Whether The Players is the games fifth major, a debate that is best left up to the players themselves, will not soon be answered, but there is no debating the quality of the field assembled this week at TPC Sawgrass and any potential champion will be pulled from a familiar cast of Grand Slam characters.
Pick a Foursome: Forget Tiger Woods prosaic 1-for-11 Players record or that pedestrian ballstriking week at Quail Hollow, the world No. 1 says hes close and thats good enough for us. As for Furyk, a hard and fast TPC favors the veteran and if he can avoid another final-round fold (hes broken par just four times in 13 Players starts) the Ponte Vedra Beach resident could end his TPC drought.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Nick Watney, Tim Clark
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).
Salary Cap: We went with a new strategy this week. TW and Furyk will eat up more than 75 percent of your cap ($9.23 million) and with the spare change pick up a couple newcomers from across the pond who could surprise at bargain prices.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson (Total: $9.98 million)
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.
Pick One: Sergio Garcia. Not sure we would have picked the Spaniard after his week filled with poor putting and poor judgment at Augusta National, but the Stadium layout is a ballstriking dream-come-true for Garcia and a return to The Players may spark some good-putting memories.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
In addition to my PGA Tour Pick One, the GolfChannel.com staff will be offering up their picks to win. A player can be picked a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.
|Rex Hoggard||Zach Johnson||Although his record at TPC has gotten progressively worse (T-8 in 2005, T-58 in 06, T-16 in 07, MC in 08) and his Sunday fade at Quail Hollow doesnt scream champion, Johnson is a clutch putter who is hitting nearly 70 percent of his fairways and greens in regulation.||$2,177,187|
|Jay Coffin||Phil Mickelson||After three consecutive missed cuts, Im an absolute mess right now. So, well go with a guy who has 5 career top-15 finishes here, including that victory in 2007. Come on Lefty, dont let me down.||$3,579,565|
|Mercer Baggs||Anthony Kim||This would be big for his resume. Hes not yet ready to win a major, but this would prove hes getting closer.||$3,562,324|
|Erik Peterson||Kenny Perry||Winners at Sawgrass are proven ball-strikers that can roll their rock. Perry fits that bill. Plus, he's out to prove he really has gotten over the Masters.||$2,801,407|
|Brian Koressel||Phil Mickelson||Hes really close to putting it all together and he can draw on good memories from his win two years ago at Sawgrass.||$3,184,636|
|Dena Davis||Zach Johnson||Z-man didn't finish how he would've liked to at Quail Hollow, but his game is still in great form. Though he missed the cut at Sawgrass in 2008, he'll have success this year.||$2,663,740|
|Jerry Foltz||Tiger Woods||Gotta go with Tiger for my first time this year. I don't think he likes the course all that much, but he hates losing even more.||$2,050,159|