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Monday, March 18, 2013

Arnold Palmer Invitational - Power Rankings

Sticking to the Monday night script, below are the power rankings for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A little different than normal is what comes after the power rankings. What I've noticed the last few weeks are a number of players that deserve some attention. In some cases they are trending very well. In others, they have an excellent course history. Either way, they could prove valuable in deeper gaming formats.

Let's get started.
  1. Tiger Woods - Need I say more this week?
  2. Graeme McDowell - Runner-up last year in this event, he's also finished inside the top 10 in each of his last three starts leading into this week.
  3. Jim Furyk - I was skeptical about Furyk starting the year, but a season-best T7 last week and nothing worse than a T35 in five starts has him trending well. He's also finished inside the top 11 in each of his last three starts at Bay Hill.
  4. Sergio Garcia - He's one of about five guys that could have easily walked out of Tampa Bay with a win had his putter cooperated. With a T3 and a T7 in his last two starts, this could go either way. There's a big part of me that wants to jump off the bandwagon, but his form is just too good. He's only missed one cut in 11 tries at Bay Hill, with six top 10s to show for his efforts.
  5. Justin Rose - He tied for third here in 2011 and was T15 last year. He's coming off a T4 and a T8 in his last two starts, so his form is solid. Should be a safe top 10.
  6. Brandt Snedeker - Won in his last start, but coming off an injury. If we've learned anything this year, it's not to count him out of anything. As important as the majors are to him now, he wouldn't play this week if he wasn't 100 percent.
  7. Bubba Watson - The bomber has been about a half-step behind his 2012 pace all year, but has finished inside the top 20 four times already this year. His T4 last year makes him a dangerous man at Bay Hill this week.
  8. Keegan Bradley - Bradley missed the cut badly here in his only start last year, but at ninth in par 5 birdie or better average this course should serve him well. He's coming off a T4 and a 7th in his last two starts entering the week.
  9. Phil Mickelson - Lefty has a first, a second and a third here in 13 starts. His T3 at Doral shows his form is fine after his winter vacation. The only question is if he is using this to tinker for Augusta National or if he's actually trying to win.
  10. Charles Howell III - He's finished inside the top 25 at Bay Hill in three of the last four seasons. He's also coming off a T12 at Doral in what has been a stellar 2013 campaign. Add to that, he's playing for his Masters life.
  11. Hunter Mahan - Other than the Match Play, he hasn't been able to wrangle a top five, but does have four top-16 finishes. He's never done better than a tie for sixth at Bay Hill, but seems close to putting it all together entering the meat of the schedule.
  12. Webb Simpson - Add him to the list with Sergio Garcia of guys that couldn't buy short to mid-range putts at Copperhead last week. He buried a couple of bombs to make his SGP stat look better than it was. Still, his form is very good despite not having a top 10 at Bay Hill.
Others that caught my eye in no particular order:
  • Ernie Els - Two-time winner here that tied for fourth last year, but is off to an average start to 2013.
  • Brian Davis - Form is awful, but trended up at Bay Hill each of the last three years. He was 24th in '10, T12 in '11 and T4 last year.
  • Ryan Moore - Another guy battling form, but also T12 and T4 in his last two trips to Bay Hill.
  • Kevin Streelman - Not just because he won last week, but a T7 in 2010 make him attractive.
  • Lucas Glover - Putted terribly last week and still managed to T38. If he works the putter out......
  • Nick Watney - T4 in '09, but not much else going here. Sort of like this year, a couple of nice weeks but a whole lot of average.
  • Pat Perez - T7 last week and three top 10s in 10 trips to Bay Hill make him a legitimate dark horse.
  • Marc Leishman - Form is everywhere, but a T3 here in 2011 make him worth a look in a deep format.
  • Greg Chalmers - T4 last week.
  • K.J. Choi - Keeps flirting with a return to form, but fell apart on the weekend last week. OK history at Bay Hill.
  • Erik Compton - Top 30s in each of his last three starts since the TOUR headed east.
  • Jason Day - Slowed down since third-place finish at the Match Play.
  • Graham DeLaet - Top 21s in each of his last four starts and is 10th in GIR. Very sneaky play this week.
  • James Driscoll - Top 40s in each of his last three starts.
  • Jason Dufner - Slowly returning to 2012 form, but hasn't cracked a top 10 yet.
  • Harris English - T7 last week and looked good with Jimmy Johnson (Stricker's normal looper) on the bag.
  • Bob Estes - Already four top 30s on the 2013 ledger.
  • Rickie Fowler - You never know.
  • Peter Hanson - Trendy, with a T17, T13 and and 8th working towards something big.
  • Brian Harman - Top 20s in last two starts.
  • Russell Henley - Top 30s in his last three starts after briefly losing form following win. Looks like the hangover has passed.
  • Ben Kohles - Not sure what to make of career-best T7 last week quite yet.
  • Dicky Pride - T11 and T21 in last two starts.
  • Ian Poulter - Could easily have been in the top 12 given his third-place finish last year.
  • Kyle Stanley - T18 in his last start begins to show a return to form and he's made some noise at Bay Hill dating back to his amateur days.
  • Brian Stuard - Still hasn't missed a cut, but his T43 last week was a season-worst.
  • Cameron Tringale - Third place last week makes him very dangerous. Showed last spring that he can ride a wave of top 10s.
  • Jimmy Walker - Picked up where he left off before the baby with a T30 last week.
  • Boo Weekley - Talk about trendy, T25 to T8 to runner-up.
  • Lee Westwood - Plenty of top 25s to start the year, but not really contending yet.
We will be back tomorrow to look at various games. Let me know if you liked today's format. 

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