Golf rankings, player capsules

The SportsXchange

The Sports Xchange's 2013 PGA Tour rankings, selected by TSX Golf Staff, based on 2012-2013 performance.

1. Tiger Woods, United States -- It's no longer a home game for him since he moved from Orlando to Jupiter Island, Fla., in 2011, but Woods continues to make himself at home in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning for the seventh time last year. If he wins again this week at Bay Hill, he would tie Sam Snead's PGA Tour record of claiming the same title eight times. Snead captured the Greater Greensboro Open eight times between 1938 and 1965. Earlier this year, Woods won the Farmers Insurance Open for the seventh time, winning for the eighth time at Torrey Pines, but one of those titles came in the 2008 U.S. Open. ... Tiger is playing at Bay Hill for the 17th time, winning four consecutive titles from 2000-2003 and then winning again in 2008, 2009 and last year, when he finished five strokes ahead of runner-up Graeme McDowell. Woods holed birdie putts on the final hole at Bay Hill to win in 2008, beating Bart Bryant by one shot, and in 2009, edging Sean O'Hair by a stroke. His only missed cut in the event came in 1994, as an 18-year-old amateur, when he shot 80-77 -- 157. He also won the 1991 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Bay Hill. ... By winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship two weeks ago, Woods narrowed the gap on world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, and he can regain the top spot for the first time since losing it to Lee Westwood on Nov. 1, 2011, with a victory at Bay Hill. Westwood, McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald all have been No. 1 for a time since Woods gave it up after being on top for a record 281 consecutive weeks. He's been No. 1 for a record 623 weeks overall during his career.

2. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Hoping that his 7-under-par 65 in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship shows that he has regained his swing and gotten over the familiarity hump with his new Nike clubs, McIlroy on a two-week break off before playing in the Shell Houston Open next week. That will be his last tournament before the Masters two weeks later. He has played only 8 1/2 competitive rounds this year, and there are those who think he needs more heading to the first major of the year, but we shall see. ... McIlroy was No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings for the first time March 4, 2012, and has held the spot for 39 consecutive weeks, or since last Aug. 12, when he captured the PGA Championship by eight strokes at Kiawah Island. However, by skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he's giving Tiger Woods the opportunity to take the top spot from him with a victory at Bay Hill. ... Rory said he is going to keep working on his game during this break at his home in South Florida, and has a busy two weeks planned. He received the PGA Tour Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average from the PGA of America and played in the Els for Autism Pro-Am at PGA National, in addition to shooting a commercial for the European Tour. He's also spending time with his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, who is on a break from the pro tennis circuit after losing in the final to Maria Sharapova last week at Indian Wells. Then, the spotlight that goes with being No. 1, or even No. 2 in the world will be back on when he gets to Houston.

3. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Following five weeks off because of a left ribcage injury since he captured the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Snedeker hopes he will be able to pick up right where he left off when he plays this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A year ago, after missing about two months because of a cracked rib on his right side, he tied for third in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in his second event back. Sneds rode that momentum to a strong second half that led a brilliant run through the PGA Tour playoffs, culminating with a victory in the Tour Championship that left him holding the FedEx Cup. ... Snedeker is playing at Bay Hill for the sixth consecutive year, but has yet to break the top 10 in the tournament. His best result was a tie for 14th in 2008, when he finished with 68-69, and he also tied for 17th in 2007, when he posted his best round at Arnie's place, a 5-under-par 67 in the third round. He finished in the top 30 in each of his first four appearances before shooting 80-73 -- 153 to miss the cut by five strokes in 2011, and could not break par en route to a tie for 63rd last year. He also might add the Shell Houston Open next week to his schedule. ... Despite his absence, Snedeker continues to lead the FedEx Cup standings, thanks to his strong start to the season, which included four finishes in the top three in his first four starts. He has wound up in the top 10 in seven of his last nine official PGA Tour events, including two victories.

4. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Lefty said he was energized by taking a trip to Augusta National with Keegan Bradley before he finished in a tie for third in the WGC-Cadillac Championship two weeks ago. Even though he could not stay up with winner Tiger Woods on the weekend at Doral, it was still his best golf by far since he claimed the 41st victory of his PGA Tour career with a dominating performance in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He hopes to keep it going this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational with the Masters only three weeks away. ... Mickelson is playing at Bay Hill for the 14th time and claimed the title by three strokes over Stuart Appleby in 1997, when he posted scores of 7-under-par 65 in the second and final rounds. He also finished second, one shot behind Tiger Woods, when he recorded bookend rounds of 66 in 2001, but lost when Woods holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Phil also tied for third the following year, finishing three shots behind Woods. ... The best news about Mickelson's play at Doral was that he hit the fairway almost 60 percent of the time in what some players said were near-U.S. Open conditions. He also drove the ball well in Phoenix, allowing him to utilize his laser-like iron game from the fairway most of the time rather than gouging the ball out of the rough and leaning on his great ability to get up-and-down. Although his putting stats are good, he missed several that he usually makes with his claw grip on the TPC Blue Monster, and must get that fixed.

5. Luke Donald, England -- Playing his best golf in four events on the PGA Tour season after a late start, Donald put up a solid defense of his title in Tampa Bay Championship, rallying on the weekend to finish in a tie for fourth. After failing to break 70 in his last eight rounds on the PGA Tour, he played the last two rounds in a bogey-free 67-69, but couldn't make enough birdies to catch winner Kevin Streelman. ... Luke will not play on the PGA Tour again until the Masters, according to the schedule page at lukedonald.com. But it will not be his last tournament before the first major of the year, as has flown halfway around the world to play this week in the Maybank Malaysian Open, a European Tour event, for the first time, obviously receiving a large appearance fee. Among those joining Donald in the field are Padraig Harrington, Charl Schwartzel and Michael Campbell of New Zealand, the 2005 U.S. Open champion. ... Donald started slowly last week on the Copperhead Course with 70-72, before finally finding his groove on Saturday, when he carded two birdies on each nine of the stingy Copperhead Course, where last year he closed with a 66 and holed a six-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Sang-Moon Bay. It appeared he was going to pick up right where he left off a year ago when he started on the back nine Thursday and was a bogey-free 4-under through 14 holes before carding bogeys on three of his last four holes to open with 70. He had two bogeys early on Friday and three in all, but none the rest of the way.

6. Dustin Johnson, United States -- Since winning the season-opening victory in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, things have not been right with DJ, starting with a withdrawal from the Sony Open in Hawaii the following week because of the flu. In an effort to get things straightened out, he is taking two weeks off, skipping the last two events of the Florida Swing before playing again next week in the Shell Houston Open, two weeks before the Masters. ... Actually, it's no big surprise that he passed on the last two tournaments in Florida, because he missed the cut in his only two appearance in the Tampa Bay Championship, and his best result in three appearances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was a tie for 40th in 2010, and he missed the cut the last time he played Bay Hill in 2011. ... Johnson has made eight starts this season and actually played his best golf since Kapalua when he tied for 12th two weeks ago in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he got off to a 68-69 start on the TPC Blue Monster before playing the weekend in 70-72. Since winning the opener, the biggest news surrounding DJ has been his romance with Paulina Gretzky, and partnering with her father, hockey's Great One, Wayne Gretzky, in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he missed the 54-hole cut. Despite his problems, Johnson was 10th in the FedEx Cup standings and the same in the World Golf Rankings last week, and it's only a matter of time before he gets going again. A good finish in Houston, two weeks before the first major of the year, would do wonders.

7. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Kooch salvaged his week at the Tampa Bay Championship by carding three birdies in a span of four holes through No. 15 to close with a 2-under-par 69 and finish in a tie for 14th. It was his fourth finish in the top 25 this season, including his victory in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and he has been mentioned as a guy who could claim his first major championship next month in the Masters. ... Kuchar grew up in Central Florida, but he has not played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational since 2003 and he won't be back this week, perhaps because the course at Bay Hill does not fit his game, as he did not finish in the top 25 in his four appearances. He plans to make his final start before the Masters in two weeks at the Valero Texas Open and head straight from the TPC San Antonio to Augusta National for the first major of the season. ... Kuchar was 3-under through 15 holes in the first round last week on the Copperhead Course, but he three-putted the 16th green from a little more than five feet and three-putted No. 18 from five feet to open with a 72, taking a double-bogey 6 each time to open with a 72. He played his best golf of the week while finishing round two on the front nine, carding six birdies in eight holes before taking a finishing bogey to shoot 68. His hot streak late on Sunday came after he recorded three consecutive bogeys through No. 11, marring a round that included six birdies.

8. Justin Rose, England -- Having gotten off to a strong start on the PGA Tour with three finishes in the top 20, two of them in the top 10, in his first three starts this season, Rose probably can't wait to get started on Thursday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Coming off a big season in which he finished in the top 10 eight times on the circuit and claimed the biggest victory of his career in the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship, the Englishman will be a player who bears watching with the Masters only three weeks away. ... Rosy, who can sleep in his own bed this week before making the short drive to Bay Hill from his home at Lake Nona, is playing in the tournament for the ninth time and has placed in the top 10 twice at Arnie's Place. He closed with a 4-under-par 68 two years ago and tied for third, two strokes behind winner Martin Laird of Scotland. In 2006, he closed with a 69 and wound up in a tie for eighth. Last year, Rose opened with rounds of 69-69, but instead of making a move on the weekend, he played the last two rounds in 74-73 and slid to a tie for 15th. ... Rose finished last season strong, with a solo second in the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour and solo second again in the DP World Tour Championship Dubai, the final event of the year on the European Tour. He's picked up right where he left off, with five consecutive top-20 finishes, including a tie for second in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on the Euro Tour, plus a tie for fourth in the Honda Classic and a tie for eighth in his Cadillac defense at Doral.

9. Adam Scott, Australia -- Coming off a tie for third in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Scotty was tied for second, one stroke back, through 36 holes after shooting 5-under-par 66 in the second round of the Tampa Bay Championship last week. However, he shot 76-72 on the weekend and slid down the leaderboard to a tie for 30th. He's played only four times this season on the PGA Tour, finishing in the top 10 of his two previous stroke-play events. ... Even though he never made a commitment to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it was listed on the schedule page at adamscott.com, but apparently Scotty changed his mind and will not play in another PGA Tour event before the Masters in three weeks. He has not played at Bay Hill since 2009 after missing the cut in his last two appearances there. The Aussie will play, as usual, in the annual Tavistock Cup on Monday and Tuesday next week at Isleworth in Orlando, competing for Team Queenwood. ... The day after posting his bogey-free 66 on the Copperhead Course, the course bit Scott back, as he recorded seven bogeys in his round of 76. He carded only six bogeys in the other 54 holes. Scott's play on the weekend spoiled a chance to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, although he did capture the Talisker Australian Masters late last year. Scott recorded a total of nine birdies in his first two rounds, but could manage only three on the weekend, one in the third round. His biggest problem was that he hit only 32 of 72 greens in regulation.

10. Bubba Watson, United States -- During his week off after a tie for 18th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Watson moved his family from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Isleworth near Orlando. He didn't say so when he bought the property last summer, but the house is none other than the one owned by Tiger Woods when he lived in the gated community from 2000 to 2011, and where Woods' infamous fire hydrant incident took place in the early hours after Thanksgiving in 2009. ... After moving his wife, Angie, and their adopted 1-year-old son, Caleb, into their new home a few days ago, Watson will play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth consecutive year. The difference is that the Florida native will be able to drive only a few minutes to get to the course at Bay Hill, where he has had some success. Last year, he posted his best finish in the tournament, opening with a 3-under-par 69 and at least equaling par every day en route to a tie for fourth, although he wound up eight strokes behind champion Tiger Woods. In 2008, when the course played to a par of 70, he opened with three rounds in the 60s, but shot 72 in the final round and finished in a tie for eighth, six shots back as Woods took the title. ... Despite being slowed early in the season by the flu and strep throat, Bubba has posted top-20 finishes in all five of his starts on the PGA Tour, including a tie for fourth in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a tie for ninth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships. He's hoping to keep it going with the defense of his Masters title three weeks away.

11. Webb Simpson, United States -- Bouncing back from a rough start, Simpson saved his best start for the final round in the Tampa Bay Championship, closing with a bogey-free 3-under-par 68 to finish in a tie for 17th. It was his sixth finish in the top 25 in eight events on the PGA Tour season, better than he started last year, when he captured the U.S. Open in June. ... Simpson is going to play again this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, making it three consecutive events and six of the last seven on the PGA Tour before taking a two-week break ahead of the Masters. He is in the field at Bay Hill for the sixth consecutive year and the seventh time overall, but has not great success at Arnie's place. Webb's best finish was a tie for 11th in 2009, and he has missed the cut three times in six appearances. When he shot 6-under-par 66 in round two last year, it was only his second score in the 60s in 18 rounds in the tournament. ... Simpson carded four bogeys while finishing on the front nine and recorded a 1-over-par 73 in round one on the Copperhead Course, but rebounded the next day with a 69 to avoid his first missed cut since the Humana Challenge in January. After hitting his approach shot from 153 yards to within nine inches of the hole for a birdie at No. 18 to close out a 71 on Saturday, he played flawlessly in the final round, and in fact toured the last 21 holes in a bogey-free 4-under.

12. Steve Stricker, United States -- So far, Stricker's plan to play a limited schedule at the age of 46 is working quite well. He is on a two-week break at home in Wisconsin and will return next week for the Shell Houston Open, then take another week off ahead of the Masters. The Houston event was an addition to his original plan and gives him 11 scheduled events. ... Strick has finished in the top five in all three of his tournaments this season, including second in both the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Those results put him in fifth place last week in the FedEx Cup standings, and his three events were fewer than any player in the top 25. Stricker does not have any of the events in the PGA Tour playoffs on his schedule, and in fact, has a hunting trip planned for late in the season. However, he has said that he might change his mind about the playoffs if he is high enough in the standings to have a chance to win the FedEx Cup. ... Stricker has been able to keep his game sharp in the double-wide trailer he uses as a driving range in Wisconsin, and he has been anxious and ready to play after taking six weeks off following the Hyundai. He has been under par in all seven of his stroke-play rounds this year, six of them in the 60s, and has been sharp in all phases of the game. As of last week, his numbers would have put him 23rd on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation, first in sand save percentage and first in strokes gained -- putting, but he had not played enough to qualify.

13. Lee Westwood, England -- Westwood's move from his lifelong home in Worksop, England, to South Florida in an effort to make the PGA Tour more accessible has yet to pay big dividends, although there have been some flashes that his game is getting there. After starting his season with a tie for fifth in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, he has finished in the top 25 in his three stroke-play events on the PGA Tour, with his best result a tie for ninth in the Honda Classic. He's played his best golf in the early rounds, but has not broken 70 in eight rounds on the weekend in the U.S. this year. He's hoping to get that straightened out this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. ... Playing for the third time in four events on the Florida Swing, Westy will tee it up for the 11th time at Bay Hill. He played 10 times in an 11-year stretch through 2008, missing only in 2007, but this will be his first time back at Arnie's place since. His best result, and only top-10 finish in the tournament, was a tie for fifth in 2006, when he opened with a 4-under-par 68 and closed with a 67 to finish four strokes behind winner Rod Pampling of Australia. In 2008, he opened with 66-68, but played the weekend in 72-72 and tied for 17th. ... Even though he has had good weather in which to work on his game at his new home, Westwood's tee-to-green game has not been up to his usual standards this season. Last week, he was 55th in ball-striking, a combination of total driving and greens in regulation, after ranking third in that category last season.

14. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Putting his second-half slump in the rear-view mirror, Mahan has gotten off to a very good start this season on the PGA Tour. He has finished in the top 25 in each of his last six tournaments, after tying for 26th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, including a loss to Matt Kuchar in the final of his title defense at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. His game seems to be in good shape with the major season approaching. ... Hunter is playing this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the 10th consecutive year, but has only one finish in the top 10 during that time. In 2008, he posted three rounds in the 60s when the course was playing to a par of 70, but shot 72 in the second round and wound up in a tie for sixth, four strokes behind champion Tiger Woods. Two years ago, he opened with 69-69, but shot 75-76 on the weekend and skidded to a tie for 38th, and comes into Thursday having failed to break 70 in his last six rounds at Bay Hill after a tie for 42nd last year. ... Mahan has been solid in all phases of the game this season, and he gets better the closer he gets to the hole. Through last week, he ranked 40th in driving accuracy at 63.89 percent, 18th in greens in regulation at 71.50 percent and 16th in strokes gained -- putting at .822. However, his best statistical number is in greens hit from 75 to 100 yards, as he has not missed in 21 tries.

15. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Heating up at the right time with the Masters fast approaching, Bradley has posted top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in his last two starts and tries to keep it going this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has been at or under par in his last 13 stroke-play rounds and is a cumulative 32-under for his last four stroke-play tournaments. ... Keegan originally did not have this week's tournament at Bay Hill on the schedule at keeganbradley.com, but made a commitment last week to play in the tournament for the second time. In his first start at Arnie's place two years ago as a rookie, he shot 78-77 -- 155 and missed the cut by seven strokes, but has become a major champion since then who has shown he can make his game work on just about any course. He also plans to play next week in the Shell Houston Open, two weeks before the first major of the year. ... Bradley took a scouting trip to Augusta National with Phil Mickelson two weeks ago before he finished solo seventh in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. They made a similar trip last year and it paid off when Lefty tied for third and Bradley was 27th in his first Masters. Keegan could do worse than play the course with Mickelson, who has won the tournament three times, and obviously gave his young friend plenty of the inside scoop. Bradley has the long game to contend at Augusta, especially if he gets his belly putter going.

16. Ian Poulter, England -- Poulter admitted that taking six weeks off after tying for ninth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was something of a gamble, but it apparently has paid off. He said he needed the long break after a grueling season in 2012, including the Ryder Cup, and has played some solid golf in his last two starts on the PGA Tour, even though he faded on the weekend to a tie for 28th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He was spot-on in his first event after the layoff, when he finished fourth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, getting all the way to the semifinals before losing to defending champion Hunter Mahan. Now he plans to play twice before the Masters, beginning this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. ... Poults is playing at Bay Hill for the eighth time, and it's a home game for him since he lives on the other side of town at Lake Nona. He seems to have finally figured out the course at Arnie's place in the last two years after missing the cut in four of his first five appearances and tying for 48th in 2008. Last year, he shot 69-68 in the middle rounds, but stumbled to a 2-over-par 74 on Sunday and finished alone in third, seven shots behind winner Tiger Woods. That came a year after he posted three solid 71s en route to a tie for 12th. ... Another gamble that seems to be paying off for Poulter, who uses mostly Cobra equipment, is putting 13 new clubs in his bag during his long break, which he used to do a lot of testing. He said he's hitting the ball longer off the tee and higher with his irons.

17. Jason Dufner, United States -- By posting his best round of the season, a 5-under-par 66 in the second round, Dufner gave himself a chance to challenge for a victory in the Tampa Bay Championship. However, he played the weekend in 74-71 and skidded to a tie for 21st, recording his third finish in the top 25 this season. He's played about the same as he did early last year, when he started heating up at the Masters and later claimed his first two victories on the PGA Tour at the age of 35. ... Duf has decided to add another tournament before the Masters, and that will be this week, when he tees it up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the fifth consecutive year and the sixth time overall. He posted his first finish in the top 25 at Bay Hill last year, a tie for 15th, but it could have been better, because he opened with 66-69 before playing the weekend in 77-73 to slide out of what appeared to be a top-10 finish. That quick start doubled the number of sub-70 scores he has had in the tournament to four in 18 rounds. ... Dufner's biggest problems on the weekend at the Copperhead Course came on par-3 holes. On Saturday, he hit his tee shot into the water at No. 13 and the next day he took three shots to reach the green at No. 4, carding a double-bogey 5 each time. In addition to those blunders, he took bogey 4s on the 17th hole in round three and on the 15th on the final round. Dufner carded six birdies in round two, but could manage only six more on the weekend.

18. Ernie Els, South Africa -- After pulling out of the Tampa Bay Championship last week because of a nagging injury to his right hip flexor, the Big Easy still had a busy week. On Monday, he played gingerly in the Els for Autism Pro-Am at PGA National, but didn't play much the rest of the week. That included Tuesday, when he flew to Georgia to get a look around Augusta National, with the Masters only three weeks away. He walked the course, but did not play, on doctors orders to take it easy. ... Ernie is hoping the hip will be good enough for him to play this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the 19th time, having won the title at Bay Hill in 1998 and 2010. He was so good for three rounds in winning the title at Arnie's place for the first time, starting with rounds of 67-69-65, that a 1-over-par 73 still left him four strokes ahead of Bob Estes and Jeff Maggert, who tied for second. After skipping the tournament in 2008 and 2009, he came back three years ago to open with three rounds in the 60s before a closing 71 gave him a two-stroke victory over Edoardo Molinari of Italy and Kevin Na. Last year, he was in the hunt until a closing 75 left him tied for fourth, eight shots behind winner Tiger Woods. ... Els did not mention anything about his hip until he nearly couldn't make it to the first tee in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he gutted out a tie for 28th. He has shown flashes of his best form only when he tied for 13th in the Northern Trust Open, shooting 68 in the second and final rounds.

19. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- A good start to his season at home in South Africa has not carried over to the PGA Tour for Oosthuizen, who shot 73-72 -- 145 and missed the cut by one stroke last week in the Tampa Bay Championship. It was the second time in his last three tournaments in the United States that he has failed to reach the weekend, after missing the cut four times last year in the United States. ... Oosty, who has played four times this season on the PGA Tour and twice on the European Tour, including a victory in the Volvo Golf Champions, is going taking this week off before making the Shell Houston Open his final event before the Masters in three weeks. Last year, he finished solo second in Houston before going to Augusta National, where the lost on the second hole of a playoff to Bubba Watson while trying to add a second major title to the one he captured in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. ... Oosthuizen came to the 18th hole of round two last week on the Copperhead Course needing a birdie to play on the weekend. He hit the green in regulation, but left his ball 36 feet from the hole and ran his birdie putt past the cup, settling for a par. Oosthuizen carded only three birdies in his 36 holes, two on No. 1, and the other at No. 14 on Thursday. He needed only one more in his last 17 holes in round two to play the weekend, but came up empty.

20. Zach Johnson, United States -- Following a season in which he was one of seven two-time winners on the PGA Tour and finished fourth in the FedEx Cup standings, Johnson is having a hard time getting untracked this year. He might have hit rock-bottom last week when he shot 77-76 -- 153 and missed the cut by nine strokes in the Tampa Bay Championship. It was his third missed cut in seven outings this season, in which he has finished in the top 25 only twice. ... Zach, who has played seven times on the PGA Tour this season, hopes to get untracked this week when he plays in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the 10th consecutive year. It used to be a home game for him until he moved a few years ago from Central Florida to St. Simons Island, Ga. He has done well at Bay Hill, finishing in the top 10 three times and recording a tie for 11th last year. His best result was solo third in 2009, when he closed with three consecutive rounds in the 60s to wind up three shots behind winner Tiger Woods. After Bay Hill, the 2007 Masters champion apparently is taking two weeks off before heading back to Augusta. ... Johnson was only 1-over-par through his first nine holes last week on the difficult Copperhead course before the roof caved in. He played the last 27 holes in 10-over, failing to card a single birdie. The only birdie he did make in his 36 holes came on the 14th hole of the first round, as he beat only three golfers who finished two rounds.

Others receiving consideration: Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Martin Kaymer, Germany; Nick Watney, United States; Rickie Fowler, United States; Bill Haas, United States; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Jim Furyk, United States; Carl Pettersson, Sweden; Bo Van Pelt, United States; Peter Hanson, Sweden; Jason Day, Australia; John Merrick, United States; Charles Howell III, United States; Tim Clark, South Africa; Michael Thompson, United States.
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