Golf rankings, player capsules

The SportsXchange

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

1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Taking a long break to get the feel of his new Nike equipment, McIlroy has one more week off before getting back to work next week in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, in which he lost in the final a year ago to Hunter Mahan. The kid hit the ball all over the place while missing the cut in the Abu Dhabi-HSBC Championship, but posted a noted on Twitter last week saying: "Working on alignment and a little bit of swing path today. Swing is feeling better each day." Included was a picture of an almost perfect five-yard divot path that he had carved out of the driving range. ... McIlroy's introductory Nike press conference, complete with smoke and laser lights, last month in Abu Dhabi was deemed to be a bit over the top by some people. Now the company has taken the marriage to new heights with a mural of Rory that covers one side of a large building in San Diego. The picture is of him in a Nike cap posing after hitting a shot with his Nike Covert driver. ... Everyone from Luke Donald to Nick Faldo has weighed in on whether switching equipment at this stage of his career might stunt McIlroy's incredible growth as a golfer. Last week, two-time major champion Sandy Lyle of Scotland said he hopes the move doesn't have results similar to the nosedive of David Duval. However, it's a little different since Duval became the first player to win a major championship with Nike clubs after making the switch. Duval captured the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but has not won since, in large part because of injuries.

2. Tiger Woods, United States -- The schedule at tigerwoods.com does not list another tournament until the Masters in the second week of April, but Woods apparently will return next week for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He went from missing the cut in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, only the 10th time he has missed the weekend 332 career events, to winning the Farmers Insurance Open for the seventh time. And he missed the cut only because of a two-stroke penalty for taking an improper drop that was assessed after the round, so his game seems to be in good shape early. ... Even though Woods considered the Northern Trust Open at Riviera his hometown event growing up, he hasn't played it since 2006 and isn't there this week. He has played in the tournament 11 times, the most he's played in any event without winning. Tiger tied for second at Riviera, two strokes behind Ernie Els, in 1999, one year after losing in a playoff to Billy Mayfair when the tournament was played at Valencia Country Club. Even a personal request from Jerry West, the Laker legend and the tournament's executive director, has not been enough to get him back to Riviera. ... The year started with almost everyone in golf talking about a Woods-Rory McIlroy rivalry, but after they both missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, Tiger won at Torrey Pines and Phil Mickelson reminded everyone that he's still around by winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Unfortunately, they won't all be together for the first time this season next week, because Lefty is skipping the Accenture.

3. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- It was only a matter of time before Snedeker would win again, with three top-three finishes this season, and last week he shot 7-under-par 65 in the final round to capture the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by two strokes over Chris Kirk. The reigning FedEx Cup champion increased his lead in the Cup standings for this year and rose to No. 4 in the World Golf Rankings behind Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald. He finished second in his two previous tournaments, losing out to Woods and Phil Mickelson. ... Having played five times already this season, including the last four weeks in a row, Sneds needs a break and is skipping the Northern Trust Open this week ahead of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. It will be the first time he has missed the tournament at Riviera since 2007, but he has missed the cut three times in his five appearances there, in addition to tying for 20th in 2010 and tying for 17th last year. ... Snedeker posted four rounds of 68 or better last week in claiming his fifth PGA Tour victory and his second in the last six regular-season events, having also won the 2012 Tour Championship. He was brilliant in the final round at Pebble, playing the first seven holes at 5-under and having his only hiccup with a three-putt bogey at No. 9. Of course, he was just as good when he posted a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 at difficult Spyglass Hill in the second round. Snedeker's total of 267 broke the four-round tournament record of 268 set by Mickelson in 207.

4. Luke Donald, England -- Donald will begin his bid to regain the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings this week in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. He has not played since finishing last year strong, winning the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan and finishing third in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. That capped a solid season following a career year in 2011, which allowed him to hold the No. 1 spot for a total of 55 weeks. ... Donald is playing at Riviera for the 12th consecutive year and the classic layout does seem to fit his game, as he came close to winning on three occasions. He shot bookend 3-under-par 68s in 2008 and tied for third, five strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson. The following year, Luke posted four consecutive rounds in the 60s, but all it got him was a tie for sixth, three shots behind Mickelson, who won again. In 2011, Donald played the weekend in 66-66 to beat Mickelson by a mile, but finished solo second, two strokes behind Steve Stricker. However, he shot 68-79 -- 147 to miss the cut in 2011 and tied for 56th last year. ... Donald doesn't mind giving up the pre-tournament headlines, and most of the early-season hype has been about No. 1 Rory McIlroy and No. 2 Tiger Woods, the only players ahead of him in the rankings. Then Mickelson took the spotlight with a masterful victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. That's fine with Donald, who simply goes about his business and often is near the top at the finish.

5. Dustin Johnson, United States -- Other than the fact that he has been dating Paulina Gretzky, not much has gone right for Johnson since he captured the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to start the season. He came down with the flu and had to withdraw from the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for 51st in the Farmers Insurance Open before missing the 54-hole cut last week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, a tournament he has won twice. ... DJ needs to get in some more work because he withdrew from the Sony Open after only one round and has played only 11 rounds this year, so he will tee it up this week for the sixth time in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, where he has had some success, finishing in the top 10 on three occasions. His best result was a tie for third in 2010, when he opened with a 7-under-par 64 and had two other rounds in the 60s, but a 74 in the third round eventually left him three strokes behind champion Steve Stricker. Last year, he was at par or better every day and wound up in a tie for fourth, two shots out of the playoff in which Bill Haas defeated Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. ... Johnson was playing with hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Paulina's dad, when he shot 73-69-74 on the Monterey Peninsula last week to miss he cut by three strokes. He missed the cut only once last year, in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. DJ carded two double bogeys in round one at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and recorded only one birdie on Saturday at Pebble Beach.

6. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Lefty did not bring to Pebble Beach the game he had the previous week in winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Still, he was on the fringe of contention until reaching the 18th hole in the third round before depositing two shots into the Pacific Ocean en route to a triple-bogey 8. Phil the Thrill hit two more in the drink on 18 the next day, this time carding a double-bogey 7 on his way to tying for 60th in his title defense at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. ... Mickelson confirmed at Pebble Beach that he will skip the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship next week for the third time in four years, also having done so in 2010 and last year. The tournament conflicts with a family vacation, as his children are out of school that week. He is playing for the fifth straight week in the Northern Trust Open, his seventh consecutive appearance in the event and the 15th overall, having won at Riviera in 2008 and 2009. His first title in the Los Angeles area event, to which he commutes each day by plane from his home near San Diego, came when he started 68-64 and held on with 70-70 on the weekend to beat Jeff Quinney by two strokes. A year later, Lefty started with 63 and added a 64 in round three, but needed two late birdies to beat Steve Stricker by one shot. He almost won again last year, but Bill Haas beat him by holing a 43-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. ... To almost add injury to insult, Lefty slipped and fell hard on the rocks while looking for his tee shot at No. 18 on Saturday last week, but came away unscathed.

7. Justin Rose, England -- Rose hoped to get off to a good start in the Race to Dubai by playing in two events on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour, and he had to consider it a success, even though it could have been even better. He tied for second in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and tied for 16th in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, putting him 13th in the season-long chase, in which he finished second last year. Only one player ahead of him has played fewer events, and that was Charl Schwartzel, who won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in his first outing and finished second last week in the Joburg Open. ... Rose, who was disappointed not to hold the lead in the final round in Abu Dhabi, is off again this week before starting his PGA Tour season at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, in which he has been eliminated from in the first round in three of the last four years and four of the last six. That will be the first of three consecutive events, as he will play in the Honda Classic and defend his title in the WGC-Cadillac Championship to start the Florida Swing. After a week off, he is expected to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a virtual home game since he lives nearby at Lake Nona, for the ninth time. ... Rose has won four times in the last three seasons on the PGA Tour, but has not won on the European Tour since the 2007 Volvo Masters. He just missed in Abu Dhabi, where he led much of the way, but lipped out a 12-foot putt on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

8. Adam Scott, Australia -- Coming out of hiding this week for the Northern Trust Open, Scott is sticking with the less-might-mean-more schedule that he played last year, and it nearly led to his first major title in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He seemed the get over making bogeys on the final four holes and handing the title to Ernie Els by winning the Talisker Australian Masters in November after playing well in the PGA Tour playoffs. ... Scott is playing at Riviera for the seventh time. He won there in 2005, even though it was determined by the PGA Tour to be an unofficial victory because the tournament was shortened to 36 holes. After shooting 67-66 -- 133 while dodging the raindrops, he hit his approach shot out of the kikuyu rough to within three feet of the flag on the first playoff hole and made the putt for a birdie. The Aussie walked away a winner when Chad Campbell missed his four-foot birdie putt. Scott closed with a 7-under-par 64 the next year as defending champion, but fell one stroke short of winning Rory Sabbatini. Adam has not finished in the top 10 in his last four appearances. ... Greg Norman, the last Australian to win a major championship and the only player from Down Under to be No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings, said last week that Scott has the talent to do both. Scott was No. 7 in the rankings a week ago and seems to be close enough to pass Brandt Snedeker, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose and Luke Donald with a hot streak. Catching Tiger Woods and No. 1 Rory McIlroy will take much more.

9. Lee Westwood, England -- Playing on the PGA Tour for the first time this season, Westwood broke 70 only in the opening round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, on his way to a tie for 46th. It still was an enjoyable week for the Englishman, whose partner in the three-day pro-am with his father, John, who took up golf only when Lee showed interest as a youngster. The elder Westwood was playing at Pebble for the first time. ... Westwood has played the last two weeks to open his season and he is only getting started, planning to play four more weeks in a row and a total of eight times before the Masters in the second week of April. He is playing this week in the Northern Trust Open for the seventh time, but he has not teed it up at Riviera since 2008. His best finish in the Los Angeles area event was a tie for fifth in 2006, when he shot 5-under-par 66 in the third round and 68 in the last to finish four shots behind winner Rory Sabbatini. In his last start at Riviera, he shot 74-78 -- 152 and missed the cut by seven strokes. ... Westy opened with a 4-under-par 68 last week at Pebble and was still in the hunt late in the third round at 6-under-par. However, he made bogeys on the last three holes on Saturday to shoot 73 at Spyglass Hill. He started the final round back on the host course at Pebble with three consecutive birdies and seemed to be on his way to a strong finish before hitting two balls into the water on the famed 18th hole to take a double-bogey 7 and close with a 72.

10. Bubba Watson, United States -- With a case of the flu apparently behind him, Watson is back on the PGA Tour this week to play in the Northern Trust Open, Despite being forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open because of the illness, he has gotten off to a solid start, tying for fourth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions despite being under the weather, and tying for 15th in the Waste Management Phoenix Open two weeks ago. ... Bubba will tee it up at Riviera for the seventh time, and likes the tree-lined classic course because he can move the ball as well as any player in the world, as he proved with his hook shot out of the trees that led to his Masters title last year. Watson tied for 13th last year in the Los Angeles area event, but has run hot-and-cold at Riviera, finishing in the top 20 three times, missing the cut twice and withdrawing because of a pulled stomach muscle after opening with a 5-over-par 75 in 2011. ... Bubba's start to this season is much the way he played in 2012, when he finished in the top 25 in all 16 events he played on the PGA Tour in which he made the cut. He missed the cut in back-to-back events, the Memorial and the U.S. Open in June, and did not miss the weekend again until the Deutsche Bank Championship during the PGA Tour playoffs. He played well enough in the three other post-season events, including a tie for fifth in the Tour Championship. If he can keep putting himself in position, even more victories will come.

11. Jason Dufner, United States -- Having played four times early this season, Dufner is taking another week off before he competes in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the second time, having been eliminated by Peter Hanson of Sweden, 2 and 1, in the first round a year ago. However, he showed he can be a very good match player when he posted a 3-1 record in the Ryder Cup, even though the Americans went down to defeat last year at Medinah. ... Phil Mickelson bounced Duf out of the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings by winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open two weeks ago after Dufner missed the cut. After claiming his first two victories on the PGA Tour last season, Dufner started the new year with a tie for 18th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions before playing twice on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour, tying for ninth in the both Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. ... Dufner is a huge football fan who was feted by the Auburn football team after his playoff loss to Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship, and he shot off a constant stream of comments on Twitter during the Super Bowl. Dufner was rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, so he obviously was not happy when a possible pass interference penalty in the end zone near the end of the game was not called. He Tweeted: "Week 6 regular season that's called even at the end of the game. Period." Dufner also Tweeted earlier in the week that it was "sad" that the poisoned oak trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn will have to be taken down in the spring.

12. Webb Simpson, United States -- Simpson seemed to be on his way to perhaps missing the cut for his second consecutive tournament before he found something in the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week. He reeled off seven birdies in a span of 10 holes on Saturday en route to a 7-under-par 65 on the host course, Pebble Beach. He closed with a disappointing 72 to tie for 26th and has not finished better than a tie for 11th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in four starts this season. ... The reigning U.S. Open champion has not gotten off to the kind of start he was hoping for this season, but he can get things going this week when he makes his second appearance in the Northern Trust Open. The first time he played the classic course at Riviera, he barely made the cut at 73-70 -- 143, but played the weekend in 69-65 to finish in a tie for 15th. He needs a strong effort this week heading to the WGC-Match Play Championship, where he was eliminated in the first round in his initial appearance last year. ... A bogey-6 on the last hole was the only blemish on Simpson's scorecard in the third round last week at Pebble Beach, where he nearly hit his drive into the water and took four shots to reach the final green. He started the last round with two consecutive birdies and seemed headed for another low score, but carded six bogeys and had to make birdies on three of his last four holes to salvage the round.

13. Ernie Els, South Africa -- Hoping for a better start to his PGA Tour season than he had in three early events on the European Tour, the Big Easy is playing this week in the Northern Trust Open for the ninth time. The best he could do in three event on the Euro Tour was a tie for 18th in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa, his first event before he finished outside the top 35 in two events on the Middle East Swing. ... Els has had some success at Riviera in the past, winning the Los Angeles area event in 1999, when he posted four rounds in the 60s to finish two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods, Ted Tryba and Davis Love III. He also tied for third in 2007, again posting four rounds in the 60s to wind up three shots out of the playoff in which Charles Howell defeated Phil Mickelson, and tied for 10th in 2010. When the PGA Championship was played at Riviera in 1995, he held the 54-hole lead, but closed with a 1-over-par 71 and tied for third, two strokes out of the playoff in which Steve Elkington defeated Colin Montgomerie. ... Els has to snap out of the hangover he has had since winning the Open Championship last July at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. In his last eight PGA Tour events of 2012, he didn't finish in the top 20 until the last one, tying for 16th in the Frys.com Open. The only time he finished in the top 10 in his last 13 official tournaments came when he tied for second in the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament last October in Shanghai, finishing two strokes behind Ian Poulter.

14. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- Oosthuizen is taking one more week off before beginning his third season as a member of the PGA Tour when he plays in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He became eligible for membership after winning the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews and took it up for the 2011 season. When he first decided to play in the U.S., Louie said whether he stayed or not depended on how he performed in 2011, but he was hampered by injury and managed only one finish in the top 10. He gave it a another try last year, and although he didn't win, his runner-up finish in the Masters and another second-place finish in the Deutsche Bank Championship showed that his first U.S. victory might not be far away. ... The 30-year-old South African has left his farm in Mossel Bay to prepare for the PGA Tour season at his U.S. base at Old Palm Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., and he will take advantage of that location to play three times on the Florida Swing in his run-up to the Masters in April. Because he is back in the States, Oosthuizen missed two tournaments in South Africa that he often played in the past, the Joburg Open last week and the African Open this week. In fact, he won the African Open the last two years, but is skipping it because the date was moved from early January and would have meant a long flight to Arizona for the Accenture, which starts Wednesday. ... Oosty has what many experts believe is the best swing in the game and he used it to claim his 11th professional victory last month in the Volvo Golf Champions.

15. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Kooch took two weeks off after playing in the first three tournaments of the PGA Tour season, getting off to a strong start by finishing in the top 20 in all three, including two tops 10s. But that has been the knock on him, that he does not win enough, with only four victories on the circuit in his career despite leading the tour with 31 finishing in the top 10 over the last three-plus seasons. He did quiet some of that by winning the Players Championship last year, but he still needs to start winning more often. ... Kuchar is playing this week in the Northern Trust Open for the seventh consecutive year and the eighth time overall. Even though the obviously enjoys playing the classic Riviera course, he has never done very well there, with his best results a tie for 14th in 2008, a tie for 20th in 2010 and a tie for 24th last year, when he opened with 69-69, but played the weekend in 75-71. But he has made the cut every time he has played in the Los Angeles area tournament. ... Kuchar hopes to build some momentum at Riviera for next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where his tie for fifth last year kick-started a hot streak which culminated in the biggest victory of his career in the so-called fifth major at TPC Sawgrass in May. He did not have a top-10 finish until the Accenture, but reeled off three more in as many events before winning the Players Championship.

16. Ian Poulter, England -- For a guy who has been off for more than a month, Poulter has kept a pretty high profile, what with his constant chatter on Twitter and some very public personal appearances. He was at it again last week, appearing on the "Morning Drive" show on the Golf Channel, on which he has become a semi-regular since he lives not far from the studio in Orlando, Fla. And he will be on again soon with an appearance on "Playing Lessons From the Pros" segment hosted by Holly Sonders. ... While on the recent show, Poulter agreed that he has to take his match-play mentality into his stroke-play events, and he said he was able to do that right after the Ryder Cup last year, when he captured the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai. That was his first stroke-play victory in PGA Tour-sanctioned events, although he does have 13 around the world. ... Poulter will return to the PGA Tour after a six-week break when he plays next week in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which he won in 2010 by beating Paul Casey in the final, but he has lost in the first round in each of the last two years. In addition to those public appearances, Poults has been working hard in the gym and on the practice range to prepare for a season in which he plans to cut down a bit to 26 weeks. He also has been working with some new Cobra equipment and said the statistic he must improve on this season to get better is proximity to the hole.

17. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Bradley has taken a week off after he got off to something of a disappointing start in his first four events of the season, but hopes to get back on track this week in the Northern Trust Open. After starting the season on a high note with a tie for fourth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he tied for 49th at the Sony Open in Hawaii, missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open and tied for 24th in the Waste Management Phoenix Open after being with the leaders for two rounds. ... Keegan shot 74-72 -- 146 to miss the cut by one stroke in his first appearance in the Northern Trust in 2011, but he found Riviera very much to his liking last year. He shot 69-66 in the middle rounds and bookend scores of even-par 71 put him in a playoff with Phil Mickelson and Jay Haas. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, the guy without a major championship to his credit won, with Haas holing an unlikely 43-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole. ... Bradley has not been sharp in any phase of the game so far this season, but especially has been struggling with his belly putter. He has averaged 29.77 putts per round, which ranked 123rd on the PGA Tour last week, after he was 54th with a 28.88 average a year ago. At nearly one stroke per round it can add up quickly. Perhaps even more telling, he was 71st in strokes gained putting at .120 after finishing 2012 at .377, which was 28th on the circuit.

18. Steve Stricker, United States -- If Sticker was going to change his mind and return before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last week, the Northern Trust Open might have been the place. However, he will not be at Riviera this week, sticking with his plan to take six weeks off after finishing second in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He claims he is going to play in only about 10 tournaments this season. ... Strick has the straight and steady games that suits the classic course at Riviera, and he won the title there two years ago, threatening the tournament scoring record before closing with a 1-over-par 70 to win by two strokes over Luke Donald after giving away much of a six-shot cushion. That came a year after he posted four rounds in the 60s and seemed to be headed for victory until Phil Mickelson posted two late birdies and holed a six-foot par putt on the final hole to steal the victory. ... Stricker, who will turn 46 later this month, was down to No. 13 in the World Golf Rankings last week after his strong start to the season pushed him back into the top 10. He said he will be well-rested and ready to go when he returns, but he was bothered by a nerve injury that caused pain to shoot down his left leg on every full shot at hilly Kapalua. Stricker took Tylenol and was on his back stretching in the fairway at times, but played remarkably well. Hopefully, rest and treatment has taken care of the problem because the Golf Club at Dove Mountain, site of the Accenture, also is a hilly layout that is not easy to walk.

19. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Mahan put himself among the leaders when he opened the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with rounds of 66-69 at Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. However, he shot 1-over-par 73 on Saturday at Spyglass and had to settle for a tie for 16th after a closing 69. Still, it was his third consecutive finish in the top 20 after he struggled late last season after winning twice earlier in the year. ... With his game seemingly back on track, Hunter is playing this week in the Northern Trust Open, where he always has a large gallery since he was born down the road in Orange County and lived there until he was a teenager before his family moved to Texas. However, he has missed the cut three times at Riviera and never finished in the top 10, with his best results a tie for 17th in 2009 and a tie for 24th last year. ... The only blemishes on Mahan's scorecard the first two days last week were a bogey on the 17th on Thursday at Pebble and a double bogey on No. 7 at Spyglass, both par 3s. Then he carded three bogeys in each of the last two rounds and slid down the leaderboard. After struggling on Saturday, he came out of the chute quickly on Sunday with two birdies and an eagle in the first six holes on Sunday, but three bogeys the rest of the way kept him from going low and recording his first top-10 finish of the season.

20. Zach Johnson, United States -- Zach tries to get his season headed in the right direction this week at the Northern Trust Open and he will follow that up by playing next week in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson. Coming off a season in which he won twice, he played in the first three events this year with disappointing results, a tie for 18th in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions against a 30-man field, a missed cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a tie for 23rd in the Humana Challenge. ... Even though he is playing this week at Riviera, a shot-maker's classic course that should fit his precise game, he has never finished in the top 10 there. His best result was a tie for 17th last year, but that's the only time he has even wound up in the top 20 in the Los Angeles area event. He's not a long hitter, but that result came after the George C. Thomas masterpiece had been lengthened to 7,349 yards. ... Johnson got ready for his return to the PGA Tour with a ski trip with friends to Copper Mountain, Colo., and he posted several pictures of the ideal conditions in the Rockies. However, his last post was: "Had a great time skiing! Time to get ready to work...LA first, then Tucson!" After a week off, he also is expected to play the final three weeks of the Florida Swing, as he has done the last four seasons, before taking at least a week off before the Masters.

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; Nicolas Colsaerts, Belgium; Ryan Moore, United States; Jason Day, Australia.
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