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Fantasy Island Honda Classic

MARANA, Ariz. ' After a week of bracket-busting and broken dreams lets celebrate a return to normalcy by way of old-fashion, 72 holes of stroke play on a what-you-see-is-what-you-get Honda Classic layout.
In retrospect, burning one of our five Tiger Woods picks at a match play event may have been worth a mulligan, but with only four more chances to pick the world No. 1 it kind of takes the guess work out of the rest of the season.
2007 Honda Classic

Pick a Foursome: Tough choice between Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas considering both players south Florida resumes, but the Colombian looked better last week at the Match Play and he was runner-up at the Honda in 2007. Els may be the easiest pick; hes the defending champion and his play at the Match Play suggests the Big Easy is poised for a big year.
Picks: A: Camilo VIlligas; B: Ernie Els; C: Stewart Cink; D: Andres Romero
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: Its a good week to throw a few big-ticket players into the mix and Ernie Els ($2.5 million) and Camilo Villegas ($4.4 million) can anchor any team at PGA National.
McIlroy is a steal at $250K, the kid is a star-in-waiting, and Compton, the double heart transplant playing on a sponsor exemption, may as well have Good Karma stitched into the side of his staff bag.
Picks: Camilo Villegas, Ernie Els, Boo Weekley, Rory McIlroy, Erik Compton (Total: $9.85 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: Ernie Els. The Honda Classic is a tough pre-season pick and, to be honest, going with the defending champion is a layup, but the Florida Swings fourth wheel defies analysis. Consider the last three winners ' Els (a multiple major championship winner), Mark Wilson (a little-known Q-School grad) and Luke Donald (an unproven international talent). If theres a pattern, we dont see it.
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 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: Brian Hewitt, Insider; Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardBoo WeekleyBack home in Florida, albeit a vastly different Florida than the one the Panhandle native is accustomed to, Weekleys game is a perfect fit for PGA National.$348,128
Brian HewittRory McIlroyGeoff Ogilvy won on another big stage last week but McIlroy came very close to stealing the show. No Ogilvy this week. McIlroy is the guy everybody's talking about in South Florida. So much game for one so young.$1,605,405
Jay CoffinRobert AllenbyI picked him at Riviera two weeks ago and he played well for three rounds. He hasnt finished worse than fifth here in the two years since the Honda has moved to PGA National.$2,884,985
Mercer BaggsCamilo VillegasBack in south Florida. Playing well at the moment.$1,427,563
Erik PetersonCamilo VillegasGood history at the Honda and hes played well recently in South Florida (Merrill Lynch Shootout).$1,251,817
Brian KoresselDavis Love IIINever has missed the cut and game is on the rise again.$1,660,344
Dena DavisCamilo VillegasThe Colombian with the most difficult name to pronounce on Tour (it's Ka-me-low Vee-jay-gaas, amigos) has T24 and T2 finishes at the Honda the last two years, and if you haven't noticed, he's been muy caliente in '09.$1,928,456
Jerry FoltzHeath SlocumCall it a hunch. Had dinner with him Saturday so now I'll feel somehow responsible if he wins. Plus, he's playing well--3rd in Mayakoba. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he plays well in Florida.


Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship