A win at Augusta followed by a second place finish at the Quail Hollow Championship has moved Mickelson up to number one in the Power Rankings.
Oh yeah, and if he wins this week and Tiger Woods finishes outside the top-five, Mickelson will be the new number one ranked player in the world…talk about incentive.
2) Jim Furyk
This week’s Player’s Championship is a home game for Furyk, who lives in the Ponte Vedra Beach area and practices at TPC Sawgrass.
Furyk already has two wins this season and finished seventh at last week’s Quail Hollow Championship.
Considering all the hours Furyk has spent on the range and out on the course at Sawgrass, this is definitely one win that would rank near the top of his wish list.
3) Lee Westwood
Despite an unsuccessful 36-year campaign by the PGA Tour to force The Players Championship upon us as golf’s fifth major, the Players is NOT and has never been a major championship.
That being said, the event typically contains the strongest field in all of golf, and we all know how Westwood performs when competing against strong fields on difficult golf courses.
4) Ian Poulter
Poulter finished second at last year’s Player’s Championship and finally secured his first PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Although he’s coming off a recent knee injury sustained while playing basketball with some friends, Poulter tied for 10th at his last event, which just happened to be an annual little spring gathering in Augusta, Georgia.
5) Rory McIlroy
The guy carded a 62 last Sunday to win the Quail Hollow Championship by four strokes.
6) Angel Cabrera
Cabrera finished third at last week’s Quail Hollow Championship and tied for 18th at the Masters.
TPC Sawgrass is not typically viewed as a bombers paradise, and Cabrera certainly falls into the “bombers” category.
However, in 2009 Cabrera was in contention after 36-holes at the Players Championship, and despite a 77 in round three, he still finished the event tied for 14th.
7) Camilo Villegas
TPC Sawgrass is a shot maker’s golf course, and Villegas has just about every shot imaginable in his bag.
The key for Villegas this week will be to find the fairway. After that, he can woo the crowd with his stingers, high fades, low fades, high draws, low draws, controlled hooks, controlled slices, punch shots, etc. etc. etc.
My how quickly we forget.
It has been less than two months since Els won back-to-back tournaments at the WGC-CA Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
His only hiccup since that time was a tie for 44th at the Shell Houston Open.
With all the hoopla surrounding Tiger and Phil, Els is flying into the Players Championship under the radar.
9) Padraig Harrington
Harrington has not had the best 2010 season. However, with a tie for third at the WGC-CA Championship, a tie for eighth at the Transitions Championship, and a tie for seventh at last week’s Quail Hollow Championship, he’s moving in the right direction.
Plus, Harrington is due for another big-time victory. He has not won since the 2008 PGA Championship.
10) Tiger Woods
If the man’s name were not Tiger Woods, there’s not a chance he would be on this list after carding a 79 on Friday at the Quail Hollow Championship and missing the cut by eight strokes.
But his name is Tiger Woods, and after witnessing the last 13 years of his career it would be foolish to completely write him off for this week’s Players Championship.
Note: Anthony Kim, Steve Stricker, Retief Goosen and Fred Couples have all withdrawn this week due to injuries.
Check out The Tour Report for weekly Power Rankings.