Expert picks: Hyundai Tournament of Champions

Adam Scott headlines our staff's predictions at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Adam Scott headlines our staff's predictions at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

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RBC Heritage

Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

4:13:01 AM ET. 04/18/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
T1Matt Kuchar-5F-5
T1Scott Langley-5F-5
T1William McGirt-5F-5
4Harris English-3F-3
T5Russell Knox-2F-2
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It isn't the official start of the 2014 season, but it sure feels like it in Hawaii.

Dustin Johnson returns to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions as the defending champion, although he did withdraw from a pro-am on Thursday due to a neck injury.

Our crew of experts has taken a look at the short field -- which features no cut -- and has narrowed it down to a handful of favorites, guys you should consider in your fantasy leagues and a few long shots that register on our radars.

(As a guide, the "Don't forget about" category is one that showcases other big-name, highly-ranked players we considered for "favorite" status; the "Keep an eye on" category is a player outside the top 20 for this week; and the "Sleeper" category is self-explanatory.)

Take a look:

• • •

Jim McCabe, Senior Writer

The favorite: Adam Scott

Don’t forget about: Brandt Snedeker

Keep an eye on: Billy Horschel

Sleeper: Ryan Moore

Comments: Love the way Scott ended his ’13 season and prepares for his competitions. But keep in mind that Snedeker has become adept at breaking quickly from the gates; in 2013 he had a win and four top-5 finishes in his first five tournaments and in 2012 in the first five he had a win and three top 10s.

• • •

Alex Miceli, Senior Writer

The favorite: Adam Scott

Don’t forget about: Dustin Johnson & Harris English

Keep an eye on: Gary Woodland

Sleeper: Patrick Reed

Comments: Rested after his great run in Australia, Scott seems very comfortable at Plantation Course where the Aussie has recorded three top 10s. Dustin Johnson length can overpower at times this week, but the defending champion pulled out of the pro-am on Thursday with a neck issue and may not be 100 percent when the gun sounds on Friday. With new Callaway clubs in the bag, Harris English is ready for the 2014 season and sounded very confident about his equipment. Interestingly, English will still be playing the Titleist Pro V that he has played since turning professional. He will also keep the Ping Scottsdale putter in the bag that he won with twice last year and will also carry his Ping three and five-wood. Woodland’s length could be a big advantage this week if his putter behaves. Reed had a great 2013 season once he made an equipment change.

• • •

Jeff Rude, Senior Writer

The favorite: Adam Scott

Don’t forget about: Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar

Keep an eye on: Harris English.

Sleeper: Ryan Moore.

Comments: Scott is the No. 2 ranked player in the world and expects to do well every (occasional) time he plays. Johnson is lethal at a bomber's paradise like Kapalua, and Kuchar is a top 10 machine, even at Kapalua. English has already won in this new season and has big star potential. Moore has finished in the top 11 in three of his last four PGA Tour starts, including a victory.

• • •

Adam Schupak, Senior Writer

The favorite: Billy Horschel

Don’t forget about: Adam Scott

Keep an eye on: Gary Woodland

Sleeper: Jonas Blixt

Comments: Billy Horschel cooled off after his maiden victory in New Orleans in April, but don't expect him to coast after the holiday layoff. Horschel's intense game face is a given. Another given in Maui: birdies at the Plantation Course will be as plentiful as pineapple and Horschel makes them in bunches. If your league allows multiple uses, Scott finished the year on fire and I don't expect him to cool off. The Plantation Course favors the long bomber so as long as Woodland's short-game is dialed in he could contend. If you're in a one-and-done league, I like to take a flier with a boom-bust guy in this 30-man field and guarantee a check. Blixt counts two wins among seven career top-10s finishes. In a short field, I like the odds of him at least making that eight.

• • •

Lance Ringler, Senior Writer

The favorite: Adam Scott

Don’t forget about: Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar

Keep an eye on: Jimmy Walker

Sleeper: Scott Brown

Comments: Johnson, the defending champ, plays well in Hawaii. Minus a WD at the Sony Open a week after he won at the Hyundai, Johnson has never finished outside the top 16 in six starts. One of the longer hitters in the field, Brown could find the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort a welcome site to kick off 2014. Brown closed 2013 with a pair of top 20s and with a win on Tour under his belt, could this be a bigger year for Brown?

• • •

Nick Masuda, Director of Digital

The favorite: Matt Kuchar

Don’t forget about: Adam Scott & Billy Horschel

Keep an eye on: Patrick Reed

Sleeper: Gary Woodland

Comments: Matt Kuchar looked awfully good to "start" the 2014 season with a T-7 at McGladrey and then an unofficial T-3 at Tiger's tournament, not to mention his stellar play with Tiger at the Presidents Cup. He was third at Hyundai in 2010, T-6 in 2011 and T-9 in 2013. I'm also keeping my eyes on bomber Gary Woodland this week, as he can set himself up with some short irons this week, and if his putter is working like it did in late 2013, he could make an early statement in 2014.

• • •

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions field according to Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 3. Adam Scott
  • 4. Matt Kuchar
  • 6. Jason Dufner
  • 10. Webb Simpson
  • 15. Zach Johnson
  • 18. Chris Kirk
  • 20. Jordan Spieth
  • 22. Jimmy Walker
  • 23. Dustin Johnson
  • 24. Bill Haas
  • 28. Brandt Snedeker
  • 30. Harris English
  • 36. Billy Horschel
  • 42. Gary Woodland
  • 43. Boo Weekley
  • 55. Ryan Moore
  • 60. Kevin Streelman
  • 80. Russell Henley
  • 87. John Merrick
  • 114. Martin Laird
  • 117. Jonas Blixt
  • 126. Brian Gay
  • 127. Scott Brown
  • 174. D.A. Points
  • 182. Sang-Moon Bae
  • 184. Patrick Reed
  • 189. Ken Duke
  • 292. Michael Thompson
  • 489. Woody Austin
  • 510. Derek Ernst
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