PGA Tour rankings -- Preseason 2013

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

The Sports Xchange's 2013 PGA Tour preseason rankings, selected by TSX Golf Staff.

1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- Even though there are several able challengers lined up right behind him, McIlroy proved last year that he is the best golfer in the world right now by a healthy margin. Despite a midseason slump that included three missed cuts, he claimed six titles around the world, including four on the PGA Tour. He earned Player of the Year honors on both major tours after duplicating Luke Donald's feat of earning the money titles in the United States and Europe. ... It seems that nothing can stop McIlroy from more of the same, although some critics, most vocally Nick Faldo, don't understand why he has left Titleist, apparently to switch to Nike equipment this season. If the rumors are true, there are 200 million reasons to make the change, and although others have struggled after similar switches, Rory seems to have the talent to overcome just about anything. Speaking of money, he recently bought a $10 million home in Florida. ... McIlroy, who said for the second consecutive season that he was tired near the end of the year and will cut down on his schedule, will start his season in two weeks at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour. He has won major championships in each of the last two years, and a magazine story asked recently if he might be able to equal or surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 Grand Slam titles. First things first. He is on the early pace of Tiger Woods, who has 14 major titles, but to keep up with Woods, he would have to win six in the next three years. That's a big ask, but certainly something he might be capable of pulling off.

2. Tiger Woods, United States -- The deposed No. 1 player in the world showed last year that he might be capable of regaining his top spot, winning three times after a drought of official victories that stretched to 2009. He also was in contention several other times. Questions remain about whether Woods is mentally healed from the marital infidelity scandal that took him down, the swing changes he continues to try to master, and the wear and tear on his body after turning 37 on Dec. 30. ... Woods' pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles has been stuck at 14 since he beat Rocco Mediate on one leg in an epic playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He gave himself chances to increase that number last season but was unable to finish. He was in the hunt through two rounds in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island before fading on the weekend each time. He was unable to break 70 in any of those six weekend rounds, when his average score was 72.8. ... Woods was consistent throughout the 2012 season, which included nine top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and three more around the world, and he showed some flashes of his old form. However, it was a perplexing season, too, because at times it was wayward ball-striking and at others faulty putting that kept him from winning even more. Of course, the standard that he set for more than a decade is what he still expects and the way everyone will continue to evaluate him. He opens his season in two weeks at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

3. Luke Donald, England -- Another player who held the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings for a while in the last two years and wants it back, Donald didn't exactly struggle last season while slipping to No. 3 at one time before a victory in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan late in the year pushed him back ahead of Tiger Woods and behind only Rory McIlroy. Anyone who believes Woods' attempt to regain his No. 1 spot was going to be a two-man race obviously hasn't been paying attention, and Donald is happy to be flying under the radar. ... For much of his career, the 35-year-old Englishman was considered a very good player who did not win enough, with only five official victories through 2010. However, he has won seven times in the past two seasons, including the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the flagship event of the European Tour, in 2011 and 2012. The biggest void in Donald's career continues to be a major title, and the closest he came last year was a tie for fifth in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. ... There's no telling where Donald will open his 2012 season, as he planned to have nasal surgery during the short offseason to correct a sinus problem. He said his sinuses have given him more problems in recent years, and when he gets run down from his busy travel schedule, the sinusitis often turns into an infection that weakens him. Last year, he started his season later than usual, in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in February.

4. Justin Rose, England -- Even though he seemed to be a star in the making as an 18-year-old in the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, it's taken Rose a bit longer than countrymen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood to establish himself. He did that last season, rising to No. 4 in the World Golf Rankings on the strength of a victory in WGC-Cadillac Championship and runner-up finishes in the finales on both major tours late in the year. He finished behind Brandt Snedeker in the Tour Championship and wound up sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. Then he was second to Rory McIlroy in the DP World Championship in Dubai, also finishing as the runner-up in the Race to Dubai. ... Like Donald and Westwood, Rose never has won a major title, but the way he is going, he just might become the first Englishman to claim a Grand Slam event since Nick Faldo captured the 1996 Masters. Last year, he tied for eighth in the Masters and tied for third in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, his best finish in a major since he was low amateur in a tie for fourth in that 1998 Open. In a recent roundtable discussion on the Golf Channel, Rose's name came up several times as a player who might be ready to break through for that first Grand Slam title. ... Rose, who also captured the unofficial but very lucrative Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in November, said he would start his 2013 season in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the third week of January and play the following week in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. His first PGA Tour event will be the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

5. Adam Scott, Australia -- The best Aussie of the current crop will be a golfer to watch this season. Scott seemed to put behind his late collapse in the 2012 Open Championship, where he had the Claret Jug in hand before finishing with four consecutive bogeys at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, with a string of top-10 finishes late in the year. After coming close to winning several times in several time zones as the season neared the end, he claimed the 20th victory of his career by four strokes over Ian Poulter before the home fans in the Australian Masters. ... Scott has resurrected his career in the last two seasons, in part because he switched to the long putter, and it will be interesting to see what he has in his hands on the greens this year with golf's powers-that-be expected to outlaw putters anchored to any part of the body. The Aussie, who anchors his against his chest, had them guessing when he used a shorter putter in practice rounds before the Australian Open, in which he tied for 14th, a week after winning the Aussie Masters. He ordered the 40-inch putter, longer than standard but shorter than his broomstick, a while back and said it was only a test run. Adam said he expects to stick this season with the long putter, which would not be banned until 2016. ... Scott, whose turnaround began when he left instructor Butch Harmon and began working with Englishman Brad Malone, his brother-in-law, did not begin his season last year until February at the Northern Trust Open. He won that event in 2005. The schedule page at does not indicate when he will make his 2013 debut.

6. Lee Westwood, England -- In an effort to make the most of what remains in whatever time he has left as one of the best players in the world, Westwood is moving his family from Worksop, England, to a new home in Florida. The man who unseated Tiger Woods as the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings in November 2011, Westwood will turn 40 in April, but he has slipped to No. 6 despite rejoining the PGA Tour as a full member last year. The feeling is, he can play better on the best tour in the world if he is not flying home to England all the time. ... Perhaps partly because of all the travel, Westy has claimed only two of his 40 career victories on the U.S. tour, the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic and the 2010 St. Jude Classic. Despite winning the Indonesian Masters and the Nordea Scandinavian Masters in Sweden last year, he slipped in the rankings because the fields in those tournaments were good but not great. Still, it was a solid year, as he finished in the top 10 on the PGA Tour seven times, was out of the top 30 only four times in 14 tournaments and missed the cut only once, when he shot 75-77--152 in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. ... Probably the best player in golf right now without a major title, Westwood is scheduled to start his season in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the end of January before flying to the U.S. the following week to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

7. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Lefty announced early that he would begin his PGA Tour season for the second consecutive year at the Humana Challenge in the California desert on the third week of January. He has a history in the event, having won it in 2002 and 2004, when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic, and he set a tournament record with 37 birdies in 2004, when it was a 90-hole tournament. ... Mickelson, whose streak of winning at least once in the PGA Tour in each of the last nine seasons is the longest active string on the circuit, seemed headed for a big season when he trounced Tiger Woods head-to-head while winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the third time last year. It was his 40th victory on the PGA Tour and the 18th for the San Diego native in the tournaments that make up the West Coast Swing. However, he didn't win again the rest of the year despite posting six more top-10 finishes. ... There's no way to tell for sure how much psoriatic arthritis is affecting the 42-year-old Mickelson because he's not saying, but he seems to have trouble with his stamina, fading a bit late in several tournaments last season. Dave Pelz, Mickelson's short-game instructor, said in November that he expects Lefty to have a career year in 2013 because Mickelson seems to be getting the psoriatic arthritis under control and is hitting the ball as well as ever. Mickelson, always known as an outstanding putter despite being a little streaky, seemed to be more consistent on the greens after switching to the "claw" grip last season.

8. Jason Dufner, United States -- If the late-blooming Dufner improves this season the way he did over the past two, he can put himself in the group of players challenging Rory McIlroy for the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. The 34-year-old begins the season ranked No. 9 after posting his first two PGA Tour victories last season in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Classic. He also finished second twice, in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and WGC-HSBC Champions tournament, and tied for fourth in the U.S. Open, so his career year could have been an absolutely monster had he made a few more putts. ... His success in the last two years, including a runner-up finish to Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship, has presented Duf with some lucrative opportunities that didn't come his way earlier. Dufner will join Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the third week of the new season, making his first appearance on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour. ... Late last year, Dufner made a tour of Asia and Australia once the PGA Tour season was over, and he showed that his game travels well. He finished second, two strokes behind Bo Van Pelt, in the inaugural Perth International in Australia, was second again by two strokes to Ian Poulter in the WGC-HSBC Champions, and tied for 16th in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He was consistent after missing the cut in the Sony Open in Hawaii, his first tournament of 2012, making it to the weekend in his last 21 events on the PGA Tour and his three official postseason tournaments.

9. Dustin Johnson, United States -- Hoping simply for a full and healthy season, DJ will get the year started this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He missed the tournament last year because he was not yet ready to play after undergoing relatively minor surgery on his right knee during the offseason. In three appearances on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, his best result was a tie for ninth in 2011, when he shot 7-under-par 66 in the second round. ... Johnson tried to return last year in the Humana Classic in week three but was forced to withdraw after shooting even-par 72 in round one because his knee was not ready to walk 72 holes in four days. He came back the following week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and he played in six tournaments before a back injury that apparently was caused by trying to return too soon put him on the sidelines again. This time, he missed almost three months, but was able to salvage his season with a victory in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, his sixth PGA Tour title, and nine finishes in the top 10. ... Johnson finished the season strong, placing in the top 10 in all four events of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and he went 3-0 in the Ryder Cup matches, beating Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium in singles. The 28-year-old has as much natural talent as anyone in the game -- yes, even Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy -- and he easily could have a couple of major titles to his credit by now. This might be the year he finally reaches his full potential.

10. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Even though Rory McIlroy is clearly the best player in the game right now, several others have voiced belief that they can overtake him in the rankings at some point, and you can count Sneds among them. And why not, after he captured the Farmers Insurance Open and the Tour Championship last year on his way to taking home the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize that goes with it. He seems to be coming into the prime of his career right on schedule, at age 31. ... The 2007 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Snedeker was able to pull off his brilliant 2012 season despite having surgery on his left hip at the end of 2010 and a similar operation on his right hip at the end of the 2011 season. He also endured a rib injury that cost him a month in the middle of last year, including the U.S. Open. He came back the following month to tie for third in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, putting himself in the conversation regarding who is the best player in the game without a major championship. ... Snedeker missed what would have been his second appearance in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last year because he wasn't quite healed from his second hip surgery, but he will be in the field at Kapalua this week. In his only previous outing on Maui, he tied for 10th in 2008. Snedeker also has committed to play for the fifth time in the Humana Challenge, in which he tied for 10th last year. The California desert tournament will be held the third week of January.

11. Webb Simpson, United States -- The reigning U.S. Open champion claimed last month that he is not overly concerned that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the United States Golf Association will in two months ban putters that are anchored to a player's body. Simpson, who has been using a belly putter since his days at Wake Forest, said he has been working on the side with a conventional putter for the past few years, just in case, and believes he can make the transition back without much difficulty if and when golf's powers-that-be make the final decision. The ruling would not become final for three years, so Simpson and the others would have plenty of time to make the switch. ... Simpson, whose victory last June at the Olympic Club in San Francisco came after he won the Wyndham Championship and Deutsche Bank Championship a year earlier, will be playing this week in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the second time. Last year, he posted four rounds in the 60s on the Plantation Course at Kapalua to tie for third, four strokes behind winner Steve Stricker. That kick-started a year in which he finished in the top 10 seven times on the PGA Tour, which helped him land a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He posted a 2-2 record at Medinah. ... Simpson finished the season strong, tying for fifth in the Tour Championship to finish 16th in the final FedEx Cup standings. Then he played in two postseason events, finishing second to Padraig Harrington in the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda and finishing seventh in the World Challenge, so he could be ready to make another quick start to the new season.

12. Bubba Watson, United States -- Following a season that was consistent as well as spectacular with his victory in the Masters, Watson said last month that he is anxious to get back to Augusta National to defend his title in April. He's hoping to add to his major haul this season, and he has the game to do it. He showed he is ready to start the new year in his best form when he tied for second in the Thailand Golf Championship last month. ... Bubba will open his season for the third time in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week, and he has yet to play his best on the sprawling Plantation Course at Kapalua. He tied for 25th in his first appearance in the opener two years ago before tying for 18th last year in the field limited to winners from the previous year on the PGA Tour. He did not break 70 on the course until he shot 4-under-par 69 in the second and final rounds last year, so perhaps he will have a better idea of how to play the unique layout in the tradewinds this time around. ... Watson missed the cut in his first two events after winning the Masters on the second playoff hole with a shot out of the trees, and although he played solid golf the rest of the year, he did not find the winner's circle again. He is a proven winner with four victories on the PGA Tour in the past three years, and perhaps all he needs is to become comfortable carrying around the title of Masters champion to break through again. When he does, it might open the floodgates.

13. Ernie Els, South Africa -- The Big Easy, his career revitalized by his victory in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in July, will be looking for more this season at age 43. He has announced that he will begin his season next week in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa before making his first appearance in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship the following week. Four of his 65 career victories have come on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour, at the Dubai Desert Classic in 1994, 2002 and 2005, and in the 2005 Qatar Masters. ... Els' victory in the oldest major with a belly putter might have been the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to players anchoring the putter to their bodies. His was the third major title in a span of four won by players using a belly putter, and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the United States Golf Association have said they probably will outlaw anchoring early this year. However, the ban wouldn't go into effect until 2016, and Els would have plenty of time to adapt after using a conventional putter for most of his career. ... Els fell in love with Hawaii the first time he played in what was then the Mercedes Championships in 2000, and after losing an epic playoff battle with Tiger Woods that year, he won at Kapalua in 2003. However, he won't be playing at the Plantation Course this week because it would have meant an exhausting trip and cutting short the holidays with his family in South Africa.

14. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- After being slowed by a freak hunting accident sustained late in 2010 after he claimed the Open Championship at St. Andrews earlier in the year, Oosty is coming off a huge bounce-back season. Entering his second season as a full-time member of the PGA Tour, he seems to be primed for even bigger and better things this year. ... Oosthuizen seemed to be on his way to joining Gary Player, Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel as South Africans to win the Masters when he recorded a double eagle on the second hole in the final round at Augusta National last year. However, Bubba Watson trumped him with a brilliant shot from the trees for a birdie to win on the second playoff hole, denying Oosthuizen the green jacket and a second major title. ... That was one of five finishes in the top five for Oosthuizen on the PGA Tour last season, including another runner-up finish behind Rory McIlroy in the Deutsche Bank Championship during the PGA Tour playoffs. He did win twice last year, repeating in the Africa Open and winning the Maybank Malaysian Open, barely missing another victory when Matteo Manassero of Italy beat him with an eagle on the second playoff hole in the Barclays Singapore Open. Oosthuizen, who will open his season next week in the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club in South Africa, rose from No. 40 to No. 5 in the World Golf Rankings last season. Oosthuizen, 30, said that for the first time he believes he has the game to become the No. 1 player in the world.

15. Ian Poulter, England -- Poulter beats up on Americans during the Ryder Cup, but he has yet to really hit it big on the PGA Tour, with his only regular-season victory coming in the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. However, he is playing some of the best golf of his career, and he might turn that around coming off another Ryder Cup success at Medinah in October and a victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong, China, in November. ... His victory in the HSBC Champions, which will not become a full-fledged PGA Tour event until this year, still earned Poulter his second berth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week. In his first appearance on the Plantation Course at Kapalua in 2011, he closed with a 7-under-par 66 to finish in a tie for sixth. ... Poulter, who turns 37 next week, said early last month that he was tired and figures it's time he cut back a bit on his schedule, beginning this season. He will try to player fewer than 26 weeks, he said, starting right after the opener at Kapalua, when he plans to take five or six weeks off. Poulter made those statements at the World Challenge, where he finished 17th in the 18-man field. The Englishman played 23 official events on the PGA Tour and European Tour last season, plus the Ryder Cup, the Tavistock Cup, the World Challenge and the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Tiger Woods long ago cut well back on his schedule, and Rory McIlroy is talking about doing the same, so Poulter is apparently with them in believing that playing less can bring more success.

16. Zach Johnson, United States -- After missing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last year for the first time since 2007, Johnson is back in the winners-only event following his victories in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the John Deere Classic. That raised his victory total on the PGA Tour to nine. He also finished second in the RBC Heritage and the Players Championship while putting together a strong bounce-back season, finding the winner's circle for the first time since two years earlier at Colonial. And it wasn't his fault that the U.S. lost in the Ryder Cup, as he posted a 3-1 record at Medinah, including a singles victory over Graeme McDowell. ... Johnson is playing at Kapalua for the sixth time in his career, with his only top-10 finish on the mammoth Plantation Course coming when he tied for sixth in 2009. He played the weekend that year in 67-64 while finishing nine shots behind runaway winner Geoff Ogilvy. ... The 36-year-old Johnson and his wife, Kim, welcomed their third child and first daughter into the world on Nov. 1. Abby Jane Johnson checked in at nine pounds, one ounce and 21 inches, and the proud papa almost immediately posted a picture of her on Facebook. Perhaps not surprisingly after those initial late-night feedings, he finished last in the 18-player field at the World Challenge, shooting 7-over-par 79 in the final round at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Johnson figures to be a little more rested this week when he shows up at Kapalua for the opener.

17. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Trying to put the last half of 2012 behind him quickly, Mahan will open his season this week in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. He is playing in the winners-only opener for the third time. He tied for 25th two years ago after tying for fifth in his first appearance on the Plantation Course at Kapalua in 2008, when he shot 69-64 on the weekend to finish four strokes out of the playoff in which Daniel Chopra defeated Steve Stricker. ... Mahan played better than perhaps anyone else on the PGA Tour in the first half of the 2012 season, winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Shell Houston Open. However, he could manage only one top-10 finish in his next 15 tournaments, and after seemingly being a lock for the Ryder Cup, he was left off the United States team. He missed qualifying on his own by one spot in the point standings and was not one of Davis Love III's four captain's picks for the matches won by the Europeans at Medinah in October. ... Mahan tied for eighth in the Tour Championship to close out the regular season and tied for ninth in the World Challenge in December, so he could be ready to get back on track and make a fast start this season. He said last month that he plans to use his failure to make the U.S. team as motivation to come back strong this season. He's bounced back from Ryder Cup disappointment before, after losing to Graeme McDowell in the deciding match in 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales.

18. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Another player who will be affected by the impending decision by Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the United States Golf Association that apparently will ban anchored putters, Bradley was heckled by a fan at the World Challenge last month for "cheating." Another fan let him know on Twitter that he should get his job application for Burger King ready when the ban becomes official in 2016. Even though he opposes the ban, Bradley said he shouldn't have much trouble switching back because he has used the belly putter for only five years. He captured the 2008 Southern Dunes tournament on the Hooters Tour using a regulation putter, which he utilized throughout his college career at St. John's. ... Bradley will kick off the new season this week in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the second straight year, having won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for his second victory in as many seasons on the PGA Tour. In his first appearance on the Plantation Course at Kapalua last year, he shot 66 in the first round and 65 in the last, but played the middle rounds in 72-75 and wound up 16th. ... Proving that his victory in the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club was no fluke, the 26-year-old Bradley put together a solid sophomore season with five finishes in the top 10 and 14 in the top 25. Last month, he showed he is ready for the new season when he finished second to Graeme McDowell in the World Challenge, even with the long putter issue hanging over his head.

19. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Even though Kuchar uses a longer than normal putter, his club will not be impacted by the expected ban of long putters by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the United States Golf Association. That's because he anchors it against his left wrist, rather than his body, and grips the putter and wrist with his right hand. Early last season, he switched briefly to a belly putter, but he went back because he did not believe it gave him an advantage on the greens. ... Kooch claimed the biggest victory of his career, the 2012 Players Championship, to earn his fourth appearance in the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week. After tying for 25th in 2003, the first time he played on the Plantation Course, he finished third in 2010 and tied for sixth in 2011. He broke 70 only once in that first trip to Kapalua but has done so in six of his last eight rounds there. ... The 34-year-old Kuchar leads the PGA Tour with 29 finishes in the top 10 over the past three seasons, but the knock on him is that he does not knock down the door often enough. He has only four PGA Tour victories in his career, never winning more than once in any season, and he hopes this is the year that he changes that. Kuchar showed signs of becoming a major player last year when he tied for third at the Masters and tied for ninth in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Previously, he had only two top-10 finishes in the Grand Slam events.

20. Steve Stricker, United States -- It's not as if Stricker's season went downhill after he captured the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions last year, but he didn't make it back to the winner's circle again despite six other finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour. That ended at three his streak of years with multiple victories on the circuit, but he still has claimed eight of his 12 victories since 2009, winning at least one title in each of the past four seasons. However, he was very disappointed in his 0-4 record at the Ryder Cup. He has been one of the best putters in the world, but the short stick let him down in the second half of last season. ... Stricker is back to defend his title this week at Kapalua, where he shot 8-under-par 63 in the second round and won by three strokes over Martin Laird of Scotland a year ago. He is playing at the Plantation Course for the seventh time, and he has finished in the top 10 in each of the past four years, also nearly winning the tournament in 2008. Stricker shot 9-under-par 64 in the final round that year to catch Daniel Chopra at the end of regulation, but the Swede beat him with a birdie on the second extra hole. ... Stricker, who will turn 46 next month, has said he will cut back his schedule drastically, playing only about 10 times on the PGA Tour in order to spend more time with his family and a foundation he recently created. He probably will not play again until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship next month.

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.