The Sports Xchange's 2013 PGA Tour rankings, selected by TSX Golf Staff, based on 2012-2013 performance.
1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- If nothing else, it didn't look good when McIlroy walked off the course at PGA National before finishing his ninth hole, No. 18, in round two of his title defense in the Honda Classic. The 23-year-old told reporters three times in the parking lot that he was fine physically, but was "not in a good place mentally." Only later did the PGA Tour and McIlroy release statements that he was in pain from a wisdom tooth that needs to be pulled. Rory was 7-over-par through eight holes and hit into the water on his final hole before leaving. ... This week, McIlroy will have a chance to play 72 holes for the first time this season since there is no cut in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and was eliminated in round one of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship before withdrawing last week, so has played only 3 1/2 rounds with his new Nike clubs. Rory tied for 10th two years ago at Doral, when a closing 74 took him out of the running, before he finished solo third last year, his best result in a WGC stroke-play event. He closed with 69-65-67 and wound up two strokes behind winner Justin Rose. He reportedly will play at Doral and then have the wisdom tooth pulled. ... McIlroy played a solid round on Thursday in the Honda, sitting at 1-under-par through 17 holes, but missed a chance to birdie the par-5 finishing hole when he hit his approach with a wedge over the green and made bogey for an even-par 70. The next morning, after starting at No. 10, he made a double-bogey 6 on the 11th and a triple-bogey 7 at No. 16, where he hit two balls into the water, before leaving two holes later.
2. Tiger Woods, United States -- For the second consecutive year, Woods rolled in an eagle putt on the final hole of the Honda Classic, but this time he closed with a 4-over-par 74, 12 shots worse than his score in 2012. That left him in a tie for 37th, one week after he was eliminated in the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Of course in his only other PGA Tour event this season, he won the Farmers Insurance Open. ... Woods is playing this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, which he has won six times on six courses, and the TPC Blue Monster is one of his favorite layouts. He has never finished out of the top 10 in 11 finishes in this event, but he probably would have last year, when he withdrew after 12 holes of the final round because of a left Achilles injury. He captured the WGC event in 2007 at Doral, despite closing with a 1-over-par 73, two shots ahead of Brett Wetterich. Tiger also won the old Ford Championship at Doral in 2005 and 2006, beating Phil Mickelson by one stroke the first time and Camilo Villegas and David Toms by two the second, never finishing out of the top 10 in four appearances. He has 16 WGC victories, 13 more than runner-up Geoff Ogilvy. ... Woods was inconsistent at best while posting three even-par 70s last week at PGA National, before losing two balls in the water and one in deep rough on Sunday, when he carded two of his four double bogeys for the week. Of his 11 birdies on the Champion Course, 10 came on the front nine.
3. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Snedeker, who has been the best golfer in the world through the first two months of the year, announced that he will not be able to play this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship because he needs more time to heal an injury to his left ribcage. He has not played since winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am nearly a month ago to cap a brilliant run on the West Coast Swing, where he also tied for second at the Farmers Insurance Open, finished solo second in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and was solo third in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. ... Sneds probably won't miss playing at the TPC Blue Monster, because in his first two appearances in the second World Golf Championships event of the year at Doral he has tied for 48th in 2008 and tied for 45th last year. He shot 3-under-par 69 in the second round a year ago, the only time in his eight rounds on the TPC Blue Monster in which he has broken 70. ... Snedeker said in a statement released by Crown Sports Management, which represents him, that his ribs are feeling better but that there still is tenderness in the area and that his physician, Dr. James Elrod of Nashville, advised him to take at least another week off. He added that he wants to be healthy for the Arnold Palmer Invitational in two weeks and the Masters next month. Snedeker originally was injured when he tied for 23rd in the Humana Challenge, his worst finish of the year.
4. Luke Donald, England -- A year ago, Donald skipped the Honda Classic, which Rory McIlroy won to take the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings from him. Luke, now No. 3 in the rankings, wasn't at PGA National last week either, but will try to make up ground on McIlroy and Tiger Woods with all of them in the field this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. ... The Englishman will tee it up in what is now the Cadillac for the 10th consecutive year, and equaled his best result in the tournament by tying for sixth each of the last two years at Doral. Last year, he finished with three consecutive rounds in the 60s after opening with a 2-under-par 70 on the TPC Blue Monster, and finished four strokes behind winner Justin Rose. Two years ago, Donald was only two strokes out of the lead after 54 holes, but closed with a 72 and finished five shots behind winner Nick Watney. His other tie for sixth came when the tournament was played as the WGC-American Express Championship at the Grove in Chandlers Cross, England, in 2006. Donald won the 2011 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and his best result in a WGC stroke-play tournament was a tie for second in the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. ... Trying to conserve his strength for the long haul, Donald got off to a late start and played well in the Northern Trust Open before fading to a tie for 16th. Then he was knocked out in round one of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, 7 and 6, by Scott Piercy, who was 7-under through 12 holes. It's time to pick up the pace with his title defense in the Tampa Bay Championship next week.
5. Dustin Johnson, United States -- It appeared that Johnson was over his spell of poor play that started after he won the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, as he shot 4-under-par 66 last week in the first round of the Honda Classic. However, he could not break the par of 70 the rest of the way and wound up in a tie for 46th. After withdrawing after round one of the Sony Open in Hawaii because of the flu, he tied for 51st in the Farmers Insurance Open and missed the cut in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open before being ousted in round one of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to wind up the West Coast Swing. ... DJ will tee it up Thursday in the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the fifth time, with his only finish in the top 30 solo second two years ago. He might have won that one, holding a two-stroke lead after opening with 69-69-65, but he closed with a 1-under-par 71 to wind up two strokes behind champion Nick Watney. Johnson could make only two birdies in the final round, missing an eight-foot putt on No. 18 after Watney put the title away by holing a 12-footer for birdie. That's his only top-10 finish in 14 appearances in World Golf Championships events. ... Johnson was in a position to make a weekend run after starting 66-70 last week at PGA National, but he played the last two rounds in 74-75. He carded only five birdies on the weekend after recording five in each of his first two rounds, and also had three double bogeys in his last 26 holes.
6. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Lefty will be coming back from a two-week break, part of it for a vacation with his family, to play in what has become the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the 11th time. He claimed his 19th victory on the West Coast Swing when he captured the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but other than that brilliant week in Arizona, he was inconsistent despite some other flashes of good form in his first five tournaments of the season. ... Mickelson opened with a 7-under-par 65 and added three more rounds in the 60s while holding off Nick Watney by one stroke to win what was then the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in 2009. But that is his only top-10 finish in the tournament, with his tie for 14th as defending champion on the TPC Blue Monster his second-best result. He also finished second in the old Ford Championship at Doral in 2005 after a stirring duel with Tiger Woods, who closed with a 66 while Lefty could managed only a 69. Lefty is one of only seven multiple winners in the WGC events, having also captured the 2009 WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He won the same event in 2007, before it was under the WGC umbrella. ... When he won at TPC Scottsdale, Mickelson credited his new Callaway driver, but he has been inconsistent with the big stick, hitting the fairway only 51.6 percent of the time this year. He has hit 70 percent of the greens and averaged 28.25 putts per round, so if he can hit the fairway more often, it could be a big year.
7. Matt Kuchar, United States -- By winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Kuchar moved up to No. 8 in the World Golf Rankings, three spots off the career high he achieved by winning the Players Championship last year. He will be one of the favorites this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championships, and not only because of his Accenture victory, since he has a history of playing well on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral. ... This will be Kooch's fourth appearance in the WGC event in Miami, and he has finished in the top 10 each time. He shot 67-68 on the weekend in 2010 to tie for third, although he was seven strokes behind winner Ernie Els. In 2001, Kuchar started with three rounds in the 60s and was in the hunt most of the way before closing with a 1-under-par 71 to finish fifth, four shots behind winner Nick Watney. Last year, he played the middle rounds in 68-67, but had bookend 72s and tied for eighth. Kuchar played in the old Ford Championship at Doral only once, 2004, and shot 75-76 -- 151 to miss the cut by six strokes. ... Kuchar has finished in the top 10 three times this season, helping him climb to second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Brandt Snedeker and he leads the PGA Tour with 32 finishes in the top 10 over the last three-plus seasons. He's a native of Florida, who has claimed two of his five PGA Tour victories in the Sunshine State, winning the 2002 Honda Classic in addition to the Players. Those are two more reasons he might be in the mix this week.
8. Justin Rose, England -- Warming up for his title defense this week, Rose got off to a strong start in the Honda Classic, but seemed to be stuck in neutral on the weekend on his way to a tie for fourth. However, it was a good bounce-back after he was knocked out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the second round by Nicolas Colsaerts a week earlier in his 2012 debut on the PGA Tour. ... Rosy will defend the biggest title of his career this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. Rose shot 2-under-par 70 on the TPC Blue Monster to come from three strokes behind in the final round to win by one stroke over Bubba Watson for his fourth title on the PGA Tour. Watson, who blew the 54-hole lead with a closing 74, carved a brilliant approach shot out of the trees to within nine feet of the hole at No. 18, but missed a putt that would have forced a playoff. Rose's best previous finish in the WGC events was a tie for second in the 2007 Bridgestone Invitational. The Englishman also tied for 15th in 2008 and tied for 20th in 2009 at Doral. ... Rose started with 68-66 last week in the Honda, but played the weekend in 72-71. After carding nine birdies in the first two rounds, he managed only five on the weekend, with three of them coming on the last six holes in the final round when he no longer had a realistic chance to win. Rose's opening 68 could have been even better, but after playing flawlessly for most of the day, he carded three bogeys in his last four holes.
9. Adam Scott, Australia -- After a week off following his first two appearances of the season, Scott is playing in what is now the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the 12th consecutive year. He tied for 10th in the Northern Trust Open and was knocked out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in round one, so he needs the work. There is no cut in World Golf Championship events, but it probably doesn't matter because he has played well at Doral in recent years. ... Scotty tied for ninth on the TPC Blue Monster in 2009, when he started with three rounds in the 60s before carding a 71 in the final round to wind up five strokes behind champion Geoff Ogilvy. Two years ago, he shot 68s in the first and third rounds on his way to a tie sixth, five shots behind winner Nick Watney. Last year, he started 66-68, holding the lead after one round and sitting one stroke back after two. Then he hit his tee shot into the water at No. 18 during a bogey-bogey-double bogey finish and shot 74, before a closing 71 left him in a tie for 13th. He played in the old Ford Championship at Doral only in 2005, when he shot 69-78 -- 147 and missed the cut by six strokes. Scott does have a title in the World Golf Championships, having won the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. ... In the second year of his play less and hopefully play better plan, Scott will tee it up again next week in the Tampa Bay Classic and then probably take three weeks off before the Masters. The jury is still out on whether the plan works, even though he almost won the Open Championship last year.
10. Lee Westwood, England -- Only two strokes out of the lead heading into the final round of the Honda Classic and seeking his third PGA Tour victory, the first since 2010, Westwood never got it going on Sunday. He carded his only birdie of the last round on the third hole while closing with a 4-over-par 74 and slid to a tie for ninth, his best finish by 12 spots in four events on the PGA Tour this season. ... Westy is making his 12th appearance in what is now the WGC-Cadillac Championship and his best result was solo second in 2000, when it was played as the WGC-American Express Championship at Valderrama in Spain. That year, he shot 68-67 on the weekend, but finished two strokes behind Mike Weir, after tying for fourth the year before at Valderrama. Those are his only top-10 finishes in the tournament, and the best he has done on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral was a tie for 18th two years ago. He's never won a WGC event, but has finished second on two other occasions, in the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and in the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions in China. ... Westwood started with 66-68 last week at PGA National and still was right with the leaders following his 70 in the third round. However, he carded only one bogey through his first 40 holes, before making three in a span of four holes through No. 9 on Saturday and added five more on the final day. After making birdies on No. 18 each of the first two days, he hit his approach into the water on each of the last two, being able to save par on Saturday but taking a bogey on Sunday.
11. Bubba Watson, United States -- Even though a bout with the flu slowed down Watson at the start of the season, he has recorded three finishes in the top 10 in his first four tournaments heading into the WGC-Cadillac Championship this week. He has had more than a week off after losing in the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and could be a threat to play well again this week at Doral. ... Bubba opened with rounds of 70-62-67 last year on the TPC Blue Monster, missing the course record by one stroke in round two, and took a three-stroke lead into the final round. However, he struggled to a 74 on Sunday and finished second, one stroke behind Justin Rose. Watson had a chance to force a playoff after hitting a brilliant approach shot on the final hole, but missed his nine-foot putt for birdie. In his only other appearance at Doral, he failed to break 70 in any of his four rounds and finished 72nd, beating only nine players in the limited-field event. ... Bubba's runner-up finish on the TPC Blue Monster, one of his 10 consecutive top-20 finishes to start the 2012 PGA Tour season, was something of a precursor of things to come, as he was wearing the Green Jacket less than a month later after winning a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen in the Masters. Despite being under the weather for a couple of weeks at the start of this year, his solid start to the season bodes well for his title defense at Augusta National.
12. Webb Simpson, United States -- Following a week off after his two best finishes in six events on the West Coast Swing, Simpson will play in the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the second time. He tied for sixth in the Northern Trust Open and tied for fifth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, beating three players before losing to Hunter Mahan. He didn't have a real bad week, even when he missed the 54-hole cut in the Humana Challenge, because he shot 7-under-par 65 in round three. ... Webb tied for 35th last year in his first appearance at Doral, playing the middle rounds in 66-66. However, the TPC Blue Monster got him on the other two days, as he opened with a 75 and closed with a 5-over-par 77. This is the first season in which he might play in all four of the World Golf Championships, as he skipped the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last August because his wife, Dowd, was about to give birth to their second child, and he did not make the trip to China in November for the WGC-HSBC Champions. ... Simpson is having a start to his season similar to the one he had last year, when he seemed to be on the verge several times before winning the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He has hit the fairway only 55.3 percent of the time this season and if he can find the short grass more often, better results should come. That's because he is hitting 73.5 percent of the time and ranks 25th with an average of .679 strokes gained putting.
13. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Mahan probably needed last week off after six grueling rounds in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, in which he lost to Matt Kuchar in the final of his title defense, 2 and 1. Even though he lost, he has to be brimming with confidence heading into the WGC-Cadillac Championship after a strong start to his season after he slumped in the second half after winning twice early in 2012. ... Hunter is playing at Doral for the sixth consecutive year, with his best result a tie for ninth in 2011, when he grabbed the first-round lead by shooting 8-under-par 64, but he could not break 70 the rest of the way. He was still in contention on Sunday, heading to the final round two shots out of the lead, but he closed with a 73 and wound up seven strokes behind winner Nick Watney. His only other top-25 finish on the TPC Blue Monster was a tie for 24th last year, when he shot 66 in the third round, but he could not break 70 any other day. Mahan is one of seven players with multiple titles in the World Golf Championships, having won the 2012 Accenture and the 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. ... After posting only two top-10 finishes in his last 16 regular-season events last season, Mahan tied for eighth in the Northern Trust Open before finishing second in the Accenture. After tying for 26th in the 30-man field at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he finished in the top 20 of his last five events on the West Coast Swing.
14. Ian Poulter, England -- Poulter's gamble of taking six weeks off after he tied for ninth in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions seemed to play off when he showed up fresh at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and knocked off four opponents before losing twice to finish fourth. He's already halfway to his 2012 total of four finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour going into the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. ... Poults is playing the second World Golf Championships event of the season for the ninth time, with his best result a tie for second when it was played as the WGC-American Express Championship at the Grove in Chandlers Cross, England, in 2006. He opened with a 7-under-par 64, but from the start was chasing Tiger Woods, who started with a 63 en route to a seven-stroke victory. Poulter's best finish since the tournament moved to the TPC Blue Monster in 2007 was a tie for 13th in 2009, when he posted three scores in the 60s but fell out of contention when he put up a 73 in round three. He also tied for 16th in 2007, when his second-round 68 was his best score of the tournament. ... Poulter is one of the seven players who have claimed multiple titles in the World Golf Championships, having won the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the WGC-HSBC Champions last year.
The victory in China came as he rode the tide of emotion from leading the Europeans to a dramatic comeback victory in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
15. Steve Stricker, United States -- Showing that he can stay sharp enough to compete on the PGA Tour after long stays at home in Wisconsin, Stricker comes into the WGC-Cadillac Championship with top-10 finishes in both of his starts this season on the PGA Tour. He left the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he finished second, with a nerve problem that sent pain down his left leg, but said he felt fine and showed no evidence of the injury when he beat three opponents before losing en route to tying for fifth in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships. ... Strick is playing in the WGC event at Doral for the seventh consecutive year, or all of them that have been played in the United States. He's never been much of a traveler, one reason he is cutting back his schedule this year, and never made the trip when the tournament was played overseas. His best finish on the TPC Blue Monster was a tie for sixth in 2008, when he shot 9-under-par 63 in the final round. Stricker also tied for eighth last year, posting three 69s and a 70 in round two. Surprisingly, his only World Golf Championships title did come overseas, in the 2001 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Australia. ... Stricker plans to play only 11 events this year, recently adding the Shell Houston Open. He said he doesn't plan to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs, unless he has a chance to finish high in the standings and win the whole thing. Stricker has an elk hunting trip planned for late in the season, but might have to change those plans, because he was 15th in the standing after two events.
16. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Playing his best golf since he tied for fourth in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Bradley was in the hunt until a lackluster Sunday, but still finished in another tie for fourth in the Honda Classic. The first player to win a major championship with a long putter, he admits that the controversy over anchored putters has bothered him, but said he got a lift last week when the PGA Tour announced that it is against the proposed ban. ... Keegan will tee it up for the second time in the WGC-Cadillac Championship and last year he had a chance to win, opening with rounds of 69-67-66 to begin the final round tied for second, three strokes behind Bubba Watson. However, he struggled to a 3-over-par 75 on Sunday and wound up in a tie for eighth. Bradley, who captured the 2011 PGA Championship in his first major appearance, needed only four tries to win his first World Golf Championships events. Last August, he record four rounds in the 60s, including a 6-under-par 64 in the final round to come from six shots back to claim a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker by holing a 16-foot par putt on the final green. ... Bradley opened with 68-68 last week at PGA National and was only four strokes out of the lead after posting an even-par 70 in the third round. But with a chance to make a run on Sunday, he closed with a 71 in the cold and windy conditions, failing to make a birdie after No. 9.
17. Jason Dufner, United States -- So far, Dufner has had trouble backing up his career year, which included his first two PGA Tour victories, as he struggled again last week in the Honda Classic on his way to a tie for 51st. His best result in four events on the PGA Tour this season was a tie for 18th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, against only a 30-player field. However, he did tie for ninth twice, in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, on a two-week trip to the Middle East Swing of the European Tour. ... Duf has played in the WGC-Cadillac Championship only twice previously, tying for 18th in 2010, when he closed with a 7-under-par 65, and last year, when he opened with a 66 but could not break par the rest of the way and wound up in a tie for 29th. Last year was the first time he played in all four World Golf Championships in the same season, and he has competed in only seven overall. He had his best WGC results last year, finishing seventh in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and tying for second in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. In the latter, he closed with an 8-under-par 64 and finished two strokes behind Ian Poulter. ... Duf was in decent shape last week when he started with 69-70 in the Honda, but he played the weekend at PGA National in 74-74 to slide down the leaderboard. And it could have been worse, but he finished birdie-birdie on Sunday, picking up a stroke three of the four days on No. 18. Not to worry yet, because he really didn't get rolling until the spring last year.
18. Ernie Els, South Africa -- The Big Easy continues to search for the magic that took him to the Open Championship last July at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, as he stumbled on the weekend last week en route to a tie for 46th in the Honda Classic, a tournament he won in 2008. He seemed to be heading in the right direction when he tied for 13th in the Northern Trust Open, but then he was knocked out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship by Fredrik Jacobson in the first round and played mediocre golf at PGA National to start the Florida Swing. ... Els will be back at Doral this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship after missing last year because he had fallen to No. 65 in the World Golf Rankings and did not qualify. That came only two years after he won the tournament for the second time, shooting 6-under-par 66s in the second and fourth rounds to finish four strokes ahead of Charles Schwartzel. Els also won the tournament in 2004, when it was played as the WGC-American Express Championship at Mount Juliet in Ireland, where he posted four rounds in the 60s and beat Thomas Bjorn by one stroke. The South African has won twice on the TPC Blue Monster, also capturing the 2002 Genuity Championship (later the Ford Championship at Doral), by two shots over Tiger Woods. ... Ernie was in good position for the weekend last week when he started 69-70 on the Champion Course, but instead of making a move he closed with 75-72. The worst came when he hit two balls into the water and took a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 11th hole in round two after three-putting from 55 feet for a double-bogey 6 at No. 6 earlier.
19. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- His strong start to the season with a victory in the Volvo Golf Champions a thing of the past, Oosthuizen has been trying to find his game for several days at his new home in South Florida. Last week, he shot 69-76 -- 145 and missed the cut by five strokes in the Honda Classic, a week after being eliminated in round two of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. ... Louie will play for the seventh time in what is now the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but has not had much success in the event, with his best results a tie for 18th in 2011 and a tie for 20th two years earlier. He has broken 70 only four times in 20 rounds on the TPC Blue Monster, and he also struggled in 2006, when the tournament was played as the WGC-American Express Championship at the Grove in Chandlers Cross, England, where he tied for 32nd. In 2009 at Doral, he opened with 67-69, but played the weekend in 73-70. His best result in the World Golf Championships was solo fourth in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year at Firestone. ... Oosty didn't start badly last week at PGA National, with only two bogeys on his card in the first round, but round two was a disaster. He started on the back nine with consecutive double bogey 6s, needing four strokes to reach the green at No. 10 and hitting his second shot into the water at No. 11. After seeming to right the ship with five consecutive pars, Oosthuizen hit his tee ball into the water at No. 17, where he took a double-bogey 5 and needed a par on No. 18 to shoot 40 for nine holes.
20. Zach Johnson, United States -- Hoping that a week at home allowed him to regroup after a disappointing start to his season on the West Coast Swing, Johnson hopes to get things turned around starting this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. However, he didn't get off to a hot start last year either, but heated up toward the middle of the season and wound up winning twice on the PGA Tour in addition to finishing second on two other occasions. ... Zach will tee it up Thursday in what now is the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the 10th consecutive year. He has three top-10 finishes in the tournament, including ties for ninth the first two years it was contested at Doral, in 2007 and 2008. The first year, his 4-under-par 68 was his best round in the 60s as he finished six shots behind winner Tiger Woods. The following year, the broke 70 three times and wound up five shots behind champion Geoff Ogilvy. His best finish in the World Golf Championships was third in the 2006 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he lost in the semifinals to Davis Love III and beat Tom Lehman in the consolation match, 1 up. The best he has done in a WGC stroke-play event was tie for sixth in the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone. ... Most troubling during Johnson's slow start were missed cuts in the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Northern Trust Open, in addition to a first-round exit from the Accenture. He also tied for 18th in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and tied for 23rd in the Humana Challenge, and figures to get it going soon, perhaps this week.
Others receiving consideration: Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Martin Kaymer, Germany; Nick Watney, United States; Rickie Fowler, United States; Bill Haas, United States; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Jim Furyk, United States; Carl Pettersson, Sweden; Bo Van Pelt, United States; Peter Hanson, Sweden; Jason Day, Australia; John Merrick, United States; Charles Howell III, United States; Tim Clark, South Africa; Michael Thompson, United States.