These are guys you expect to always be near the top of leaderboards week in and week out. Sadly, in 2010 that hasn't been the case, and with the first major of the year just a week away, it was nearly time to write them off. Nearly.
Kim, Mickelson, Harrington and Scott are all in the hunt at the Shell Houston Open, a tournament that has done its best to be as Augusta-like as possible. Stiff winds in the afternoon made anyone going out in the morning look great, but Kim went out late and still finished with a 4-under 68, trailing Kevin Stadler by a shot.
Mickelson, the odds-on favorite before the season started to take home his third green jacket, has been anything but dominant in 2010, but a 3-under 69 that included six birdies has him in a logjam with some other familiar faces including Harrington and Scott.
Other big names are in contention after day one. Lee Westwood is 3-under, along with Justin Leonard and Matt Kuchar. Justin Rose and the red-hot Ernie Els are sitting nice at 2-under, and even Fred Couples, the Champions Tour's version of 2000 Tiger, is in the red at 1-under.
The big news on Thursday came with guys that didn't play. Paul Casey, the defending champion, withdrew because of a left shoulder injury and Vijay Singh pulled out because of a back problem that has continued to flair up.