The PGA Tour is winding down as there is only a little over a quarter of the season remaining. Which is just crazy to me. It seems like just yesterday I remember kicking back watching the Hawaii tournaments – the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii – it was, nice, cool, late night golf. Zach Johnson was locked in playing some really good golf. Jimmy Walker was making a Sunday night charge and ended up winning the Sony Open.
Now, all of a sudden the calender year is more than half way over, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are fast approaching and the PGA Tour has completed 31 of 45 events.
There ‘s just a short amount of time left to make a run at some Ryder Cup points, some FedEx Cup Playoff points, and to make a run at Player of the Year. There are some strong candidates at Player of the Year and now is about as good of a time as any to go over them. With that said, here are the top 5 Player of the Year candidates so far in 2013-2014 season.
1. Martin Kaymer- The number one spot has changed and shifted throughout the year, and it just recently changed hands once again. Martin Kaymer I would say is the front-runner of the 2013-2014 PGA Tour Player of the Year. Not only has Kaymer won The PLAYERS and the U.S. Open, but he ran away and went wire-to-wire at those events. Especially, at the U.S. Open.
Kaymer completely demoralized the field after the first two rounds and while it wasn’t edge-of-your-seat type drama, it was still amazing and exciting to watch Kaymer just be on point for the majority of the 72 holes he played. It was a thing of beauty.
Also, on his resume is a T-8 at the WGC-HSBC Championship, a T-31 at The Masters, and throw in a couple of top 25′s at the RBC Heritage and the Wells Fargo just because.
2. Bubba Watson- Watson was on an absolute tear every time he teed it up this year. Watson could very easily – and probably should – have four victories on the year. Watson put on a show at the Phoenix Open and at The Memorial, but he came up one stroke short and shot an even final round at both tournaments.
He’s cooled off of late since winning his second Green Jacket (and I use the term “cooled off” loosely. That’s just how hot he was early in the season). He had a T-48 at The PLAYERS, a solo 3rd at The Memorial, a missed cut at the U.S. Open, and a T-31 at the Travelers Championship.
Nevertheless, 13 tournaments, eight top 25′s, seven top 10′s, a solo 3rd place finish, a T-2 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and two wins – which include a Green Jacket is most certainly a great year. If Watson can compete or even win one of the final Majors he’ll retake the Player of the Year lead, in my opinion.
3. Jimmy Walker- I battled back and forth with number three and number four, it really could go either way, but for me, I went with Jimmy Walker. In fact, I had to rewrite this section because I couldn’t make up my mind, but eventually, as you see, I went with Walker.
The big reason I went with Walker was not because of his three wins this season, but it’s because of how consistent he’s been. He’s been quietly, surprisingly, consistent I would say. Three wins are great, but I only really rate one of those wins as a big win and that is when he won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That was a good field and he beat them all.
Walker’s wins at Fys.com Open and the Sony Open are solid to good wins and the wins really bolster the resume, but those weren’t great fields. So, I don’t rate them as highly, but this really makes my point and it really shows just how good of a year Walker is having.
After winning the Sony Open, Walker’s next event was the Farmers Insurance and he missed the cut. It was one of those times where I thought, he got his couple of wins and now he won’t be heard from again this year. But, I was wrong. Walker bounced back with a win at Pebble Beach and has been steady. Since Pebble Beach, Walker has played in 11 events, has made the cut in ten of those events, finished in the top 25 nine times, top ten four times and that includes a T-8 at The Masters and a T-9 at the U.S. Open.
All in all, Walker is having a stellar year. He is competing week in and week out, and he has three wins to launch him as the number 3 golfer in the 2013-2014 season, so far.
4. Matt Kuchar- As I mentioned above, I was going back in fourth with Walker at number 3 and number 4. I was swapping him in and out with Kuchar. The reason Kuchar is number 4 is because of how consistent Walker has been this year, and Kuchar’s lack of wins.
It’s been well documented at just how consistent Kuchar has been this year. Kuchar’s been a top 10 machine this year. Kuch has racked up nine top 10′s this year in 17 events played this year and has virtually competed in just about every event this year, and most importantly, those events that really mean the most. Kuchar was right there on Masters Sunday, he ended up finishing T-5, a T-17 at THE PLAYERS, a T-15 at The Memorial, and a T-12 at the U.S. Open.
After a couple of heartbreaks at the Texas Open and at the Houston Open, Kuchar bounced back, obviously, with that T-5 at The Masters, but Kuchar also finally got that win. He won at the RBC Heritage after shooting a final round 64. If Kuchar would have won one or both of those events in Texas I think Kuchar would definitely be number three on this list.
5. Dustin Johnson- Kaymer, Watson, Walker, and Kuchar have separated themselves from the pack. I feel that they have clearly been the four best golfers for the year. Number five, meanwhile, was a bit tougher. There are a number of golfers you can include here.
Ryan Moore is having a great season which includes a win and five top 10′s. J.B. Holmes has been a great come back story which includes a win, seven top 25′s, and a T-17 at the U.S. Open. Patrick Reed has two wins on the year, one could argue that Graham DeLaet and Kevin Na have been the best players without wins this season and the list goes on and on. But I settled with Dustin Johnson at number five.
Johnson was Bubba Watson hot early in the year. Johnson had won the WGC-HSBC Championship, a T-6 at the Hyundai, a hard charge at Pebble Beach where he finished runner-up to Walker, another runner-up finish at the Northern Trust behind Watson, and a T-4 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Johnson hit a snag with back-to-back missed cuts at the Houston Open and at The Masters, but he seems to have regained his form. He’s made seven cuts in a row and four top 25′s which include a T-7 at the Byron Nelson and a T-4 at the U.S. Open.