Expert Picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 20, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
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.
MORE: Power Rankings | Inside the Field | Inside the Course | FANTASY GOLF: Play our game
SLEEPER PICKS: Who will surprise at Bay Hill?
Expert picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Pick orderPlayer selected
TIGER WOODS. Very tough week to have the No. 1 pick. Phil is here this week, but he hasn't played Bay Hill particularly well. Even with his WD two weeks ago, it's tough to leave him on the table, no? I sure wish Luke Donald was playing.
SERGIO GARCIA. Really wanted to go with Phil Mickelson here, but his track record at Bay Hill has been spotty in his last four starts. Sergio seems on the verge of breaking his four-year drought on TOUR, and he's had six top-10s in 10 career starts in this event.
If McAllister had the top pick ... Woods
HUNTER MAHAN. Five top-25 finishes in as many starts in 2012, Mahan had three in a row at Bay Hill until a shaky weekend derailed him a year ago. The Urban Hunter is hitting 70 percent of fairways and greens, especially helpful on a tough track like Bay Hill.
If Dunham had the top pick ... Mahan
PHIL MICKELSON. It's true that he hasn't been consistent at Bay Hill in the past, but he's finished in the top 30 in the last two years. Mickelson already has a win and a playoff loss this season -- I like Lefty's chances at Arnie's place.
If Deason had the top pick ... Garcia
ERNIE ELS. There's no doubt that Ernie was stung by his final two holes at the Transitions, but he's a veteran with perspective who understands how well he played all week. He knows how to navigate Bay Hill, having just won there two years ago.
If Swantek had the top pick ... Woods
JUSTIN ROSE. He's already got a win and a tie for fifth during the Florida Swing. And this week is a home game for Rose, who tied for third a year ago at Bay Hill. Great ball-striker at a course built for great ball-strikers.
If Ross had the top pick ... Els
BUBBA WATSON. Plenty of good news here: 1. Bay Hill is friendly to bombers 2. Bubba's already shown that he can score here (he tied for eighth in 2008), and 3. He's currently one of the hottest players on TOUR, with two top-fives in his last four starts.
If Szeker had the top pick ... Woods
BRANDT SNEDEKER. Vanderbilt's basketball team didn't last too long in the NCAAs, but this Commodore has shown staying power this year -- six stroke-play starts, six cuts made including the win at the Farmers Insurance Open. That's what I need in Picks.
If Schwarb had the top pick ... Mickelson
JIM FURYK. It looks like Furyk's putting is back on track. The Lancaster (Pa.) County native (we Lancastrians have to stick together) also has finished 11th here the last two years, so expect a strong performance from the Maheim Township alum. Go Blue Streaks!
If Balionis had the top pick ... Mickelson
WEBB SIMPSON. Seriously, how did Simpson fall this far and into my lap? He has three top-10s this season and a few years ago tied for 11th at Bay Hill. He's also coming off a tie for 10th at the Transitions Championship.
If Wacker had the top pick ... Garcia
Standings after Week 12
LAST WEEK: Brian Wacker climbed from the cellar with his pick of Luke Donald (with the first pick) last week at the Transitions Championship:
Position Name Wins Top-5s Top-10s Top-25s MCs FedExCup points
1 Amanda Balionis
Host, PGA TOUR Today
1 4 6 6 3 1311.75
2 Lauren Deason
Editorial Coordinator
1 2 5 7 0 1235.24
3 Ryan Smithson
Site Producer
1 4 5 9 1 1163.25
4 Mike McAllister
Managing Editor
1 2 3 6 1 954.85
5 Chris Dunham
Editorial Coordinator
1 2 3 7 1 945.08
6 Brian Wacker
Site Producer
1 2 3 3 2 831.21
7 John Swantek
Host, On The Tee
0 1 3 4 2 770.00
8 Helen Ross
Chief of Correspondents
0 2 2 6 0 695.80
9 Anne Szeker
Site Producer
0 0 1 5 0 438.50
10 John Schwarb
Site Producer
0 1 2 6 2 436.75

The PGA TOUR travels to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard this week. Here's how the PGATOUR.COM experts sized up the top contenders: