Mahan heads into the championship having secured the title 12 months ago, but the American is under no illusions as to the size of the task this time around.
"[Ian] Poulter, I think Tiger [Woods] is a great match play player and probably Luke Donald," he told reporters at a press conference.
"Luke is just the ultimate match play player because he's a guy that can easily chip in from anywhere, change the kind of momentum of a match. He's a great putter. No matter where he is, he's never going to be really out of a hole.
"Poults just has a will about him that makes him a good player. And then Tiger is just a great player in general, and he just doesn't like to lose. That's always a great motivator."
Woods has won the tournament three times.