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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 -- Woods left Muirfield after his tie for sixth in the Open Championship saying that he already was looking forward to his next chance to win a major, but he will have to wait another week before the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He needs the competitive work, having missed four weeks after the U.S. Open because of a strained left elbow, and he will get it this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won seven times. Tiger did not use it as an excuse, but the down time before the third major of the year certainly was not a positive. ... Not only did he capture the WGC event at Firestone Country Club in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, but he has finished in the top 10 four other times, including a tie for eighth last year. Tiger finished no worse than a tie for fourth in his first 10 appearances in the tournament before he tied for 78th, or next to last in the no-cut event, in 2010 and tied for 37th two years ago. He is 88 under par in his 13 starts in the tournament, including 18 over in 2010. ... Woods also tied for third in 1997 and tied for fifth the following year in the NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone before the tournament morphed into one of the World Golf Championships events. He has won 17 of the 40 WGC tournaments in which he has played, and he's finished in the top 10 in an astounding 30 of the 40. Woods needs to win only the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, in which he tied for sixth in 2009 and 2010 in his only two appearances, to complete the WGC slam.

2. Phil Mickelson, United States -- By winning the Open Championship a week after capturing the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Mickelson has climbed to No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings, which he has never led. That equals the highest ranking in his career, last achieved in 2010. Lefty began the season at No. 22, but he has won three times this season, including the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Only Tiger Woods has more victories in 2013, four. ... Mickelson will try to keep it going this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, with the PGA Championship coming up next week at Oak Hill. He is making his 15th start in Firestone tournament and has finished in the top 10 on five occasions, with his best finish solo second in 1999. He closed with a 5-under-par 65 that year in the inaugural event but wound up one stroke behind Woods. Lefty claimed both of his WGC titles in 2009, winning the Cadillac Championship at Doral and the HSBC Champions in China, and he has seven other top-10 finishes in the series. He also captured the old NEC World Series of Golf, forerunner of the WGC event at Firestone, in 1996, and finished solo second each of the next two years. ... Mickelson, who also has moved into second place behind Woods in the FedEx Cup standings, has always been a streaky player, and right now he's only a pretty good run. In his last seven tournaments, he has finished in the top three five times, although he has missed the cut in the other two events. His streak includes ties for second in the U.S. Open and the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and solo third in the Wells Fargo Championship.

3. Adam Scott, Australia -- After letting the Open Championship get away from him after leading in the final round for the second consecutive year, Scott will try to regroup this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational ahead of the PGA Championship next week. The Masters champion has to get some consolation from his Green Jacket, but he also has to be lamenting the fact that he could have won three of the last five major titles. ... Scotty captured his only WGC title at Firestone two years ago, opening with an 8-under-par 62 and playing the weekend in 66-65 to finish four strokes ahead of Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald. He has only two other top-10 results in his 10 starts in the tournament, a tie for ninth in 2010 and a tie for 10th in 2006. The Aussie has posted nine top-10 finishes in the WGC events, including a tie for second in the 2006 WGC-American Express Championship at Chandlers Cross Golf Club in England, before the tournament moved to Doral and became the WGC-Cadillac Championship. ... Scott went to a shortened schedule last year in order to concentrate more on the majors, and it certainly has paid off. However, he has only five other top-10 finishes in regular PGA Tour events during that time, with no victories. His last victory in a non-major came in the 2011 Bridgestone, and the last time he won a regular-season event on the circuit came in the 2010 Valero Texas Open, which was his first PGA Tour victory since the 2008 EDS Byron Nelson Championship.

4. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Kooch played two terrific rounds last week in the RBC Canadian Open, but he also had one that was mediocre and another not so good, leading to a tie for second. Instead of claiming his third victory of the season on the PGA Tour, he had to settle for his seventh top-10 finish of the season, giving him 36 in the last three-plus seasons, the most on the circuit. ... Kuchar is playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the fifth time and has done well at Firestone the last three years. He tied for ninth in 2010, when he was third after rounds of 69-67-66 but struggled to a closing 73. In 2011, Kooch played the middle rounds in 69-65, but bookend 1-over-par 71s left him in a tie for 19th. He posted his best finish in the tournament a year ago, following three 70s with a 66 that left him in a tie for eighth. Kuchar claimed his first WGC title earlier this year when he beat defending champion Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1, in the final of the Accenture Match Play Championship. His best result in the WGC stroke-play events was a tie for third in the 2010 Cadillac Championship at Doral. ... Kuchar was at his best last week at Glen Abbey when he posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round, including six birdies in the last 10 holes. He was bouncing back from a 74 on Friday, a round in which his only birdie came on the fifth hole. Kooch had opened with a 66 that he capped with a 26-foot eagle putt, but he could manage only a closing 71 and finished three shots behind winner Brandt Snedeker.

5. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- When Hunter Mahan withdrew with a two-stroke lead entering the third round of the RBC Canadian Open after his wife went into labor, it opened the door, and Snedeker came charging through. He shot 9-under-par 63 in the third round to claim the lead, and his closing 70 was good enough to claim a three-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and William McGirt. Snedeker claimed his sixth victory on the PGA Tour and joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Kuchar as the only multiple winners on the circuit this season. He earned his eighth top-10 finish. ... Sneds has had his moments in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he is playing for the fourth time this week, but his best finish is only a tie for 33rd two years ago, when he opened with 66-68 but played the weekend in 74-72. In his first appearance in the tournament in 2008, he posted three rounds in the 60s, but a 6-over-par 76 left him in a tie for 43rd. Snedeker did not break par in any of his four rounds last year and tied for 50th. His only top-10 finish in the World Golf Championships was a tie for ninth in the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship, when he lost to Peter Hanson in the third round, 5 and 3 ... Snedeker, who captured the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, charged into the lead by carding eight birdies in the first 13 holes Saturday at Glen Abbey and held off a challenge by Johnson in the final round. As usual, he did his best work on the greens, averaging 26.25 putts per round

6. Justin Rose, England -- Instead of getting right back into major mode after winning the U.S. Open, Rose learned his first big lesson about being a winner in one of the Grand Slam events when he missed the cut in the Open Championship. Not only does it usually take awhile to claim that first major title, a player has to learn to deal with the high expectations that come with it, and some never do. See Fred Couples, whose victory in the 1992 Masters was expected to open the floodgates, but he didn't win another major until he reached the Champions Tour. ... Rosy will tee it up Thursday in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the ninth time, and he has three finishes in the top 10. In 2007, he closed with a 2-under-par 68 to tie for second, but it still left him eight strokes behind runaway winner Tiger Woods. Rose finished solo fifth in his first start at Firestone in 2002, and he played the weekend in 66-67 last year to tie for fifth, five shots behind champion Keegan Bradley. The Englishman has one WGC victory, winning the Cadillac Championship by one stroke over Bubba Watson last year, when he followed rounds of 69-64-69 with an even-par 70 that was good enough when Watson missed a nine-foot birdie putt on the final hole. ... Although Rose missed the cut in two big events, the Open Championship and the Players Championship, his first major championship assures that this will be a very good-to-great season, defending on what he does the rest of the way. He has six top-10 finishes, leads the Race to Dubai standings on the European Tour and is sixth in the FedEx Cup standings.

7. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Even though he has finished in the top 10 four times this year, including solo second in the Valero Texas Open, it seems that McIlroy has been in regroup mode all season. He's there again after missing the cut in his last two events, the Irish Open and the Open Championship. Perhaps he can find something this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, where he has played well the last three years, heading to his title defense next week in the PGA Championship. ... Rory has broken the par of 70 in 11 of his last 12 rounds at Firestone, leading to a tie for fifth last year, after he tied for ninth in 2010 and a tie for sixth in 2011. That means he has gotten better in the tournament every year after he tied for 68th in the no-cut event in his first appearance in 2010. After playing that first year in 10-over, he is a cumulative 23 under since. Although he has two major titles, McIlroy has not won a WGC title, with his best finish second, when he lost in the final of the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship to Hunter Mahan. His best result in a WGC stroke play tournament was solo third last year in the Cadillac Championship, two strokes behind winner Justin Rose. ... Outsiders have suggested several reasons for McIlroy's struggles this year, including his switch to Nike equipment, problems with his swing, a lack of competitive golf and issues in his head. One writer came up with a new one, that Rory is in love for the first time, with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, forgetting that his game thrived last year after the two began dating.

8. Dustin Johnson, United States -- It seemed that Johnson might be headed for his first victory on the PGA Tour since the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, even when he missed a 10-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole that would have given him the outright lead in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open. He settled for a birdie that tied Brandt Snedeker for the lead, but then hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 17th hole, leading to a triple-bogey 7 that eventually left him in a tie for second after he closed with a 2-under-par 70. ... DJ is another player who will tee it up four consecutive weeks, including next week in the PGA Championship, and this week he is playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the fifth consecutive year. His best result at Firestone was solo 15th in 2010, when he played the weekend in 65-69. He also wound up in a tie for 19th last year, when he posted three rounds in the 60s but cost himself a possible top-10 finish when he shot 2-over-par 73 in round three. Johnson's best finish in the World Golf Championships was solo second in the 2010 Cadillac Championship at Doral, where he finished two strokes behind champion Nick Watney. ... Johnson opened with a 3-over-par 75 last week at Glen Abbey and seemed headed for a missed cut before he birdied four of the last five holes in round two and shot 67 to make the weekend by two strokes. He climbed into contention by recording a 63 on Saturday, including an eagle 3 on the final hole, where he hit his approach from 175 yards to within four feet of the hole.

9. Luke Donald, England -- After making the long trip back from the Open Championship followed a missed cut at Muirfield, Donald didn't have much and shot 73-71--144, failing to make it to the weekend by one stroke in the RBC Canadian Open. He missed the cut in two consecutive events for the first time since 2010 and for the fourth time this season, including the Maybank Malaysian Open and his double title defense in the BMW PGA Championship. ... Luke is playing for the third time in a four-week run this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, where he has finished in the top 10 four times, including each of the last two years. In 2011, he posted four rounds in the 60s, including 64-66 on the weekend, to tie for second, four shots behind winner Adam Scott. Last year, Donald opened with 66-69 but played the weekend in 71-70 and dropped to a tie for eighth. His only title in the World Golf Championships came when he beat Martin Kaymer of Germany in the final of the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship, 3 and 2. ... Donald rallied last week at Glen Abbey, and it appeared he would make the cut when he holed his second shot with a wedge from 124 yards for an eagle on the fifth hole to get inside the cut line while finishing round two on the front nine. However, he hit his tee shot into the water two holes later and found the back bunker when he reloaded, en route to a double-bogey 5. Even though he holed out from off the ninth green for a closing birdie, he was gone for the weekend.

10. Bill Haas, United States -- Haas has five victories in the past four seasons on the PGA Tour, so there is no question about his ability, but he has to start showing up more in the big events. He could start doing so the next two weeks in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, where he again will be looking for his first top-10 finish in a major championship. ... Haas is teeing it up in the Bridgestone for the fourth time, and after tying for 33rd in 2010 and tying for 63rd in 2011, breaking the par of 70 only once in eight rounds, he posted a solid tie for 19th a year ago. He started with a 67, not quite as good as his 66 in the second round in 2010, and played the weekend in 70-70. Not great, but it was a step forward. He has only two top-10 finishes in 13 starts the WGC events, a tie for sixth in the 2010 Cadillac Championship at Doral and solo 10th in the HSBC Champions last year at Mission Hills Golf Club in China. ... Haas has shown that he can step up to the plate and deliver in big events against the best players, most notably when he authored the shot of the year in the 2011 Tour Championship. His pitch out of the shallow water of a lake on the second playoff hole at East Lake in Atlanta stopped next to the hole, and he saved par before beating Hunter Mahan on the third extra hole to claim the FedEx Cup. Haas also stared down major winners Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, holing a 43-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the 2012 Northern Trust Open.

11. Webb Simpson, United States -- Since winning the U.S. Open last year at the Olympic Club in San Francisco for his third PGA Tour victory less than a year, Simpson has played well but not quite been able to reach the same level. Going into his first appearance in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week, he does have six top-10 finishes since becoming a major champion, and the conversation would be a little different had he not lost to Graeme McDowell in a playoff at the RBC Heritage earlier this season. ... After claiming his first major title in June of last year, Webb skipped not only the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes but the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational while waiting for his wife, Dowd, to give birth to their second child, Willow Grace. When he did return after missing more than a month since tying for seventh in the Greenbrier Classic, his rustiness showed and he did not get back on track until he tied for fifth in the Tour Championship. His best result in four WGC events was a tie for eighth this year in the Accenture Match Play Championship. ... Simpson has finished in the top 10 four times on the PGA Tour this season and ranks 16th in the FedEx Cup standings, but he will have to keep playing well to stay in the top 30 through the PGA Tour playoffs in order to qualify for the Tour Championship again. The same is true for his eighth-place spot in the U.S. rankings for the Presidents Cup, as he must continue to perform in order to guarantee an automatic spot on the team. If not, he will have to rely on Tom Watson making him one of three captain's picks.

12. Steve Stricker, United States -- After skipping the Open Championship, missing a major for the first time since 2006, part-time player Stricker will return to the PGA Tour the next two weeks for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He's performed remarkably well in his limited starts, with five top-10 finishes in eight tournaments, and he would like to finish strong as he plans to play only two or three more times in 2013. ... Strick has played six times previously in the WGC event at Firestone and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four years, with his worst result during that time solo 14th in 2011. Last year, he closed with a brilliant 6-under-par 64 that included four birdies on the last five holes, but he finished second when Keegan Bradley also closed with a 64 that included a 16-foot par putt on the last hole that gave him a one-stroke victory. Stricker has one WGC victory in his career, capturing the 2001 Accenture Match Play Championship the only time it was held outside the United States, at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to his tie for second last year at Firestone, he finished solo second, two strokes behind Tiger Woods, earlier this year in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. ... By passing on the Open Championship to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with wife Nicki, Stricker fell out of the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings, but those things don't seem to be that important to him anymore. And he can get back in with a high finish this week.

13. Lee Westwood, England -- His latest major disappointment behind him, Westwood will return to the PGA Tour this week for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, with his final chance to win that elusive first title in the Grand Slam events coming next week in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He moved his family from Worksop, England, to West Palm Beach., Fla., this year to improve his chances to finally win a major since three of them are played on this side of the Atlantic. It's interesting that his best chance came in the Open Championship in Scotland, where he tied for third, but he also tied for eighth in the Masters and tied for 15th in the U.S. Open. ... Westy will play in the Bridgestone for the 15th time and has finished in the top 10 on four occasions, coming close to winning his first WGC title in 2008. He was tied for the lead entering the final round that year at Firestone and closed with a 1-under-par 69, only to be beaten by one stroke by Vijay Singh, who finished with a 68 that included clutch par putts on the last two holes. The Englishman has never won a WGC event, but that was one of his three runner-up finishes. He also finished second, two strokes behind Mike Weir, in the 2000 American Express Championship at Valderrama in Spain before the tournament became the Cadillac Championship at Doral, and he lost by one stroke to Francesco Molinari of Italy in the 2010 HSBC Champions in China. ... Westwood, who replaced Tiger Woods atop the World Golf Rankings in October 2010, had slipped out of the top 10, but he climbed back in at No. 10 with his finish at Muirfield. He's proud to have held the No. 1 ranking but probably would rather have a major title.

14. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Holding a two-stroke lead heading into the third round of the RBC Canadian Open, Mahan was warming up on the range when he got a phone call telling him that his wife, Kandi, who was expecting their first child, had gone into labor. He withdrew immediately and headed to the airport to catch a flight home to Dallas, to be with Kandi, who was not due to give birth for three more weeks. Zoe Olivia Mahan arrived at 3:26 a.m. Sunday, and all the Mahans reportedly were doing well. ... Mahan still was scheduled to play in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the sixth time this week. He posted three consecutive top-10 finishes in the event, capped by a two-stroke victory over Ryan Palmer in 2010, when he closed with a 6-under-par 64. Hunter also tied for 10th in 2008 and tied for fourth the following year, when he closed with a 66 to finish five shots behind winner Tiger Woods. Mahan became one of seven players with multiple victories in the World Golf Championships when he beat Rory McIlroy, 2 and 1, in the final of the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship, and he lost to Matt Kuchar in the final of his title defense earlier this year, also 2 and 1. ... Mahan, who was coming off a tie for ninth in the Open Championship, kept the strong play going when he opened with 67-64 last week at Glen Abbey. He was at even par through nine holes in the first round after recording two birdies and two bogeys when he started on the back, but he played the next 27 holes in a bogey-free 13 under, including three consecutive birdies to wrap up his 8-under-par 64.

15. Keegan Bradley, United States -- The quality of Bradley's three victories on the PGA Tour is impressive, including the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, but he it has been a year since the last time he won, as he defends his title this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It's not that he is playing poorly, with seven top-10 finishes since that victory, including a tie for third in defense of his PGA title at Kiawah Island. Keegan simply has not been able to find the winner's circle, despite coming close when he finished second in the HP Byron Nelson Championship two months ago in a tournament he won in 2011. ... Bradley won last year at Firestone when he posted four scores in the 60s, including a closing 6-under-par 64, but he needed to sink a 16-foot par putt on the final hole to win by one stroke over Steve Stricker. It was his only victory of the season, but he came close earlier in the year when he lost out in a playoff to Bill Haas in the Northern Trust Open. His only other top-10 finishes in the WGC events came in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, where he tied for eighth last year and finished solo seventh earlier this season. ... Bradley reached a career-high 12th in the World Golf Rankings with his finish in the PGA Championship last year, and he started this season at No. 13 but has slipped four spots. However, he has a chance to move up with plenty of points available in the next two weeks. Bradley also hopes to rise in the FedEx Cup standings, sitting at 13th with the PGA Tour playoffs approaching.

16. Ernie Els, South Africa -- Coming off a tie for 27th in his title defense in the Open Championship, Els broke 70 only when he shot 3-under-par 67 in the third round of the RBC Canadian Open, and he finished in a tie for 21st. He is playing well overall, with four top-10 finishes in the last few months, including his victory in the BMW International and a tie for fourth in the U.S. Open. ... The Big Easy is playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the 14th time, and surprisingly he has finished in the top 10 only twice, and not since tied for eighth in 2002. His best finish was solo fifth in 1999, the first year of the World Golf Championships, when he opened with a 1-over-par 71 before stringing together rounds of 69-67-69. Els' best result in six appearances in the old NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone, forerunner of the WGC event, was a tie for 16th in 1997. He is one of seven multiple winners in the World Golf Championships, having won the 2004 American Express Championship, which became the Cadillac Championship, at Mount Juliet in Ireland, and the 2010 Cadillac after the tournament moved to Doral. ... Els' highlight last week at Glen Abbey came when he holed out from 54 yards with a wedge for an eagle-3 that close out his third-round 67, which also included five birdies. He finished strong on Sunday, too, salvaging a 70 with birdies on three of the last six holes. Ernie carded two birdies and an eagle at No. 18, but on Friday he drove into a fairway bunker, hit his next shot into the water and then three-putted from 19 feet for a double-bogey 7.

17. Bubba Watson, United States -- Playing his best golf since he finished fourth in the Travelers Championship a month ago, Bubba was right with the leaders when he started 68-67 last week in then RBC Canadian Open. It appeared he might challenge for his first victory since the Masters last year, but he played the weekend in 73-72 and wound up in a tie for 21st. ... Watson hopes to at least claim his first top-10 finish in his fourth appearance in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he first played in 2010, when he took the first-round lead with a 6-under-par 64 before following with rounds of 71-70-74 to wind up in a tie for 21st. He also tied for 21st in 2011 and tied for 19th last year, when he opened with a 66 and closed with a 67, but played the middle rounds in 73-72. His best result in the World Golf Championships was solo second in the Cadillac Championship last year, when he took the lead with scores of 62-67 in the middle rounds but closed with a 2-over-par 74 and wound up one stroke behind Justin Rose. ... Bubba recorded five birdies in each of his first two rounds last week at Glen Abbey and threw in an eagle-3 on the second hole on Friday. However, he made only a total of six birdies the rest of the way, including two in the final round as he slid down the leaderboard. Not only that, but Bubba mixed in a double bogey in each of his rounds on the weekend, on No. 6 on Saturday and No. 14 on Sunday. He led the field by hitting 61 of 72 greens in regulation but averaged 32.0 putts per round.

18. Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland -- In danger of missing the cut for the fifth time in his last nine events after opening with a 4-over-par 76 in the RBC Canadian Open, McDowell bounced back with a brilliant 65 the next day and made it to the weekend. However, he posted another 76 in the third round and missed the secondary cut by two strokes to continue a perplexing last few months, during which he has won three times. ... G-Mac will be playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the eighth time and never has finished in the top 20. His best result was a tie for 22nd in 2010, when he was second after a first-round 4-under-par 66 and also shot 68 in round three but posted scores of 73-72 the other two days. McDowell also tied for 24th last year, breaking par only when he shot 67 in round two. His best finishes in the World Golf Championships were solo third in the 2011 HSBC Champions in China, where he recorded four rounds in the 60s, and a tie for third in the Cadillac Championship earlier this year, when he tied for the first-round lead with a 6-under-par 66. That was the first of his three rounds in the 60s, but he closed with a 72. ... McDowell made only two birdies in the first and third rounds last week at Glen Abbey, carding a 3-over 40 on the back nine each day. On Friday, he played the same nine holes in 32, including the last three holes in eagle-birdie-birdie after starting at No. 10. He carded a total of six birdies that day and made the cut by three strokes.

19. Ian Poulter, England -- Finally playing the way he did late last season and early this year, Poulter is hoping his tie for third in the Open Championship will give him the momentum for another strong stretch run in 2013. He moved up six spots to No. 14 in the World Golf Rankings and will have two more big chances to climb even higher in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. ... Poults will be making his 11th start at Firestone, and surprisingly he has never finished in the top 10, even though he does have a strong record in the World Golf Championships. He has four top-20 results in the Bridgestone, the best of which were ties for 13th in 2001 and 2006. Ian was among the leaders when he opened with the first of his two 3-under-par 67s in 2007, but he came back with a 75 the next day and wound up in a tie for 15th. ... Poulter is one of only seven players with multiple victories in the WGC events, although the other six are miles from Tiger Woods' record of 17 titles. Geoff Ogilvy is second with three and Poults is tied with Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan with two. The Englishman claimed the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship with a 4-and-2 victory in the final over Paul Casey, also of England, one of his two victories on the PGA Tour. The other also came in a WGC tournament, as he rode the high of his 2012 Ryder Cup performance to a two-stroke victory over Mickelson, Els, Scott Piercy and Jason Dufner in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China by posting four rounds in the 60s at Mission Hills Golf Club.

20. Zach Johnson, United States -- Warming up at last after a slow first half of the season following a year in which he won twice on the PGA Tour, Johnson hopes to keep it going the next two weeks in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship. His tie for third at Muirfield, the best he has ever finished in the Open Championship, gave him three results of sixth or better in his last six events on the PGA Tour, including a playoff loss to Jordan Spieth in his title defense at the John Deere Classic. He has risen to 28th in the FedEx Cup standings and hopes to climb higher with the PGA playoffs coming up in three weeks. ... Zach is teeing it up at Firestone this week for the ninth time, and he has two finishes in the top 10 and five in the top 25. His best was a tie for sixth two years ago, when he opened with an even-par 70 before putting up scores of 68-64-68. He wound up seven shots behind champion Adam Scott. Johnson also tied for ninth in 2005, playing the weekend in 69-69. ... The 2007 Masters champion has never won one of the World Golf Championships, with the best of his six top-10 finishes third in the 2006 Accenture Match Play Championships at La Costa, where he lost to Davis Love III in the semifinals, 4 and 2, before beating Tom Lehman in the consolation match, 1 up. His finish at Firestone last year was his best in a WGC stroke-play event, but if his recent form holds, he could better that this week.

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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