Players Championship 2013: Top Golfers in Trouble Heading Towards US Open

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Players Championship 2013: Top Golfers in Trouble Heading Towards US Open
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In the wake of Tiger Woods' big win at the 2013 Players Championship, a few top players have escaped notice due to their poor play.

With the 2013 U.S. Open just weeks away, these struggling golfers are not looking good heading towards the second major tournament of the PGA season.

Whether due to health concerns or plain old poor play, these top golfers must find a way to fix what ails them or suffer an early exit in June when the U.S. Open kicks off.

 

Phil Mickelson (No. 10 in the World)

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a strange year for Lefty. 

He won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February and posted a couple of top-three finishes. But Mickelson's season has been marred by two missed cuts—one of which occurred at the Players Championship—and a handful of underwhelming showings.

Should Lefty take a lesson from Tiger and use his driver less?

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Mickelson's troubles at TPC Sawgrass stemmed from his inability to get the ball into the fairway off the tee, which in turn caused him to struggle with his approach shots. In his two rounds before being cut, he only hit 50 percent of all fairways and 55.56 percent of greens.

While players like Woods and Rory McIlroy have opted to take less distance off the tee in favor of accuracy, Mickelson continues to struggle off the tee with his driver. Perhaps a more conservative approach is needed.

But Lefty has never been one to go that route.

 

Graeme McDowell (No. 8 in the World)

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McDowell won the U.S. Open in 2010, but the way he's playing of late doesn't bode well for his chances of winning the tournament in 2013.

The Northern Irish golfer missed the cut at the Masters and at the Players Championship—the two biggest tests of the year thus far—and played poorly at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

McDowell's biggest struggle at TPC Sawgrass was his inability to make putts. He finished the tournament with a minus-1.790 mark in the strokes gained-putting statistic, negating excellent ball-striking off the tee and into the greens. 

Though McDowell won the RBC Heritage in between his two cuts at the Masters and Players, his inability to play well in the big tournaments spells doom for his chances at the U.S. Open. 

 

Dustin Johnson (No. 19 in the World)

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After getting the season started with a big win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Johnson's season has taken a turn for the worst. 

Which struggling golfer has the best chance of winning the U.S. Open?

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He had to withdraw from the Sony Open with a case of the flu, missed a couple of cuts, blew a big chance to win the Masters and withdrew from the Players Championship with a back injury.

Johnson's health is a concern, as is his penchant for posting big numbers on a few holes at big events. He's also hitting less than half of his fairways off the tee and struggles to recover when he hits the ball into trouble areas.

When Johnson is on his game, he's one of the most electric golfers on the planet. He can hit the ball a country mile and is a brilliant iron player.

But his inconsistencies are troublesome, to say the least.

He'll need to be completely healthy and be on top of his game in every facet to have a chance to contend for the U.S. Open title this year. 

 

Note: All statistics courtesy of PGATour.com, and world rankings courtesy of OfficialWorldGolfRanking.com.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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