Our Experts Make Their Players’ Picks

1 of 7 Robert Beck/SI
David Dusek Deputy Editor, GOLF.com Pick: Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy is primed to win the 2007 Players Championship. Anyone who thinks his 2006 U.S. Open victory was a fluke is sadly mistaken. Ogilvy has plenty of length off the tee to attack par 5s; he hits high shots with his irons, so he can stop the ball quickly on fast, hard greens; and he has proven that his nerves are unshakable. I also like the way he backed up his win at the 2006 WGC Accenture Match Play Championship with a runner-up finish this year. This Aussie could soon outshine his countryman Adam Scott as the brightest star from south of the equator.• See the latest news and photos about Geoff Ogilvy
2 of 7 David Walberg/SI
Alan Bastable Senior Associate Editor, GOLF Magazine Pick: Padraig Harrington The Irishman is having a quietly steady year on the PGA Tour. He hasn't missed a cut in eight starts and has five top 20s, including a T7 at the Masters. Harrington missed the cut at Sawgrass last year and wasn't much better the year before, tying for 63rd. But it's worth looking back a little further: In both 2003 and '04, he was the runner-up. In other words, he can go low here, and he is in form to do it. The key for Harrington will be to avoid that one sloppy round — i.e., his third-round 79 at Wachovia last week — that separates wins from, well, everything else. • See the latest news and photos about Padraig Harrington
3 of 7 Fred Vuich/SI
Jim Gorant Senior Editor, Sports Illustrated (Golf Plus) Pick: Luke Donald It's the year of the control player (see Johnson, Zach). As they were at Augusta, conditions at Sawgrass will be firm and fast, which means the winner will control his ball. Hit the fairway, hit the green, make a few putts. Makes me think Jim Furyk, but he's been ice cold lately. Instead, I'll go with Luke Donald — short, straight and efficient. The wildcard? If Tiger goes Hoylake on us (i.e., leaves the driver in the bag), he could romp. • See the latest news and photos about Luke Donald
4 of 7 Fred Vuich/SI
Alan Shipnuck Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Vijay Singh At 44, Vijay is starting to fill out the few remaining holes on his resume. This year he's already won for the first time at Kapalua and Bay Hill. Now it's time for him to snag his first victory on his home course, TPC Sawgrass. His final round struggle at Wachovia only strengthens the case — it's hard to win two weeks in a row, and no doubt Singh will come in to the Players with a little extra competitive fire. Firm and fast conditions also suit this shotmaker. Nobody hits more towering approach shots, which will be key on the brick-hard greens. • See the latest news and photos about Vijay Singh
5 of 7 David Walberg/SI
Gary Van Sickle Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Luke Donald Dark horse: Jerry Kelly, John Rollins The Stadium Course isn't about power; it's about position. Hence winners like Stephen Ames, Fred Funk, Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton, to name a few. Luke Donald has an overall game like Curtis Strange — he's straight, he's in control and he's consistent. You've got to hit fairways at the Players. Donald ranks ninth in driving accuracy. While no particular part of his game stands out, like Strange in his prime, he also has no weakness. That's why he ranks fifth in scoring average. And, he has a track record here — Donald tied for second in 2005. Kelly, at left, has been playing his best golf in years after hooking up with the former Olympic marksman Lanny Basham, now a sports psychologist, mentalist, mind maximizer — whatever you want to call him. Kelly finished fourth, 11th and sixth at the Players in the first half of this decade. The course suits him. Rollins has played his most consistent golf in '07. He was second at the Hope and in Phoenix, and fifth at Bay Hill. He's ready to break out. • See the latest news and photos about Luke Donald
6 of 7 Fred Vuich/SI
Josh Sanburn Assistant Editor, GOLF Magazine Pick: Charles Howell III The TPC at Sawgrass requires precision shotmaking and solid sand play, and Howell is doing well in both categories this year. He is in the top 30 in greens in regulation and has been playing better from the sand of late. More important, he's due for a big win, and soon. Out of 12 Tour events this year, he's placed in the top 10 five times and the top 25 seven times. He notched a win at the Nissan Open in February, where he stared down Phil Mickelson in a sudden-death playoff. What about his shaky driver, you ask? While it's true that most winners at the TPC are straight hitters, and Howell's driving accuracy is close to the bottom of the PGA pack, he's also brilliant at hitting greens in regulation from somewhere other than the fairway (56.94%, 14th on Tour). Howell is poised for a strong finish this year. • See the latest news and photos about Charles Howell III
7 of 7 Marc Feldman/WireImage.com
Michael Bamberger Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Boo Weekley Only a con artist is going to tell you he has the inside track on who will the Players Championship. Anybody in the field can win it. Exhibit A: Craig Perks. But a guy who has a better chance than most, and a guy I'll be rooting for more than most, is Boo Weekley. This is an aside, but with a win, Boo would pretty much secure a spot on the Presidents Cup team, and Boo Weekley playing for the U.S. would only improve that event. I'm rooting for Boo because there's not a bit of pretense in the man, and that's a rare trait these days, at least anywhere in the U.S. where people with money congregate. I'm guessing Boo has a chance to win for the most basic, most Hoganesque reason of all: he hits it close to the hole. He can it hit low and play under the wind if it's breezy. He can bounce it up there, if that's what the conditions call for, and that might well be the case. (Carnoustie in July should be about the same.) He has a simple swing that isn't going to go AWOL on a Sunday afternoon with Tiger breathing down his neck. He's a Florida boy. He knows the grasses and the wind, and now he's won already this year, at Hilton Head in April. Boo could be the guy. But don't bet on it.