Expert Picks: Hyundai Tournament of Champions

January 03, 2013

The 2013 PGA TOUR season kicks off with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui. 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. For Week 1, selection order was determined via a card drawing.
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Expert Picks: Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Expert Pick Order Player Selected
John Schwarb pick order NICK WATNEY: I'm bullish on Watney this season after his strong Playoffs run in 2012, so might as well take him right off the bat at Kapalua. He was T12 here last year with one of the better weekends (68-68).
Anne Szeker pick order MATT KUCHAR: In his two most recent starts here, THE PLAYERS champion has finished T6 (2011) and 3 (2010). He's one of the most consistent players on TOUR and is sure to get 2013 off to a solid start.

Would have picked ... Kuchar

Helen Ross pick order BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's the best putter on the PGA TOUR, brimming with confidence after a strong run through the Playoffs last year made him the FedExCup champ. That's a potent combination and a win on Maui would be a great way to set the tone for 2013.

Would have picked ... Snedeker

Ryan Smithson pick order DUSTIN JOHNSON: He wins every year, so he's got plenty of reps around Kapalua. I like how he enters without any distractions -- same caddie, same equipment, same game. Maybe he will drop a 450-yarder this week on the downhill 18th.

Would have picked ... D. Johnson

Bill Cooney pick order SCOTT PIERCY: Finished T12 here last season and makes a ton of birdies. Cranks it deep (304.5 yards per drive) and is pretty solid with the putter, ranking 46th in strokes gained-putting last season.

Would have picked ... Snedeker

Chris Dunham pick order JASON DUFNER: It's tough to back a career year with a better campaign but I look for Dufner to do that. My pick to win the FedExCup, Dufner may be the TOUR's best player tee-to-green. Can compete on a new course against a tough field.

Would have picked ... Dufner

Amanda Balionis pick order STEVE STRICKER: Stricker announced last week that he will be making limited starts in 2013. As the defending champion, the 12-time PGA TOUR winner knows how to move around this track and I think he will have a more "make-or-break" mentality each week.

Would have picked ... Stricker

Mike McAllister pick order IAN POULTER: In his only appearance in this event, Poulter finished T6 in 2011 at 18 under. Not sure if Poulter's late-season surge in 2012 will carry over to a fast start in 2013, but he's certainly going to be a key player to watch this year.

Would have picked ... Snedeker

John Swantek pick order BUBBA WATSON: Since 2003, 343 drives longer than 400 yards have been hit on TOUR and 198 of them have been struck at the Plantation Course. In other words, if you hit it long this week, great. If you hit it "Bubba long", even better.

Would have picked ... D. Johnson

Brian Wacker pick order KEEGAN BRADLEY: I'm shocked Bradley fell this far, but everyone else's loss is my gain. Bradley led the TOUR in the all-around ranking in 2012 and though he struggled at Kapalua last year I think he comes in fresher and ready to contend right away.

Would have picked ... Bradley