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Who to watch at Colonial: rock stars and hot messes

Posted 7:37pm on Tuesday, May. 22, 2012

At DFW.com, we are entertainment junkies first and golf fans second, so when we make our annual pilgrimage to Colonial, we choose players based on precise formulas, such as these:

Who will have the most attractive groupies? Sergio Garcia

Which player most resembles Johnny Depp? Rickie Fowler

Who is most likely to have a meltdown (or buy hot dogs for the entire gallery)? John Daly

Who has the awesomest waggle? Jason Dufner

And who is the dependable veteran who just might walk away with the top prize, the Tom Hanks of golf? Jim Furyk

With that in mind, here are our admittedly skewed suggestions of which players to follow while strolling the emerald fairways of Colonial:

Rock stars

Rickie Fowler: The 23-year-old has the looks (shaggy hair and Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean beard), the style (his electric-colored Puma gear could power a small city), and now he's got the substance. Fowler won his first PGA tournament, the Wells Fargo Championship, a few weeks ago, and then tied for second at the Players Championship. If his hot streak continues, Rickie and his Oklahoma State orange outfit could be slipping into a plaid jacket come Sunday.

Sergio Garcia: The swashbuckling Spaniard won Colonial in 2001 for his first PGA Tour victory, and he's still one of the game's most popular players, even if his balky putter has kept him from winning more. Sergio shows his emotions, engages the crowds and hits it a mile. And he gets all the best-looking women.

Hunter Mahan: Another Oklahoma State guy, Mahan has won twice this season. Even before that, the dude had swagger. Some might say arrogance. (OK, I'll say that.) But that just makes Mahan a compelling anti-hero.

Speed demons

Lucas Glover: A lot has been made in recent weeks about the glacial pace of play on tour (hit it already, Kevin Na!!), so why not follow the PGA's Quickdraw McGraw, Lucas Glover? He never hesitates, just don't blink or you'll miss one of his towering drives.

Rory Sabbatini: The 2007 Colonial champ and Fort Worth resident runs hot at all times, and he's been known to bark at a fellow player if he doesn't keep up. In 2005 at the Booz Allen Classic, Sabbatini famously walked ahead of playing partner Ben Crane and moved on to the next hole because of Crane's slow play. You either love or hate Rory, with his intense style and flamboyant look. We love him.

Jason Dufner: He won his first tournament in New Orleans last month after getting oh-so-close many times. Then he won again last week at the Byron Nelson, sinking a birdie putt on 18. Dude has ice water in his veins, and his signature waggle makes him a man of the people. So does the fact that he has "Duf" in his name.

Large and in charge

Tim Heron: We get a little tired of all those rail-thin studs preening up and down the fairways in their white pants and skin-tight shirts. Give us Lumpy any day. Especially at Colonial, where Heron won in 2006 and always seems to be on his game.

Colt Knost: Another plus-sized player who seems ready to win his first title, Knost is an SMU guy, which means he will have a supersized rooting section, too.

Kevin Stadler: His dad was The Walrus (former Masters champ and 13-time winner Craig Stadler), so that makes Kevin the "Smallrus?" He looks a lot like dad, and he isn't afraid to show his frustration. Now he just needs to start piling up victories.

Mighty mights

Louis Oosthuizen: Don't count out the little guys. This South African, nicknamed Shrek, nearly won the Masters this year and has been in contention nearly every week. And for a smaller guy, the 2010 British Open champ hits it a mile.

Zach Johnson: The 2010 Colonial champ has won three times in Texas, and Colonial really suits his game: drive it straight and hit it close. We're not gamblers, but if we were we'd put some money on a Sunday Zach attack.

Tim Clark: Nicknamed the Penguin, Timmy just missed winning the 2009 Colonial when Steve Stricker holed a chip on 17. Clark's coming back from injuries, but he could get well fast at Colonial.

Hot messes

John Daly: The loud pants, the long drives, the lingering chance he might four-putt and walk off a green at any moment: those are just a few reasons Daly will be one of the most-watched players Thursday and Friday at Colonial. Now, if only he can make the cut and play the weekend.

Spencer Levin: He's not a household name, but he can get hot -- as in he may try to break his putter over his knee. So many players today are too polite and composed; we like Spencer because he's a spitfire who can go low.

Kevin Na: If you want drama, Na's your man. At the Player's Championship, where he was leading going into the final round, Na admitted he had trouble pulling the trigger on many of his shots. So he takes 3, 4, sometimes 10 practice swings. And then he still backs off. If you want to watch Colonial's version of a reality show, Na will be battling his demons and no doubt some fans, who will ride him about his slow play.

Elder statesmen

David Toms: Last year's Colonial champ is still playing well and he's as silky smooth as ever on the greens. Do we smell repeat?

Jim Furyk: It's hard to believe Furyk has never won Colonial. He faithfully returns each year, he's one of the fan favorites, and he has come very close. (Furyk lost in a playoff in 2007 to Sabbatini.) Whatever group he plays in will have a large rooting section. And his caddy, Fluff Cowan, has an awesome mustache.

Matt Kuchar: The Players Champion turns 34 next month, but he seems older and wiser these days. After a decade of trying to find his swing, he has developed into one of the dominating players on tour, and he is still one of the nicest. The best part of following him? You can yell "KUUUUUUUUUCH" all day long.

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