The PGA Tour Rolls On: 10 Players to Watch at the Verizon Heritage
With the Masters now in the rear view mirror, it's time for the PGA Tour to roll on and make their annual stop in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for the Verizon Heritage.
The field has already been set and will be void of names like 2010 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Lee Westwood, or Anthony Kim.
Some of the familiar names that are in the field will be John Daly, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, and two-time winner of this tournament Boo Weekley.
Some of the guys in this field need a much better performance than what they're coming off of this past weekend at Augusta, especially Sergio Garcia who had a horrible final round.
While there are familiar names in this tournament, who are the players that most will be keeping their eye on and are there any dark horses?
Here are my top 10 players to watch during this tournament.
Davis Love III
After a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Davis Love III didn't perform well enough at the 2010 Shell Houston Open to receive an invitation to the Masters.
When Love tees off at the Verizon Heritage on Thursday, it will mark his 21st consecutive start in this tournament dating back to 1990, but he hasn't finished better than 21st since 2005.
He's a four-time winner of the Verizon Heritage including back-to-back wins in 1991 and 1992.
Lee Janzen is another golfer that you wouldn't expect to see in a list like this but the fact that he played well here last year makes me put him on this list.
Janzen finished tied for fourth in last year's tournament with a nine-under par. He seems to be getting better in South Carolina after missing the cut in 2007 and finishing 41st in 2008 before his fourth place finish in 2009.
2010 hasn't exactly been kind to Janzen as he has only made three cuts out of the eight tournaments he has entered. His best finish was a 24th place finish at the Phoenix Open.
Tim Wilkinson will be making his third start in the 2010 Verizon Heritage after having finished in a tie for sixth last year at eight-under par.
He's played in six tournaments thus far in 2010 and has not had a lot of success.
He withdrew from two of them, missed the cut in another, and his best finish was a 20th place finish at the Northern Trust Open.
Australia's Aaron Baddeley will be making his sixth start at the Verizon Heritage and fifth straight dating back to 2006.
He won this tournament back in 2006 and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four years, finishing in 21st last year.
In six tournaments so far in 2010, Baddeley has made four cuts with his best finish being a tie for 50th at the Shell Houston Open a few weeks ago.
While I'm sure Stewart Cink might be a surprise to be on this list, his pattern at the Verizon Heritage makes me think he could very well put up a good effort this year.
2009: T-62nd (+3)
2008: T-7th (-8)
2007: T-50th (+3)
2006: T-27th (-3)
So looking at that pattern, it would seem to me that Cink is due for a good year since he had his off year in 2009.
Cink is also a two-time winner of this tournament (2000, 2004).
Paul Casey went into the 2010 Shell Houston Open as the defending champion, looking forward to defending that title, but unfortunately, Casey suffered a shoulder injury during a practice round and was forced to pull out of the tournament.
A week later, Casey entered the Masters at Augusta National and exited just as quick as he entered, missing the cut after firing a three-over 75 on Thursday and a six-over 78 on Friday.
He's played this tournament just once and it was in 2009 where he finished in a tie for 11th (-6).
He got off to a rough start with a two-over 73 but finished strong over the last three days at a combined eight-under par.
When it looked like Vaughn Taylor was going to win the Shell Houston Open, especially after he was given second life by Anthony Kim, his consecutive bunker-to-bunker shots on the first playoff hole brought his hopes crashing down.
This will be Taylor's sixth start at the Verizon Heritage with back-to-back top five finishes in 2006 and 2007, missing the cut in 2008, and finishing in 30th last year.
Taylor has had good success so far in 2010 with top 10 finishes in the Phoenix Open, the Bob Hope Classic, and the aforementioned Shell Houston Open.
You may have never known this name had Matt Kuchar not been one of Tiger Woods' playing partners in the first and second round of the Masters this past weekend.
Instead of being intimidated, Kuchar went out and fired a two-under par 70 in the very first round. Though he was a combined three-over par over the next two rounds, he finished with a promising one-under 71 on Sunday.
This will be Matt's fourth straight appearance at the Verizon Heritage and his seventh overall, his best finish coming in 2008 when he finished tied for seventh at eight-under par.
So far in 2010, Kuchar has put a nice year together with four top 10 finishes in 10 tournaments including a second place finish in the Bob Hope Classic.
This will be Boo Weekley's fourth appearance at the Verizon Heritage having won this tournament in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008, and finishing in 13th last year.
Since he's won twice here, he can't be counted on to do so again this year.
Weekley has made five cuts out of the nine total tournaments he's played in this year but has not finished better than his 24th place finish in the Puerto Rico Open.
Brian Gay is the defending champion of the Verizon Heritage Tournament where you receive a strange looking trophy and a jacket I wouldn't be caught dead in.
But, that being said, you still have to give Brian credit for firing a final round seven-under par 64 to win last year's tournament and finishing with a total 20-under par score.
Gay was in the Masters this past weekend but didn't make the cut after an opening round 74 and second round 77 to miss the cut by four strokes (+3).
So far in 2010, Brian Gay has had a pretty good year, making eight cuts out of the 10 tournaments he's entered.
Of those eight, he has three top 20 finishes and one top 10 which was a ninth place finish in the Accenture Match Play Championship.