Ranking the Most Disappointing Golfers of 2014 so Far
The world of golf is in an interesting place these days.
Tournament fields are stronger from top to bottom than they ever were.
Tournament purses have never been higher. Players can make oodles of money by playing well, even if they don't win.
And that's perhaps why some of them have made this list of the 10 most disappointing golfers in 2014 thus far.
Satisfaction sets in at some point and maybe dulls motivation to some degree. Even those who have achieved the honor of winning a major can get a bit content with their place in life.
Here's a list of the 10 most disappointing golfers in 2014 to date.
10. Justin Rose
The 2013 U.S. Open champion put on a very nice display of shot-making when he won at Merion Golf Club last June.
That sort of play has been expected for a long time from Rose, especially after he broke onto the scene in 1998 by holing a pitch shot from the rough on the 72nd hole to finish fourth in the British Open Championship as an amateur.
This season, however, he's been bothered by a shoulder injury. A T14 at Augusta as well as a T8 at the Valspar Championship a couple of weeks prior may be signs that he's getting healthy. He could be a contender at Pinehurst No. 2 in June.
9. Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan didn't lose his game overnight, but it may seem like it to golf fans.
He was an up-and-coming star in 2010 and was a member of the United States Ryder Cup team that year. He chunked a chip late in a critical match against Graeme McDowell, a loss that led to a 14.5-13.5 loss for the U.S.
And it just hasn't been the same since for Mahan.
He's had mixed to below-average results since then in major championships. His best was a T4 last year in the U.S. Open.
He is still making plenty of money, but he's not the force he was expected to become.
8. Brandt Snedeker
One top-10 finish in a dozen starts is not very much at all like Brandt Snedeker.
The man who was the hottest player on the planet at the beginning of the 2013 season, with a win and three top-three finishes in his first four starts, has been nothing like that since. Not that anyone expected him to continue that pace, but when his recurring rib problems returned after winning at Pebble Beach, it started a string of struggles.
He five-putted the fourth green at Augusta National Golf Club, and that has typified his year. Snedeker has been regarded as one of the best putters in the game but is ranked 93rd this week in total putting, up from 106th.
But in terms of statistics, his overall game is down, and it shows when he plays.
7. Webb Simpson
When you look at the numbers, it seems strange to put Webb Simpson in the category of "most disappointing."
He's won an event, the first of the wrap-around part of the PGA Tour schedule, and the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, and he's made more than $2 million. That's hardly scuffling around, but because Simpson is so talented, people expect more from him.
His win in the 2012 U.S. Open seemed to signal an upward trend upward, but that has been his only top-five finish in a major in 11 starts.
He missed the cut at The Masters and needs to pick up his game a level.
6. Ian Poulter
The man who is not to be messed with in the Ryder Cup has proved to be much more of a pushover in stroke-play events.
Ian Poulter has won once in the United States—the 2010 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship—and has accumulated 13 international titles.
His last eight starts on the PGA Tour have resulted in two missed cuts and a pair of T20s. The rest is highly forgettable.
Poulter has made more than $1 million this year, and maybe that's enough for the 38-year-old Englishman.
5. Branden Grace
Branden Grace has played in six PGA Tour events this season. He's missed the cut in half of those, and his best finish was a T33 in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play.
That's hardly the performance that many expected from the 25-year-old native of South Africa after he played so well for the international team in the Presidents Cup last year at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Grace didn't score a point in that competition, but he did hit a lot of good shots under pressure.
Obviously, he has a ways to go before being able to carry on the tradition of previous South African greats.
4. Rickie Fowler
He cut his hair and is in the process of changing his swing, but until recently, it's been the same old Rickie Fowler.
He went through a stretch of missing four cuts in seven starts as he worked through those changes with Butch Harmon. In a Golf Digest story written by Tim Rosaforte in January, Harmon said Fowler's goal is to contend in majors.
Fowler was on the fringe of doing that in The Masters and finished T5, tying his best-ever finish in a major. Perhaps he's on the verge of erasing some disappointment.
3. Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship in stirring fashion, coming from behind in the final round to force a playoff with Jason Dufner and winning it.
He teamed with Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, and both he and his golf game were explosive.
We've not seen much of that fiery emotion since, and his 2014 season has reflected that.
In 12 starts this year, he's had four bad outings, two missed cuts, a T43 and a T50.
Otherwise, he's been a top-20 kind of guy, one who's making a nice bunch of money but who is not a real factor. He did finish second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational but missed the cut in The Masters.
2. Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner is another player on this list who has won a major: the 2013 PGA Championship.
And maybe he's one of the guys who take awhile to get back on track after such a career-making occasion, but he has made nary a ripple on golf's waters since then.
Yes, he's posted a trio of top 10s in eight events but missed the cut at The Masters.
At age 37, it's disappointing that he hasn't taken advantage of the boost of that PGA Championship title to move onto even bigger and better things.
1. Rory McIlroy
To this point in the 2014-15 season, Rory McIlroy has missed a golden opportunity.
With his game showing signs of returning to what we saw when he shot across the PGA Tour's sky like a meteor, golf was ready for him to return to a place of dominance.
But he is another example of how numbers can be misleading. In six starts this season, he's had six top-25 finishes, including a playoff loss in the Honda Classic that he controlled until melting down on the back nine.
That's not what is expected of the guy who knocked Tiger Woods out of the No. 1 spot in the world for a time.
If the young prince is to become golf's king again, he needs to crank his game up even more.