- John Hawkins
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It's official. I'm in the worst mini-slump of my career after picking Ernie Els (first-round loss) in the Match Play, then going with Jim Furyk (missed the cut) at Doral. So much for picking a couple of major champs who reside in the Top 10 of the World Ranking! This week is the Honda Classic. Luckily for me, there is only one top-10 player (David Toms) playing the Florida swing's weakest link.
Basically, I'm afraid to pick anyone, given the shortage of attractive entries, although I am somewhat bullish on Brad Faxon, who has back-to-back top-10s at Mirasol and finished T-2 there in 2002.
The problem with Fax is his recent form: a missed cut at Doral, and nothing better than a T-23 in five '06 starts. As is often the case, Faxon is driving the ball poorly and putting the lights out. In 18 rounds this year, he has just three rounds in the 60s and no score lower than 68. Coming off knee surgery at the end of last year, he's still playing his way into game shape.
Mirasol always is firm and fast, however, a place where a good short game goes a long way. More important, you don't have to drive it a mile high or dead-straight to compete. Faxon is the choice, and if that doesn't work, then I may go with Arnold Palmer to win next week at the Bay Hill Invitational.
John Hawkins is a senior writer for Golf World magazine
8dMike Fish and David Purdum