Golf Rankings, player capsules

The Sports Xchange
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 -- Whether it was unfamiliarity with his new Nike equipment, off-the-chart expectations as the supposed heir to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, rust from the offseason or a combination of all the above, McIlroy's 2013 debut was an monumental letdown. He shot 75-75 -- 150 and missed the cut by four strokes in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, marking the first time a No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings opened the season by missing the weekend since Nick Faldo at the 1994 Johnnie Walker Classic. Despite his big year in 2012, McIlroy missed the cut five times. ... Rory had planned to take the next four weeks off and not play again until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, but it will be interesting to see if he adds another tournament to his schedule to get more work with his new sticks. One possibility would be next week in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which he won in 2009 for his first professional victory. ... McIlroy had finished no worse than a tie for 11th in five previous appearances in Abu Dhabi, but he posted only four birdies in his 36 holes this time. He had the most trouble with his Nike Covert driver, hitting only 12-of-28 fairways, and his putter. After taking 31 putts with his new Nike method putter in round one, he left it in his locker and went with his proven Scotty Cameron putter in round two, but still took 30 putts. He said he made the switch because he wanted a heavier putter on the slower greens.

2. Tiger Woods, United States -- After battling back with four birdies on the back nine in the final round, Woods seemingly made the cut by one stroke last week in the Abu Dhabi Championship. However, after the round he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for taking an illegal drop on the fifth hole, turning a bogey into a triple-bogey 7 and his 72-75 -- 147 fell one stroke short of the cutline. Tiger called over playing partner Martin Kaymer, who agreed that Woods' ball was embedded and that he was allowed a free drop. However, the embedded ball rule applies only to grass areas and he was in sand. ... The extra days off will allow Woods a little more time to get used to the poa annua he grew up playing, although now he prefers bermuda, before the Farmers Insurance Open. He will be playing for the 13th time in the event at Torrey Pines, where he has won seven times as a pro, including his last major title in a playoff over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open. ... Woods hit only 11-of-28 fairways and 19-of-36 greens in Abu Dhabi, but gave himself a chance by averaging 28.5 putts per round, including several from long range. He did not know it at the time, but he has 6-over-par for the second round after the triple bogey, but he reeled off five birdies in the next nine holes. Still, he could not avoid missing the cut for the first time in 21 European Tour events in his career and he missed the cut for the first time since the Greenbrier last July. Incredibly, he has only 10 missed cuts in his career.

3. Luke Donald, England -- Not that was every going to be easy, but Donald's goal to regain the No. 1 position in the World Golf Rankings became at least a little more difficult when he lost ground without even hitting a shot. In fact, because of the two-year sliding scale on which the rankings are based, he slipped one spot to No. 3 behind top-ranked Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods last week before any of them played even one hole in the new season, with Woods regaining the No. 2 spot that the Englishman took by winning the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan late last year. That was his third victory of the year, as he also captured the Transitions Championship on the PGA Tour and the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. ... Donald was part of a power play by European players on Twitter to have Paul McGinley of Ireland selected as captain of the Euro team for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. When early favorite Darren Clarke virtually dropped out of the running, Donald took to Twitter along with Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, and went to bat for the Irishman. After McGinley was selected, apparently over a return appearance by Colin Montgomerie, Donald said on Twitter: "Very happy for Paul McGinley, his enthusiasm and attention to detail will serve Team Europe very well. Telling stat: As a captain/assistant/player in international team events, his side is 11-0." ... Luke continues to prepare for the season at his home in South Florida and has committed to play for the first time this season in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in three weeks.

4. Dustin Johnson, United States -- The day after withdrawing from the Sony Open in Hawaii after nine holes in round two because of flu-like symptoms, it was clear the Johnson had come down with a full-blown case of the flu. He posted a message on Twitter that read: "Can't sleep. Feel like crap. Hope to get over this ASAP!!!" Two days later, he was feeling well enough to Tweet about a new club he will be playing: "The first club build @taylormadegolf Tour truck in 2013 is a 14.5 RBZ Stage 2 fairway for DJ. Smile!" ... Johnson will be playing that club this week in the Farmers Insurance Open, teeing it up for the sixth time in the tournament at Torrey Pines. The only time he played really well in the San Diego area stop on the PGA Tour came when he tied for third two years ago by posting three rounds in the 60s, including a closing 6-under-par 66 to finish three strokes behind winner Bubba Watson. His only other top-20 finish in the tournament came when he tied for 19th in 2009. When the U.S. Open was played on Torrey Pines' South Course in 2008, he could not break the USGA's par of 71 in any of his four rounds and finished in a tie for 48th. ... Johnson's new TaylorMade R1 driver got him into and out of trouble in his victory to start the season in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, particularly in the final round. He drove into the bushes and made a double bogey on the 13th hole, allowing Steve Stricker to pull to within one stroke, but then nearly drove the 14th green and chipped in for eagle.

5. Justin Rose, England -- When Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods missed the cut, Rose was at the top of the marquee and the leaderboard last week in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he took a two-stroke lead into the final round after he posted three consecutive scores in the 60s. However, he finished with a 1-under-par 71, including bogeys on the 11th and 17th holes, to finish in a tie for second, one stroke behind Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who closed with a 68. ... Rosy is sticking around in the Middle East this week to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the fifth time and he's hoping that his strong start to the season will allow him to play well at Doha Golf Club for the first time. He has missed the cut in his four previous appearances in Qatar, the last in 2009, and he is a combined 18-over-par on the course, never having broken par in his eight rounds. The Englishman won't play on the PGA Tour, according to the schedule at, until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near the end of next month. ... Rose, who was seeking his sixth victory on the European Tour and 14th as a professional, came to the last hole in Abu Dhabi needing a birdie to force a playoff with Donaldson, but lipped out a 12-foot putt that would have gotten him to extra holes. He played well enough from tee-to-green, but struggled on the greens after taking only 26 putts on Thursday, averaging 30.3 the rest of the way. After carding only five bogeys in his first 54 holes, he had three on Sunday after missing the green each time.

6. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Posting four consecutive rounds in the 60s wasn't enough for Snedeker to record a really high finish in the birdie-fest that is the Humana Challenge, as he finished in a tie for 23rd. Still, he has broken par in all seven rounds he has played this season and is a cumulative 29-under-par, as he also finished third in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. ... Sneds will be at Torrey Pines this week to defend his title in the Farmers Insurance Open, which he won in a playoff over Kyle Stanley for the fourth victory of his PGA Tour career, which he added to later in the year when he captured the Tour Championship to earn the FedEx Cup. He started the final round at Torrey Pines seven strokes behind, but closed with a 5-under-par 67 and got into the playoff when Stanley three-putted from 45 feet for a triple-bogey 8 on the 72nd hole. Snedeker made a five-foot par putt on the second extra hole and was the winner when Stanley's putt from almost the same distance lipped out. Sneds has three other top-10 finishes in the tournament, including a tie for second in 2010 and solo third in 2007. ... Snedeker recorded three rounds of 5-under 67 and a 68 last week in the Humana Challenge, but he simply did not go low enough. He recorded only four bogeys in 72 holes, including two in the final round, when he lost ground despite shooting his third 67. Snedeker was only 1-under through 13 holes on the final day, but saved his round by carding birdies on four of the last five holes.

7. Adam Scott, Australia -- As expected, Scott will open his season in the middle of next month in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades. In fact, after being blank since late last year, the schedule page at listed a tentative full schedule of 19 official events from the Northern Trust through the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in China at the end of October. ... Of course, he will play more than that, because the schedule did not list any of the Australian events that Adam plays late in the year, and you know he will defend the title he claimed in November in the Australian Masters, and also probably play in the Australian Open. Scotty also listed on his schedule the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village in October, as he is a lock to be on the International team, and the Tavistock Cup, an exhibition involving the touring pros who spend time in Orlando, Fla., in March. ... After opening at Riviera, Scott plans to play the following week in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, and then tee it up in three of the four events of the Florida Swing and the Tavistock Cup leading up to the Masters. Since an Aussie has ever claimed the Green Jacket at Augusta, one Australian news outlet thought it was important enough that four players from Down Under -- Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and John Senden -- had accepted invitations to the Masters to make it a headline story last week.

8. Lee Westwood, England -- Westwood is spending most of his time these days at his new hangout in Florida getting ready for the new season, but he flew to Los Angeles one day last week for a PING photo shoot at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Bubba Watson, his PING stablemate, posted a picture on Twitter of the Englishman having his nose powdered by a makeup artist for the early-morning shoot. ... Westy already has said he will open the season in two weeks at the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour, and officials of the event in the United Arab Emirates announced last week that he also will take part in a nine-hole shootout with five other players two days before the tournament starts. He will make his 2013 debut on the PGA Tour the following week in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, one of seven events he plans to play in the United States before the Masters in April. ... Westwood is considered by many to be the best player in the world without a major championship and part of the reason he moved his family to U.S. in December is that three of the four Grand Slam events are played on this side of the Atlantic. Traveling back and forth to England hasn't worked out so well, as his only victories on the PGA Tour have come in the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic and 2010 St. Jude Classic, so he figured that living over here would give him a better chance to not only win on the best tour in the world, but in the biggest events.

9. Phil Mickelson, United States -- Lefty was on the verge of missing the 54-hole cut in his first event of the year before carding birdies on the 16th and 17th hole of round three last week in the Humana Challenge. He opened with a mediocre even-par 72 on the La Quinta Country Club, but then reeled off rounds of 67-66-66 to wind up in a tie for 37th. ... After getting his season started last week, Mickelson will play in his hometown event, the Farmers Insurance Open, for the 23rd consecutive year and 24th time overall. He has won the tournament three times, in 1993, 2000 and 2001, three of his 18 victories on the West Coast Swing. In 2003, he bounced back from an opening 3-over-par 75 with rounds of 69-69-65 to win by four strokes over Dave Rummells. Seven years later, he started with 66-67-67 and closed with a 70 to coast to a four-stroke victory over Tiger Woods and Shigeki Maruyama. A year later, he was able to defend his title despite carding a double bogey on the third extra hole when Frank Lickliter made triple bogey. After both hit their tee shots into a canyon, Lickliter three-putted from 12 feet. ... Mickelson carded three bogeys and a double bogey in his first two rounds last week in the Humana Challenge, but then had only a single bogey while collecting 13 birdies over the last two days. Among the good news was that he hit more than 60 percent of the fairways after finishing last season at a little over 50 percent.

10. Bubba Watson, United States -- After taking two weeks off to recover from the flu he battled throughout the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions en route to a tie for fourth, Watson is back on the PGA Tour this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. He's also planning to play next week in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and again in Arizona in the final event of the West Coast Swing, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, near Tucson. ... Bubba is teeing it up in the event at Torrey Pines this week for the eighth consecutive year, and he took home the title two years ago. After opening with a 1-under-par 71, he reeled off rounds of 65-69-67 to claim a one-stroke victory over local favorite Phil Mickelson. Watson holed a 12-foot for birdie on the final hole of the South Course and had to wait to see if Lefty could catch him. Mickelson had caddie Bones Mackay pull the flag for his eagle try with a lob wedge from 72 yards, and the ball stopped four feet short of the hole. ... That was the second of Watson's four victories on the PGA Tour, and he has a pretty good record at Torrey Pines beyond that. He tied for fourth in 2007, when he posted three rounds in the 60s, only to have a 2-over-par 74 in round two eventually leave him four strokes behind winner Tiger Woods. Watson also tied for seventh in 2009, when a 77 in round three did him in, and tied for 13th as defending champion last year. When the U.S. Open was played on the South Course at Torrey in 2008, he shot 77-77 and missed the cut by five shots.

11. Jason Dufner, United States -- Playing in the Middle East for the first time, Dufner played solid golf all the way but saved his best for Sunday, posting a 4-under-par 68 in the final round to tie for ninth in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He was challenging for the lead before making two bogeys in his last 10 holes, on the ninth and 18th at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. ... Dufner's game obviously travels well, as he has posted four consecutive top-20 finishes in events overseas since late last year, and he is staying in the Middle East this week to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the first time. He told reporters last week in Abu Dhabi that he is considering joining the European Tour and playing both major tours in the same season some time in the future, but not this year. Dufner had committed to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but has changed his mind and there has been no indication as to when he will return to the PGA Tour. ... Duf started fast on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, climbing the leaderboard with five birdies in his first eight holes, the last three in succession. However, he cooled off and could manage only one more the rest of the day, at No. 14. Had he figured out the greens sooner, he really might have challenged, as he averaged 31.0 putts the first two days and 28.5 on the weekend while finishing six strokes back. After making only 10 birdies in the first three rounds, Dufner recorded six on Sunday.

12. Webb Simpson, United States -- Simpson saved his best for last in the Humana Challenge, shooting 7-under-par 65 in the third round on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West. It was his best score of the year, but it wasn't enough to make the 54-hole cut, which he missed by two shots. It was the first time the U.S. Open champion failed to make it to the weekend since the Barclays to open the PGA Tour playoffs last August. ... After playing in each of the first three events in the new PGA Tour season, Simpson apparently will take two weeks off before returning for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He has not committed to the Waste Management Phoenix Open next week, even though he tied for eighth in each of the last two years at TPC Scottsdale. Still, if he plays in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, it means he will play in five of the first eight events, equaling the most he has played in one season before the PGA Tour heads to Florida. ... Simpson, who finished in the top 20 of the first two events of the season, put himself in a hole by shooting 73-70 in the first two rounds of the Humana Challenge, carding only eight birdies as much of the field went low in the California desert. Then he carded six birdies and an eagle on Saturday, with his only hiccup a bogey on the 14th hole. Webb followed that by finishing birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to shoot 5-under 31 on the back nine. His double-bogey 5 on the third hole of round two cost him a chance to play on Sunday.

13. Ernie Els, South Africa -- Playing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time, the Big Easy could not break 70 in any of his four rounds and wound up in a tie for 39th in his second event of the season. After opening with a 66 in the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions two weeks ago, he has been unable to crack the 60s in his last seven rounds. ... Els will tee it up again this week on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour, in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which he won the first time he played at Doha Golf Club in 2005. He was five strokes behind at the start of the final round that year, but closed with a 7-under-par 65 to beat Henrik Stenson of Sweden by one stroke. In his other three appearances in Qatar, he finished solo third in 2007, two strokes behind his pal, Retief Goosen, tied for 13th in 2007, and tied for 31st in 2009. His 2013 PGA Tour debut still is set for the Northern Trust Open in the middle of February. ... Els saved his best golf of the week in Abu Dhabi for Sunday, when he closed with a 2-under-par 70. However, it could have been better because he was bogey-free through 17 holes, but took a double-bogey 6 on the last. He started the final round quickly with three birdies in the first five holes, but did not make another the rest of the day, recording 12 consecutive pars before his shaky finish. Ernie continued to struggle with his belly putter, averaging 30 putts per round.

14. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- Following a week off to savor his victory in the Volvo Golf Champions, Louie returns this week to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for the seventh time in the last nine years. His best finish at Doha Golf Club was a tie for second in 2009, when he started with three rounds in the 60s before closing with a 1-under-par 71 to wind up three strokes behind Alvaro Quiros of Spain. He also tied for eighth in 2005 and tied for 14th in 2010. The South African never has won on the Middle East Swing of the Euro Tour, but he finished second in the 2009 Abu Dhabi Championship and tied for third in the 2008 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and has one other top-10 finish in each of the three tournaments. ... With his game finally back on track after he struggled for two years because of injury, Oosthuizen said he is pointing for the majors this year, hoping to add to his seven-stroke victory in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. Having climbed to a career-high fourth in the World Golf Rankings, he knows the best way to gain ground on Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald would be to capture another major. ... The European Tour last week cited Oosthuizen's double eagle on the second hole in the final round of the Masters, a 253-yard howitzer with a 4-iron, as its Shot of the Year. Of course, PGA Tour honors went to Bubba Watson, whose hook shot out of the trees led to a birdie that beat Oosty on the second playoff hole at Augusta.

15. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Trying to record his third consecutive top-10 finish to start the season and his 32nd in the last three-plus seasons on the PGA Tour, Kuchar fell a bit short with a tie for 16th in the Humana Challenge. He put himself in a hole by opening with a 2-under-par 70 at La Quinta Country Club as much of the field went low, but finished with rounds of 64-69-65. ... Kuchar is going to take a break at home with his family in St. Simons Island, Ga., after playing in each of the first three tournaments of the season. He has not said when he will return, but it could be in three weeks at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, where he has played each of the last six years and seven times in all during his career. Surprisingly, for a guy who is a top-10 machine, his best finish in the Los Angeles area event was a tie for 14th in 2008. ... Matt carded seven birdies and an eagle in his second-round 64 last week in the Humana Challenge, and then posted six birdies and another eagle while closing with a 65. His best stretch of the week came when he had four birdies and an eagle while shooting 6-under 30 on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West in round two. After opening the season with a 1-over-par 74 in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Kuchar has broken par in nine of his last 10 rounds, and was at even-par 70 in the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii. He was 42-under in 180 holes during that stretch.

16. Ian Poulter, England -- Poulter uses Twitter perhaps more than any player on the PGA Tour, and in the midst of what apparently be a six-week break before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he will have plenty of time to shoot off messages. Last week, he complained that U.S. Customs in Orlando, Fla., was still holding his new 288 GTO, even though he had paid all of the duties. So, Ian had to use one of his other cars to drive his kids to play miniature golf at Universal Orlando's CityWalk. Earlier, he posted a picture of workers loading the new car onto the plane at Gatwick Airport in London. ... Poults also was one of several players who took to Twitter to endorse the bid of Paul McGinley of Ireland for Captain of the European Team for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. When McGinley was selected, Poulter immediately went to Twitter to post this: "Paul Mcginley Ryder Cup captain truly really happy that he has given the opportunity to captain the 2014 Ryder Cup team." ... The schedule page at still has not listed his plan for the run-up to the Masters, or any events in 2013 for that matter. However, he said at Kapalua that he definitely has the majors on his mind after finishing in the top 10 of the last three Grand Slam events last year, in addition to winning the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in China. The race is on to see which of England's Fab Four -- Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood or Justin Rose -- becomes the first Englishman to win a major since Nick Faldo captured the 2006 Masters.

17. Keegan Bradley, United States -- Taking only one week off after playing in the first two tournaments of the season in Hawaii, Bradley will tee it up on Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, and again next week in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He got off to a good start by tying for fourth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at windswept Kapalua, playing the 36-hole Monday in 6-under-par, before recording a disappointing tie for 49th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. The week off gave him time to iron out any flaws that might have crept into his swing in the ultra-windy conditions in the islands. ... Keegan is playing in the Farmers for the third consecutive year, or every one since he joined the PGA Tour. He tied for 25th at Torrey Pines two years ago, opening with a 5-under-par 67 on the easier North Course before failing to break 70 the rest of the way. Last year, he started with 69-68, but played the weekend in 73-70 and finished in a tie for 22nd. ... Bradley needs to bounce back this week and get on the type of run he had at the beginning of last year, when he finished in the top 20 in his first nine tournaments, including a playoff loss to Bill Haas in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. That proved his Rookie-of-the-Year season, including a stunning playoff victory over Jason Dufner in the PGA Championship, was no fluke. He backed that up with a victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational later in the year.

18. Steve Stricker, United States -- By the time we see Stricker again at the end of next month for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he will have turned 46, and even though he continues to play well the injuries continue to mount. He managed to play well enough to finish second in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions despite a nerve problem that caused pain in his left leg. Had he been healthy, Strick might have been able to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the PGA Tour opener for the second consecutive year. ... Stricker turned pro in 1990 after graduating from the University of Illinois, and the wear-and-tear of the golf swing seems to be catching up with him. In 2011, a disc problem in his neck caused numbness in the middle finger of his left hand, but he played through those problems to capture the Memorial Tournament and the John Deere Classic in addition to finishing in the top 20 of all four major championships. Perhaps the injuries played into his decision to play only about 10 times this season, in addition to wanting to spend more time with his family and newly-formed foundation. ... With 20 professional victories, including 12 official on the PGA Tour, he has very little to prove, unless it's winning a major championship. After success early in his career with victories in the Kemper Open and Motorola Western Open in 1998, and another in the 2001 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, his game disintegrated. However, he fought back to become one of the best players in the world, winning nine times since 2007.

19. Zach Johnson, United States -- Bouncing back from a missed cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Johnson started with rounds of 66-66 at the Humana Challenge and eventually wound up in a tie for 23rd. The only time he broke into the top 20 in the first three events of the season came when he tied for 18th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, with only 30 players in the field, so the start of his season has to be considered something of a disappointment. ... Like his neighbor Matt Kuchar, Johnson will spent some time at home in St. Simons Island, Ga., after playing in each of the first three events of the PGA Tour season. He obviously was glad to get home and see his family after making the trip by himself because his wife, Kim, gave birth to their third child, Abby Jane Johnson, in November. His return to the PGA Tour could come in two weeks at the Northern Trust Open, in which he has played eight times previously. ... Johnson opened with a bogey-free 66 last week in the California desert and closed with a bogey-free 67, but simply couldn't go low enough to stay with the leaders. He shot 70 in round three, when he made two of the three bogeys he recorded over 72 holes. His best condensed stretch of golf for the week came when he closed round two on the front nine at La Quinta Country Club with birdie-eagle-birdie-par-birdie-par. Zach hit nearly 80 percent of the greens, but could have putted better, averaging 29.5 putts per round.

20. Hunter Mahan, United States -- Mahan hopes to get his game back on track this week in the Farmers Insurance Open after struggling through the second half of last year and again when he opened this season with a tie for 26th in the 30-man Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He seemed to be turning things around with a tie for eighth in the Tour Championship last September, before putting up a string of mediocre finishes after the regular season ended. ... Hunter is playing in the Farmers for the 10th consecutive year and finally seems to have Torrey Pines figured out. He missed the cut in his first three appearances in the San Diego area event, failing to break 70 in his first seven rounds in the tournament and 10 of the first 11. Mahan did not crack the top 10 in the event until tying for sixth each of the last two years, with one round proving to be costly each time. He was right with the leaders after posting three rounds in the 60s two years ago, but closed with a 1-over-par 73. Last year, he again posted three scores in the 60s, but a 74 in round three kept him from contending. ... Mahan was at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., last week for a photo shoot with Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood and some of the other top players in the PING stable. Andrew Weber Photo posted a short video of Mahan, which also showcases some of his other sponsors (NetJets, Under Armour and NetJets) from the shoot on Twitter. Mahan earlier posted a note of congratulations to Tom Brady, another Under Armour client, for become the winningest quarterback in NFL playoff history.

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; Russell Henley, United States.

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