Struggling PGA Tour Golfers Most Likely to Get Hot Later in 2013

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2013

Struggling PGA Tour Golfers Most Likely to Get Hot Later in 2013

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    Much like in the business cycle, golfers on the PGA Tour boom and slump. Perhaps it's not over such predictable intervals and without such apparent cause as in the world of commerce, but PGA Tour golfers are apt to find their games a bit frostier, their mechanics a bit mushier and their paychecks a bit smaller at times.

    Golfers whose last names are Kuchar, Woods, Scott or Snedeker needn't be concerned about firing up their respective games late in the season, as they're hot enough right now. However, former world No. 1 Luke Donald's game is more like the warm glow of embers than a raging blaze at the moment.

    Is Mr. Donald one of the players most likely to get hot later in the year? Who else will turn up the heat? Read on to find out.

Rory McIlroy

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    OK. Rory McIlroy isn't really struggling presently.

    Since a self-imposed early trip to the showers at the Honda Classic in March, McIlroy has actually played very well. Notably, he finished tied for eighth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, second at the Valero Texas Open, tied for 25th at the Masters and tied for eighth at the Players Championship.

    Regardless, McIlroy raised the bar last year with his three wins in four starts. Can he reasonably be expected to return to such a torrid pace? Perhaps not. However, the golfer should be winning every five or six starts.

    Given his positive trajectory since the Honda, it's likely that McIlroy—who is statistically playing much the same as last year—will get hot and win multiple tournaments by year's end.

Dustin Johnson

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    Much like a hurricane, Dustin Johnson had difficulty maintaining what he had going once he reached the mainland.

    Really, Johnson's problems in 2013—those of the health-related variety—began while the golfer was still on the season-opening stretch of play in Hawaii. Johnson withdrew from the Sony Open following his win at the Tournament of Champions, as he felt under the weather.

    Recently, the golfer has again been having issues with his back, which has forced a spate of withdrawals. However, as Golf Channel's Will Gray notes, surgery shouldn't be required to get Johnson's dorsal region in order. 

    If this is the case, a healthier Dustin Johnson in the latter portion of 2013 will surely be a hotter one—and that's not just in the eyes of Paulina Gretzky. 

Luke Donald

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    For as difficult as it was to believe that Luke Donald was the best golfer in the world when he was ranked No. 1, it's equally as difficult to believe that Donald has fallen to No. 6 in the OWGR and hasn't won in more than a year.

    Donald, as always, has been consistently good in 2013, finishing inside the top 25 in six of the seven events he's entered on the PGA Tour this year. However, by the end of the year, Donald could be better than good.

    The pep talks from Michael Jordan will pay off for the golfer once the season progresses and he's playing more regularly. 

Ian Poulter

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    Ian Poulter started the 2013 PGA Tour season in good form. The native of Stevenage, England finished tied for ninth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and fourth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

    Since his clinching putt in in the Tavistock Cup, however, Poulter has missed two out of three cuts, including a missed cut at the Masters. Missing the cut at a major and a near-major (The Players) should be a wake up call for the design aficionado.

    This week's Volvo World Match Play Championships should be just the thing to jump-start the reigning king of professional match play's season. 

    Expect better play from Poulter over the rest of 2013. 

Nicolas Colsaerts

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    The Belgian Bomber has had a rough go in his initial PGA Tour campaign. He's shown flashes of brilliance, such as his final-round 67 en route to a tie for eighth at the Zurich Classic.

    Alternatively, he's missed four of ten cuts and has had several uninspired finishes, such as his tie for 68th at the Honda Classic (and final-round 79).

    However, the 30-year-old is simply too talented to continue such wildly inconsistent play. Assuming he can find his putting stroke (he's 182nd in strokes gained putting in 2013 and was 58th last year), his play will surely improve.

    He'll likely have adjusted to the PGA Tour schedule and put a stop to the pendulum swings by the end of the 2013 PGA Tour season.