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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 -- In what has been a disturbing pattern in majors over the last five years, Woods put himself in position in the first two rounds of the Open Championship but couldn't deliver the goods on the weekend. He was tied for the lead with Lee Westwood late in round three before making a costly stumble, then closed with a 3-over-par 74 that left him in a tie for sixth and still stuck on 14 major titles. His last major title was the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. ... Woods has not played in the RBC Canadian Open, which he won in 2000 at Glen Abbey where the tournament is being played this week, since his title defense in 2001, and he won't be back this week. He is taking a week off ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won a record seven times at Firestone, and the PGA Championship, which he has won four times, the following week at Oak Hill. Then he will take another week off before a big stretch to end the regular season in the PGA Tour playoffs, followed by the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village. ... Even though he hovered on the edge of contention throughout the final round, Woods never really recovered from a miscue on No. 17 in round two. He laid back off the tee and tried to reach the green with a 3-wood. However, he left it short and in a fairway bunker en route to a bogey 6 as Westwood took a two-stroke the lead with a birdie. Tiger fell back with three bogeys early in the final round, and after a brief rally with three birdies, he registered three more bogeys on the back nine.

2. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Only a month after a heartbreaking sixth runner-up finish in the U.S. Open, Lefty played a round for the ages, shooting 5-under-par 66 on Sunday at Muirfield to win the 142nd Open Championship and claim a third leg of the career Grand Slam. It was the fifth major title of his career, which lacks only his own national championship, and the 51st victory of his professional career. He was coming off a victory in the Scottish Open and became the first player to win the week before one of the Grand Slam events and then win the major since he claimed the 2006 Bell South Classic before winning the Masters. ... Lefty has played three consecutive weeks, so he will skip the RBC Canadian Open, which he has not played since 2004, in order to be fresh for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship. He has played in 16 tournaments this season and still has the PGA Tour playoffs, plus the Presidents Cup, to go after that. Mickelson used to shut things down after the final major of the season, but it's not possible to do that any longer because the golf season has evolved into a nearly year-round schedule. ... Right when it seemed almost inevitable that there would be a playoff at Muirfield with so many players bunched at the top of the leaderboard, Mickelson pulled away with an array of brilliant shots that gave him four birdies in the last six holes and a three-stroke victory over Henrik Stenson. After opening with a 69, he almost gave it away by shooting 74-72 in the middle rounds, carding two double bogeys on Friday, but had enough left to come from five strokes back in the final round and join Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros, James Braid, J.H. Taylor and Peter Thomson with five major titles.

3. Adam Scott, Australia -- Looking for his second major title of the year, the Masters champion was in the hunt and even in the lead in the final round before carding four consecutive bogeys through No. 16 and tying for third, four shots behind winner Phil Mickelson. It was his second consecutive top-three finish in the oldest championship in the world, coming on the heels of his late collapse last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where he finished second to Ernie Els by closing with four consecutive bogeys. ... Scott's decision last year to cut down on his schedule in order to concentrate on the majors seems to have worked out. He has played only 10 events this season and this week will pass on the RBC Canadian Open, which he hasn't played since 2003, to guarantee that he will be fresh for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Bridgestone, where he won in 2011, and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. After the PGA Tour playoffs, he will be one of the key players for the International team in the President's Cup at Muirfield Village in October. ... Scotty put himself in position with solid rounds of 71-72 in the difficult conditions at Muirfield, then played the weekend in 70-72, carding a total of eight birdies, including four in five holes through No. 12 on Sunday before his late skid. He ranked among the leaders by hitting 44 of 56 fairways, found the green on 47 of 72 tries and averaged 30.42 putts per round. Scott made a few lengthy putts with his long putter on Sunday but left himself too many of them. Still, there would seem to be more major titles in his future.

4. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Kuchar could match the par of 71 at Muirfield only in the final round and never was in contention in the 142nd Open Championship last week, even though he rallied to get a tie for 15th. He came to Scotland with high hopes following a tie for ninth last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes after missing the cut in six of his first seven appearances in the third major of the year. ... One of several players on the PGA Tour sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, Kooch has made his way back to North America from Muirfield and will play this week in the RBC Canadian Open for the seventh time. He has missed the cut three times in the tournament, including in 2008 at Glen Abbey, where he posted a score of 73-69--142 on the course where the tournament will be played this week. Kuchar's only top-10 finish in the event was a tie for fourth in 2010 at St. George's Golf and Country Club, where he opened with a 1-under-par 70 but played the last three days in 67-66-67 to finish four strokes behind champion Carl Pettersson. He tied for 34th last year at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. ... Another player on the list of the best never to win a major, Kuchar played his first nine Thursday in 3-over-par 39, including a double-bogey 5 on the seventh hole, en route to an opening 74 and never got into the mix. It didn't matter that he got slightly better each day, following that up with rounds of 73-72-71. Kooch made only eight birdies over 72 holes, with four of them coming on No. 9.

5. Justin Rose, England -- There was a lot of talk early in the week at Muirfield that Rose had the stuff to become the first player to win back-to-back major titles since Padraig Harrington in 2008. However, the U.S. Open champion was not up to the challenge, shooting 75-77--152 to miss the cut by two strokes. He missed the cut for the only the second time in 14 events on both major tours this season, the other coming in the Players Championship. ... Rose hasn't played in the RBC Canadian Open since 2006, and he will skip the tournament again this week before heading into a demanding finish to his season. He will play next week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, where he tied for fifth last year, followed by the PGA Championship. He's in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings with the PGA Tour playoffs looming, and he will head back to the European Tour for the stretch run of the Race Dubai, in which he holds the lead. ... Rose never got started last week at Muirfield, carding only one birdie on each of his two rounds, the first one not coming until the 17th hole of the first round. In addition, he recorded three double bogeys, at No. 15 in round one and at Nos. 6 and 10 the next day. Rose hit 15 of 28 fairways, only four on Friday, and 25 of 36 greens in regulation, but took 34 putts in round one and 36 in round two. He has not finished in the top 10 in the Open Championship since he tied for fourth an amateur in 1998 at Royal Birkdale.

6. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- After virtually playing himself out of the running in the Open Championship by shooting 8-over-par 79 in the second round, Snedeker gathered himself on the weekend and fought back to finish in a tie for 11th at Muirfield. He missed the cut in his first three appearances in the third major of the season, but he tied for third last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, so he might be a player who could one day lift the Claret Jug. ... Sneds has played 15 times this season despite being slowed by injuries, and he will keep going this week, when he plays in the RBC Canadian Open for the fifth time, as he is another player sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada. His best result in the tournament was a tie for fifth in 2009 at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be played this week. That year, after opening with a 2-over-par 73, he came back with scores of 67-67-68, leaving him five strokes out of the playoff in which Nathan Green defeated Retief Goosen. Snedeker also tied for seventh in 2007 at Angus Glen, missed the cut in 2010 at St. George's Golf and Country Club, and tied for 34th last year at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. ... Snedeker's nightmare second round at Muirfield included a triple bogey and three double bogeys, losing nine strokes on those four holes, and eventually he finished seven shots behind winner Phil Mickelson. Snedeker opened with a 68 that included another double bogey, and he played the weekend in 69-72. He played No. 9 in 5 under for the tournament, with three birdies and an eagle on Saturday.

7. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Not only did McIlroy get beat up by Muirfield last week in the Open Championship, but by the British media when he virtually said after the first round that he presently is a mental case. He shot 79-75--154 to miss the cut by four strokes, the fourth time he has missed the weekend in 14 tournaments on both major tours this season, and only two weeks after he didn't make it to the weekend at home in the Irish Open. ... After wearing himself out late last year because of new commitments that came his way as the then-No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings, McIlroy said he was going to cut back on his schedule a bit, and he has done exactly that. He has played 14 times this season and will skip the RBC Canadian Open, which he has never played, ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and his title defense in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. After the PGA Tour playoffs, he will return to the European Tour for the Race to Dubai, which he won last year. ... McIlroy, who claimed his problems this year have not been with his new Nike clubs but in his head, managed only two birdies in the first round at Muirfield. He had as many double bogeys for the day and shot 7-over-par 42 on the back nine. Rory had three birdies on day two, including two on the last four holes, but it was of little consolation. He hit only eight of 28 fairways and 23 of 36 greens while taking 34 putts on Thursday and 36 on Friday.

8. Luke Donald, England -- Coming off a tie for eighth in the U.S. Open, Donald had high hopes that he might contend for his first major title last week in the Open Championship at Muirfield. Instead, he shot 80-72--152 and missed the cut by two strokes. The first-round score was his highest in a Grand Slam event since he shot 80 in the final round of the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. It was his third missed cut of the season, the others coming in the Maybank Malaysian Open and his double title defense in the BMW PGA Championship. ... Donald flew straight back to North America after finishing up at Muirfield and will play this week in the RBC Canadian Open for the sixth time, as Royal Bank of Canada is one of his sponsors. His only top-10 finish in the tournament was solo third in 2010 at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke, Ontario, where he posted four scores in the 60s and wound up two strokes behind winner Carl Pettersson. In his only appearance at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be played this week, Luke shot 69-67 in the middle rounds and tied for 24th in 2009. ... Donald was 3 over par through his first nine holes at Muirfield on Thursday, and his day got worse from there, as he carded a double-bogey 6 on the 12th hole and a triple-bogey 7 on the 14th en route to a 6-over 41 on the back nine. He hit 16 of 28 fairways, only 19 of 36 greens and averaged 32.5 putts per round, including 35 on Thursday.

9. Bill Haas, United States -- Hoping to end his futility in the majors after winning the AT&T National recently at Congressional, Haas instead shot 77-74--151 and missed the cut by one shot in the Open Championship. It was his fifth missed cut in 18 starts on the PGA Tour this season, including in the U.S. Open at Merion, and the second time he failed to reach the weekend in his four appearances in the third major of the year. He was looking for more after tying for 19th at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last year, but he still has never finished in the top 10 in a major. ... Having played 18 times this season on the PGA Tour, Haas will take a break this week, passing on the RBC Canadian Open after playing north of the border six times previously, the last in 2010. He probably needs the break ahead to the busy stretch ahead, starting with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship. After that, it's the PGA Tour playoffs for the FedEx Cup, which he won two years ago by winning the Tour Championship, and he figures to be on the United States team for the Presidents Cup in October at Muirfield Village. ... Haas got to 1 under par with birdies on the fifth and sixth holes in round one at Muirfield, but he didn't make another birdie while carding seven bogeys over the last 12 holes on Thursday. Birdies on the seventh and ninth holes the next day gave him hope to make the cut, but he did not make another birdie until the last hole after recording four bogeys. Haas hit 16 of 28 fairways and 21 of 36 greens, but he averaged 32.5 putts, including 34 in the first round.

10. Dustin Johnson, United States -- DJ was right in the hunt for two rounds in the Open Championship, opening with 68-72, but he faded badly on the weekend at Muirfield and wound up in a tie for 32nd. That ended his run of being the only player to finish in the top three in the third major of the season in each of the last three years, after missing the cut by 10 strokes in 2009 at Turnberry in his first appearance in the tournament. ... Johnson has become something of a world traveler in recent years, and this week when he plays in the RBC Canadian Open, it will mean his last four tournaments have been played in different countries. He finished 55th in the U.S. Open and tied for 18th in the BMW International Open in Germany before heading to Muirfield. This will be only his second appearance in the Canadian Open, but the first was something of a cameo in 2008, when he shot 3-over-par 74 in round one at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be played this week, and then withdrew for unspecified reasons. ... With a chance to claim his first major title at Muirfield, Johnson played the weekend in 76-77, getting off to a slow start each day with a double bogey, on the fourth hole Saturday and the fifth on Sunday. Those rounds were nothing like his opening 3-under-par 68, which included four birdies and an eagle on the 17th hole. He made another eagle on the fifth hole in round two but could manage only two birdies in his 72. DJ hit 38 of 56 fairways and 46 of 72 greens while averaging 31.68 putts per round.

11. Webb Simpson, United States -- Playing in the Open Championship for only the second time, Simpson could break the par of 71 only once and faded badly on the weekend to finish in a tie for 64th at Muirfield. He skipped the tournament last year because his wife, Dowd, was about to give birth to their second child. Upon his return to the oldest championship in the world last week, he couldn't come close to his tie for 16th two years ago at Royal St. George's. ... With 18 tournaments on the PGA Tour under his belt already this season, Webb will not be in the field this week for the RBC Canadian Open, which he played three consecutive times before his last appearance in 2010. He will be resting up for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, followed by the PGA Tour playoffs for the FedEx Cup. He has to keep playing well to make the United States team for the Presidents Cup in October at Muirfield Village. ... Simpson carded a total of seven birdies while opening with 73-70 at Muirfield, but he had only one more in each round over the last 36 holes, which he played in an ugly 77-77. He birdied the ninth hole three times in the tournament, but on Sunday it only broke up a stretch of seven bogeys in a span of eight holes through No. 12. Simpson was often in the deep rough, hitting only 31 of 56 fairways, but he managed to find the green on 48 of 72 tries before taking at least 31 putts each day and finishing with an average of 32.58 per round. He played the eighth and 14th holes in 3 over for the tournament.

12. Steve Stricker, United States -- Stricker said he probably would miss playing in the Open Championship last week while watching it on television, but had no regrets about skipping the tournament to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife, Nicki. They were planning a getaway to northern Wisconsin, but this entire season has been pretty much a semi-vacation for Strick, who has played only eight times on his way to what he has said will be 11 tournaments this year. ... The 47-year-old Stricker admitted that passing on the Open might not be the best career decision for a guy who never has won a major, as he ended his streak of appearances in the Grand Slam events at 27. He has played in major events a total of 57 times. He will get another chance in the PGA Championship in two weeks at Oak Hill. ... Stricker is expected to play next week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, where he tied for second last year, one stroke behind Keegan Bradley. Strick has played well enough in his limited opportunities this season, with five top-10 finishes, to climb back to No. 10 in the World Golf Rankings last week. Fred Couples wants him in the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup in October, and last week Stricker was ninth in the standings, but his strong play this season probably would warrant a captain's pick if he does not make it on his own merit. Stricker also was 20th in the FedEx Cup standings, probably not high enough for him to play in the PGA Tour playoffs in September, when he has an elk hunting trip planned.

13. Lee Westwood, England -- Clearly the best player in the world without a major title, the 40-year-old Westwood had one hand on the Claret Jug with a three-stroke lead early in the final round of the Open Championship at Muirfield. However, he would card his only birdie of the day at the fifth hole, and he followed with bogeys at Nos. 7 and 8 en route to a 3-over-par 75 that left him in a tie for third, four strokes behind champion Phil Mickelson. It was his eighth top-three finish in the Grand Slam events, the most by any player without a major title since the Masters was first played in 1934, and he finished in the top 10 for the 16th time in the majors. ... Admittedly overdoing it a bit in his first season living in the United States, Westy pulled out of two events ahead of the Open Championship, but he still has played 16 times this season on both major tours, including three trips overseas. He's never played in the RBC Canadian Open and will pass on the tournament again this week heading toward the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship. And he still has the final events of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, which he won in 2009 by capturing the Dubai World Championship. ... After opening with a 72 at Muirfield, Westwood took the driver's seat by shooting 68-70 in the middle rounds. He did much of it by leading the field in putting with an average of 26.7 putts per round, but he didn't have the same magic on the greens on Sunday, when he needed 30 putts. However, Westwood has improved that part of his game with the help of former Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, and it might eventually lead to that elusive first major title.

14. Hunter Mahan, United States -- For the second consecutive major, Mahan began the final round in the last pairing, but as he did at Merion, he closed with a 75 in the Open Championship and wound up in a tie for ninth. Still, he finished in the top 10 in two consecutive Grand Slam events for the second time in his career, the other coming in the 2009 Masters and U.S. Open. If he keeps putting himself in position, that first major title might come his way. ... Mahan, another member of the Royal Bank of Canada team, made a quick trip back across the Atlantic when he was finished at Muirfield and is in the field this week for the RBC Canadian Open. He will be playing north of the border for the eighth time and has finished in the top 10 twice. In 2004, he finished with 69-69-68 at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be held this week, and tied for fourth, three strokes out of the playoff in which Vijay Singh beat Mike Weir. In 2007 at Angus Glen, he took the first-round lead with a 9-under-par 62, but came back with a 74 the next day and eventually wound up in a tie for fifth, four strokes behind champion Jim Furyk. ... After opening with 72-72 at Muirfield, Mahan climbed the leaderboard with a 3-under-par 68 in the third round, carding birdies on two of the last four holes. He never had much going on Sunday, when he did not record a single birdie, but kept himself in contention for a while by sinking an eagle putt on the ninth hole. However, after putting up three bogeys on the front nine, he added six more on the back and almost cost himself a top-10 finish.

15. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Following a slow start, including a double-bogey 6 on his first hole of the tournament, Bradley played well on the weekend at Muirfield and finished in a tie for 15th in his second appearance in the Open Championship. It was an improvement on his tie for 34th last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, showing that he might be a player to be reckoned with down the road in the third major of the season. ... Another player who has been busy this season, playing in 19 events on the PGA Tour, Bradley is taking a pass this week on the RBC Canadian Open, in which he tied for 22nd in his only appearance two years ago. He will be resting up for his title defense in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, where he claimed the last of his three PGA Tour victories, before playing in the PGA Championship, which he won in 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club. He's no cinch just yet to be on the United States team for the Presidents Cup in October, needing a few more high finishes to remain in the top 10 of the point standings. ... Keegan salvaged what he could of his opening 75 with an eagle 3 on the 17th hole and birdied the final hole the next day to limit the damage to a 74. Then he played the weekend in 70-71 to climb up the leaderboard as many others faltered in the difficult conditions. It could have been even better, but he made a double-bogey 6 on the sixth hole of the final round. Bradley took a total of 63 putts on the first two days, 57 on the last two.

16. Ernie Els, South Africa -- His heralded double title defense in the Open Championship didn't come even close to the plan, as Els failed to break 70 in any of his four rounds and finished in a tie for 26th at Muirfield, where he claimed the title in 2002. Having won last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, he was trying to become the first player to win the third major of the season in consecutive years since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008, but he was never in the conversation once the tournament started. ... Els made the trip right back to North America after his title defense at Muirfield, and he will be playing for the 21st time this season around the world when he tees it up in the RBC Canadian Open, in large measure because the Royal Bank of Canada is one of his sponsors. He is playing in the tournament for the fourth time and has missed the cut twice, last year with 72-70--142 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, and in 1998, when he shot 77-70--147 at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be played this week. Canada will be the 10th country in which the Big Easy has played this season. ... Els took himself out of contention at Muirfield when he opened with 74-74, finishing round one with double bogey-birdie-bogey. He carded four birdies and four bogeys in a 70 on Saturday that was his only solid round of the tournament. He closed with another 74 that would have been worse if not for an eagle 3 at No. 17. Ernie holed his third shot from the fairway on the penultimate hole, allowing him to leave with a smile.

17. Bubba Watson, United States -- Unable to break 70 in any of his four rounds, Watson was not in the conversation in the Open Championship and wound up in a tie for 32nd. His best result in the third major of the season remains a tie for 23rd last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. A tie for 11th in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island last August is his best result in a major since he captured the Masters last year. ... Bubba will be playing for the 16th time this season when he tees it up Thursday in the RBC Canadian Open for the fifth time, but the first since 2009. He missed the cut in his last two appearances north of the border, both at Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be contested this week. Watson shot 69-73--142 to miss by one shot in 2008, and followed with 75-58--143 to fall two strokes short the following year. His best result in the tournament was a tie for 14th in 2006 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, where he opened with a 5-under-par 65 and played the weekend in 68-69. ... Watson opened with a 1-under-par 70 at Muirfield, thanks to an eagle 3 on the 17th hole, but followed with rounds of 73-77-73, carding a double bogey each day, with the 10th hole getting him on Friday and Sunday. He made 11 birdies for the week, including three on the fifth hole and three more on the 10th. Bubba's distance was minimized enough by not being able to hit driver very often, and he hit only 31 of 54 fairways in addition to averaging 32.04 putts per round.

18. Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland -- Another player who was among the favorites at the beginning of the week after three recent victories, McDowell could not break the par of 71 in any of his four rounds at Muirfield and tied for 58th in the 142nd Open Championship. If nothing else, he broke his streak of either winning (three times) or missing the cut (four times) in his previous seven tournaments. ... G-Mac had been in Europe since heading back home four weeks ago to play in the Irish Open, but he flew back to North America after the Open Championship and will play this week in the RBC Canadian Open for the second time. In 2002, he opened with a 3-under-par 72 at Angus Glen but could not break 70 over the last three days and wound up in a tie for 46th. Another player sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, he is going for the RBC double, having won the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in April. He has claimed titles this season in the U.S., Bulgaria and France, and he would love to add a fourth in Canada. ... The best McDowell could do last week at Muirfield was a 71 in round two, but he put himself in a big hole by opening with a 75 that included double bogeys on the ninth and 15th holes. Two late birdies salvaged his 73 on Saturday, but he did not make a single birdie while closing with a 77 that included his third double bogey of the tournament. He hit 38 of 54 fairways but only 41 of 72 greens and averaged 30.78 putts per round, taking 34 on Sunday.

19. Ian Poulter, England -- Lighting up the greens in the final round with a putter he got from one of his Twitter followers, Poulter revived memories of his brilliant play in the Ryder Cup last year on his way to a closing 4-under-par 67 in the Open Championship. He was the leader in the clubhouse for more than an hour before Phil Mickelson blazed home with a 66, leaving Poulter in a tie for third, four strokes back. ... Poults' plan to cut back on his schedule this year paid dividends with two top-10 finishes early in the season, but his play has been spotty since while playing in 14 events on both major tours. He has never played in the RBC Canadian Open and won't make the trip north of the border again this week ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. After that, Poulter has the stretch run of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, which includes his title defense in China at the WGC-HSBC Champions, an event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour. ... Poulter complained about some of the pin positions after shooting 72 in the first round at Muirfield, but the round that perhaps kept him from raising the Claret Jug was a 75 on Saturday. He carded only a single birdie that day, at No. 9, which he played in 5 under for the week with three birdies and an eagle. He put himself back in the race with the eagle on No. 9 on Sunday, followed by birdies on the next three holes, but as it turned out, it was too little and a bit too late.

20. Zach Johnson, United States -- One week after losing in a playoff to 19-year-old Jordan Spieth in the John Deere Classic, Johnson grabbed the first-round lead at Muirfield with a 5-under-par 66 and was in the chase most of the way in the Open Championship. However, he could make only one birdie on the weekend and finished in a tie for sixth, five shots behind champion Phil Mickelson. The 2007 Masters champion finished in the top 10 of a major championship for only the fifth time in his career but for the second consecutive season in the third major of the year, after tying for ninth last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. ... Zach, who won twice last season on the PGA Tour, has rallied after a slow start this year with three top-10 finishes in his last six events. He is taking this week off ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship after playing 18 times already this season. ... Johnson was 5 under through his first seven holes on Thursday at Muirfield, carding three birdies and an eagle on the fifth hole. Obviously, he couldn't keep that up, but he went incredibly cold. He recorded four birdies in each of the first two rounds, but had only one more, going 34 holes without one until the 11th hole on Sunday. The biggest problem was that he lost his touch on the greens, averaging 31.3 putts over the last three rounds after taking only 26 in round one. Perhaps two long weeks and some jet lag caught up with him, as Zach took the long flight to Scotland on Sunday night after finishing the John Deere and did not get to Muirfield until late the next day.

Others receiving consideration: Jason Dufner, United States; Jordan Spieth, United States; Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Jason Day, Australia; Charles Howell III, United States; Martin Laird, Scotland; Angel Cabrera, Argentina; Kevin Streelman, United States; D.A. Points, United States; Billy Horschel, United States; John Merrick, United States; Russell Henley, United States; David Lingmerth, Sweden; Sang-Moon Bae, South Korea; Boo Weekley, United States; Harris English, United States; Jonas Blixt, Sweden.
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