A J.B. Holmes comeback in 2013 would be great for golf.
There's an adage in sports that says it's tough to make it to the top, but it's even tougher to stay there.
Professional golfers know that as well as anyone. Getting a PGA Tour card is a tough task regardless of what path is taken to do so. Keeping that card is something that takes a lot of work and a lot of good play.
Playing at a high level, however, is what makes the game a job for the best players in the world. When things start going badly, it take a great deal of time and effort to get that mojo back.
Here are 10 guys who could have that hard work pay off with good years in 2013.
Tommy Gainey holds the McGladrey winners trophy flanked by Davis Love III and Gainey's wife, Erin.
The 2012 PGA Tour season was a definite mixed bag of results for Tommy Gainey.
Yes, he finally registered his first victory on the PGA Tour after four years with very little success, capturing the McGladrey Classic three weeks ago.
The flip side of that is that he missed 12 of 31 cuts, withdrew two other times and had only two other Top 10 finishes.
The winner of the Golf Channel’s Big Break VII, nicknamed Tommy Two Gloves, Gainey has the tools and should be able to build off the momentum created by his first victory.
Tim Clark has battled injuries through much of his career.
Tim Clark came on to the PGA Tour in 2000 and started having issues with an elbow in 2001.
That started a run of wrist, arm and tendonitis issues that have unfortunately been part of his game in the years since.
Clark was something of a surprise winner of the Players Championship in 2010. But he played in just four events in 2011, and he then showed signs of getting his game back in 2012.
Three Top 10s, including a second in the Wyndham Championship, could mean a return to form in 2013.
Troy Matteson showed up on leaderboards several times in 2012.
The numbers say Troy Matteson is trending upward each of the last three seasons, even though he missed the cut in each of his first five tournaments in 2012.
He still missed 14 cuts in 31 starts but made five Top Fives and lost in a playoff in the John Deere Classic.
He posted some good scores coming down the stretch, including a 63 in the CIMB Classic.
J.B. Holmes looks forward to being healthy in 2013.
Considering everything this guy has gone through, there would be nothing that could please golf fans more than J.B. Holmes having a breakthrough 2013.
In the spring of 2011, he began feeling vertigo-like symptoms and announced that he would have brain surgery on Sept. 1 to repair Chiari malformations.
He returned to action at the Northern Trust Open in February and went on to play in 25 events with two Top 10 finishes.
Look for big things from this longballer in 2013.
John Mallinger is one of golf's really good guys.
John Mallinger’s name showed up on a lot of leaderboards this year, and he managed his second runner-up finish on tour and posted seven Top 25 finishes.
He’s played well on the Web.com tour as well the last couple years. At 33 years old, he is entering the time in his career when he can fully blossom.
He's still looking for his first win, but he looks ready to grab it.
Ricky Barnes won the U.S. Amateur and almost won the U.S. Open.
Ricky Barnes won the 2002 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club, defeating a guy who’s turned out to be a pretty good professional, Hunter Mahan.
The same, however, cannot be said for Barnes, who is as big, athletic and talented as Mahan.
His record from 2003 (when he turned pro) to 2009 was a trail of missed cuts in his occasional PGA Tour starts and mediocre success on what is now the Web.com tour. He tied for second in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
Had he won, he’d have become just the 12th player to win a U.S. Open and a U.S. Amateur. He ballooned to a 76 on the final day to finish two shots behind Lucas Glover. It was his first career Top 10 finish.
He showed up on some leaderboards and finished tied for 22nd at the CIMB Classic.
Henrik Stenson has proven proficient on both sides of the ocean.
Henrik Stenson has not had a big impact on the PGA Tour, but he has put together an admirable career splitting time between here and the European Tour.
He won the 2007 WGC-Match Play and the 2009 Players Championship. He’s been relatively quiet since, but he has shown some signs of awakening in 2012.
Assuming he stays healthy, don’t be surprised if he gets things kick-started in 2013.
Golf needs Jhonattan Vegas to get back on the winning track.
Remember how Johnny Vegas took the PGA Tour by storm early in 2011 when he won the Bob Hope Classic and $900,000?
He was the hero of his native Venezuela, and the world certainly appeared to be the oyster of the man who could hit the ball unbelievable distances.
He followed that up with a tie for third in the Farmers Insurance Open the next week. He then basically disappeared.
Vegas found out there were lots of guys who could hit the ball a long way, many of them considerably straighter than he could.
He’s been working on his game, and while a pair of Top 10 finishes in 25 starts as well as 12 missed cuts isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation, he shot some good scores in the second half of the season.
Pat Perez can make birdies from anywhere when he gets hot.
There are two things for sure about Pat Perez: He owns the most volatile temper on the PGA Tour and, as quickly as the man can bury a club in the ground, he can light up a scoreboard with birdies.
Perez is a birdie machine when his game is on. He had a tie for ninth at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, his first Top 10 finish of the season. He has at least one Top 10 in each of his 11 seasons on tour.
He made a bunch of birdies coming down the stretch and played in the first three FedEx Cup playoff events. If he stays healthy, 2013 could be a good one for him.
Sean O'Hair was among the game's best in 2009.
It was a great year for Sean O'Hair in 2009: Nine Top 10s, 14 Top 25s and 10th place in the FedEx Cup standings.
That seems like a long time ago for the 30-year-old four-time PGA Tour winner.
He missed the cut 11 times in the 24 starts he made on tour last year.
He’s gone through swing changes and has grown a great deal as a player, having earned over $16 million on the PGA Tour.
His comeback takes a big step forward in 2013.