Ahead of the Saudi International on Thursday, we look at five players who could sparkle in Jeddah.
Do you agree with our choices?
World Ranking: 1
Last five results: T24-4-MC-WD-T34
After winning four majors since 2017, there will be pressure on the world number one to add to that tally this season. The 29-year-old possesses a magnificent swing and thrives on the feeling of being slighted. After being sidelined for three months due to knee surgery, a T34 finish was all the Florida man could manage on his first start back to competitive action in Abu Dhabi recently. However, solid practice with coach Claude Harmon in Dubai last week should help propel him to the sharp end of the leaderboard in Jeddah.
World Ranking: 5
Last five results: T20-T24-T57-30-T7
After being runner-up at the PGA Championship in May, Johnson was unable to finish higher than 20th in his last eight starts of 2019. Part of the reason for his poor form was down to a knee issue. Now, fit and firing, the 35-year-old comes into the defence of his Saudi International title on the back of a T7 finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions three weeks ago. His general consistency is admirable with 22 worldwide wins and 97 top-10 finishes in 262 starts.
World Ranking: 86
Last five results: 61-T31-T28-MC-MC
Mickelson recorded a win and a runner-up in his first four starts of the 2019 season but has not posted a top-10 since last February. Has lost over 35 pounds in a bid to sharpen up but low scores haven’t followed. Turning 50 in June, the significant question is whether results seem to be catching up with his age. A solid performance in Saudi this weekend though should fend off any further criticism.
World Ranking: 18
Last five results: T62-T12-2-MC-T11
The Open winner comes into this week’s tournament backed by glittering form in two of his last three events. Although he will be disappointed by missing the cut in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, he responded with a formidable T11 finish in Dubai. With it being a new campaign, there is a blank canvas for the 32-year-old and expectations are going to be higher than ever, after his two wins and three additional top-10s from 2019.
World Ranking: 42
Last five results: T53-T6-MC-T8-T23
The 2017 Masters champion looks to have turned his form around in recent months after a mixed 2019 where he missed six cuts but won once and recorded an additional nine top-10s. Returning to a course where he was disqualified last year, the Spaniard will be eager to prove himself again. If the 40-year-old can commit to his shots and remain patient, then he could be a force around Al Murooj Golf Course.
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