Here's where we are after two days of play, and who stands out and why.
#1 Jordan Spieth has enjoyed what is essentially home course advantage through his first two matches. While not necessarily having his "A" game he's taken care of business in Group 1, and will be in the conversation, possibly beyond Saturday.
#2 Jason Day is pulling a "Michael Jordan", who legendarily willed himself and the Chicago Bulls to a victory while playing with the flu, way back when I was a young pup. Day is dealing with a bad back, and is making sure everyone knows it while curling over in agony and doing like Tiger Woods did in the '08 US Open. He's one shot from WD'ing from this thing, so if he last beyond today it's just a bonus to him and everyone else rooting for him.
#3 Rory McIlroy is sleepwalking through his matches, and simply taking care of business. The defending champ in this event is doing what he needs to do, and possibly conserving energy for down the stretch, which is smart, as he knows how to win this thing and what it takes. I wouldn't count him out and he could easily repeat, no matter the competition.
#4 Bubba Watson doesn't really have the mental game for this sort of competition. I witnessed his stupidity yesterday while being 2UP on the 17th tee and commencing to go for a sucker pin on a tight par 3 and dumping two straight balls into the hazard. Bubba is more "Tin Cup" in this contest then serious competitor. He'll be trunk slamming by lunch on Saturday at best.
#5 Rickie Fowler is in serious danger of missing the weekend, and is currently in last place in his group. Just like his regular game, Rickie is feast or famine. Perhaps Rickie is not yet ready with the mental side of the game to be considered a serious threat to win this, or even a major this year. Time will tell.
#6 Adam Scott has to beat Bill Haas today to move on to the weekend. It's really that simple. Should Scott accomplish that he can run the table with his game. But who knows what will happen, in what I considered a rather easy grouping for Scott.
#7 Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar meet today in another win and move on match. This is a coin flip, as whichever player makes fewer mistake will move on here. I wouldn't bet against either player, and honestly I'm surprised that Justin Rose let it come down to this, as his talent and potential far outweighs the results.
#8 Dustin Johnson is in a dead heat with the other three players in his group in his quest to move on. He'll have to beat Jimmy Walker today, and then hope that Streb and Aphibarnrat halve their match. Otherwise there will be a playoff in this group to decide the winner.
#9 Patrick Reed meets Phil Mickelson today in what I consider the most compelling 3rd day match. Bother players have looked very strong in winning their first two matches. I do give the edge to Reed here, as he's looked very formidible in burying his first two opponents. Mickelson has managed to win both his matches, but I believe there is a reason Phil gave up on this event years ago after many years of early exits. While I'd like to see the "old man" make some magic I do believe that if Reed is on his game he can't be stopped.
Keep an eye on #52 Rafa Cabrera Bello, who has steamrolled through his first two matches, and needs to beat #12 Hideki Matsuyama to win this group. If Bello stumbles and Kevin Kisner defeats Soren Kjeldsen, then we will have another playoff to decide this group.
#14 Zach Johnson defeated Martin Kaymer 8 and 6 yesterday, but after looking at the scorecard the results don't match the level of play. Kaymer simply played extremely poorly, as Johnson was only -2 through 12 holes. That being said, Johnson needs at least a halve with Shane Lowry to move on from group play. If he stumbles, then there is the potential of a playoff with Martin Kaymer. But given the current state of Kaymer's game, I don't see how Johnson doesn't advance.
#15 Brandt Snedeker and #19 Charl Schwartzel find themselves in a winner take all match today. Flip a coin on who comes out of this victorious. Both players are capable of playing really well, and both also have the potential of not showing up. The ideal scenario is a birdie fest and this going to the 18th hole where someone makes a birdie to take the match. One of the most compelling matches for this Good Friday for sure.
#16 Louis Oosthuizen and #29 Andy Sullivan (who?) have quietly won both their matches and meet in a winner take all match today. If you had told me Andy Sullivan would be 2-0 going into his final match Friday, I might have said to you, "Who is Andy Sullivan, and I didn't even know he was a professional golfer." I guess the Euro Tour is producing another potential star that needs to be taken seriously. Since I don't know anything about Sullivan I'll reserve judgment and skip picking a winner here. So I'll leave it with "who knows".
With Spieth, Day and McIlroy all still in this thing, there is definitely enough star power to make this coming weekend highly regarded "must see TV" for the golf fan out there.