1. Geoff Ogilvy. He was my Masters pick the first week of the season and nothing’s changed since.
2. The return of No. 1. No, not Tiger’s anti-climatic cameo in the desert, but rather Lorena Ochoa’s queenly 2009 debut, during which she shot a stellar closing 66 to roar to victory in Thailand. How many times will she win this year? My over-under is 9.
3. Mayakoba. Note to snowbound golf fans: You really need to make this your winter getaway next year. A great course, thin crowds and mellow players make for a perfect spectating experience and there’s tons of sun and fun and places to tee it up around Playa del Carmen. When you go, try to swing villa #703 at the Banyan Tree resort. Trust me on this.
4. Paul Casey. A longtime Hot List favorite finally made a splash on these shores. Nobody was going to beat Ogilvy in the final, but hopefully this solid performance will allow Casey to finally play to his potential in the U.S. after a career of success in Europe and Asia.
5. The Masters. As soon as the Tour hits Florida I start getting excited about Augusta. Nevermind that we have to suffer through the Honda Classic…
1. Paula Creamer. She talks about wanting to be No. 1 but given a chance to make a huge statement — a final round duel with Ochoa — she chopped broccoli on the way to a 73. I guess it’s hard to be intimidating with pink bows in your hair.
2. Match Play Sunday. After a topsy-turvy week of endless action, the final at the Match Play Championship always feels stale, with too many holes and not enough drama. There seems to be a consensus building to play the semi in the morning and an 18-hole final after lunch. Sounds tasty to me.
3. J.J. Henry. This onetime Ryder Cupper badly needs to get his career back on track, but he let one get away at Mayakoba with some untimely bogeys on the final 9 holes. And J.J. was hoping nobody would notice…
4. TV golf fans. At the Match Play we not only got a Faldo-Azinger reunion — the only thing that can seem to engage Nasty Nick is his nemesis Zing — but also vintage nuttiness from J. Miller. The rest of the year is destined to be boring after that.
5. Charley Hoffman. He used to have the best hair in golf, but that title now belongs to Rory McIlroy.