PGA Tour: 6 Players to Watch at the Transitions
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Ernie Els is trying to put up some high finishes and get into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to qualify for the Masters.
Els has three major championship trophies and Hall of Fame credentials, but would really like to add a Green Jacket to his closet.
He is currently at No. 68 on the OWGR and has to move inside the top 50 to become eligible for an invitation to Augusta.
Ernie has been a top player around the world for over 20 years. Does he still have the game to compete with the young guns on the world golf scene?
He should be able to earn enough to qualify for Augusta but his dream of a Masters Championship may be fleeting.
Luke Donald Is Off to a Slow Start in 2012
Luke Donald still has one of the best short games in golf
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Luke Donald had a Hall of Fame type year in 2011. He won both the PGA and European Money Titles.
He also had to deal with the birth of his second child and the death of his father. It is not surprising that Luke has been a little slow getting out of the gate in 2012.
Luke entered the year as the No. 1 ranked player on the OWGR but lost that title to Rory McIlroy after Rory’s win at the Honda Championship.
Donald had a T-48 in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour and a T-56 in the Northern Trust.
He was the No. 1 seed in the WGC-Accenture Match Play and lost his first-round match to the last man in the field, Ernie Els.
He is beginning to show signs of regaining his form. He was T-6 last week in the WGC-Cadillac at Doral.
Luke has not received the credit he deserves for his success in 2011 and is gearing his game to win the major that he needs to ascend to super star status.
Gary Woodland Is the Transitions Defending Champion
Woodland paired with Matt Kuchar to win the 2011 Omega World Cup of Golf
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Gary Woodland is the defending champion at the Transitions this week.
He paired with Matt Kuchar to win the Omega World Cup of Golf at the end of last year.
He had a very successful 2011 with one win and six top 10s.
He changed his agent and his swing coach in the offseason.
Woodland is now working with golf guru, Butch Harmon. Some of the swing changes and thoughts that Harmon wants to incorporate into his game are taking some time to process.
He is off to a slow start in 2012 but good memories from his win at the Transitions last year could be just what he needs.
He is outside the top 50 in the OWGR and is currently ineligible for the Masters.
Woodland is one of the longest hitters on the tour and one of its brightest young stars. His game is perfect for Augusta National once he learns the nuances of putting on the severely sloping and diabolically fast greens.
Padraig Harrington Has the Most to Gain at the Transitions
Padraig Harrington has not won since 2008
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Probably the player with the most to gain in the Transitions is Padraig Harrington who has fallen to 90th in the OWGR.
Although Harrington has won three major championships and 14 European Tour events in his Hall of Fame career, he has not had a win since 2008.
Swing changes made in 2009 and over analysis of every area of his game have not proven successful. Paddy is too good of a player to not contend on a regular basis.
Recent successes of other Irish players such as Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have to be a huge motivator for Harrington to regain his championship form.
He needs some good finishes over the next three weeks to get himself into the Masters field.
Webb Simpson Has Been Inconsistent in 2012
Webb Simpson had two wins in 2011
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Webb Simpson had a phenomenal 2011 season with two wins and 12 top 10s.
Webb had moved ahead of Luke Donald on the PGA Tour Money List after his runner-up finish in the next to last event of the year, the McGladrey Classic.
Simpson was tied with Ben Crane in regulation at the McGladrey, but lost on the second hole of the play off.
His second place finish at the McGladrey forced Luke Donald to win the final event of the 2011 season, the Childrens Hospital Miracle Network at Disney, to secure the PGA Tour Money List Title.
Simpson has had two top 10s thus far in 2012 but his play has been somewhat erratic in comparison to last year when he was consistent throughout the entire year.
Lucas Glover Is Making His 2012 PGA Tour Debut This Week at the Transitions
Glover won the 2011 Wells Fargo
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Lucas Glover is making his 2012 PGA Tour debut this week at the Transitions.
Lucas injured his knee in a surfing accident before the first tournament of the year in Hawaii and has not been able to play the first two months of the season.
Glover did collect the first place check of $1.1 million from the Wells Fargo Championship last May but he only made $700,000 for the balance of the year and finished 45th in the FedEx Cup at year end.
2011 was a very inconsistent year for a normally very consistent player.
Glover won the 2009 U. S. Open at Bethpage Black, one of the most demanding golf courses in the world. He has two other PGA Tour wins and has been a member of two Presidents Cup teams.
Can he find his consistency and be a factor on the PGA Tour again?