As the 2010 season starts today, we're cycling down through the 20 most compelling players in the PGA today. They're not necessarily the best, though they probably will be -- these are the guys who have the greatest combination of talent, opportunity and potential. Today, the best in the game.
5. Zach Johnson: I'm reserving judgment on Zach J at the moment, but I will say this -- he's got the potential to get right to the top of this list. I'm not totally sold on his long-term potential, but he's a solid top-fiver right now.
4. Kenny Perry: I keep expecting Perry to completely drop off the map, but so far, so good -- he may or may not reach his goal of 20 wins, but he's certainly in any "best golfer today" conversation. Not the end of the conversation, but still.
3. Sean O'Hair: Okay, I'm going out on a limb here and picking O'Hair as my breakout star for 2010. Sure, he flamed out against Tiger in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but I'm thinking he could be the guy who puts everything together this year a la Steve Stricker last year. We'll find out soon enough, and if he totally screws up, I'm coming back and deleting this post.
2. Steve Stricker: Stricker kind of sneaks up on you -- he doesn't overwhelm you with his game, but you look up and realize he's been hanging around the leaderboards of the last dozen tournaments. He briefly challenged for the FedEx Cup last year, and I'm thinking he'll stay strong in 2010.
1. Phil Mickelson: And here you are. Not exactly getting too freaky here picking Phil as the best golfer in the Tigerless PGA, but something about the way he closed out 2009 has a lot of people thinking that he's put all the pieces together at last. He's driving well, putting beautifully, and actually thinking on the golf course rather than giving up a couple stupid strokes a tourney -- he's got everything working. And if he does win big, there better not be any asterisks.
And there you have it. Who are your picks to win big in 2010? Go!
- Steve Stricker