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PGA Tour Confidential: Players Championship Preview edition

Matt Kuchar, 2013 Masters
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Matt Kuchar won the Players Championship in 2012.

Garrity: What did he say afterward?

Van Sickle: He said Greg Norman taught him that. How to play that chip, I mean.

And the winner is ...

Shipnuck: Matt Kuchar, the defending champ. He's having a terrific year, and he obviously knows how to play the course. He's cracked the code. For a dark-horse pick, I'll take Tim Clark, another former champ who has played well this year. This whole long-putter thing, it's got these guys fired up.

Bamberger: I like Hunter Mahan. He completes the important double that Kuchar has, winning big events on two horrible courses — the match play in Arizona and the Players at Sawgrass.

Shipnuck: I bow to your saltiness, Michael, but have you seen Hunter's scores lately? He's having trouble breaking 80.

Bamberger: I noticed on the range at Hilton Head that Hunter hit several shots that went straight and in the air. So he's turning it around. My dark horse is Guan Tianlang, assuming Tim Finchem does the honorable thing and creates a spot for the low am at the Masters, provided he or she is the winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

Anonymous Pro: I'll take Brandt Snedeker, the best putter on Tour. Picking a winner at this event is pot luck. It's not majorlike in its setup. You may as well pull out a bingo ball with a guy's name on it. Like Bo Van Pelt. He's my long shot. He's a good iron player, and he needs to win a big one to move up to the next level.

Garrity: I'm picking Adam Scott, if only to remind everyone I finally got one right.

Bamberger: You did?

Garrity: Yes, I picked Scott at the Masters, and a certain roundtable host ridiculed me for it. I said Adam had probably learned a lot from his close call at Lytham, and Gary piped in and said, "Yeah, he learned that he's never going to win a major." I also predicted the Ryder Cup would end in a tie last year, and it would have happened if Tiger hadn't lost interest on the last green. So I feel like I'm on a hot streak.

Van Sickle: The phrase, Garrity is streaking, should send readers running away, screaming.

Garrity: My dark horse is John Huh, last year's top rookie. He tied for 11th at the Masters.

Van Sickle: My hope that the next 12 majors will be won by players with anchored putters is going as planned, thanks to Scott. So I'll pick Tim Clark, the sharpest iron player on Tour. My dark horse is Russell Henley, who won in Hawaii and is a rising star from someplace who is destined for something.

Garrity: Huh?

Van Sickle: No. Henley.

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