2013-2014 PGA Tour: Top 5 Breakout Performers


It’s the off-season for the PGA Tour, at the moment and we are continuing to look back at the year that was. We talked about a few of the players that were disappointing this past year , but now we’ll talk about some breakout performers. Golfers who surprised or took that next step into become potential stars of the future.

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Rickie Fowler: It’s kind of funny to consider Rickie Fowler as having a breakout season this year but this was the first year in which Rickie Fowler seemed to compete consistently week in and week out.

While Fowler didn’t record a PGA Tour win this season, Fowler still had a very quality year. Fowler finished in the top 10 in ten tournaments this year, in the top 25 in 14 tournaments, and he finished in the top five in all four majors this season. Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have done that in a season.

Plus, Fowler made some nice coin making a cool 4.8 million. That’s definitely not a bad year at the office. Fowler made great strides under Butch Harmon and it’ll be interesting to see what he does for an encore next season.

Billy Horschel: In 2013, Billy Horschel broke out as someone to watch for in the future. Horschel won his first career PGA Tour event at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and was in contention throughout the year.

For this past year, however, Horschel struggled for the most part. It wasn’t until the end of the 2013-2014 year that Horschel propelled himself back up to the top and really make a name for himself into the mainstream. Winning back-to-back tournaments, winning the FedEx Cup and pocketing 10 million dollars will do that.

Chris Kirk: Since earning his PGA Tour card in 2011, Kirk has progressively gotten better and better. In 2011, Kirk finished in the top 25 six times, in 2012 seven times, in 2013 eleven times, and in the 2013-2014 year he had twelve top 25’s including a win (his third career PGA Tour win) at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Kirk made the cut in three of the four majors for the year and finished second in the FedEx Cup standings.

Patrick Reed: Patrick Reed won his first career tournament at the Wyndham Championship in 2013, but Reed didn’t have to wait long to notch wins two and three on his resume.

Reed won a shootout at the Humana Challenge and two months later won the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He then proceeded to proclaim himself a “top five golfer” in the world. If that’s not breaking onto the scene then I don’t know what is.

Jimmy Walker: The number one breakout performer for the year has got to be Jimmy Walker. For the majority of Jimmy Walker’s career, J-Walk was a struggling PGA Tour member. For years he bounced around Q-School and struggled to keep his Tour card.

In the past couple of years, Walker had figured it out a bit and become a solid PGA Tour member. He would notch a top 10, a top 25 every now and again, but it wasn’t until the 2013-2014 year where he, well, broke out onto the scene of the top tier.

He started off the year winning the Frys.com Open, Walker followed that up winning the Sony Open in Hawaii and then the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

For the majority of the year, Walker was number one in the FedEx Cup standings, he made the cut at all four majors and finished in the top nine in three of the four majors.

Walker is a great story and not only was he the biggest breakout performer of the year, he would be a pretty strong candidate for Player of the Year.