I think everyone looks forward to the Players' Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, except possibly some of the players themselves. The 17th hole has been criticized for being too "gimmicky" or "luck-driven." Quit your belly-aching! Anyone who makes over 6 figures in a year playing golf loses the right to whine about things like this. Especially since the players know that how much we fans love to watch them hit their ball into the lake. It makes us feel better to see the best players in the world take a drop and it is very exciting to watch that hole. This tournament is great because of number 17, and the great field that shows up every year to play it.
A great side story this week is Phil Mickelson's bid to become the number one ranked player in the world. With a win from Lefty, and a finish outside the Top-5 from Tiger, we have a new king of golf. Look for Phil to play well this week at Sawgrass.
First, I look for Henrik Stenson to play well here again. He won here last year and he has always played well at Sawgrass. He has been playing well overseas this season, so his success has been a little under the radar. Don't sleep on the Swede.
Ian Poulter might turn some heads this week as well. He finished 2nd here last year and we all know what he is capable of. Look for a ridiculous outfit and low scores from one of the Tour's more colorful players. A lot of people are concerned about a knee injury that he is recovering from, but Poulter says he is fine, and that is good enough for me.
This week I am torn on Paul Casey, one of my favorite players. Sometimes he plays this
course masterfully, while other times he looks like Van de Velde trying to close a British Open. I think he will play well, but I qualify this pick by explaining that Casey has missed three cuts here.
Sleeper: Jason Dufner has been putting together a banner year, but he has done so quietly. If he plays well on this big stage, he will become the talk of the Tour.