PGA Tour Tips: Five to follow during the West Coast Swing

Jimmy Walker could well add quickly to last week's Sony title
Bill Haas is fancied to go well in California

Starting with the Humana Challenge, the next five weeks on the PGA Tour are all about the West Coast Swing, including four events in California. Paul Krishnamurty marks your card with five players with bags of pedigree in the region...

"Bill Haas' most notable Californian form came with a win and third-place finish in the 2012 and 2013 Northern Trust Opens."

Bill Haas
Humana Challenge Odds: 36.035/1

The best definition of a regional specialist is a player who generally produces a higher level of form in that region than elsewhere. It certainly applies to Haas, a five-time winner who, after nearly two years without a title, is overdue.

During the first phase of his PGA Tour career, Haas was consistent in California, if largely anonymous in mid-division. Once his breakthrough win came in the 2010 renewal of this week's event, he stepped up to become a mainstay in contention during this swing, most notably winning and finishing third in the 2012 and 2013 Northern Trust Opens.

Brandt Snedeker
Humana Challenge Odds: 46.045/1

Snedeker is another multiple winning class act who is probably overdue a title and, as Dave Tindall points out in his each-way column, has both a stack of California form and a liking for this week's Humana Challenge test.  

He's a former champion of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am but his best chance is in a fortnight at Torrey Pines, where winning in 2012 is the best of four top-three finishes. Snedeker was also runner-up in the penultimate Phoenix Open, the only non-California event during this swing.

Bubba Watson

Most big-names tend to avoid the opening pro-am, keeping fresh for the championships ahead. Bubba Watson is a case in point and this is very much the right time of year to be getting the Masters champion onside.

The art of betting on Bubba is to back him loyally on courses where he has good previous form, while opposing elsewhere. All three of his regular West Coast outings belong in the former camp. He is reigning champion at Riviera and has won at Torrey Pines before. He's also got a fair record in the Phoenix Open, finishing runner-up last year for his third top-ten there.

Dustin Johnson

The big golfing story of the next month could well be Dustin's return at Torrey Pines from a ban and, as argued when listing him as one my players to follow in 2015, I'm expecting it to be a transformative moment in his career.

Don't be in the least surprised if his comeback yields an early win. Apart from third place in 2011, his record at Torrey Pines is disappointing, but the following week represents his best chance of the year. Seven appearances in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am have yielded two wins and five top-seven finishes. To finish the swing, he'll have another great chance at Riviera, where he can boast three top-four finishes since 2010.

Jimmy Walker

Finally, another whose long-term profile perfectly fits the regional specialist tag. Nowadays Walker is a top player, probably the world's most improved, with last week's Sony Open victory his fourth title in just over a year. Two of which came in California.

However the really interesting clue is just how good Walker was in this state back in the years when he was little known, rarely considered, winless journeyman. Prior to breakthrough at the Open, he'd made ten top-25s from previous 11 California events, including an impressive eight top-tens.

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