Biggest Concerns for Golf's Top Stars in 2014

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIJanuary 13, 2014

Biggest Concerns for Golf's Top Stars in 2014

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    Both the PGA and European Tours have begun their 2014 seasons, and some of the top players in the world have some issues to be concerned with this year.

    Adam Scott had a fantastic year in 2013, winning a Masters Green Jacket and three other world-wide titles.

    Rory McIlroy struggled for most of last year and did not post a win on either the PGA or European Tours.

    Who among the top names in golf have the biggest concerns this year and what can they do about them?


10. Brandt Snedeker

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    The Concern:

    Will recurrent injuries curtail Brandt Snedeker's career?

    Why it’s Worrisome:

    After starting 2013 with four top-10 finishes, including a win at Pebble Beach, Snedeker missed a full month due to a rib injury, and he has had problems with injuries in the past.

    The PGA Tour season is a long grind, especially from the U.S. Open in June through the FedEx Cup playoffs in September.

    A sound body is necessary to win major championships.

    How to Stay the Course:  

    Snedeker will need to cut his schedule and pick his tournaments carefully to concentrate on the majors and FedEx Cup playoffs.


9. Rickie Fowler

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    The Concern:

    Rickie Fowler only has one win in over four years on tour.

    Why it’s Worrisome:

    He had one of the most successful amateur careers ever recorded but has failed to live up to the hype since turning professional.

    His colorful attire and aggressive game make him one of the most popular players on tour. He especially appeals to younger golf fans.

    Although Fowler has put himself into position to win on numerous occasions, he has failed to close the deal.

    How to Stay the Course:

    Fowler has recently sought the wisdom of swing guru Butch Harmon to tighten his swing.

    Harmon has helped several players in the past and will help Fowler reach the winner's circle also.  

8. Bubba Watson

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    The Concern:

    Bubba Watson has not won on tour since the 2012 Masters.

    Why it’s Worrisome:

    Watson is a great showman and one of the most likable players on tour. Golf fans want to see his gargantuan drives and watch him hit extraordinary golf shots.

    He seems to be more concerned with his celebrity than actually working on his game.

    How to Stay the Course:

    Bubba needs to get back to work on the range and putting green.

    A little extra practice may just help him find a few more fairways and sink a couple more putts.

7. Sergio Garcia

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    The Concern:

    Will Sergio Garcia ever realize his enormous potential and win a major?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Sergio Garcia has been one of the most talented golfers in the world for many years, but missed chances at major championships in the past have left deep scars.

    The only thing that seems to be lacking from his game is the confidence necessary to block out all distractions.

    His comments about Tiger Woods at the Players Championship in May and his remarks the following week illustrate his problem and confirm his immaturity.  

    Garcia has not won in Europe since 2011 and his last win on the PGA Tour came in 2012.

    How to Stay the Course:

    With a win in December in Thailand, he has quietly climbed back into the top 10 in the world rankings.

    Garcia is 34 years old and it's time for him to grow up and win some majors. 

    Just Win Baby!!

6. Lee Westwood

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    The Concern:

    Can Lee Westwood win a major championship in 2014?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Westwood will turn 41 years old just after the Masters this year, and he does not want to end his career like Colin Montgomerie—with zero major titles.

    Even though he moved to Florida in the offseason in 2012, he came up empty again in 2013.

    He has 10 top-10 finishes in the last 20 major championships, but his opportunities will grow slimmer with each passing year.

    How to Stay the Course:

    He already hits it straight and long, plus he improved his short game dramatically in 2013.

    Seeing a few more putts hit the bottom of the cup should work nicely.

5. Adam Scott

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    The Concern:

    How can he follow up a phenomenal season like last year?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Adam Scott knows what it feels like to play poorly and he does not want to go back to that spot again.

    At 33 years old, he is in his prime golfing years and wants to garner wins now.

    The long putter has helped him tremendously, but he will lose that advantage in just two more years.

    How to Stay the Course:

    Scott is playing with supreme confidence right now.

    He needs to capitalize on that and collect more major hardware soon.

4. Henrik Stenson

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    The Concern:

    Will Henrik Stenson add more wins and a major to his collection?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Stenson reached the top 10 in the world earlier in his career, but fell outside the top 200 before he regained his form last year.

    If he allows off-course distractions to disrupt his practice, others will quickly pass him.

    How to Stay the Course:

    Personal financial issues drove him to extra work on the practice range to rediscover his game.

    He obviously has the talent, but he must stay hungry and put in the practice hours necessary to stay ahead of the competition. 

3. Phil Mickelson

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    The Concern:

    Will age and arthritis allow Phil Mickelson to continue to compete at a high level?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Mickelson is 43 years old and had one of his best years on tour last season.

    He has won every major except the U.S. Open, at which he has six runners-up. 

    Every athlete must contend with fact that his body just doesn't perform well as he ages.

    Time is of the essence for one of the best the game has ever seen.

    How to Stay the Course:

    Mickelson must limit his schedule and maximize his playing time.

    He appears to be in excellent health and he must maintain that throughout the strenuous PGA Tour season. 

    Hitting few more fairways wouldn't hurt either.

2. Rory McIlroy

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    The Concern:

    Will Rory McIlroy rebound in 2014?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    McIlroy had his poorest year as a professional in 2013.

    He fell from No. 1 in the world at the beginning of the year all the way to No. 6 by the end of the year. He did not have a win on either the PGA or European Tours last season.

    Legal problems, management changes and new equipment issues affected his play.

    How to Stay the Course:

    The off-course issues are being dealt with, and hopefully his engagement announcement to tennis professional Caroline Wozniacki will help settle the two-time major champion.

    A happy home life makes for a better golfer.

1. Tiger Woods

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    The Concern:

    When will Tiger Woods get back to winning major titles?

    Why it's Worrisome:

    Woods won five PGA Tour events and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2013, but he didn't win a major championship for the fifth year in a row.

    He is stuck on 14 major titles and needs four to tie and five more to pass Jack Nicklaus.

    He is 38 years old and has had five knee surgeries. Back and wrist injuries also affected his play last year.

    Like Mickelson, Woods is chasing "Old Man Time."

    How to Stay the Course:

    Woods has limited his schedule to a minimum number of events for several years. Less play and the new swing were necessary to protect his legs.

    The swing changes seem to be in the final stages of being processed, and the five wins last year could be a harbinger of better things to come in 2014.