Golf

10 Players Struggling on 2014 PGA Tour

Fred AltvaterContributor IIApril 28, 2014

10 Players Struggling on 2014 PGA Tour

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    Phil Mickelson does not have a top-10 finish this year.
    Phil Mickelson does not have a top-10 finish this year.Eric Gay

    With Tiger Woods forced to take time away from the tour as a result of back surgery and Phil Mickelson battling health issues of his own, other players like Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed have multiple wins in 2014.

    There are also a host of players, including former major champions, who are normally visible at the top of leaderboards but are having less than successful seasons so far.

    Many European players competed late into 2013 in the Race to Dubai and did not enter events on the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule last fall. 

    Woods' absence from the tour has financial ramifications for tournament sponsors, television ratings and golf merchandise sales.

    With Woods not in the equation, other big names need to step up in order to keep golf fans interested in the PGA Tour. 

    Here is a listing of some players who have struggled and are looking to get their 2014 season going as the tour heads to The Players Championship and the remaining three major championships this summer. 

10. Nick Watney Is No. 115 in the FedEx Cup Standings

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    Nick Watney does not have a top-10 finish in 2014.
    Nick Watney does not have a top-10 finish in 2014.David Cannon/Getty Images

    Nick Watney, normally a top-10 machine, has made nine cuts in 10 starts this season but only has one top-25 finish and no top-10 finishes.

    With only $292,000 in total earnings this year, he is ranked No. 115 in the FedEx Cup standings and has fallen to No. 49 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Like Woods, he is also fighting back issues that forced him to withdraw from the WGC-Cadillac prior to the final round.

    Watney has five career wins on tour and has earned over $21 million, but he has not hoisted a trophy since The Barclays in 2012. 

9. Rickie Fowler Is Dealing with Swing Changes

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    Rickie Fowler has missed five cuts in 12 starts this season.
    Rickie Fowler has missed five cuts in 12 starts this season.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    After the death of his longtime swing coach Barry McDonnell in 2011, Rickie Fowler took a long time choosing a new swing guru.

    In January, he began working with Butch Harmon. Even though he has shown patches of brilliance, the new swing is taking some time to become ingrained.

    Fowler missed three consecutive cuts before finishing third at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. In his next three starts, he tied for 24th at the Honda Classic, tied for 44th at Doral and missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    He was beginning to trend upward, with a sixth-place finish at the Shell Houston Open and tying for fifth at the Masters, but he failed to make the cut in New Orleans at the Zurich Classic.

    This is Fowler's fifth full year on tour. While he has earned over $11 million, he has just one career win.

    He has been a consistent performer, if not a consistent winner. Yet once the new swing clicks, he may win in bunches.

8. Ernie Els Has Four Missed Cuts This Season

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    Ernie Els is 44 years old.
    Ernie Els is 44 years old.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Ernie Els has won four major championships in his career, but he has three missed cuts and only one top-10 finish this season on the PGA Tour. His last win came at the 2012 Open Championship, when Adam Scott faltered on the final day.

    Els has fallen to No. 44 in the world and No. 90 in the FedEx Cup rankings. 

    His only top-10 finish of the year came at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, where he finished fourth, losing the consolation match to Rickie Fowler.

    Since then he has tied for 52nd at Doral and missed cuts at the Valspar Championship and the Valero Texas Open. He tied for 43rd at the Shell Houston Open and missed another cut at the Masters before tying for 64th at the RBC Heritage.

    He just missed his fourth cut of the year at the Zurich Classic. 

    At 44 years old, is Els' best golf behind him?

7. Hunter Mahan Is No. 50 in the FedEx Cup Rankings

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    Hunter Mahan has struggled over the last four tournaments.
    Hunter Mahan has struggled over the last four tournaments.Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

    Hunter Mahan posted four top-10 finishes in his first seven starts of the season, but he has struggled over the last two months.

    He was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March due to soreness in his lower back.

    In three tournaments in April, he has tied for 31st and 26th and also missed a cut. 

    Mahan has fallen to No. 50 in the FedEx Cup standings and No. 35 in the world rankings.

    With the Ryder Cup looming in September, Mahan is outside the top nine that earns an automatic bid to the U.S. team.

6. Louis Oosthuizen Has Three Missed Cuts This Season

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    Louis Oosthuizen has only one top-10 finish this year.
    Louis Oosthuizen has only one top-10 finish this year.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Throughout his career, Louis Oosthuizen has had one of the best swings in golf and has been a very consistent performer on the PGA Tour.

    He missed over two months in 2013 due to injury, however, and has been slow regain his form. He has only played in seven events this season and missed three cuts. His only top-10 finish was tying for fifth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

    He followed that by tying for 40th at the WGC-Cadillac at Trump Doral. He then missed the cut at both the Valspar Championship and the Shell Houston Open and tied for 25th at the Masters.

    He will be looking to improve his play at The Players Championship as well as in the remaining major championships prior to the FedEx Cup playoffs. 

5. Brandt Snedeker Is No. 93 in the FedEx Cup Standings

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    Brandt Snedeker won the 2012 FedEx Cup.
    Brandt Snedeker won the 2012 FedEx Cup.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Brandt Snedeker has been one of the best players on the PGA Tour over the past four years. He won the 2012 FedEx Cup and has been a regular on Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. 

    In 12 starts this year, his lone top-10 finish came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Although he has only missed one cut, he has been finishing well down the leaderboard. 

    He is No. 93 in the FedEx Cup standings and currently sits outside the top nine in the Ryder Cup points list.

    Snedeker has been a steady performer throughout his career and should turn it around this summer.

4. Henrik Stenson Has Started Slow in 2014

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    Henrik Stenson won the 2013 FedEx Cup.
    Henrik Stenson won the 2013 FedEx Cup.Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Henrik Stenson beat all comers last year as he won the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai. Due to the heavy schedule he played at the end of 2013, he has been slow to get started this year.

    Stenson has only made seven starts thus far on the PGA Tour and has one top-10 finish and one missed cut, as his best finish this year was tying for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

    He is No. 3 in the world but No. 87 in the FedEx Cup standings.

    With the season's big events looming over the next four months, he will be looking to make a move up the rankings. 

3. Lee Westwood Has Not Won on PGA Tour Since 2010

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    Lee Westwood has not performed well in the U.S.
    Lee Westwood has not performed well in the U.S.Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Lee Westwood just collected his 40th career win at the Maybank Malaysian Open, but he has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2010 St. Jude Classic.

    He has missed two cuts this year and only has one top-10 finish. 

    He was the No. 1 ranked player in the world for 22 weeks in 2010 and 2011, but he has fallen to No. 30 over the past two seasons and is currently No. 85 in the FedEx Cup.

    Westwood just turned 41 years old and is still seeking his first major championship win.

2. Phil Mickelson Has Not Had One Top-10 Finish This Season

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    Phil Mickelson is 43 years old and without a top-10 finish this season.
    Phil Mickelson is 43 years old and without a top-10 finish this season.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Even though Phil Mickelson had a career year in 2013 and added the Open Championship to his career majors list, he is 43 years old and fighting arthritis.

    Mickelson has been forced to withdraw twice this year due to injury and has missed two cuts. In 10 starts, he has not recorded a top-10 finish.

    Golf fans are accustomed to Mickelson's unpredictable nature on the golf course, but this has been a very poor start, even for him. 

1. Rory McIlroy Has Not Won on PGA Tour Since 2012

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    Rory McIlroy tied for eighth at the Masters.
    Rory McIlroy tied for eighth at the Masters.Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy will turn 25 years old on May 4. 

    While other young players such as Seung-Yul Noh, Patrick Reed and Harris English rack up wins on the PGA Tour, McIlroy has not won since 2012.

    Perhaps it is unfair to place him on this list, but with two major championships on his resume, much is expected of the former No. 1-ranked player.

    He has only entered six events on the 2014 PGA Tour schedule and has four top-10 finishes.

    He struggled in 2013, and after a good fall season, golf fans expected to see him win early and often this year. However, he is No. 43 in the FedEx Cup standings and has fallen to No. 10 in the world rankings.

    He is one of the players who does not have many starts in 2014 and is looking to improve upon his results thus far. 

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