Expert Picks: Humana Challenge


This week marks the ninth event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as players return to the continental U.S. for the Humana Challenge. It's also the first two-event week for fantasy in 2014, as experts' picks for the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship can be seen HERE. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributor John Hawkins; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Zach Johnson: He has finished first, first and tied for eighth in his last three starts dating back to last year's World Challenge. Always go with the hot hand.

Group 2: Gary Woodland: The big hitter finished runner-up in the Coachella Valley in 2011 and was steady in his 2014 opener in Maui with a tie for 13th.

Group 3: Jerry Kelly: Golf in a dome, as they say at the old Bob Hope, is a perfect fit for the resurgent 47-year-old, and following last week's tie for third it's clear the veteran is not content to coast into his Champions Tour years.

Group 4: Johnson Wagner: A bit of a flier pick following consecutive missed cuts, but he's played well at the Humana in the past (T-2 in 2012) and is always a contender when there is a premium on putting.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Not a great record at PGA West, but when you have five consecutive top-seven finishes, it probably doesn't matter.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: Lost here in a playoff last year, and he has a Tour-best four top 10s in this new wraparound season.

Group 3: Brian Stuard: Three top 15s this season, including a solo sixth result last week at Waialae.

Group 4: Hudson Swafford: High-powered rookie was T-8 last week, which is reason enough to pick him in a weak group.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Keegan Bradley: When I last spoke with Bradley a month ago, he seemed very excited to get his season under way in the desert.

Group 2: Gary Woodland: Got the sense he felt like he played better than his T-13 result at Kapalua showed.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: With three top-20 finishes in four starts this season, it's only a matter of time before this long bomber seriously contends.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: SoCal product still has the talent; we may soon see it start coming to fruition.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Brandt Snedeker: Looking for Snedeker to get hot again on the West Coast.

Group 2: Brian Gay: Tough not to go with a defending champ who putts like Gay does.

Group 3: Brian Stuard: Stars seem to be aligning for Stuard, coming off a sixth-place finish at Sony and a T-10 result at Humana last year.

Group 4: Will Wilcox: Taking a flier, hoping his T-8 at Sony keeps him soaring.

John Antonini

Group 1: Zach Johnson: The highest-ranked player in the field has three top-25 finishes in three Humana starts.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: He's only made five cuts in nine starts here, but when he does, he's a hit. Fourth in 2011, tied for sixth last year.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: Tied for eighth a year ago, and his power game should make mincemeat of these courses.

Group 4: Peter Malnati: Every year a rookie does well here. I'm taking a flier that this time it's the Missouri grad.