MAIN CANDIDATES

PHIL MICKELSON
 
Is this the week when Tiger Woods is finally toppled as world number one? That will be the case if Mickelson wins his third Colonial title. He certainly rates by far the man to beat after winning the Masters and beating all bar McIlroy at Quail Hollow. I wouldn’t deter anyone from backing Phil.
 
JIM FURYK
 
With six top tens at Colonial and two wins already this year, there are no holes to be picked in Furyk‘s case. Another weekend in contention seems pretty much certain on a particularly suitable course.
 
TIM CLARK
 
On his first start since winning at Sawgrass, Clark also has cast-iron credentials. He’s been runner-up at Colonial in both the last two years and has a worst finish here of 21st. After the way he nervelessly played the closing Sawgrass stretch, perhaps we should reconsider his well-earned bottler tag.
 
BEN CRANE
 
Crane remains in the form of his life after Sunday’s seventh place. Given that he’s already twice made the top five at Colonial, during much weaker campaigns, there’s nothing to suggest he can’t contend again.
 
STEVE STRICKER
 
It would be madness to write off the defending champion, but this will be Stricker‘s first start since the Masters. In the meantime, he withdrew from several tournaments with a chest injury, and can’t justifiably be backed until we know all is well again.