Power Rankings: Quicken Loans National
June 26, 2017
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler at home in Murrieta, California
Rickie Fowler reflects on his California roots, and gives an inside look into how his home town and family have made him the successful PGA TOUR player he is today.
When a golf course is approved to undergo a renovation, it usually means that it's older and outdated. It's tired. It's getting (or has already been) passed by due to the never-ending advancement of equipment and its agronomy has deteriorated beyond the point of sustainable maintenance to achieve expectations.
Then there's what happened at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. After it hosted the PGA TOUR from 1987-2004 and once more in 2006, it not only required an overhaul to eliminate concern over poor drainage and substandard turf, it likely wasn't going to rejoin any sort of rotation as a host at this level until something significant occurred.
Done and done. A much tougher test is in store for the field of 120 at this week's Quicken Loans National.
POWER RANKINGS: QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 1 Patrick Reed 2 Rickie Fowler 3 Justin Thomas 4 Bill Haas 5 Kevin Chappell 6 Brendan Steele 7 Marc Leishman 8 Danny Lee 9 Billy Horschel 10 Si Woo Kim 11 Kevin Streelman 12 David Lingmerth 13 Boo Weekley 14 Billy Hurley III 15 Xander Schauffele
Along with many other notables, Tony Finau, Jimmy Walker, J.B. Holmes and Charles Howell III will be included in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Back when TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm was a regular stop on the PGA TOUR and then known simply as TPC Avenel, it played as a pushover of a par 71. Charles Howell III owns the course record with a 61 in 2004. Three golfers share the tournament record of 263, most recently submitted by Adam Scott, also in 2004. Neither mark is expected to be threatened this week even.
To shed perspective on the challenge, we turn to the career of World Golf Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer. He's made 197 starts on the PGA TOUR Champions, but in only 14 has he completed a tournament over par. One of those occasions was during the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship in October of 2010 when TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm resurfaced following its overhaul (in 2007). Mark O'Meara prevailed in a playoff over Michael Allen after the duo completed the 72-hole competition in 7-under 273.
The Web.com Tour then swung into town in October of 2012, and then again on the weekend after Memorial Day in 2013. David Lingmerth's 8-under 272 was good enough for the first title, while Michael Putnam's 7-under 273 secured victory in the latter. Only a combined 21 golfers finished under par for the week in the two editions. Jason Gore's opening 63 in 2012 is the lowest aggregate of any of the three sanctioned competitions since 2010.
Since Ben Curtis was the last PGA TOUR winner to pose for pictures at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, none of the 18 holes were left alone during the upgrade and modernization. Multiple holes were completely redone and all 83 bunkers were rebuilt. Particular attention was paid to land directly affected when water rises on the Rock Run Stream Valley that crosses through the southern edge of the property. The course now tips at 7,107 yards.
Bentgrass greens averaging 5,300 square feet and running at about 12 feet on the Stimpmeter place a premium on distance and accuracy on approach. They'll also help hide poor putters, but the relative unfamiliarity of the surfaces already presents an even playing field. However, as of midday Monday, 17 in the field (including Lingmerth) competed in the Web.com Tour event in 2012 and 21 were here in 2013, including Quicken Loans National defending champion Billy Hurley III. He missed the cut. Overall, 28 played in at least one of the two with 10 pegging it in both. (All former participants will be listed in The Confidence Factor on Tuesday.)
Summerlike weather is in store throughout the tournament, and that includes an increasing threat of rain and boomers into the weekend. Warm and muggy air will provide the ingredients, while prevailing winds from a southwesterly direction may play a role at times, especially early.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, The Confidence Factor, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.