Analyzing Josh Teater's Potential for PGA Tour Stardom

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2013

Josh Teater has shown the ability to compete with the big names on the PGA Tour.
Josh Teater has shown the ability to compete with the big names on the PGA Tour.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There are different levels of success on the PGA Tour.

The elite players are well known. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are at the top of the class, and there are 10 to 15 golfers who could join them in any given year to compete for major championships and the top spot on the money-winning list.

Then there are middle-level golfers who can rise up, win a tournament or two and make a very comfortable living on the tour.

They are not Hall of Fame golfers, but they may have one or two moments of stardom throughout their careers.

There are also players like Josh Teater—players who struggle for years, play on some of the lesser golf tours and then finally earn and keep their PGA Tour cards.

Josh Teater is happy to be on the PGA Tour. He is not a Hall of Famer, and he is not going to compete regularly with McIlroy, Woods, Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson.

But while Teater is thrilled to be making his living competing on the tour, he is not going to look at the big picture while he is competing. Instead, he is going to be giving his all and trying to win.

Since getting back on the tour in 2010, Teater has not won a PGA tournament. But he is improving, and he is getting close.

Earlier this year, Teater had a second-place finish (tied with Brandt Snedeker) in the Farmers Insurance Open. He shot a 10-under-par 278. Teater earned $536,800 in the tournament, and that finish probably would have been enough to get Teater quite a bit of recognition if Woods had not had a stellar tournament and walked away with the championship.

When Tiger wins early in the golf season, that gets the attention of the game's chroniclers and observers. You can't blame them. An early-season win indicates that Woods' game is on track and that he may be ready to resume his chase of Jack Nicklaus for the most major championships.

He still has to prove it. But the week that Woods wins, he gets the attention. The second-place finisher is reduced to seeing his name in agate type.

But that's not Teater's fault. He is getting closer and closer to his first victory, and the 2013 season is the year he may get it.

There's a lot to like about Teater's game. He has several of the characteristics that are consistent in winning golfers.

Take his driving distance. Teater can hit the ball a long way. He is averaging 296.8 yards per drive, a figure that ranks 27th on the tour. As a result, he is in a good position to attack the hole after hitting a big drive.

Teater is also putting the ball well so far during the 2013 season. He ranks 23rd on strokes gained while putting.

Teater is also hitting his approach shots efficiently. He ranks 14th on approach shots from 200 yards or less. His shots are getting to within just over 39 feet from the hole, and that's giving him a chance to make a lot of putts.

Teater has not won on the tour, so the chances are that he will not become a star. However, he has shown the ability to get close, and he should have a good chance to get his first victory ever this year.

That would be the jumping off point for a player who has demonstrated the persistence to keep his career alive and thriving. Even though he struggled for many years on the mini-tours, he still managed to keep on going.