The Players Championship experts' picks

May, 6, 2013

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf analyst: Sergio Garcia. This will be his 14th start at this event, and he has missed the cut only twice. He's the leading money winner at this event, and he's coming off a good week in Charlotte.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Davis Love III. The two-time Players champion has a record 22 career rounds in the 60s on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson. Lefty let one slip away Sunday at Quail Hollow, bogeying two of the last three holes to miss a playoff by a shot. But the 2007 Players champion had a solid week on the greens otherwise, and he seems to be upbeat about his game.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Adam Scott. Making his debut as the Masters champion, he has three top-10s, including a win already at this course. Last year, if not for a bad Saturday, he would've had another. He's the one guy I think can handle all the craziness that comes with that first appearance after winning your first major.

Farrell Evans: Billy Horschel. The 26-year-old former University of Florida star and Ponte Vedra Beach resident is the hottest player on the planet. His win in New Orleans marked his fourth consecutive top-10 and 23rd straight made cut.

Bob Harig: Jim Furyk. He's never won his hometown event, but Furyk -- who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach -- at least has a good bit of experience on the course. He has missed only two cuts in his past 16 appearances.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Tiger Woods. Damn right he's a sleeper in this event. Since his win in 2001, his only top-10 was in 2008. Last year, a "healthy" Tiger finished an unhealthy 40th. Time to find out how straight he can hit that driver.

Farrell Evans: Martin Laird. Last year, the 30-year-old Scot finished in a tie for second at The Players. In April, he got his third career win at the Valero Texas Open, his only top-10 in a year in which he has missed six of 11 cuts, including at his past two events, the Masters and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Bob Harig: Matt Kuchar. There's nothing to suggest that Kuchar can't win the tournament again -- except for the fact that the event has never seen its defending champion win at Sawgrass.


Michael Collins: Bo Van Pelt. Coming off his first top-10 of the year, and this was supposed to be a breakthrough season for the Oklahoma native. It's been feast or famine here at The Players Championship -- either top-10 (3) or missed cut (5) -- and he never has made cuts in consecutive years. Time for all that to come to an end this week.

Farrell Evans: Adam Scott. The 32-year-old Australian is still basking in his Masters triumph, but he's not resting on his laurels, especially at Sawgrass, where he won in 2004. After a three-week break, he's ready to start the drive toward the U.S. Open.

Bob Harig: Luke Donald. The Englishman has a strong record, with three top-six finishes over the past seven years at a venue where he has never won. Donald's last victory came at the European Tour's signature event, the BMW PGA Championship. Now he'll capture the PGA Tour's top tournament.





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