Ranking the PGA Tour Players with the Most Disappointing 2014 Seasons

Mike DudurichContributor IAugust 26, 2014

Ranking the PGA Tour Players with the Most Disappointing 2014 Seasons

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    That's not a smile, but a grimace on the face of injured Tiger Woods this year.
    That's not a smile, but a grimace on the face of injured Tiger Woods this year.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    With all the great things accomplished on the PGA Tour in 2014, like Rory McIlroy's spectacular summer, for example, there have been some big disappointments as well.

    Some were as a result of injuries, as in the cases of Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter and Brandt Snedeker.

    Others were more difficult to explain like Webb Simpson and Harris English, both very talented but underachieving tour players.

    And then there's Phil Mickelson, coming off a two-win year in 2013, but couldn't get out of his own way until very late in 2014.

    Check out my list of eight really disappointing seasons in 2014.

8. Webb Simpson

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    Webb Simpson hasn't done much since winning the U.S. Open in 2012.
    Webb Simpson hasn't done much since winning the U.S. Open in 2012.John Locher/Associated Press
    2013 comparison: Webb Simpson had a second-place finish and five top-10 finishes in 2013. He made $2.9 million, certainly well above average on the PGA Tour, but not exactly the kind of year expected of him after he won the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
    In 2014, his stats are actually better. He won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in the first tournament of the 2013-14 season. Simpson had eight top-10s and made $3.2 million. But again, he's being held to a higher standard as a major champion.
    What went wrong? If you were inclined to do so, you could make the case that Simpson suffered through "major hangover" in 2013, but I'm not a big believer in that. And to have it slide into this year, nah, not buying it. Since he won the Open, he's been a model of inconsistency.
    He's not been able to find that level of his game that allowed him to persevere at the Olympic Club. Maybe his win there was just a matter of him getting hot that week and he'll never repeat that in a major.
     
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? Absolutely. He came into the Barclays 13th on the FedEx Cup points list and promptly missed the cut and this week finds himself 22nd. Simpson is capable of putting up a top-five finish any time and the way he's played this year, this would be his week.
    It's been a good week/bad week/good week thing for him recently.

7. Harris English

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    Harris English had high hopes for 2014.
    Harris English had high hopes for 2014.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    2013 comparison: In his second year on the PGA Tour, Harris English registered his first victory in the FedEx St. Jude Classic and totaled four top-10s. That was good for $2.2 million in earnings. He followed that up nicely in early 2014 when he won the OHL at Mayakoba Classic. He's had seven top-10s, but has also missed seven cuts in a when he earned $2.8 million.

    What went wrong? Harris is driving the ball well, averaging 298.4 yards off the tee. He's hitting enough greens in regulation, just over 68 percent. He could be putting better, but that would be the only really ho-hum sort of statistic on his result sheet this year. One thing that stands out is that, many weeks, he stumbled to a high round in a tournament that keeps him from being in serious contention. He'll need to find a way to avoid that, especially in big events.
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? English can certainly make some noise in the FedEx Cup playoffs, but he'll only do that if he makes the cut this weekend in the Deutsche Bank. He missed the cut in the Barclays and dropped from 17th to 25th in the points list. He was thought to have an outside shot at being a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team, but that bad performance last week probably ended that consideration.

6. Billy Horschel

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    Billy Horschel wants to be known as more than a guy who dresses colorfully.
    Billy Horschel wants to be known as more than a guy who dresses colorfully.USA TODAY Sports

    2013 comparison: In 2013, Billy Horschel posted a first (Zurich Classic of New Orleans), second and third-place finishes and eight top-10s. He made $3.5 million and created a lot of buzz with his fiery personality and the power he created from his small frame. This year has been a different story. He's made only a pair of top-10s and his missed the cut seven times in 24 starts. He's earned $13 million this year.

    What went wrong? Bottom line is Horschel is suffering through one of those years where the ball just doesn't go in the hole. In three of four key categories (driving distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation and scoring average), his numbers are worse this year than last. And it's not that Horschel is playing considerably worse, but it's just enough to keep him from contending and winning again.
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? He's still alive in the FedEx Cup playoffs after missing the cut at the Barclays. Can he redeem himself after the mediocre season? He can, but last week's result dropped him from 69 in the stands to 82. And since only the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills, Horschel will have to have a really good finish at the Deutsche Bank, something he hasn't done since June at the Quicken Loans Classic when he finished T11.

5. Ian Poulter

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    Decisions, decisions. It's been a tough season for Ian Poulter.
    Decisions, decisions. It's been a tough season for Ian Poulter.USA TODAY Sports

    2013 comparison: Ian Poulter played in 16 events last year on the PGA Tour, had four top-10 finishes, three missed cuts and $1.5 in earnings. His best finish was a T3 in the Open Championship. This year, and stop me if you've heard this before, he's played in 16 events, had four top-10s and three missed cuts. Once again he's made $1.5 million.

    What went wrong? Poulter, the 35th-ranked player in the world, has been plagued with injuries this season. The most significant of those is a ganglion cyst on his right wrist, an issue that he's dealt with two other times in his career. He was given the OK by doctors to play just before the British Open, but results since wouldn't indicate the wrist is OK: MC, T58, T52, MC.

    Any chance at redemption in 2014? Poulter entered the FedEx Cup playoffs 78th on the points list but when he missed the cut, he dropped to 91st. He'll really have to play well at the Deutsche Bank to get into the field next week at the BMW Championship, which has a field of only 70 players. He's not only the European Ryder Cup at this time, either, and will have to depend on being chosen by captain Paul McGinley. He's one of the European studs in that competition, but he's not playing well and not healthy.

4. Jason Dufner

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    Jason Dufner's early injury derailed any chance he had for 2014.
    Jason Dufner's early injury derailed any chance he had for 2014.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    2013 comparison: In 2013, Jason Dufner won the PGA Championship, registered five top-10s and won $3.1 million. What a difference a year makes. He played in 16 events, had one third-place finish and had four top-10s. His earnings for the year, $1.6 million.

    What went wrong? Very simply, a pair of bulging discs in his neck. He first noticed the pain since the week of the Masters in April and eventually had an epidural at the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational. He tried to defend his title at Valhalla, but could only last 10 holes before withdrawing because of the pain.
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? No, he hasn't returned since withdrawing from the PGA Championship and this week withdrew from the Deutsche Bank. As a result of his 74th place in the FedEx Cup points, he won't be among the 70 who'll advance to the BMW Championship. Dufner fell to 10th on the Ryder Cup standings after withdrawing at the PGA Championship and won't be on that team, either.

3. Brandt Snedeker

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    You know it's a bad season when Brandt Snedeker starts having trouble on the greens.
    You know it's a bad season when Brandt Snedeker starts having trouble on the greens.Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    2013 comparison: Brandt Snedeker got off to one of the great starts on all-time in 2013: 3, T23, T2, 2, 1. And then a recurring rib injury struck again and derailed what seemed to be a record-setting year. He struggled the rest of the year, with the exception of winning the RBC Canadian Open. He finished the year with two wins, two seconds, a third, nine top-10s and $5.1 million earned. All but two of those top-10s occurred early in the season. This year, in 24 PGA Tour starts, he has three top-10s and $1.5 million earned.

    What went wrong? Whether it's the injury or the after affects of the injury, Snedeker's game has not been remotely the same as early 2013's version. He's not driving the ball very well and not hitting a lot of greens, either. While his putting stats aren't terrible, he couldn't make the key putts this year and that's been the anchor of his game for years.

    Any chance at redemption in 2014? Not really. He missed the cut last week at the Barclays and fell from 55th to 71s. That will require him to play really well this week to advance to the BMW Championship. His Ryder Cup chances took a big hit with the missed cut at the Barclays.

2. Phil Mickelson

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    Phil Mickelson has had a lot of perplexed looks in 2014.
    Phil Mickelson has had a lot of perplexed looks in 2014.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    2013 comparison: Like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson had a great season in 2013. Wins in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Open Championship highlighted that year. But he also had a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds, seven top-10s and $5.4 million in earnings. It was a much different story this year when he didn't record a top-10 until his 19th start of the year, the PGA Championship. That was also his best finish of the year, second.

    What went wrong? One of the hallmark's of Phil Mickelson's career has been his inconsistency. Yes, he's won five majors, but he's also shown he's capable of hitting the ball over the lot. Whether this season is a matter of age starting to show (he's 44), the psoriatic arthritis starting to take its toll or, after all these years, he still can't maintain control over his game, it's tough to tell. 
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? Unlikely. He talked about his game being at such a place it was hard for him to maintain his sanity after missing the secondary cut at the Barclays. He dropped from 45th to 57th after the Barclays and left doubt about participating in the Deutsche Bank. It would take a wild turnaround for him to get it together and make a run at the FedEx Cup title. He earned a spot on the Ryder Cup team, but captain will certainly be hoping Mickelson can stay away from hospitality tents at Gleneagles.

     

1. Tiger Woods

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    A late-night television appearance was one of the few smiling occasions for Tiger Woods in 2014.
    A late-night television appearance was one of the few smiling occasions for Tiger Woods in 2014.Mel Evans/Associated Press
    2013 comparison: Tiger Woods won five times last year, recorded eight top-10 finishes and earned over $8.5 million. In 2014, Woods played in seven events on the PGA Tour, missed two cuts and withdrew twice and he's made $108,275.
    What went wrong? A pinched nerve in his back caused by a couple bulging discs prevented him from playing without severe pain. He had a microdiscectomy in April, which took him out of action until the Quicken Loans National at Congressional in June. He didn't make the cut in that event and finished 69th in the Open Championship. In an effort to make the Ryder Cup team he played at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and had to withdraw in the final round. He completed four rounds in the PGA Championship, but was clearly in pain all the way around.
    Any chance at redemption in 2014? No, he didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs and took his name out of consideration to be one of Tom Watson's captain's pick for the United States Ryder Cup team. After the big year in 2013, this has been a major blow to Woods and his fans.