Expert Picks: Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton FoundationJanuary 15, 2013
The PGA TOUR moves to the continental United States this week visiting PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. for the Humana Challenge in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Here's how the PGATOUR.COM experts sized up the top contenders:
How it works: Our experts from PGATOUR.COM select the player they think will win this week's event by using a draft process (no two picks can be the same). The player who wins the previous week picks last the following week.
HUMANA CHALLENGE: Power Rankings | Wild card | First Look | Turf Talk | Make your picks Expert picks: Humana Challenge Expert Pick Order Player Selected Amanda Balionis CHRIS KIRK: Kirk played well at the Sony, carding two bogey-free rounds and three eagles en route to a T5 finish. The Georgia Bulldog has a solid history at PGA West, finishing T7 in '11. Oh, and the whole UGA thing? Seems to be an early theme in 2013. John Swantek PHIL MICKELSON: Rolling the dice here as Phil was T45 here in his season debut last year and could be rusty again. Banking on his career trend as a Golden State warrior; 12 of his TOUR victories have come in California, including this event in '02 and '04.
If Swantek had the first pick ... Mickelson
Brian Wacker PAT PEREZ: He won here four years ago and has had a couple of good finishes at PGA West since (T14 last year). Perez has also trimmed down, is settled in his personal life and swinging the club well, having finished in the top 10 in his last two starts.
If Wacker had the first pick ... Perez
Bill Cooney MATT KUCHAR: Already has a pair of top 10s in his pocket, giving me reason to smile here at pick 4. Putting well (T17 in strokes gained) and scoring superbly. Was T7 in 2011 and T2 in '10 here. Just hope he's not worn out from a long two weeks in Hawaii.
If Cooney had the top pick ... Kuchar
John Schwarb BRANDT SNEDEKER: Finished T8 here last year to get his season going, and you know how well it ended. Scores will be low in the desert this week so I want a hot putter, and the FedExCup champ certainly has that.
If Schwarb had the first pick ... Snedeker
Anne Szeker WEBB SIMPSON: In 15 career rounds at the Humana Challenge, Simpson is a combined 66 under. The U.S. Open champ tied for 13th in his last start here (2011) and has four top 20s in his last five overall starts dating back to the 2012 Playoffs.
If Szeker had the top pick ... Simpson
Helen Ross TIM CLARK: He's coming off solo second in Hawaii so Clark has momentum. He's got history at Humana, too -- tying for second the last time he played in the desert in 2010, one of two runner-up finishes in four starts there and his third top-10.
If Ross had the top pick ... Clark
Ryan Smithson ROBERT GARRIGUS: Should have won this event last year had he not shot 73 in the first round. Still ended up 22 under. Remains grossly underrated despite huge year in 2012. If he was an average putter, would win 2-3 times a year.
If Smithson had the first pick ... Garrigus
Mike McAllister JOHN SENDEN: Perhaps no player benefitted more from Humana's switch to 72 holes starting last year. Senden's fifth-round scoring average here was two strokes higher than any other round.
If McAllister had the top pick .. Snedeker
Chris Dunham ZACH JOHNSON: I'll regret this when Russell Henley keeps on rolling and takes just 72 putts this week but I took the veteran. Normally I don't like a player in his third straight week but a MC at Waialae has given him time to get rested for this week.
If Dunham had the top pick ... Mickelson