Welcome to Playing the Field, where we survey the key players and stories at each tournament, giving you the guys to watch and the stories to know. Today, we're off to Augusta National for the first major of the year. Here's who we'll be watching at the Masters:
Steve Stricker: It's his first major as the second ranked player in the world, and that should be a good testament to how he has played in 2010. Four top-10s and a win coming off his best finish ever at Augusta in 2009 means you shouldn't sleep on the guy with the smooth putting stroke.
Retief Goosen: In four of his last eight Masters, the Goose has finished in the top-3 four times. He loves Augusta because of the fast greens, and since he's come to form in 2010, it appears this might be his year.
Mike Weir: Not a ton of high finishes this season, but Weir's game is sneaky. He is leading the PGA Tour in putting, a stat you must have going at Augusta, and has won here before.
Padraig Harrington: Harrington made a great point while being interviewed before the Par-3 Tournament on Wednesday -- it's only been five majors since he won two in a row. He's playing better this season, and is always around in the majors.
Tiger Woods: Will he win or miss the cut? Will he get heckled or cheered? Can he really compete after this long off? So many questions that will be, as Ben Hogan used to say, answered in the dirt. Nobody can guess how he will play, but do you expect a guy that has never finished out of the top-25 at Augusta to play poorly here? Neither do I.
And the sleeper is, Dustin Johnson: He might only be 25, but the guy has won three events in three years, and finished t-30 in his first appearance at Augusta last year. He has made the cut in all but one major championships he's played in, and got his first top-10 in a major at last year's PGA Championship.
All right, your turn. Who is your pick for the 2010 Masters?