Commentary

Don't miss these golfers at Colonial

With the winners of the past five majors, the field will be strong in Fort Worth

Updated: May 26, 2010, 11:33 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

Steve Stricker and Phil MickelsonGetty ImagesSteve Stricker and Phil Mickelson have won the past two trophies at Colonial.
Now that the HP Byron Nelson Championship is over and 16-year-old Jordan Spieth is back at Jesuit College Prep School to complete his junior year, the golf world turns its attention to Fort Worth.

So what can the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial do for an encore?

Well, a top-notch field will gather at Hogan's Alley. Since it's 2010, we selected 10 players to watch. It was not an easy choice, as the Colonial's impressive field includes four of the top six players in the world rankings.

Here's a look at some players you should try to catch a glimpse of this weekend (in alphabetical order):

[+] EnlargeAngel Cabrera
Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesAngel Cabrera has two majors to his credit, including the 2009 Masters.

ANGEL CABRERA: The winners of the past five majors, including Cabrera, are in the field this week. This is Cabrera's first appearance at Colonial.

Why he's worth watching: It's fun to see him crush the ball. He's No. 2 in driving distance at 302.5 yards, but it's liable to go anywhere (he's 182nd in driving accuracy). His ability to find the fairway might determine whether he contends this weekend. He's a streaky putter and can get hot at any time. It's always fun to see a guy who contends in majors. Cabrera has won the Masters (2009) and the U.S. Open (2007).

Best Colonial finish: This is his first trip to Fort Worth.

PAUL CASEY: The No. 8 player in the world was second to Ian Poulter at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and has three other top-10s.

Why he's worth watching: He's a magician at times with the wand. Casey is seventh in putting average and third in birdie average. He's no slouch off the tee either, averaging 286.2 yards per drive (64th) and is 36th in greens in regulation. So if you want to see someone with an all-around game right now, Casey is one to watch.

Best Colonial finish: Fifth in 2009 (his only appearance).

TIM CLARK: The South African won his first PGA Tour event earlier this year, capturing The Players Championship, which annually boasts a tremendous field. He's had four top-10s this season.

Why he's worth watching: Did you see him play Colonial last year? Clark was leading the tournament until he bogeyed the 18th to force a playoff. He had a 7-foot putt on the first extra hole but missed it. Steve Stricker won the event over Clark and Steve Marino on the second playoff hole. So Clark knows the course and, despite the way things finished, has had success in Fort Worth.

Best Colonial finish: Tied for second in 2008 and '09.

[+] EnlargeBen Crane
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesBen Crane's ability to hit greens should come in handy at Colonial.

BEN CRANE: He has a local connection in that he attended Baylor briefly. And he seems to play well in windy conditions, which are possible in Fort Worth this weekend.

Why he's worth watching: Few have been playing better in the past few weeks than Crane, who tied for fourth at The Players and tied for seventh at the Nelson. He's 10th on the tour in greens hit, a key stat for Colonial.

Best Colonial finish: Tied for fourth in 2006.

JIM FURYK: He's a two-time winner this season, capturing titles at the Transitions Championship and the Verizon Heritage. He won the Verizon after Brian Davis called a penalty on himself in the playoff. The win came one week after Furyk didn't make the cut at the Masters.

Why he's worth watching: Seeing Furyk strike the ball so beautifully despite having one of the strangest swings around is always fun to see. He's 10th in driving accuracy on the tour and 16th in putts per round. Driving it straight and making putts are clearly a recipe for success.

Best Colonial finish: Runner-up in 1998 and 2007.

HUNTER MAHAN: Colleyville's own made the cut at the Nelson and has had a solid season. He won the Phoenix Open and tied for eighth at the Masters.

Why he's worth watching: He's one of a handful of local players competing in both area events. I know he doesn't have a glittering record at Colonial, but he's driving the ball accurately (13th) and hitting greens in regulation (sixth), two keys to playing well on that course. He's also first in total driving. And he played at Oklahoma State, so any Big 12 fan can claim him this week.

Best Colonial finish: T-27 in 2009.

PHIL MICKELSON: He's back in action after missing the past few tournaments, including the Nelson. He has three top-10 finishes this season, including a win at the Masters and a runner-up showing at Quail Hollow.

Why he's worth watching: The aggressive and fearless Mickelson seems at his best on the classic Colonial layout. And he isn't afraid to take some chances. His victory in 2008 included a daring shot over the trees on the 18th hole to secure the win.

Best Colonial finish: 2000 and '08 champion.

[+] EnlargeKenny Perry
Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesKenny Perry has won twice at Colonial in the past seven years.

KENNY PERRY: The 49-year-old was in contention at the Nelson and is always a threat at Colonial, where he's won twice.

Why he's worth watching: He might be closing in on qualifying for the Senior Tour, but he can still beat all comers on the PGA Tour. He's an accurate driver, an asset at Colonial. And he has a wealth of experience in getting around the course. The key will be his putter, which helped him perform well at the Nelson.

Best Colonial finish: 2003 and '05 champion.

IAN POULTER: He won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships earlier this year and tied for 10th at the Masters.

Why he's worth watching: For starters, it's interesting to see what kind of pants he might wear each day. But the guy plays the game with flair and is a threat to go low any time. He's also ranked No. 6 in the world, competing well all over the globe. His worst round in the past few Colonial appearances is an even-par 70.

Best Colonial finish: Eighth in 2009.

STEVE STRICKER: He's the defending champion, and his ability to shape shots and manage his game works well on this course.

Why he's worth watching: Stricker is a threat in every tournament he enters. He won the Northern Trust Open and has four top-10s in eight events in 2010. He isn't a long hitter (118th in driving distance), but he's 29th in driving accuracy and 28th in putting average.

Best Colonial finish: 2009 champion.

Richard Durrett covers golf for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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