Say hello to the Blue Monster, and say hello to my tip sheet for the week.
Plug and Play
Rory McIlroy: Well, I hate to be captain obvious, but I see some people ignoring him in Yahoo! picks now and then. You only get 10 spins on Rory (well, on everyone) and there's a cap on his PGA Tour events. Why would't you use him?
Matt Kuchar: He played well for most of L.A. (just one bad round), and the short game looked terrific at the Match Play. The Blue Monster fits his eye as well, with T5 and T3 finishes the last two years. Kuchar didn't have the strongest push off to the 2012 season, but he's getting close.
Dustin Johnson: His chipping problems were in front of everyone in L.A., and to a lesser degree at the Match Play, but he's a great fit for Doral, where he finished second last season. It's time for a statement week.
Charl Schwartzel: His T5 at the Honda flew a little under the radar, and the South African ran second at Doral two years back. He wants his game in tune before the Masters defense, and I expect a long run here.
Robert Rock: He's never played here and doesn't wear a hat (it's pretty sunny out there, Rocky). But we know Rock is unflappable (remember his stare-down of Tiger Woods last month?), and he's one of the best putters on the European circuit.
Just Unplug Them
Nick Watney: He has the burden of defending this week, and he didn't look sharp to me (well, to anyone) during the western kickoff. This field is too deep; save Watney for better days.
Jeff Overton: He finally showed signs of life last week at the Honda (T18), but he was the lowest cashing player at Doral last season (no cut, remember) and still doesn't have a six-figure check in 2012. Overton is an emotional player; I want to see more strong results before I'm convinced the trend is upward.
Phil Mickelson: I know, I know, he's off the win at The Clambake and then a playoff appearance in L.A. But he hasn't played since the Northern Trust thriller, and I'm generally leery to use Mickelson when he's a little rusty. Mickelson won this event in 2009, but he's slipped to T14 and T55 in his two visits since then.
Johnson Wagner: He came out smoking with three Top 10s in a row, including the victory at the Sony Open. Since then it's been ordinary: T55, T24, T30. Wagner best stay clear of the sand traps - he's 118th in conversion percentage - and he lags behind on the tee (121st in total driving). Eventually the Houdini escapes run out.
Tiger Woods: I know, I know, the wonderful 62. Some of the articles basically had this tack: "Tiger shoots amazing final round at the Bear Trap, and oh yeah, Rory McIlroy wins tournament." I still don't trust Woods to have four clean weeks on the putting greens. Prediction: Tiger misses the Top 15.