is still playing well. I picked him a couple weeks ago at the Verizon Heritage, where he finished T4. He finished T6 at Quail Hollow last year, T5 the year before.

by: Staci Richards - - Email Us

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