Ernie Els: Will His Hall of Fame Election Lead to Tour Championship Win?
Maybe the casual golf fan doesn't know how good Ernie Els has been in his career, but with his Hall of Fame induction today, people will hear about it now.
Els was inducted on the first ballot, which is a huge honor for a quiet guy like Els, who just went about his business and put up solid numbers on the course. Els has won 62 times in his career, which is honestly a lot more than I ever thought he won.
Els is taking part in the Tour Championship today, but the question is if Els is the favorite heading in. Inside you'll find 10 golfers who have a shot to walk away with a victory on Sunday afternoon.
No. 10: Zach Johnson
One of captain Corey Pavin's captain's picks for the Ryder Cup, Johnson has played well recently.
Johnson finished third at the PGA Championship, the final major of the year, and most recently he finished 13th at the BMW Championship. His finish at the PGA was his best finish at a major since his victory at the Masters in 2007.
If Pavin had enough faith in his play of late to be worth a spot on the team, especially with some of his closer finishes, you have to think Johnson's just due for a big week, with the way his game is trending.
No. 9: Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen has gotten close plenty of times this year, but has no victories to show for it.
Goosen has cracked the top 10 of a field nine times but wasn't able to walk away with a win in any of those tournaments. One of those finishes was a sixth-place finish at the British Open. When you get close that many times, you're almost due for a breakthrough performance.
While I like Goosen's chances of making a run at a win, there are others I like better.
No. 8: Paul Casey
Casey is another golfer who has gotten close a couple of times this year, but with no victories to show for it.
The Englishman has finished in the top 10 of a tournament six times, but has no wins to show for it. Casey finished third at the British Open, and that was his best finish this season considering it was a major championship.
Casey is coming off a second-place finish at the BMW Championship, and I think that will help propel him this week.
No. 7: Luke Donald
The No. 9 player in the world is seventh in the FedEx Cup standings, and has had a couple of top-10 finishes but no victories to show for it.
However, Donald was cut at the Masters and the PGA Championship, and that's a bit of cause for concern when you're thinking about picking him to win a big tournament. I think this is a tournament where Donald needs to have a big performance.
While his overall body of work isn't bad, I would just like to see him step up in a big tournament, even though he did finish 11th at the British Open.
No. 6: Hunter Mahan
If Hunter Mahan finds himself near the top of the leaderboard this week, don't be surprised if he walks away with a victory.
Three times this year, Mahan has finished in the top 10 of a tournament, and two of those times he walked away with a victory. Mahan has been able to finish the job this year once he gets rolling. He will have to get a hot start to the tournament to propel him to the finish.
If he falls behind early, it may get ugly.
No. 5: Jim Furyk
Not a lot of people talk about Jim Furyk, but he's quietly had another great year on the tour.
Furyk is sixth in the world and has won two tournaments while finishing in the top 10 of the field six times. Furyk has struggled in majors, missing the cut twice, but for some reason, I like his chances.
He's had some decent but not great finishes as of late, but maybe he's due. Furyk has proven he can play well, so it's just a matter of finding that groove.
No. 4: Ernie Els
The No. 3 player in the world and the latest member of the Hall of Fame has had yet another great year on the tour.
Els has two wins and six top-10 finishes this year, including a great showing at the US Open. I think the fact that Els has been honored with his induction into the Hall of Fame will serve as a spark plug for his game, and be a motivating factor on the course.
Els hasn't been as flashy as Tiger Woods' game, but he's been such a great player over the years.
No. 3: Dustin Johnson
The player who is currently second in the FedEx Cup standings, Dustin Johnson is in a great spot to win the tournament.
Johnson has two wins this year and seven top-10 finishes, two of those coming in majors. Johnson lost a chance at the PGA Championship on the penalty he had to take for grounding his club in what evidently was a bunker on the course.
Johnson's game has been as good as it's been, and I like his chances this week.
No. 2: Phil Mickelson
While Mickelson's play has dropped off since his victory at the Masters, it doesn't mean that Lefty should be counted out this week.
Mickelson is the defending champion at this event, and Phil has had some solid finishes as of late. Lefty finished eighth at the BMW Championship, and has had solid finishes at the major championships—minus the British Open.
Mickelson has struggled with his wife's health issues, and sometimes golf has helped him through it and maybe it's one of those weeks.
No. 1: Matt Kuchar
To be honest, I had never heard of Matt Kuchar until recently, but more and more people are starting to pick up on who he is.
Kuchar is currently atop the FedEx Cup standings and has had an outstanding season. Kuchar has 11 top-10 finishes and a win at the Barclays on his resume for this year. The fact that Kuchar has stepped up during one of the biggest stretches of the season should be commended.
Kuchar is the hottest golfer on tour right now, and it's no shock he's a favorite.
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