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The SportsXchange

The Sports Xchange's 2014 PGA Tour rankings, selected by TSX Golf Staff.

1. Tiger Woods, United States -- With eight victories on the PGA Tour the past two years after being winless since 2009, Woods is once again the best golfer in the world, with only a major championship needed to complete his comeback from injuries and indiscretion. He won't get a chance to take that step until the Masters in April, but in playing for the first time in 2014 this week, at least he has a major venue, Torrey Pines, where he claimed the last of his 14 titles in the Grand Slam events in 2008. ... Tiger will be playing in the Farmers Insurance Open for the 13th time, and he has won the former San Diego Open a record seven times, including six of his last eight appearances. Last year, he built such a big lead that even with a closing round of even-par 72 he wound up four strokes ahead of Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater. Of course, his best performance at Torrey was outlasting Rocco Mediate in a classic 19-hole playoff to win the 2008 U.S. Open while dragging around a left leg that would need surgery afterward. ... With one more victory in the Farmers, Woods would again equal the record of Sam Snead, who captured the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the eighth time last year, and he will get a chance to claim the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the eighth time in March. With three more victories, he would equal Snead's PGA Tour record of 82.

2. Adam Scott, Australia -- Scott's brilliant run in recent months, with four victories since August including the unofficial Grand Slam of Golf, moved him within three points of Tiger Woods at the top of the World Golf Rankings. However, he said his mind and body were telling him he needed a break as he tied for sixth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and tied for eighth at the Sony Open in Hawaii, so he is taking six weeks off before teeing it up next in the Honda Classic at the beginning of the Florida Swing. ... To start off his vacation, the Aussie headed to the Big Island with surfing legend Kelly Slater and some friends in search of some big waves, and he also planned to play a little bit of golf. After that, he wasn't sure if he would head home to Australia for some quiet family time after a hectic return home late last year, when he played in four tournaments in a little more than a month during his first visit down under since winning the Masters. Another possibility was a trip to Bermuda, where he captured the Grand Slam of Golf in October, but at either venue he would be able to enjoy his two favorite pastimes, golf and surfing. ... By taking time off, he figures to lose ground to Woods, who will start this week in the Farmers Insurance Open, and No. 3 Henrik Stenson, who is breathing down Scott's neck, only two-tenths of a point behind. Stenson could catch the Aussie if he continues his own sensational surge from late last year.

3. Henrik Stenson, Sweden -- Coming off a year in which he captured the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai, Stenson shot 74-72--146 and surprisingly missed the cut by two strokes in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. He made the cut in all 23 events he played on the European Tour a year ago, but he missed twice on the PGA Tour, the last at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. ... The big Swede lives part of the year in Dubai and is going to play in all three events on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour. This week, it is the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which he will be playing for the 14th consecutive year. He won the tournament in 2006, when he closed with a 4-under-par 68 to beat Paul Broadhurst of England by three shots. He also finished second in 2005, one stroke behind Ernie Els; tied for second in 2008, three shots behind Adam Scott; and was second again in 2009, three strokes behind Alvaro Quiros of Spain. ... Stenson pointed out after missing the weekend in Abu Dhabi that he did not play well on the par-5 holes, which he usually takes advantage of because of his distance off the tee. He made par on all eight par 5s in two rounds. He also made only five birdies on the other holes. Stenson putted lights out in his run late last year, but this time he averaged 31.0 putts per round, including 33 in the second round. Stenson rallied with two birdies on his last two holes Friday, but it wasn't nearly enough.

4. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Perhaps only a two-stroke penalty for carelessness cost McIlroy a victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, where he closed with a 4-under-par 68 to tie for second, one shot behind Pablo Larrazabal of Spain. Still, it points to good things for Rory moving forward after a mostly forgettable 2013 in which he finished by beating Adam Scott on the final hole of the Australian Open. He finished sixth or better in each of his past four official events. ... Rory is going to take a week off before playing in the finale of the Middle East Swing on the European Tour, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, for the eighth time. He claimed his first victory as a pro in the event in 2009, opening with 64-68-67 and holding on for a one-stroke victory over Justin Rose by closing with a 2-under-par 70. McIlroy posted three more top-10 finishes in his last three appearances at Emirates Golf Club, a tie for sixth as defending champion, a tie for 10th in 2011 and a tie for fifth in 2012, but he did not play in the tournament last year. ... McIlroy thought he posted a 68 in the third round at Abu Dhabi, but after the round, the caddie of his playing partner thought something was wrong with the drop Rory took on the second hole. Tournament officials agreed that McIlroy did not take the full relief he was entitled to, with his right foot still on the white line designating ground under repair when he hit his next shot, and thus the penalty. In the final round, his only bogey, on the fifth hole, kept him from a playoff with Larrazabal.

5. Phil Mickelson, United States -- After bouncing back from 1-over-par 73 in the first round, Mickelson jumped back into contention with a 63 in round three and seemed to be headed for victory in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Then he morphed into "Phil the Thrill," and he took a triple-bogey 7 on the 13th hole to wind up with a 69, which left him in a tie for second, one stroke behind winner Pablo Larrazabal of Spain. ... Lefty made his way back from the Middle East to play this week in his hometown event, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he is a three-time winner. In 1993, he opened with a 3-over-par 75, but he followed with 69-69-65 to win by four strokes over Dave Rummells. In 2000, Phil started with 66-67-67 and closed with a 70 to beat Tiger Woods and Shigeki Maruyama by four shots. The next year, he closed with a 66 and beat Frank Lickliter with a double bogey on the third playoff hole after both players drove out of bounds. He has seven other top-10 finishes in the tournament, including second in 1996 and 2011, and he tied for 18th when the U.S. Open was played on the South Course in 2008. ... Mickelson was in the lead and bogey-free through 12 holes of the final round at Abu Dhabi before hitting his tee ball with a 3-wood into a bush. He tried to hit it out, but the ball bounced back and hit his club for a one-stroke penalty. Lefty had to hit his next shot right-handed on his way to the triple-bogey that cost him the tournament. He still had an outside chance to force a playoff, but he could not sink a 50-foot eagle putt on the final hole.

6. Zach Johnson, United States -- Even though he was still playing well, Johnson admitted he was a little tired last week in the Humana Challenge because he played so much in recent months, but he got it going in the final round. He closed with a 10-under-par 62 and finished in a tie for third, three strokes behind winner Patrick Reed. That gave Zach nine finishes in the top 10 in his last 12 event on the PGA Tour, dating to the John Deere Classic last July, and including victories in the BMW Championship and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. ... After playing in the first three events of the new year following three events after the 2013 Tour Championship, Johnson is going to take a month off with his family in St. Simons Island, Ga. The schedule page at zachjohnson.com does not list any future events, and he probably will not play again until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson at the end of the West Coast Swing in the middle of next month. He again is expected to tee it up three times in four weeks on the Florida Swing. ... Johnson birdied the last five holes and 10 in all in his sizzling final round of the Humana, and he recorded four rounds in the 60s to continue his strong run. He opened with a bogey-free 65. Johnson struggled with two bogeys and a double bogey on his first nine the next day after starting at No. 10, but he made three birdies and an eagle on the front to salvage a 68. Johnson got hot again in round three by making four birdies in his last five holes to shoot 68.

7. Justin Rose, England -- Trying to figure out when Rose might return next month is all speculation. He was planning to take a break in February before he was knocked out of his first two events of 2014, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open, because of a mild case of tendinitis in his right shoulder. He had been saying he might even skip the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, but he might now be reconsidering. The schedule page at justinrose.com says only, "COMING SOON." He will have plenty of time to get his game in shape for his U.S. Open title defense in June at Pinehurst. ... Despite being sidelined, Rosy still was busy last week, signing a new contract with Ashworth, his apparel company, which trumpeted the news on Twitter: "We're proud to announce @JustinRose 99 has re-signed with the Ashworth family! Here's to a great-looking future!" Rose responded: "Excited to be a part of the revival of Ashworth to the top!" ... The injury led to Rose and his wife, Kate, taking a trip to Aspen, Colo., since his trek to Abu Dhabi was off. Tweeted Kate: "Lovely getaway to Aspen -- role reversal with @JustinRose99 the spectator whilst I ski for first time in 17 years!" Included was a picture, perhaps snapped by Justin, of Kate in full gear ready to head down a perfectly groomed slope. Rose tweeted that he was "chilling" and enjoying the apres-ski activities, and he also tweeted a note to the Abu Dhabi organizers that he was sorry to miss the tournament because he loves the course.

8. Matt Kuchar, United States -- After tying for sixth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and tying for eighth in the Sony Open in Hawaii, Kooch never left the Islands, heading over to the Big Island with his family to start a month-long vacation. He is expected to return to the PGA Tour for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, one of the classic courses on the PGA Tour. He will be playing there for the eighth year in a row. Stopping off for the Los Angeles-area event will be right on his way home to Florida. ... Kuchar, whose finishes in Hawaii gave him 50 results in the top 10 dating to the 2008 season, and has played six times since the Tour Championship in September, finishing in the top 10 every time, although some were unofficial events. He finished fourth in the individual portion of the World Cup of Golf as he and Kevin Streelman wound up second in defense of the title Kuchar won with Gary Woodland two years ago. He also tied for fourth in the Northwestern Mutual Challenge and teamed with Harris English to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout. ... Kuchar, who is No. 8 in the World Golf Rankings, needed the break because he traveled from Florida to Australia to California back to Florida and to Hawaii since November. He told reporters in Hawaii that he likes the upward trend of his career after winning twice in one season for the first time last year, at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Memorial Tournament, and he wants to keep that going. Kuchar knows the only thing missing from his resume is a major title.

9. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Sneds really had it going only in the Humana Challenge when he shot 8-under-par 64 in the second round on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West, and he wound up in a tie for 58th. Combined with his tie for 11th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to start the season, his West Coast Swing is not going as well as it did a year ago. Then, he finished in the top three in four of his first five events, including a victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. ... Snedeker is going to play for a second straight week in California, heading over to Torrey Pines in La Jolla to play in the Farmers Insurance for the eighth consecutive year. And why not, since he finished in the top 10 each of the past four years, and five times in all, including a victory in 2012. Sneds shot 8-under-par 64 in the second round, shook off a 74 the next day and closed with a 67 before beating Kyle Stanley with a par on the second playoff hole. Last year as defending champion, he finished in a tie for second, four strokes behind Tiger Woods. It was his second tie for second in the tournament, as he also wound up one stroke behind Ben Crane in 2010. When the U.S. Open was played on Torrey's South Course in 2008, he tied for ninth. ... Snedeker finished off his round of 64 in the Humana with three consecutive birdies, giving him eight for the day to go along with an eagle on the fourth hole and two bogeys. The 16th hole cost him each of the last two days. He wound up with a double-bogey 6 each time while finishing 69-70.

10. Jason Dufner, United States -- Considering the schedule he played the past few months, you would think Dufner would be looking for more than a week off and might take an extended vacation like Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar are. But after playing in Bermuda, China, California, Florida and Hawaii since October, he is heading off to the Middle East this week to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. ... The PGA champion will be playing in the event for the second time, having finished in a tie for ninth a year ago, when he opened with 71-70 before getting warmed up and shooting 67-69 on the weekend. That came a week after he tied for ninth in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship while making his first trip to play on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour. It took him into his mid-30s to establish himself on the PGA Tour, so perhaps he believes it is time to become a little more worldly. ... Duf has moved up two spots to No. 13 in the World Golf Rankings since the end of 2013, thanks to finishing fifth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and he might have made up more ground if not for a virus that caught up to him in the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he slipped to a tie for 29th. With a few more solid finishes, Dufner could climb back into the top 10 and perhaps equal or surpass his career best of No. 6, achieved in September 2012, at the end of a season in which he captured the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

11. Jordan Spieth, United States -- It appeared that Spieth was going to take three weeks off after missing the cut in the Sony Open in Hawaii, but he apparently couldn't wait that long to try to turn things around. He made a late commitment to the Farmers Insurance Open late last week and will be playing in the tournament at Torrey Pines for the second consecutive year. ... Last year, he shot 72-73--145 and missed the cut by two strokes in the San Diego-area event, one of five times he missed the weekend in 23 events as a rookie. He was right on the cut-line after carding his only birdie of round two on the second hole, but he made bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 before finishing with 11 consecutive pars. Spieth also will play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but he is looking for a new partner in the pro-am because quarterback Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is out following his second back surgery in eight months. A year ago, Spieth and Romo tied for third, two strokes back, and the rookie tied for 22nd in the pro standings. ... About the only thing he missed in his Rookie of the Year season was playing in the World Golf Championships, but he got to that at the start of the 2013-14 wraparound schedule, when he finished 17th in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China last November. He has the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the WGC-Cadillac Championship coming up in the next two months, and he will play in all four majors for the first time this season.

12. Jason Day, Australia -- As expected, Day committed to the Farmers Insurance Open and will get his year started at Torrey Pines for the second consecutive year. He took a month off since winning the individual title and teaming with Adam Scott to give Australia the World Cup of Golf title at Royal Melbourne, where he finished sixth a week later in the Australian Open. Those results lifted him to No. 11 in the World Golf Rankings and put him in position to climb back into the top 10 and perhaps surpass the career high of No. 7 he reached in July 2011. ... Day is playing in the San Diego-area event for the fifth time, and last year he posted his best result in the tournament, a tie for ninth. He opened with 73-70-72 before coming alive with a 6-under-par 66 in the final round on the famed South Course, posting the best score of the day. He eagled his fourth hole of the day, No. 13, and added six birdies to register the first of his three top-10 finishes early in the season, as he also finished sixth in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and third in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. That led up to his solo third in the Masters. ... Day's victory in the World Cup was only his third individual title as a professional and the first since the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship, his only win on the PGA Tour. He also won the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic on what is now the Web.com Tour and teamed with Davis Love III and Nick Watney to win the 2012 Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge.

13. Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland -- G-Mac has two more weeks off before he will play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but still his name has been in the news. A week after the Golf Writers Association of America announced that he would receive its 2014 ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for his cooperation with the media, it was announced that the Irishman signed a new contract with Ecco to wear the company's shoes, on an off the golf course. That certainly is not hot-of-the-presses stuff, but is continues to show the business acumen of McDowell and his management company, Horizon Sports Management. ... McDowell not only is a successful entrepreneur, owner of Nona Blue Bistro in suburban Orlando, Fla., but he is one of the most sought-after players on the PGA Tour for endorsements. Even though he is well behind Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy in the World Golf Rankings at No. 15, he trails only that threesome when it comes to endorsement deals, according to a story in the Belfast Telegraph. Among the blue-chip companies that G-Mac represents are Mastercard, BMW, Royal Bank of Canada, Verizon, Ecco, Audemars Piguet, Teneo and Srixon, his equipment company. ... Following a season in which he earned wins in the United States, Bulgaria and France, McDowell also played well late in the year when he finished third in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, tied for 15th in the individual portion of the World Cup of Golf in Australia and finished sixth in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. He will try to keep it going when he plays at Pebble for the first time since winning the 2010 U.S. Open on the famed course.

14. Luke Donald, England -- Hoping to get off to a good start in 2014 after struggling last season, Donald started his season earlier than usual in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, but he never really got going. He couldn't break 70 in any of his four rounds and never was in the conversation on the way to a tie for 37th, Ge has posted only one round in the 60s in 12 tries at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. ... Luke is going to play one more week on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour, teeing it up this week for only the second time in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. In 2008, he finished in a tie for 25th, breaking 70 only when he posted a 4-under-par 68 in the third round. He has not yet said where he will play for the first time on the PGA Tour this year, but it might be next month in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, where he has played 12 consecutive seasons and finished second in 2010, two strokes behind Steve Stricker. ... Donald got off to a good start at Abu Dhabi with four birdies in his first nine holes Thursday, but he didn't make another until the last hole after carding three bogeys, and he wound up with an even-par 70. That turned out to be his best score of the tournament, and he followed with his worst, a 73 in round two, and made the cut by two strokes. Luke played the weekend in 71-71, with his best stretch three birdies on the last four holes in round three. His ball-striking was not sharp, as he hit only 26 of 56 fairways and 46 of 72 greens in regulation while averaging 28.5 putts per round.

15. Dustin Johnson, United States -- DJ made an early commitment to play this week in the Farmers Insurance Open and even had it listed on the schedule at dustinjohnson.com, but when the deadline passed Friday and the final field was released, his name was not on it. There was no indication as to why he changed his mind or if it had anything to do with the neck problem that forced him to withdraw from the pro-am the day before the start of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, in which he tied for sixth to start the new year. ... Johnson was slated to play in the San Diego-area event for the seventh consecutive year, but he placed in the top 10 only once, when he tied for third three years ago. He was 13 under in 2011 but was a combined 6 under in his other five appearances, and that also might have figured into his decision. When the U.S. Open was played at Torrey Pines in 2008, he could not equal the USGA's par of 72 in any of his four rounds and tied for 48th in his first appearance in the national championship. ... Johnson did not play all that well in 2013 after his victory in the opener at Kapalua, in part because of illness and injury, but he hopes to continue the upward trend he started late last season. He finished in the top 10 in each of his last three official events, dating to his solo fifth in the Tour Championship at East Lake. Included in that stretch was his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai in November to start his 2013-14 season, giving him victories in all seven seasons he played on the PGA Tour.

16. Webb Simpson, United States -- Simpson really didn't get it going until the weekend in the Humana Challenge, when he finished with 67 on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course and 64 on the Arnold Palmer Private Course. That lifted him to a tie for 23rd after he tied for third in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in his first event of the new year. ... Simpson played in two of the first four PGA Tour events in the new year, but he has not yet committed to any other tournaments on the West Coast Swing. Last year, he played six times before the circuit headed east for the Florida Swing, but he might have felt that was too many, even though he played his best in the last two, tying for sixth in the Northern Trust Open and tying for fifth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. When he captured the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October at the start of the 2013-14 schedule, he said that might mean he would play fewer events early in 2014. ... Webb started with 72-70 last week in La Quinta, Calif., before his 67 on Saturday allowed him to make the 54-hole cut in the Humana by two strokes. After recording only nine birdies on the first two days in the California desert, he reeled off 14 of them plus an eagle over the last 36 holes. Simpson also had a hot streak on the back nine of the first round on the Palmer Course, where he carded five birdies in a span of six holes through No. 16, but that streak was broken up by a double bogey on the 13th hole, and he added a bogey on No. 17.

17. Sergio Garcia, Spain -- Coming off a victory in the Thailand Golf Championship in his last outing in 2013, Garcia got off to a slow start in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship but finished with a 4-under-par 68 to salvage a tie for 19th. He has finished in the top 20 in eight consecutive tournaments around the world dating to Deutsche Bank Championship during the PGA Tour playoffs in September. ... Sergio is sticking around for at least one more week in the Middle East to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for eighth year in a row and the ninth time overall. He came close to winning the title last year, when he shot his second 6-under-par 66 in the final round at Doha Golf Club and tied for second, one stroke behind Chris Wood of England. That was the Spaniard's third consecutive top-10 finish in the tournament and the fifth overall. He has not finished outside the top 25 since missing the cut in his first appearance in the event, in 1999. ... Garcia opened with a 4-over-par 76 at Abu Dhabi, and it might have been worse because he was accused of illegally tapping down a spike mark, which would have been a two-shot penalty. However, he showed officials that it actually was a pitch mark. He shot 68 in round two to make the cut on the number and played the weekend in 6 under, showing that his game is not that far off. Garcia hit only 28 of 56 fairways and 47 of 72 greens in regulation, but he kept himself going by averaging 28.0 putts per round.

18. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Playing for the first time in 2014, Bradley broke 70 all three days in the Humana Challenge, but he simply did not go low enough and wound up in a tie for 18th. He finished in the top 20 in each of his last 10 events on the PGA Tour, but the only time in that stretch in which he really challenged for the victory came when he tied for second in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. ... Bradley is making the relatively short drive from the California desert to Torrey Pines in La Jolla for the Farmers Insurance Open this week. He will be playing in the tournament for the fourth consecutive season, posting his worst finish a year ago when he shot 70-77--147 to miss the cut by four strokes after failing to record a birdie in round two. Keegan also tied for 25th in 2011 and tied for 22nd two years ago. He had just turned pro and did not play when the U.S. Open was played on the South Course on 2008. ... Bradley played his best last week when he posted a bogey-free 65 on the Arnold Palmer Course at PGA West in La Quinta, carding five birdies and an eagle on the 11th hole. However, the highlight of the week came the day before, when he recorded his first hole-in-one on the PGA Tour with a 7-iron from 177 yards on the third hole of the Jack Nicklaus Private Course en route to a 66 that included only one bogey, at No. 8. Bradley had only one bogey in his final-round 69, but he recorded three while opening with a 69. He simply didn't make enough birdies, 20, which tied for 56th in the field.

19. Jimmy Walker, United States -- Walker, who leads the FedEx Cup standings following his victory in the Sony Open in Hawaii, tries to keep it going when he returns to the PGA Tour after a week off for the Farmers Insurance Open. He already owns two wins in the 2013-14 season, as he also captured the first event, the Frys.com Open, in addition to finishing solo sixth in the McGladrey Classic. His two victories came after he was winless in his first 187 events. ... Walker will tee it up Thursday for the seventh time at Torrey Pines, and he has done well after missing the cut in his first three appearances in the San Diego area-event. He tied for eighth two years ago, when he shot 5-under-par 65 in the second round on the North Course, and he tied for fourth last year, five shots behind champion Tiger Woods. Walker started with 67-69 before playing the weekend in 72-71. When the U.S. Open was played on the South Course in 2008, he did not qualify, but his recent victories put him inside the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings, at No. 32 last week, so he will play in the national championship this year at Pinehurst for the first time since missing the cut at Bethpage Black in 2002. ... Walker has done it this season with a combination of power and finesse. As of last week, he was fifth on the PGA Tour in driving distance with an average of 308.8 yards, and third in strokes gained putting at plus 1.499. In addition, through the first eight events of the season, he led the PGA Tour with 125 birdies.

20. Patrick Reed, United States -- It wasn't as easy as it might have been with a whopping seven-stroke lead heading into the final round after three straight 9-under-par 63s, but Reed held on with a 1-under-par 71 to win the Humana Classic by two strokes over Ryan Palmer. He claimed the second victory of his PGA Tour career, the first coming last August in the Wyndham Championship, when he beat Rookie of the year Jordan Spieth in a playoff. ... Reed is not going to have much time to celebrate because he is playing again this week in the Farmers Insurance Open for the second season in a row. Last year, he finished in a tie for 39th, breaking 70 only when he shot 3-under-par 69 in the second round on the easier North Course. The best he could manage on the South Course was a 70 in the final round, when he birdied the last two holes to move up 18 spots on the leaderboard. ... Reed carded only two bogeys in the first three rounds last week in the Humana, when he posted a score of 27 under par, breaking the PGA Tour's three-round record in relation to par, 25 under, set by Steve Stricker at the 2010 John Deere Classic. After posting his three 63s to build his big lead, he found the going more difficult in the final round on the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West, where he carded four bogeys after making only two the first three days. However, he still had enough to make five birdies and stay ahead of the closing pack. Reed prevailed by hitting 57 of 72 greens in regulation and averaging 26.5 putts per round, even though he took 32 on Sunday.

Others receiving consideration: Ernie Els, South Africa; Jim Furyk, United States; Lee Westwood, England; Bubba Watson, United States; Bill Haas, United States; Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa; Hunter Mahan, United States; Ryan Moore, United States; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Harris English, United States; Ian Poulter, England.
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