Who's Hot and Who's Not on the PGA Tour?
Firing a final-round 69 in difficult conditions for his first career victory guarantees Sang Moon Bae entry on the "hot" side of a ledger that catalogues the temperatures of the world's best golfers.
Relative to his past performance, Mr. Bae is on fire. With his victory, he earned nearly as much as he has in his time on tour thus far.
Who else is hot after the HP Byron Nelson Championship?
Read on to find out.
Hot: Sang Moon Bae
The story of the HP Byron Nelson through the first three days of the tournament was one of Keegan Bradley virtually assuring himself the first wire-to-wire win at the event since Tom Watson in 1980.
However, Bradley's opening-round 60 was bookeneded with a final-round, two-over 72, which left him two strokes behind the tournament's eventual winner: Sang Moon Bae.
Bae, for his part, nearly sank his own hopes for the Byron Nelson's trophy with a double bogey on the ninth hole. However, strong play down the stretch propelled the South Korean to his first PGA Tour victory.
With the win, we are presented again with a novice closing like a seasoned winner on the PGA Tour this year, which is a trend as hot as any of the golfers on this list.
Not: Vijay Singh
Favorite golfer of the powers that be at the PGA Tour and golf fans everywhere, Vijay Singh further endeared himself to both with his decision to sue the PGA Tour in order to "reclaim his reputation and hold the PGA TOUR responsible for its unwarranted effort to suspend [him] for his use of deer antler spray," according to Ron Sirak of Golf Digest.
Legal issues aside, what reputation does Singh have to reclaim? That of being a an aloof jerk?
Ironically, he's likely doing more damage to his reputation with the suit than the deer antler-gate has done.
Hot: Freddie Jacobson
Freddie (or Frederik; it seems to change weekly) Jacobson finished tied for 17th at the HP Byron Nelson, continuing his strong play of 2013. Jacobson has made nine of 10 cuts this year and finished inside the top 25 eight times.
The oft-disheveled Swede has maintained a steady simmer throughout the early part of the year. Indeed, he's heated up over the past two years, during which time he's jumped nearly 80 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Not: Keegan Bradley
Even though he lit up the TPC Four Seasons with an opening-round 60 (a course record), Keegan Bradley was only one under throughout the remainder of the tournament en route to a second-place finish.
Sure, a runner-up finish on the heels of two missed cuts looks like progress for a golfer. For Bradley—a major winner looking to become a consistent winner on tour—though, the inability to capitalize/close is a significant disappointment.
Hot: Ryo Ishikawa
Ishikawa, who was starting to look like a missed-cut machine, has now made four cuts in a row. Additionally, the Japanese phenom finished tied for 10th at the HP Byron Nelson. The finish marked his best performance of 2013.
Ishikawa was heating up before the Byron Nelson, though. Earlier this year, the decision to grant Ishikawa an exemption to the Masters in April seemed somewhat questionable, given the fact that he missed five out of seven cuts to begin the 2013 season. However, the 21-year-old turned in a solid performance, finishing tied for 38th.
Not: Boo Weekley
The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College alum shot 76, 75 to miss the cut at the Byron Nelson by a mile. This performance came on the heels of shooting 73, 73 on the weekend at the Players Championship.
Not hot, Boo, not hot.
Also not hot, Mr. Weekley's putting: He's ranked 185th in strokes gained—putting.
Hot: Tiger Woods
A reminder: If the other "hot" golfers on this list are roaring fires, Tiger Woods is the face of the sun.
Tiger has won four times in 2013, including the Players Championship, an event he has historically not played well. The ability to win at a course where he's less than comfortable is the best evidence so far of the confidence Woods has in his current swing.
Here's a look at Tiger's last four finishes: 1st, 1st, tied for 4th, 1st. Translation: hot.