Golf Rankings for The Players Championship
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Golf Rankings for The Players Championship

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1. Rory McIlroy [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #10

After a T40 stumble at the Masters, McIlroy quickly turned back around with a share of second following a playoff defeat last week at Quail Hollow. The Northern Irishman has been a top-five machine with 14 such results over his last 25 worldwide events. McIlroy skipped TPC Sawgrass last year after missing the cut in both 2009 and 10. Past results really don’t matter for the world’s No. 1 player, start McIlroy in all formats.

2. Lee Westwood [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #36

In five stroke play events played on Tour this season, Westwood owns three top-fives and has not finished outside of the top 30. The Englishman did not play at TPC Sawgrass last year but scored a T4 at the site in 2010. Westwood ranks first in greens in regulation percentage, third in scoring average, eighth in birdie average, 14th in total driving and third in All-Around Ranking.

3. Luke Donald [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #29

After grabbing a share of second at TPC Sawgrass in 2005, Donald scored his first top-15 at the site last year with a T4. In 2012, the Englishman has tallied three top-10s in his last five starts with one win. Donald enters THE PLAYERS following a solo third in his most recent start at TPC Louisiana.

4. Hunter Mahan [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #34

The current leader in FedExCup points has finished T6 and T17 in his last two starts at TPC Sawgrass. In nine events played this season, Mahan has two wins (one in stroke play), four top-10s and six top-25s. Mahan ranks fifth in greens in regulation percentage, 11th in total driving and 18th in scoring average.

5. Steve Stricker [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #15

Following two straight finishes outside the top 35, Stricker got himself back on track with a solo sixth at TPC Louisiana. After skipping this event in 2010, Stricker scored a T12 last year. Stricker’s game is based on precision, which is why he hasn’t missed a cut since 2009 and typically challenges for a top-10 nearly every time he competes.

6. Phil Mickelson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #8

After winning THE PLAYERS in 2007, Mickelson has finished 21st or better in two of the last four starts since, but is without a top-15. Over his last seven starts of the season, Lefty has registered four top-fives and one victory. Mickelson ranks fourth in birdie average, fifth in strokes gained – putting and sits ninth in both scoring average and All-Around Ranking.

7. Tiger Woods [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #1

Following a solo eighth at TPC Sawgrass in 2009, Woods has needed to withdraw from the event in each of the last two years due to injuries. Even though Tiger won THE PLAYERS in 2001, his resume in the unofficial fifth major is something of a letdown by his lofty standards with four top-10s in 14 career starts. Woods recently won easily at Bay Hill, struggled at the Masters and is coming off a missed cut at Quail Hollow.

8. Jason Dufner [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #16

In 2011, Dufner was an erratic player with a mix of strong finishes, poor performances and missed cuts. This season he’s been consistent with five straight finishes inside the top 25, winning his most recent start at TPC Louisiana. Dufner is currently seventh in total driving, 11th in scoring average, 13th in birdie average and fifth in All-Around Ranking. He finished T6 at TPC Sawgrass last year.

9. Sergio Garcia [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #7

Garcia will enter THE PLAYERS coming off a month of rest since earning a share of 12th at the Masters, his third top-20 in five stroke play events this season. Since 2006, Garcia has one win, a solo second and four finishes inside the top 15 in this event. He ranks 13th in strokes gained – putting, ninth in total driving, 17th in birdie average and 14th in All-Around Ranking.

10. Matt Kuchar [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #6

After a slow start to the season, Kuchar has delivered four finishes of 13th or better in his last five events. Kuchar finished T14 at TPC Sawgrass in 2009 followed by a T13, but managed only a T54 last year. He’s now sixth in scoring average and 17th in All-Around Ranking.

11. Louis Oosthuizen [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #38

Forget last year’s missed cut in his debut at THE PLAYERS. In his last three worldwide starts, Oosthuizen finished third at Redstone, second in the Masters and won the Malaysian Open.

12. Justin Rose [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #11

Despite a sketchy history in THE PLAYERS, Rose been rock solid this season. In eight stroke play events, the Englishman (by way of South Africa) has accumulated one victory, six top-15s and is coming off back-to-back top-10s. Rose sits third in greens in regulation percentage, fourth in scoring average, 13th in total driving and fourth in All-Around Ranking.
 
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