This week’s tournament is the “5th major” at the PLAYERS Championship and is held at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. The course will be playing at a par 72 and 7215 yards. Last year Sergio Garcia defeated Paul Goydos in a playoff to take the title. For his victory last year Garcia pocketed $1.71 million. On a side note, if you have some free time and do not subscribe to Golf Digest, check out this article on Goydos. It’s a great read about Paul and the loss of his ex-wife Wendy and her battle with chronic headaches and addiction. Sawgrass provides a great layout for one of the most exciting tournaments of the year with two awesome closing holes that provide some very interesting finishes, ask Sean O’Hair. In 2007 O’Hair plunked two into the water, one from the tee and the other from the drop zone to finish with a quadruple bogey seven on the infamous island green, 17th hole.

The winning score last year was -5. And scores this year should be relatively similar, maybe -10. Some of the other players who finished well last year: Ernie Els T6, J.B. Holmes T10, Fred Couples T15, Kenny Perry T15, Stewart Cink T21, Phil Mickelson T21, and Jim Furyk T27. This year you can expect to see the usual big names at the top of the board: Tiger, Phil, Sergio, Perry, Ogilvy… Some other storylines to follow this weekend: Chad Campbell’s follow-up performance to the Masters and a T10 finish here last year, Tiger’s return to Sawgrass and not winning there since 2001, Phil Mickelson trying to take home another title in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL winning in 2007, and will Sergio’s putter speak Spanish this week allowing him to take home back to back titles. Some key pairings: Tiger, Ernie, and Justin Leonard, Phil, Adam Scott, and Dustin Johnson, Sergio, Zach Johnson, and K.J. Choi, and Ogilvy, Paddy, and Stricker. Picks after the jump.

The Real AC says:

I’m taking the hefty lefty. Phil won back in 2007 so he’s got the cajones to get the job done. If he shoots under a 75 on Saturday last week at Quail, then he wins. And if he doesnt’ shoot a +6/78 on Sunday last year, he’s going have a top 10 finish. Left is right there ready to win, its just one round holding him back. This week will prove to be a test for Phil, but in the end he’s going to come out on top. Especially if the tournament plays out anything like the last two years. If he has to beat Sean O’Hair again (I only say him because he’s not winning two in a row after winning at Quail last week) or Paul Goydos like Sergio last year, Phil is straigh ca$h, homie.

Get Off The Schneid says:

Okay…this isn’t going to be an exciting pick after reading AC’s choice BUT there are no rules against it. At least none that I have read. There is, however, some excitement in the fact that I will be pulling for Philthy Phil this week because I am not the biggest Phil phan. Just ask Spencer. With that, he has talked me into giving him a chance and this week is great spot to do so (see above). I like KP a lot this week too but I need to see him again after the Masters before I ride that train again. If anybody can rebound mentally, it’s KP and his Kentucky-laid-back style…but I’m still going to pass this week and copy off of AC. Actually, I was all set to pick him and had my mind made up until I saw his GD pick. Oh well. We are all still chasing Spencer anyway so deal with it.

spencer096 says:

Hmm…don’t like Tiger.  Like Phil and O’Hair, but have some reservations.  Like Ogilvy but he hasn’t been playing his best.  Don’t like Sergio to repeat…so it’s down to Nick Watney, Anthony Kim or Jim Furyk.  Hmm…

Watney has kinda fallen off the radar, but I like his ballstriking here and should find his name on the leaderboard but I just can’t pull the trigger yet, so he’s off the list.  AK was pretty solid at the Masters but didn’t really make any noise in defending his crown at the Quail Hollow Social and Soiree, but that said, he has the game to contend here, so he’s still on.  Furyk lives in Ponte Vedra, has the kind of game that you need at Sawgrass and has experience winning big tournaments…but he hasn’t made a meaningful putt in two years.  Quite the conundrum…do I go with the wild card in AK who could just as easily miss the cut or do I go with the guy who’s a guaranteed top 20 finisher, but is someone I don’t have confidence in to win the whole thing?

I’m going AK.