Expert picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational

Justin Rose during the second round of the Valspar Championship Friday at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Two-time defending champ Tiger Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Tuesday, citing a recurring back injury. That means someone new will be celebrating on the 18th green Sunday with Arnold Palmer.

Our crew seems to like the chances of Bubba Watson and Justin Rose at Bay Hill.

• Play our fantasy golf game and win great prizes.

Here's a look at the picks of our staff experts:

• • •

Jim McCabe, senior writer

Favorite: Justin Rose

Keep an eye on: Bubba Watson

Don't forget about: Gary Woodland

Sleeper: Jason Kokrak

Comments: Not much mystery to Bay Hill; it’s a big ballpark, and if you can move it off the tee, you’ve got a distinct advantage. Watson fits the bill, of course, but he also has gone T-2, first, T-9, T-2 in his last four starts. . . . Woodland and Kokrak have more than enough firepower, plus they’ve been playing nicely. . . . But Rose gets the nod, given his T-3, T-15, T-3 finishes at Bay Hill in the past three years and the fact that he’s trending upward.

• • •

Jeff Rude, senior writer

Favorite: Adam Scott

Keep an eye on: Harris English

Don't forget about: Patrick Reed

Sleeper: Matt Every

Comments: Scott's probably the best player in the world and is getting into peak mode. . . . English is a bit of a top-10 machine. . . . Reed thinks he's in the top 5, and if we're talking Hot List, he's right considering he has won three of his last 14 Tour starts. . . . Every, a Florida alumnus, has four top-8 finishes this season, including T-8 last week at the Valspar Championship.

• • •

Adam Schupak, senior writer

Winner: Henrik Stenson

Don't Forget About: Justin Rose, Bubba Watson

Keep an Eye on: Robert Garrigus, Chesson Hadley

Sleepers: Will MacKenzie, George McNeill

Comments: It's time for Stenson to raise his game to 2013 levels. Who else could slip into the winner's blazer usually reserved for Tiger? Start with the guy who bought his old house. Bubba is playing the most consistent golf of his career. I also like Rose, who has a solid track record and showed good form in Tampa. Look for Garrigus to bounce back after blowing the 54-hole lead at Valspar, and Hadley is proving to be the real deal. Willy Mac has become a top-10 machine and a healthy McNeill had recorded four top-20 finishes in a row.

• • •

Nick Masuda, digital director

Favorite: Bubba Watson

Keep an eye on: Justin Rose

Don’t forget about: Kevin Na

Sleeper: Brooks Koepka

Comments: Watson might be the hottest player on the planet right now, and his length off the tee can help at Arnie's Place. . . . Kevin Na might take till Monday to win, but he has shown well at Bay Hill in the past and will play with a chip on his shoulder with the slow-play fallout of last week. . . . There's a lot of room at Bay Hill, and Koepka can bomb the ball. It will be interesting to see if he can get into contention in his home state.

• • •

The Arnold Palmer Invitational field, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 2. Adam Scott
  • 7. Zach Johnson
  • 8. Justin Rose
  • 9. Bubba Watson
  • 10. Henrik Stenson
  • 13. Harris English
  • 20. Lee Westwood
  • 23. Hunter Mahan
  • 26. Brendon Todd
  • 27. Keegan Bradley
  • 28. K.J. Choi
  • 29. Gary Woodland
  • 30. Chris Kirk
  • 33. Charles Howell III
  • 36. Ryan Moore
  • 38. Ian Poulter
  • 42. Chris Stroud
  • 43. Rickie Fowler
  • 45. Jamie Donaldson
  • 47. Will MacKenzie
  • 48. Stuart Appleby
  • 49. Billy Horschel
  • 50. Russell Knox
  • 52. Matt Jones
  • 53. Martin Laird
  • 54. Jason Kokrak
  • 56. Matt Every
  • 57. George McNeill
  • 58. Kevin Chappell
  • 60. Graeme McDowell
  • 62. Kevin Na
  • 63. Boo Weekley
  • 66. Marc Leishman
  • 67. Pat Perez
  • 71. Peter Hanson
  • 74. Ben Martin
  • 76. John Senden
  • 78. Michael Putnam
  • 79. David Hearn
  • 81. Brandt Snedeker
  • 83. Patrick Reed
  • 86. John Merrick
  • 87. Bryce Molder
  • 90. Brooks Koepka
  • 91. Jeff Overton
  • 92. Cameron Tringale
  • 93. Brian Davis
  • 94. Freddie Jacobson
  • 99. Stewart Cink
  • 104. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano
  • 112. Rory Sabbatini
  • 116. Robert Garrigus
  • 117. Paul Casey
  • 119. Ryo Ishikawa
  • 121. Morgan Hoffmann
  • 122. Brendan Steele
  • 124. William McGirt
  • 125. Angel Cabrera
  • 127. Ken Duke
  • 131. Jason Bohn
  • 132. Tim Wilkinson
  • 133. D.A. Points
  • 134. Justin Hicks
  • 143. Nicolas Colsaerts
  • 145. David Lingmerth
  • 150. Chesson Hadley
  • 151. Russell Henley
  • 157. Brian Gay
  • 159. Retief Goosen
  • 160. Luke Guthrie
  • 161. Jhonattan Vegas
  • 163. Brian Harman
  • 165. Sang-Moon Bae
  • 171. David Lynn
  • 174. Chad Collins
  • 178. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 179. Davis Love III
  • 180. J.J. Henry
  • 182. Brian Stuard
  • 185. Erik Compton
  • 186. Nicholas Thompson
  • 195. Chad Campbell
  • 200. Scott Brown
  • 206. Scott Stallings
  • 210. Padraig Harrington
  • 212. Vijay Singh
  • 214. Tyrone Van Aswegen
  • 216. Billy Hurley III
  • 219. Francesco Molinari
  • 221. Greg Owen
  • 229. Danny Lee
  • 251. Greg Chalmers
  • 261. Tim Herron
  • 272. Hudson Swafford
  • 298. Aaron Baddeley
  • 314. Trevor Immelman
  • 319. Sean O'Hair
  • 338. Rod Pampling
  • 352. Charlie Beljan
  • 359. Darren Clarke
  • 398. Daniel Chopra
  • 436. Woody Austin
  • 446. Camilo Villegas
  • 452. Jim Renner
  • 492. Lucas Glover
  • 507. Dicky Pride
  • 514. Paul Goydos
  • 545. Derek Ernst
  • 599. Lee Janzen
  • 705. Sam Saunders
  • 768. David Duval
  • N/R. Briny Baird
  • N/R. Daniel Summerhays
  • N/R. J.B. Holmes
  • N/R. Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • N/R. Nathan T. Smith
  • N/R. Robert Gamez
  • N/R. Rod Perry
  • N/R. Zachary Olsen
Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification