Let's dive right in:
- Jason Day - Began the year with a T3 in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and followed that up with a respectable T17 in the Sony Open in Hawaii. His last two trips to Torrey Pines went for a T9 in 2013 and a T2 last year. Given his penchant for playing well in majors, it would make sense that the venue for three of his four rounds (Torrey Pines South Course) hosted a major as recently as the 2008 U.S. Open.
- Jimmy Walker - Arguably the hottest player on the planet, he returns after a couple of weeks off to take on Torrey Pines. History has been a bit mixed here, as his missed cut last year was preceded by a T8 / T4 run in 2012 and 2013. He is known to put poa annua greens well.
- Rickie Fowler - He's made four of his five cuts in this event, all top 20s, including two top-six finishes. His T46 last week can be somewhat overlooked considering he finished the week with a 67.
- Hideki Matsuyama - Another hot player, he's already had chances to win in two starts in 2015. Tied for 16th here in 2014 in what has been his only action in this tournament. His arrow is clearly pointing up.
- Brandt Snedeker - Any time a player has a win and two runner-up finishes in an event, he immediately jumps off the page. Sneds is a great poa annua putter, which is not something to be said of most players. I watched him closely in the WMPO last week, and his T10 more than caught my attention. It's a minor risk to roll with him in some formats considering his performance over a longer span, but this is the traditional sweet spot in his schedule.
- Jordan Spieth - Was in position to win the tournament after 36 holes last year before fading on the weekend. Digging deeper, this was a bit smoke and mirrors. He went low on the North Course, but failed to shoot anything lower than 71 on the more difficult South.
- Brooks Koepka - Who knows how he bounces back from his first PGA TOUR win, but he commands respect given his first three PGA TOUR starts of 2014-15. They win T8, T4, Win. Hard to do much better than that.
- Graham DeLaet - He was on fire on the West Coast Swing last year, tying for second in this event. His T7 in Scottsdale last week is another reason to think a top 10 is in his future this week, as well.
- Justin Thomas - This is his fourth consecutive tournament, and he seemed to fade in his final round Sunday. He's playing extremely well, but I'm beginning to worry that he could use a week off. We won't often get course history with JT, but he tied for 10th here last year.
- Justin Rose - Classy player, but hasn't cracked the top 20 in five previous starts. Certainly no reason he couldn't, but when a guy this good hasn't put it together on a course yet, it makes you start to wonder if it's just not the right fit.
- Marc Leishman
- Dustin Johnson
- Phil Mickelson
- Bill Haas
- Billy Horschel
- K.J. Choi
- Martin Laird
- Charles Howell III
- Paul Casey
- Brendan Steele
Several things come into play in a decision like the once that faces us this week. A guy like Jason Day will be a factor in majors later this year, and it makes as much (or more) sense to hold him as to play him. Jimmy Walker is tasty, but his missed cut last year is a reason to take a step back. A small one, but a reason. Fowler might still be a week or two away from peaking.
I think the OAD comes down to the fourth and fifth players on the power ranking this week. That is Hideki Matsuyama and Brandt Snedeker. Matsuyama offers excellent current form and solid course history, while Snedeker offers decent current form and excellent course history.
The tie breaker for me actually came down to the reports of how thick the rough is at Torrey Pines this week. Matsuayama is a better driver, so he gets the nod.
Best of luck to all this week!