This week the Tour is headed to the Arnold Palmer Invitational which is played on beautiful Bay Hill. It is back to playing at a Par 72 this year (not a Par 70 as it was last year) and, naturally, it packs some extra distance for those two strokes. I have some common names for you this week as well as an EXTRA SPECIAL sleeper pick based on nothing other than my gut feeling.
Here is what I said last week about Jim Furyk: "I didn't pick Jim Furyk for this event because I picked him last year and he let us down. This is his type of course, so I would not be surprised to see him play well this week. However, I am not making him one of my picks because he has let me down virtually every time I have picked him. So I am sort of giving you a cocktail made up of 2 parts support and 1 part skepticism with Furyk." He won last week, so I don't want to jinx anything by picking him, but I think he will play well again.
Can you tell me who is number one this season in both earnings and FedEx Cup points? Lucky for you, you don't have to. That is my job. It is the new big force on Tour, Steve Stricker. I am taking Stricker this week because he has picked up in 2010 right where he left off in 2009. I honestly don't think it matters what course he is playing right now. I am picking Stricker until he shows some sign of slowing down.
I also look for Nick Watney to have a good week at Bay Hill. He finished tied for 4th here last season and he is playing well right now. He is coming off a 4th place finish last week where is putter was on fire. Those are two reasons to pick Nick.
Since I didn't give you faithful Mulligan readers a sleeper pick last week, I am going to give you an extra special sleeper pick this week. Charles Schwartzel has two non-PGA victories this season and he finished 2nd at the WGC-CA Championship this year. I think Bay Hill shapes up nicely for the 25 year old and the confidence of early success in 2010 is the icing on the cake.