15Jason Day Perfect in 13 starts, he’s done the job in all conditions, and that’s going to matter this week (more on this below). A co-runner-up in 2018 punctuates, count ‘em, eight top 10s. The Aussie also has flashed enough form of late to be enticing.14Nicolai Højgaard Oh, to be 22 again. Despite a short week with long travel after a T7 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, and essentially sight unseen at Torrey Pines, he challenged all the way to a solo second. It’s his third podium in five starts worldwide.13Nick Taylor While the Nappy Factor can’t be ruled out as a superpower en route to victory in 2020, he’s connected for another three top 20s in the tournament. A low ball flight is a bona fide weapon in strong breezes. Super form over the last 12 months.12Beau Hossler Arguably the outlier relative to others on this page but there’s no denying that the 28-year-old has been performing at a high level. A T6 at the Farmers Insurance Open was his sixth top 15 in 11 starts. Went 3rd-T11 in last two starts here.11Matt Fitzpatrick Like most, his record is a mixed bag but it’s highlighted by a consistent T6 two years ago and a T12 in the 2019 U.S. Open. In this event, he’s beaten par 11 of 14 times with a pair of 76s and a 79 ruining the other three trips.10J.T. Poston It’s been a long six years since the more recent of his visits, so focus is on his blazing form upon arrival. Eight top-11 finishes in his last 12 starts. Then again, his well-balanced attack also plays way up when Mother Nature hurls a kitchen sink.9Scottie Scheffler The forever benefit of small greens is that average-to-poor putters can hide in plain sight. Of course, as it concerns his tee-to-green game, he’s among the best of his generation, so he should love the fit in his tournament debut.8Xander Schauffele First tournament appearance since his debut as a rookie in 2017 but he added a T3 at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble. He’s been busy with a T10 (Sentry), a T3 (American Express) and a T9 (Farmers) already on the board this year.7Tommy Fleetwood The Englishman’s permanent class overrides statistical analysis in part because he’s thrived on all types of tracks, grasses and sizes of greens. As long as he’s in form, he’s a threat. Recorded a win and a T14 in last two starts in Dubai.6Justin Thomas Suffice it to say that he’s gotten out of his own way and dispatched the demons that hovered early in 2023. In fact, he’s hung up five consecutive strong showings spanning six months now, the latest a T3 at The American Express.5Viktor Hovland It’s been five years already since he rose for a T12 at Pebble Beach as an amateur in the U.S. Open. He’s 2-for-2 in this tournament since, with a T13 last year. Thrice a winner in 2023, including the FedExCup. Proper ball flight for the test.4Max Homa When he says that he enjoys playing golf in his home state of California, believe him. It’s paid off down the coast and at Pebble Beach where he’s gone T10-T14-T7 in his last three appearances. Nine straight top 15s worldwide.3Patrick Cantlay A T56 at the Farmers was disappointing but it’s still consistent with his absence of success there. He’s enjoyed the opposite here with a T3 (2021) and a T4 (2022) baked into a 6-for-6 slate. Co-owns course record at Pebble Beach (62).2Jordan Spieth Pebble Beach & Co. has been a personal playground. He’s 11-for-11 with a win (2017), a solo second (2022) and a T3 (2021) among six top 10s. Arrives rested this week since opening the season with a solo third at The Sentry.1Rory McIlroy Since simplifying things eight months ago, he’s done nothing but contend. And now, after the holiday hiatus, he’s opened 2024 with a T2 and a victory, both in Dubai. First appearance at Pebble Beach since a T9 at the 2019 U.S. Open.