Spring is creeping back in full force, sending men and women around the United States back out on to the golf course. This is no exception for the pros of the PGA, who enjoyed very little downtime before jumping right back into the weekly grind of the tour.
The Masters, which is a little less than a month out, serves as the tour’s first high-profile event. As we creep closer and closer to the big event at Augusta National, here are some players to keep an eye on throughout the season — some of them being usual suspects, and the others, not so much.
Watson didn’t just creep into the limelight last year — he catapulted with a flying leap. Watson scored his first major victory in style last year, capturing the green jacket at the Masters. From a marketability standpoint, Watson also has that off-the-links swagger that makes him a bona fide superstar. The only problem is, many of Watson’s detractors say that he is a one-hit wonder and that he won’t come close to even catching a whiff of a major championship this year.
And, for a golfer that wears his emotions on his sleeve, Watson will have to work past this psychological obstacle.
After substantial success on the European Tour, it appears that Westwood has pushed all his poker chips in and wants to make a splash on the PGA Tour. After last year, which saw him tie for third at the Masters and 10th at the U.S. Open, Westwood moved to Florida and will shift his focus to the PGA Tour. Given his accomplishments overseas, and his newfound determination for success on U.S. soil, can Westwood give heavyweights like Rory McIlroy a run for their money?
With his last tournament win coming in 2010, and last season disrupted by injuries and personal issues (the birth of a child), this could be a make-or-break year for Day. He did log four top-10 finishes, which suggest that the still-youthful Day is beaming with potential, which could result in a promising 2013 campaign.
You’ve heard of this guy before, right? The 37-year-old golfing icon has little left to accomplish outside of chasing down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major golf championships. To do that, Woods will have to get passed the extramarital affair scandal that put his career on pause a couple years ago and return to vintage Tiger Woods form.
Is there still gas left in the tank? His recent results certainly seem to suggest so. We are seeing Woods play some of the best golf he has in the last couple of years. However, in order to score the major victories, he will have to get the better of a youth-laden field, and there are many who question if he can pull it off.
Fans that only caught Gary Woodland in action last year were no-doubt underwhelmed. To put it kindly, he struggled mightily last season. Rewind one year before that to see the real Gary Woodland — the one that recorded a breakout season and landed at No. 17 on the money list.
Attribute Woodland’s woes last season to a new swing or injuries, but as far as this year goes, there are no excuses — only results.