Expert Picks: The Players Championship


This week, the PGA Tour heads to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for The Players Championship, where 145 players will each be vying for one of the Tour's most prestigious titles. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's new 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; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Forget his record at the PGA Tour's flagship event, forget those two injury-induced withdrawals in recent years. The world No. 1's putting (he's first on Tour in strokes gained putting) has finally caught up with his ball-striking.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: The Englishman has played well at TPC Sawgrass in the past, having finished runner-up here in 2009, and he would fit the mold of recent Players champions. Before Kuchar last year, international players had won four consecutive Players.

Group 3: Russell Henley: He has been solid since his victory at the season-opening Sony Open and he has the combination of putting (11th in strokes gained putting) and accuracy (44th in driving accuracy) that the Stadium Course demands.

Group 4: Ted Potter, Jr.: Florida native grew up putting Bermuda grass greens, and he's been sneaky consistent this year with three top-25 finishes.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Luke Donald: I've always thought he would win this tournament someday; maybe this will finally be the year.

Group 2: Scott Piercy: This event has been a breakthrough, career-defining win for some players. It would be for Piercy, too.

Group 3: Charles Howell III: Yeah, I know his track record here is horrible, but it's time for CH3's luck to finally change.

Group 4: Brian Harman: Fresh off a solid week at Quail Hollow, he should feel back at home on Bermuda greens.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Even Pete Dye won't wipe the smile off his face this week. 

Group 2: Bo Van Pelt: Three top-10s, five missed cuts at TPC Sawgrass...the pendulum swings favorably again.

Group 3: Kevin Streelman: A very good year gets even better.

Group 4: Bryce Molder: Dart landed on Molder, not a bad way to pick a Players winner.