Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Power rankings: The Honda Classic

The PGA Tour kicks off its Florida Swing this week with The Honda Classic. For a number of players, this is a home game, as they call the Palm Beach and Jupiter areas home, including Rory McIlroy, who headlines the field.

Padraig Harrington is defending champion in the unpredictable event, beating Daniel Berger in a Monday playoff last year. 

PGA National's Champion Course almost always produces a dramatic finish, with the Bear Trap, comprising hole Nos. 15-17, typically playing a heavy hand in deciding the winner.

Here are our top five players for this week:

1.  Rickie Fowler -- Fowler almost won in Phoenix. He won in Abu Dhabi. He's hot. Pick him for that and his two top-15s here in the last five years.

2. Rory McIlroy -- A Sunday dud at Riviera shouldn't be that discouraging. McIlroy is playing well anywhere right now, just hasn't closed the deal on a win in 2016. Won here in 2012, holding off Tiger Woods.

3. Hideki Matsuyama -- The Phoenix winner was pretty solid at Riviera, T-11. Nothing fancy here in his Honda record, but he's such a good ballstriker.

4. Adam Scott -- Joint runner-up at Riviera, which is yet another such finish for Scott this season. The putter can be a liability, but he's clearly committed to improving and showed it at Riviera.

5. Phil Mickelson -- Mickelson has showed signs that he's ready to win. He came up short at Pebble and looked great in the Desert. Not a splendid record here but playing well.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Rory McIlroy flexes his muscle for Brandel Chamblee


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