It wasn't all smiles for Seung-Yul Noh but 2012 was pretty good for him.
There are many, many professional golfers who play their entire careers but never get their "breakthrough moment."
They are good players, to be sure, but they never had that moment, that tournament or that year that puts them on the golf map and into the history books.
Players like John Huh, Shanshan Feng, Ted Potter, Jr. and Robert Garrigus are among those who had their own moments this year.
Check out the list of 15 breakthrough performers.
The golf world now knows who John Huh is.
In his rookie season on the PGA, having made it through the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, he’s played in 26 tournaments, won the Mayakoba Golf Classic, tied for second in the Valero Texas Open and registered 11 top 25s.
Perhaps the most impressive part of his rookie season is that he’s the only first-year player in the Tour Championship.
Scott Piercy made almost half of his career earnings in 2012.
Scott Piercy has been a journeyman player since 2009 on the PGA Tour.
He made a nice living but finally played up a step or two this year.
He registered a victory, the RBC Canadian Open, giving him two in his career.
He’s earned $2.3 million this year and $5.7 million for his career.
Feng picked up her first win this year at the Wegman's.
She had one win and seven top 10s this season.
She also won over a million dollars, almost doubling her career earnings.
She won the Wegman’s Classic and in doing so became the first woman from China to win an LPGA event.
She started the season quickly and tied for fifth, second and third in her first three starts.
Big-hitting Seung-Yul Noh made a big impression in 2012.
From out of nowhere, Seung-Yul Noh registered three top-10 finishes, highlighted by a tie for fourth in the AT&T National.
He has impressive length and played well while contending at the AT&T.
He played a few events in 2010 and 2011 on the PGA Tour but burst onto the scene this year.
Potter Jr. ended a string of five straight missed cuts with a win at the Greenbrier Classic.
Potter made a name for himself this year with a playoff win in the Greenbrier Classic.
He became the sixth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and the second rookie to win.
The victory snapped a string of five straight cuts.
Sang Moon-Bae had a chance to win early in the year.
This native of South Korea qualified for the PGA Tour with a tie for 11th in the Qualifying Tournament.
He had just a pair of top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish.
He lost in a playoff to John Huh in the Transitions Championship. Moon-Bae earned over $1 million this year.
Bud Cauley was solid in his first full PGA Tour season.
In his first full season on the PGA Tour, Cauley stepped up his play considerably in 2012.
He did not win, but he recorded six top-10s and nine top-25s.
His third came at the Wyndham Championship where he shot four rounds in the 60s.
Harris English proved his game was PGA Tour worthy.
He came to the PGA Tour and averaged 229.6, which gave him a ranking of 22nd in his rookie season. But in his first season he did position himself as someone with the kind of game that can play for a long time with golf’s best.
His best finish was a tie for fifth at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
He had three top-10s, eight top-25s and earned $1,062,649.
He earned his PGA Tour card by finishing in a tie for 13th in the PGA Tour Qualifying tournament.
It's been a good year for Chella Choi
Since her rookie year of 2009, Choi has shown flashes of brilliance.
In 2012, she’s been brilliant more often than not. She has not won but has been close, finishing third twice in three starts.
She’s earned over $480,000 this year, nearly half of what she’s earned in her career.
She’s not the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour but makes up for it by having great precision with her long irons.
So Yeon Ryu is an LPGA rookie of the year candidate.
Ryu was a six-time winner in the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association in which she was a rookie in 2008.
She had quite a season in 2011. She played in four professional events as a non-LPGA member and won one of them, the U.S. Women’s Open.
This year, she's been even better: She played in 17 LPGA events, won the Wegman’s Classic and earned just over $800,000.
Ryu is a leading Rookie of the Year candidate on the LPGA Tour.
Robert Garrigus has been one of the biggest surprises on the PGA Tour this year.
Garrigus is one of those long-suffering journeymen who played a lot of events on the web.com Tour before getting onto the PGA Tour for good in 2006.
He won the 2010 Children’s Miracle Disney Classic but broke through with his most consistent performance this year.
He registered three runnerup finishes and made over $2.5 million.
He also made it into the final 30 of the FedEx Cup playoffs and will be in East Lake next week.
Karine Icher has begun her comeback after maternity leave
Karine Icher's comeback after a maternity leave was slow, but by May, she was getting back into form.
Three top-fives and five top-10s have come her way; Icher, a 33-year-old native of France, has won $375,645 this season.
Mika Miyazato has played well this season.
The “other” Miyazato has had a good three-year run on the LPGA Tour, but it got even better when she won the Safeway Classic this year.
But she’s also had a pair of seconds, a third and seven top-10 finishes and ranks eighth on the LPGA money list.
Jessica Korda got the LPGA season off to a flying start
Up until this year, Jessica Korda was best known for earning her LPGA card in 2010 at age 17, which happened to be the same year that she finished as the runnerup in the U.S. Amateur.
That changed when she won the LPGA’s season opener this year, the Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne.
She did not do much after that but tied for 15th at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Kyle Stanley had a flameout after starting fast
Kyle Stanley’s 2012 season would definitely be characterized as a breakthrough one.
He suffered a heartbreaking playoff loss in the Farmers Insurance Open but recovered nicely to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open the very next week.
Unfortunately for Stanley, all of that took place in February and the rest of his season was basically forgettable.
He didn’t record another top-10 finish the rest of the way, but he did register his first win.