Weekly Preview - Arnold Palmer InvitationalGreg Vara RotoWire.com Golf Writer
Have you heard the news? Luke Donald is now the No. 1-ranked player in the world according to the most recent World Golf Rankings. Many thought he couldn't make it back to the top, but Donald proved them wrong. Perhaps it was the length of time spent out of the top spot; after all, it had been nearly two entire weeks since Donald had last held the top spot. Who could blame Donald for giving up hope in the midst of such a stretch? And what now will become of Rory McIlroy, the man who's dream was to become the No. 1 player in the world? This must be a crushing blow. He worked for years to get all the way to the top and now he must wait at least another six days to reclaim the throne, and that's if all goes well. If not, he might not regain his spot atop the rankings until next month. You have to wonder if the young McIlroy can handle such a heavy burden, perhaps it will affect his game; we all know how important the World Golf Rankings are to everyone on the planet. OK, I'll put an end to the sarcasm here. I was trying to make a point about how ridiculous the WGR are, but I think the point was made for me this weekend when Rory McIlroy fell from the top spot after just two weeks. The good news, however, is Donald's surge to the top was a mere afterthought to his play last weekend. Perhaps the media is catching on and realizes that no one really cares about who's No. 1 in the world - until Rory takes over the top spot again.
What the Transitions championship means:
Luke Donald: Donald has accomplished everything as a professional outside of winning a major, and I have a feeling the heat is about to be turned up on the young man. Remember all the grief Mickelson took before finally winning a major? That is what Donald can expect in the near future if he's unable to capture a major soon.
Ernie Els: It's hard to feel bad for a man who's so accomplished - after all, most players would kill for his resume - but there probably wasn't a golf fan on the planet who didn't feel for Els as he missed a short putt on the final hole, which would have sent him into the playoff. Perhaps this will be a springboard for better things to come for Els, but what I saw was a player who's no longer sure of himself.
Jim Furyk: Maybe he's not dead yet? Entering last week I was beginning to question if we'd ever see the 2010 Jim Furyk again, but after last week I have to think that we will. Sure, he didn't close out like he used to, but just the fact that he was in position to win again is a great sign for his prospects down the road.
This week: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Players to Consider:
Last week, Rose looked like a solid pick but didn't come through. We've seen this scenario before, though, just prior to the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he won. Look for something similar this week. Rose has two top-10s here in his last four tries, including a T3 last year.
Admittedly a risky pick this week, but he looked fine Monday, and there's no way he'd risk playing if he wasn't ready; there's just too much at stake with the Masters right around the corner. Tiger has won this event six times and finished T24 last year.
He's near the top of his game and has fared well here the last two years with a T9 last year and a T11 in 2010. Another solid week and it will be safe to say he's back.
You would think that a player of Els' caliber could bounce back from a tough finish the week prior, but there's simply no way to tell. I'll take a chance on Els, though, because he won here in 2010 and his game as a whole is looks good.
Wilson appears to be hitting his post-West Coast slide, but the same thing happened last year just before he pulled out a top-10 here. This might be your last chance to use Wilson before the fall season.
Players to Avoid:
Villegas is known for playing well in the state of Florida, but for some reason he struggles at Bay Hill. In five starts here, Villegas has failed to crack the top-40 and missed the cut twice.
Palmer is a good player who just can't get it done at Bay Hill. Palmer has made the cut just once in his five trips here. He's also off to a rough start this year with only one top-25 in six starts.
This one could easily come back to bite me, but hey, I take risks. Watney has not played well this season, or at least not as well as we expected, and his track record here is not good. Only one top-25 in five tries.
Healthy? Not Healthy? We still can't tell just yet. And considering his history here is nothing special, it's probably wise to wait a few more weeks on Clark.
Laird didn't exactly cruise to victory last year; he stumbled to the finish line with a 75 on the final day. He's also defending a title this week, which could lead to a rough start.