This week features some staunch competition, both for amateurs as well as professionals.
While the top three golfers in the world are in Dubai, the field to be assembled at Pebble Beach is nothing to scoff at.
Dustin Johnson is returning to Pebble Beach, where he will be defending his title for the tournament. However, it is the US Open at Pebble Beach that people will remember of Johnson, not the pro-am.
So who will be this week's Pebble Beach Champion? Will Dustin Johnson ascend for an improbable three-peat, or will there be another winner at Pebble Beach?
Yes, I decided to include these two in my dark horse category.
As for David Duval, he has two top-25s in three starts this year, coming off of a T17 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
While Duval may not be a heavy favorite coming into this week, he still has his fair shot at the win. He is still a talented golfer and could be on the verge of a comeback if he keeps up his consistency.
As for Daly, well we all know the John Daly story: Grip it and rip it.
While Daly's tournament at Torrey Pines didn't go as it looked it could, he certainly could have become relevant if he could hold it together for four rounds.
Look out for these guys' names to sneak in this weekend.
Coming off his third consecutive top-25 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Brian Gay certainly has performed well to this point.
He finished T5 at the Bob Hope Classic and T13 at the Sony Open.
What makes Gay so effective?
He is 17 yards behind off the tee from tour average; however, his 82 percent fairways hit make up for that (versus tour average 59 percent). He also has a slightly higher green in regulation percentage and his scrambling is certainly above average at 76 percent.
What is so impressive about Gay is his putting. He is currently averaging 27.23 putts per round, nearly two strokes below tour average.
Everyone knows putting wins championships, so Gay should be able to contend this week.
After a year of obscurity, this Irishman is set to have a great return to form.
Harrington, known for having won two British Opens and a PGA Championship, decided to retool his swing. This, of course, led to some growing pains.
Essentially, Harrington was irrelevant in comparison to his previous three years.
However, I think that coming off the offseason, Harrington has what it takes to make the most of his opportunity and put up low numbers.
This is his season debut, so he certainly won't want to disappoint.
Last year, Brendon de Jonge played in 32 tournaments. That's right, 32. And of those, he took seven top-10s and 11 top-25s. Not bad for someone who is pretty obscure to the average eye.
Posting three top-25s in three tournaments so far, de Jonge has performed consistently.
That is the key to his success. Don't let down, he has to keep going.
De Jonge is above average in driving, greens hit, and scrambling. That should correlate to success.
However, being an average putter on tour is his achilles heel.
It takes more than average to be a winner on tour. However, for now, I like de Jonge's chances of posting his first top-10 of what is hopefully many.
To date, Nick Watney is two for two in tournaments. That being, he has two top tens in both tournaments he has entered.
Last year was stellar for Watney. He had eight top-10s, and 15 top-25s. He, as well, fell victim to the last day pressure of a major as Dustin Johnson did.
However, Watney is back to his game, which is an extremely impressive one.
If he needs, anything, it is to hit more fairways. He is below average on tour; however, his scrambling percentages seem to make up for that.
At the age of 29, Nick Watney still has a great amount of potential for his career.
Look for him to be in the mix for his third straight tournament this week.
Normally, I would say two wins in a short span does not equal a good golfer.
However, with Mark Wilson, it is hard to argue that. While he has never been a consistent player on tour, Wilson's play to date has been admirable, to say the least.
He is playing every round to it's fullest potential, and that is why he has won two of three tournaments this year, boosting his OWGR to 51 in the world.
You will get to see more of Mark Wilson, as these wins push him into the World Golf Championships held at different points of the year.
This week, I don't see a win for Wilson, but I do see a strong performance to follow up last week's win.
After being cut at the Farmers Open, Steve Marino is out looking to redeem himself.
A T2 in Hawaii is the only highlight of Marino's year, but as we know it is early on.
Normally, Marino is one of the top players in terms of birdies made. That should correlate to a handful of wins. For Steve Marino, it has meant eight years on tour without a win.
For a player of Marino's caliber, he certainly shouldn't be in the winless column. Expect him to be fighting every week to get that elusive first win.
This week, I don't see it, but I can see him taking home a trophy for the first time sometime this year.
I haven't given him too much credit to date, except with last week, but Hunter Mahan certainly will be in contention this weekend.
I only wrote him in last week because he was defending champion. However, if you look at the stats, he is an impressive golfer.
Above average in driving distance, accuracy, greens hit and scrambling, Hunter Mahan has all the goods. If he could drop a little off his putting he would be great.
However, with all the things just cited, Mahan will continue to be a force on tour this year. Last year, he won twice, but only had one other top-10.
While any golfer will take two wins, Mahan should be looking to bag wins and high finishes together. While yet again I don't have Mahan picked this week to win, I think you will see plenty of him.
I'm sure by now most of you know who I will have picked to win on the next slide, or so you think you do.
However, let's focus on Phil Mickelson for now.
Despite the fact that he has failed every time he has had the chance to take over the top ranking, Phil came back this year fighting. And he said he hasn't been working on changing his swing.
This isn't a bad thing. All Phil needs to do is maintain that plane he swings on and he can not go wrong. Where he still seems to go wrong is the greens. I think he definitely has lost time for practicing due to his family, and it has somewhat reduced his short game.
Despite that, Phil's short game is still stellar. Last week at Phoenix he made dumping a 18-foot chip seem routine in his weekend round.
Phil is certain to be a fighting force this week; however, one person will get the best of him...
So you thought this slide was for someone else. Wrong.
I just figured I would add in my favorite to win this week in Dubai, and it's none of the world's top three. In fact, Sergio's official world golf ranking is well outside the top 10.
However, he has had two relatively solid performances and seems to be back to loving golf with the same passion he always had.
I think this week, Sergio finds what he needs to get it done and shocks the golf world by starting his comeback.
Yes, you were right, I'm picking a three-peat.
Dustin Johnson should and will win this week.
We all know the story of Dustin Johnson, so let's not rehash it.
Let's talk about this year. Johnson has posted two top-10s, including a third. He played extremely well the first round at Phoenix, but fell apart over the weekend. He tumbled all the way to 29th. That is his worst finish this year.
So things seem to be going well for Johnson. He is striking the ball well and is extremely confident. He is over his past and is focusing on the each tournament.
The expectation from myself of Dustin Johnson, simply put, is this: Win.