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    • Fantasy Insider: WM Phoenix Open

    • Despite some rust, J.B. Holmes is still a solid pick at TPC Scottsdale, where he's won twice. (Getty)Despite some rust, J.B. Holmes is still a solid pick at TPC Scottsdale, where he's won twice. (Getty)

    There was some confusion over why the plethora of top 10s at the Farmers Insurance Open didn't gain automatic entry into this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    As a reward for finishing inside the top 10 in all non-World Golf Championships, the PGA TOUR grants a temporary wedge of status (in Priority Ranking No. 24) to golfers in the graduate reshuffle category (No. 25) and lower in the pecking order. This includes non-members but excludes amateurs. The eligible slot just ahead of the reshuffle for entry into the next open event. "Open" has an official definition, but it can be understood loosely as tournaments with open qualifiers with an exception.

    TPC Scottsdale is a stand-alone host of 132 golfers. The field is capped (short of 144 or 156) due to the limited daylight hours in Arizona in late January. (The Sony Open in Hawaii is held only at Waialae Country Club three weeks prior, but its position further south allows for a larger field of 144 due to more daylight hours.)

    The WMPO boasts a deep field, so the cutoff for entry fell above the slot reserved for top-10 exemptions. This is why the five that elected to accept the exemption -- Ryo Ishikawa, Trevor Immelman, Russell Knox and Brad Fritsch -- occupy the top five alternate spots (as of Wednesday morning).

    If any do not gain entry, the exemption carries over to next week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which is the aforementioned exception. It's an open tournament but it's the only open on the schedule that does not host an open qualifier. Since the AT&T is spread over three courses, it goes the maximum 156 deep, which means that the category reserved for top 10s will fall well inside the cutoff.

    Only Justin Thomas, he of a T10 at Torrey Pines, would benefit from the exemption next week because he doesn't have status on the PGA TOUR. If he chooses not to play, he forfeits the exemption. For the other four, they will be classified as top-10 exemptions, but they'd gain entry on merit anyway as Web.com Tour Finals grads.

    Will MacKenzie (T7 at the Farmers) and Seung-yul Noh (T10) declined the exemption. MacKenzie is taking the week off while the South Korean is making his fifth consecutive appearance at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

    You can find my selections for PGATOUR.com's fantasy game in Expert Picks.

    Power Rankings Wild Card
    K.J. Choi ... A co-runner-up at the Farmers was his best PGA TOUR finish in three seasons. Also an extension of solid form as it was his fourth consecutive top 20. Two top 20s at TPC Scottsdale but none since 2008 (T20).

    Power Rankings Wild Card
    K.J. Choi ... A co-runner-up at the Farmers was his best PGA TOUR finish in three seasons. Also an extension of solid form as it was his fourth consecutive top 20. Two top 20s at TPC Scottsdale but none since 2008 (T20).

    Bubba Watson ... Opened the 2014 portion of the season with a T23 at the Farmers where he co-led the field in greens in regulation but ranked 69th in strokes gained-putting and T38 in par breakers. He's ripped up TPC Scottsdale on multiple occasions, highlighted by a T5 in 2012. When the lefty competes in these free-for-alls, the law of averages will support the better putter every time, so he'd need to either take it considerably deep in one round and surround it with other sub-70s or sustain an above-average stroke on the greens. The last time he finished inside the top 15 in strokes gained-putting in any full-field event was at the 2012 Travelers Championship (13th), where he tied for second.

    Pat Perez ... TPC Scottsdale had his number from 2002-2007. He missed the cut in every edition. He then strung together five cuts made before getting disqualified after his second round last year for signing an incorrect scorecard (even though he was going to miss the cut). The proud Arizona State University product comes off a spirited run at Torrey Pines where he settled for a co-runner-up one stroke back. He opened 2014 with a T8 at Waialae.

    J.B. Holmes ... TPC Scottsdale has served as the site of both of his PGA TOUR victories, so we know what he can do there. The beauty of this endorsement is that he eliminated any residual doubt about his health with a T23 at Torrey Pines last week.

    Bill Haas ... Teased us with a T6 at the Humana two weeks ago before slipping to T43 at Torrey Pines. I don't foresee fading him much if at all this season, and it won't happen this week for sure. He has a pair of top 10s at TPC Scottsdale, including a personal-best T6 last year.

    Kevin Na ... Awesome fit what with top fives in half of his eight appearances. He's just comfortable on the course. Two top 10s early this season and this close to fulfilling the terms of his Major Medical Extension with a dozen starts to burn.

    Ben Crane ... Without a T9 at the other shootout in the desert -- the Humana Challenge -- he'd be a tough call at TPC Scottsdale despite top 20s in the last three editions. Led the field in strokes gained-putting in 2012. In short, he has to look at this tournament as a cornerstone for his season.

    Ian Poulter ... The big-game performer hasn't logged a top 20 in a PGA TOUR event that wasn't a major, World Golf Championship or FedExCup Playoffs event since  solo third at the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Sign me up for my annual investments in the WGC-Accenture Match Play and The Open Championship.

    Bo Van Pelt ... Once upon a time, he'd have been a go-to without a second thought, but he's descending rather sharply on the career bell curve. And before you get a hankering that the fire is rekindled this week, consider that he's gone 16 consecutive starts in stroke-play format without a top-15 finish. He set the bar high with 10 top 10s in 2012, so his value is now greatest tucked inside full-season rosters.

    Keep an Eye On
    Brandt Snedeker ... Conventional wisdom demands that we're on board this week, but he simply hasn't responded to his return from a knee injury as he did hip surgeries in recent years. A T11 at Kapalua -- probably the most challenging walk of the season -- was impressive, but he failed to satisfy course history buffs at the Humana Challenge and Farmers Insurance Open. With a 6-for-7 record at TPC Scottsdale that includes a solo second last year, he sets up as a trap this week. The rub is that he plays a considerable amount, so we'll get many more chances to plug him in.

    Rickie Fowler ... Uncharacteristic missed cut at Torrey Pines where he couldn't recover from a first-round 77. He struggled in his opening round at the Farmers last year before surging, so the odds were against a repeat flourish. I'll stay bullish in the long-term, but we need more consistency out of the 25-year-old. To that end, age very much remains on his side, and that requires our patience.

    Nicolas Colsaerts ... Acknowledged how well Torrey Pines fit his eye and his game. It showed with a T19, which was his best finish in six events worldwide. The Belgian also admitted that it was challenging learning the courses during his first full season on the PGA TOUR in 2013. That experience included a missed cut at TPC Scottsdale in his debut. Given his entry this week, it wasn't enough of a deterrent to return, but I'd like to see one more top 25 before releasing him into our steady pool of options.

    Returning to Competition
    Patrick Reed ... Pulled out of last week's Farmers pretty much immediately after winning the Humana. If he weren't nursing displaced ribs, I'd toss him into the Keep an Eye On group due to that closing 71 at PGA West's Palmer Private. Winning is never easy but stringing three 63s together, as he did to open that tournament, is a rarer achievement.

    Angel Cabrera ... Recently alerted followers on Facebook and Twitter that he may undergo surgery on his left shoulder following the Masters. We should get a decent dose of him until then, but all bets are off thereafter. Gamers are rarely treated to such specific information midseason, so play the fade until the season's first major no matter how he feels. Clearly, that's his focal point.

    George McNeill ... Making his calendar-year debut. Last competed at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba where he was limited to one round due to a back injury.

    Mike Weir ... Dealing with a neck injury that ended his week at Torrey Pines after 26 holes.

    Stephen Ames ... Took precautionary measures for a sore back at Torrey Pines last week and withdrew prior to the tournament. Just three months from turning 50 (April 28).

    Kris Blanks ... First start since his shoulder injury forced him out after 22 holes of The McGladrey Classic. Needs no worse than a two-way tie for fourth to meet the terms of his Major Medical Extension in this his last start. Short of that and he'll play out of the graduate reshuffle category where he has a second medical allowing 15 starts.

    Notable WDs
    Tim Herron ... Missed the 54-hole cut at Torrey Pines in his second start after surgery on his right knee. Now down to six starts on his Major Medical Extension, he would have been not only playing with that monkey on his back but also the knowledge that he's missed six consecutive cuts at TPC Scottsdale.

    Keeping it simple and sticking with the golfer occupying the top spot in my Power Rankings,Chris Kirk. He's opened each of his five starts with nothing higher than 68 and has scored in the 60s in 10 of his last 12 rounds. He's already a winner this season (McGladrey) and arrives recharged following a two-week break from a solo second at Waialae. Burning him at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is nothing more than riding the hot hand on a course that will feature buckets of red numbers.

    Because this is arguably the deepest and most compressed field of any shootout of the season, several notables and short-list, one-and-done candidates are not going to survive the cut. Last year's class of standouts slamming trunks included Rickie Fowler, Nicolas Colsaerts, Charley Hoffman, Martin Laird, Marc Leishman, Scott Stallings, Martin Kaymer, Kevin Streelman, Graham DeLaet and Ryo Ishikawa. So, the lesson is that it's a perfect time to save a guy for a more reliable set of dynamics. Kirk is playing great and I'm unlikely to miss him down the road.

    Two-man games can simply double-up on scorers. In no particular order, Hoffman, Ryan Palmer, Matt Every, Marc Leishman or Scott Stallings should populate at least one of your slots. Complement with a calculated flier like Kevin Na, Chris Stroud, Ben Crane or Rory Sabbatini. Accept whatever you gather and move on. It's a buckle-up-and-hang-on kind of week.

    Farmers Insurance Open
    Bill Haas; T43; $20,740.00; 26.500 FedExCup points
    Overall Record: 9-for-10
    Earnings: $1,012,470.66
    FedExCup points: 571.333
    Wins: 0
    Top 5s: 1
    Top 10s: 4
    Top 25s: 6
    Missed Cuts: 1
    Withdrawals: 0
    Disqualifications: 0

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