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Monday, May 5, 2014

THE PLAYERS Championship - Power Rankings

THE PLAYERS Championship is here, and with that comes our weekly power rankings. Last week's winner, J.B. Holmes, cracked the Wells Fargo Championship rankings in the eighth spot and paid large dividends for us in both the Yahoo! and Golf Channel formats. Here's hoping we identify another winner on our short list this week.

Diving right in...

  1. Zach Johnson - Snapped out of a slight slump with a T14 last week at Quail Hollow on a course that doesn't necessarily fit his game. Turns his attention to TPC Sawgrass where he's made 8/9 cuts with six top 25s and a pair of top 10s. 
  2. Matt Kuchar - He returns to action after two weeks off following his RBC Heritage win and will enjoy a week on a course where he is a past winner (2012). The only problem is, that '12 win stands as his lone top 10 in nine starts. He's made six cuts with four top 25s.
  3. Adam Scott - The highest ranked player in the most elite field of the year, Scott is a past winner here to go with two other top 10s and a total of six top 25s. Though he's logged just six PGA TOUR starts this year, all have gone for top 25s. 
  4. Luke Donald - His accuracy off the tee and ability to avoid bogeys plays well here, as supported by his five top 20s and three top-six finishes. Recent form is strong, finishing solo second at the Heritage in his last start. Stat sheets lines up well for this venue as well. All systems are a go.
  5. Sergio Garcia - Before his missed cut at the Masters, he had six consecutive top-16 finishes on the PGA TOUR with a solo third at the Shell Houston Open immediately preceding it. He's made 12/14 cuts at TPC Sawgrass with a win, a runner-up and a T8 last year. His elite ball-striking comes in handy here.
  6. Jim Furyk - Said he found something in his alignment prior to his final round of the Wells Fargo Championship that resulted in a solo second. With eight top 25s here over the years to go with three top 10s, there's no reason he won't hang around the leaderboard again this week. 
  7. Henrik Stenson - A true course horse here, with three top 5s and a win, he's struggled a bit in 2013-14 after winning the FedExCup last season. He could actually benefit from the poor shape of the greens at TPC Sawgrass, since they could prove to be an equalizer.
  8. Rory McIlroy - Finally got of the ground with a T8 here last year (missed all of his previous cuts) and enters off a top 10 at the Wells Fargo Championship. 
  9. Jordan Spieth - No history here, but that hasn't stopped him from big things in the past...like a T2 in the Masters just before his T12 at the Heritage. 
  10. Justin Rose - Course history here isn't impressive at all, but his recent play (T14 Masters, T8 Zurich, 5th at Wells Fargo) makes him impossible to ignore. Another guy that could benefit from iffy greens.
  11. J.B. Holmes - His win last week at Quail Hollow came after a string of top-20 finishes, and could suggest that it's time for hangover. That said, his play at Quail Hollow has always served as an excellent litmus for TPC Sawgrass, so a top 10 isn't out of the question by any stretch.
  12. Chris Stroud - In a season of first-time winners, Stroud is one of those knocking the loudest that has yet to break through. History suggests this could be a potential spot for a win, cracking the top 12 at TPC Sawgrass in two of his four starts. At third in bogey avoidance and ranking inside the top 15 in par 3 and par 5 scoring average, the stars could align. 
Next 5: Graham DeLaet, Harris English, Daniel Summerhays, Bubba Watson and Lee Westwood

Others I like: Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Charley Hoffman, Russell Knox, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Na, Matt Jones, Kevin Stadler, Ryan Palmer, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, David Hearn, Martin Flores, Martin Laird and Jason Dufner. Hey....it's a strong field.

We will return tomorrow with a look at some fantasy games.

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