Here we go:
- Rory McIlroy - Perhaps the easiest number one in a power ranking this year, McIlroy has everything required to lead off this power ranking. Form, course history and stats all check out in a big way. He is a play in every format except, perhaps, a one-and-done.
- Bill Haas - After McIlroy, there are a bunch of "B+" options, and Haas leads off that group after his T4 at THE PLAYERS last week. He's had some big weeks and some big misses at Quail Hollow, but current form is the ace of spades.
- Jim Furyk - Everything about his game makes him a terrible fit for this course, but his past results disagree. He has a win and two runner-up finishes, including last year. While he laid an egg at THE PLAYERS, his form leading into that event was just fine.
- Hideki Matsuyama - Tied for 38th in his maiden voyage last year and has been in solid form for the better part of the last couple of months. His stats are a perfect match for Quail Hollow, and the lack of depth at the top of this field elevates him up the list.
- J.B. Holmes - A T51 at THE PLAYERS shouldn't really matter when you consider the strengths of his game. Last year's winner is in the midst of the best season of his career, so a strong defense this week is entirely likely.
- Webb Simpson - Doesn't deserve to be any higher than this, and the case can be made for much lower, but this is his home course and he nearly pulled off the win in 2012, when he ultimately finished fourth.
- Kevin Kisner - Made his first real noise on the PGA TOUR last year when he cracked the top 10 here and his two P2s in his last three starts clearly prove he's riding high.
- Phil Mickelson - He's done everything except win here and he reminded us at the Masters that he's still a big threat when the course fits his eye.
- Louis Oosthuizen - First-timer at Quail Hollow, but playing some of the best golf we've seen out of him in the U.S. in quite some time. Perhaps it's because he's healthy. This bombers paradise should fit his eye quite nicely
- Justin Thomas - A poor finish down the stretch at TPC Sawgrass makes him somewhat forgettable, but he's been cracking the top 15 with regularity of late. He's about as long as they come, which works just fine at QH.
- Daniel Berger
- Sean O'Hair
- Ben Martin
- Hunter Mahan
- Brendon de Jonge
- Rory Sabbatini
- Jason Kokrak
- Brendan Steele
- Patrick Reed
- Lucas Glover
First things first, I think Rory McIlroy will win this week, but I have to admit he still hasn't flashed anything better than his "B" game this season. He hasn't been perfect with the driver or the short irons, but it's been largely good enough.
So the question becomes, is this the spot to burn Rory, or do we wait on him to really peak? While I'm tempted to pull the trigger, I'm going to hold off due in part because the winning share will be bigger in the remaining majors and the FedExCup Playoffs. If he had his true "A" game right now, I'd probably pull the trigger.
Now, who does that leave?
Haas, Furyk and Matsuyama are all off the board, making the defending champ (Holmes) the next available option after Rory. Simpson is also off the board at 6, as is Mickelson at 8 and Thomas at 10. Kisner at 7 and Oosthuizen at 9 remain. Here's a little secret. I've got my eye on King Louis for the Open Championship.
So, a red-hot Kisner who almost won last week, or a course horse in Holmes who is the defending champ?
Holmes represents a little more permanent class, so I'll take J.B.
Best of luck to all!