Power Ranking the Top 25 Golfers After the 2013 US Open of Golf
The 2013 U.S. Open was supposed to be a story about how today's players—using today's equipment—can overpower the classic venues of old. Instead, it became a story about how—with an assist from the USGA—a course long thought too short to host a U.S. Open can more than hold its own.
Last week was an incredible one for Justin Rose, of course, as the Englishman was the last man standing at the U.S. Open. For Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy? Not so much.
Now that Merion has sufficiently abused the members of our power ranking, let's see where they stand, having risen and dusted themselves off.
25. Bill Haas
Previous Ranking: 21
U.S. Open Analysis: Bill Haas missed the cut at the U.S. Open. There's not much to say about his performance at Hugh Wilson's masterpiece. Three triple bogeys over two rounds cost him, and he didn't make enough birdies to offset the blunders.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Following the U.S. Open last year, Haas made nine of his next 10 cuts. He'll be hoping for a similar streak this year after missing three out of his last four cuts on tour.
24. Jim Furyk
Previous Ranking: 23
U.S. Open Analysis: Jim Furyk shot 77, 79 to miss the cut at the U.S. Open. Furyk made only two birdies over his two rounds and struggled with the putter.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Furyk has made the cut in 11 of his 13 starts this year. However, he has only two top 10s in 2013, and he only threatened the lead in one tournament (the Valero Texas Open).
Going forward, he'll be eager to return to a few courses where he's played well historically, such as Firestone Country Club (home of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational).
23. Jason Dufner
Previous Ranking: N/A
U.S. Open Analysis: "The Duf" had a strong showing at Merion. His accuracy and ball-striking carried him to a brilliant final-round 67, which is hopefully an indicator of good things to come.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Dufner has made 12 of 14 cuts this year. However, he has only managed one top-10 finish. He's finished tied for fourth at the past two U.S. Opens and should be ready to take the next step. He won twice in 2012 and, although he's made cuts, doesn't seem to be in the same form as he was last year.
22. Louis Oosthuizen
Previous Ranking: 19
U.S. Open Analysis: There's not much to analyze, as the South African withdrew with a hip injury following the first round (per ESPN).
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Louis Oosthuizen has been hampered by injury lately. If he can shake the bug, his game is good enough (pre-injuries) to secure his second career PGA Tour win.
21. Bubba Watson
Previous Ranking: 17
U.S. Open Analysis: A final-round 76 dropped Bubba Watson down the leaderboard. However, his tie for 32nd was markedly better than last year's missed cut at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: This year, Bubba has been a consistent cut-maker. He hasn't been in danger of lifting any trophies, though.
Watson will need to decide if he wants to win golf tournaments or merely clown around and collect a paycheck. His prodigious talents will always ensure he can do the latter on tour with little practice or preparation.
20. Rickie Fowler
Previous Ranking: 22
U.S. Open Analysis: Rickie Fowler played well through all four rounds at the U.S. Open, particularly the third, where he carded a 67.
His finish would have been much better had it not been for...his finish. Fowler was three over through the last four holes.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: The outlook for Rickie is as bright as his signature orange garb. With four top-10 finishes in 2013, he'll be looking to notch a second career victory some time late this year.
19. Luke Donald
Previous Ranking: 20
U.S. Open Analysis: For a while, it looked like Luke Donald might be the Englishman winning the U.S. Open Championship Trophy. However, when he went out at six over par, it became clear it wasn't Donald's day. He finished tied for eighth.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: So far, Luke Donald's 2013 has been defined by made cuts, decent finishes and not playing a lot of golf. Donald, who has only teed it up nine times on tour this year, will assuredly continue to make cuts and accumulate top 10s throughout the rest of the year.
18. Ernie Els
Previous Ranking: 24
U.S. Open Analysis: Ernie Els fired a brilliant final-round 69 to finish inside the top five. For the Big Easy, the finish was his third top-10 finish in the U.S. Open in the last four years.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: The South African will defend his Open Championship title later this year. Given his performances in the season's two majors thus far (T13, T4) there's no reason to think he won't perform admirably in his defense.
17. Dustin Johnson
Previous Ranking: 18
U.S. Open Analysis: Dustin Johnson finished 55th at 17 over par. He struggled mightily on Friday en route to a second-round 77. Johnson, who ranks 181st in driving accuracy, simply didn't hit enough fairways to compete at Merion.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: If Johnson can stay healthy, the outlook is good for the rest of the year for him. However, with a withdrawal, a missed cut and last week's lackluster performance at the U.S. Open, Johnson has work to do on the course...assuming he can stay there.
16. Webb Simpson
Previous Ranking: 14
U.S. Open Analysis: Last year's U.S. Open winner made the cut in his title defense. Simpson was solid, albeit not spectacular, at Merion. He finished tied for 32nd.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Webb Simpson's year thus far has been up and down. However, as long as he doesn't spend too much time worrying about the belly putter being taken out of his hands, he should be able to continue his top-25 ways.
15. Lee Westwood
Previous Ranking: 16
U.S. Open Analysis: The 2013 U.S. Open's most memorable moment for Lee Westwood has to be striking the wicker on Thursday and suffering a terrible carom. Westwood was four over through his final eighth holes to finish tied for 15th.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Westwood has a string of top 10s leading up to the U.S. Open. As good as his form has been recently, look for him to continue to place highly, and perhaps win, in the coming months.
14. Keegan Bradley
Previous Ranking: 9
U.S. Open Analysis: Uninspired rounds of 77, 75 led to a missed cut for Keegan Bradley. It was his first missed cut in seven starts as a professional at the majors.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Bradley has made 12 of 16 cuts this year. However, he's come up short in the majors, firing a third-round 82 at Augusta en route to a finishing tied for 54th and missing the cut at the U.S. Open.
Bradley is a player ready to take the next step and win with regularity. We'll see if he can do it this year.
13. Charl Schwartzel
Previous Ranking: 12
U.S. Open Analysis: Another player who had a chance on Sunday, Charl Schwartzel effectively blew up during the final round of the U.S. Open. The normally steady South African hopped on the bogey train early in his round and never really got off, firing a final-round 78.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: There was a story in the works about Schwartzel, the relentlessly consistent performer across the globe, grinding out four solid rounds to win the U.S. Open. Then he imploded Sunday. The rest of the year for the South African will including top-25 finishes. Wining and contending for wins? Less likely.
12. Rory McIlroy
Previous Ranking: 10
U.S. Open Analysis: Rory's 2013 U.S. Open is best summed up by this.
He shot 75, 76 on the weekend to finish tied for 41st.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: In short, who knows. Rory is still trending positively (if he bottomed out at the Honda Classic). However, a pathetic attempt to break a club and an equally pathetic score at the U.S. Open make it look like Rory is still a bit lost. For McIlroy, 2013 may be remembered as a season of wandering in the wilderness.
11. Sergio Garcia
Previous Ranking: 8
U.S. Open Analysis: Sergio was consistently mediocre at the U.S. Open this year. He failed to break 73 and finished tied for 45th. On the positive side of the ledger: He survived the Philadelphia crowd.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Assuming he can keep his mouth shut, Sergio could actually put together a solid record in 2013. He's made seven of nine cuts so far and has top 10s in significant tournaments. Whatever else may be true about the Spaniard, his game (particularly his putting) is sharp.
10. Graeme McDowell
Previous Ranking: 5
U.S. Open Analysis: One of the favorites entering the tournament, Graeme McDowell put together two disappointing rounds and found himself with a little extra free time on the weekend. Rounds of 76, 77 ensured G-Mac missed the cut.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: McDowell, who has won all over the globe in recent months, is on the rise. At least, he was on the rise until he found himself on the outside looking in at Merion. Now, rather than asking, "Where will he win next?" we're asking, "With his schedule, did he prepare adequately for Merion?"
9. Hunter Mahan
Previous Ranking: 15
U.S. Open Analysis: Hunter Mahan could have been a U.S. Open champion with a little better performance on Sunday. Instead, he went four over through his final four holes to finish tied for fourth. His driving accuracy for the week, however, was phenomenal.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: As he continues to drive the ball well, the questions with Hunter Mahan surround his short game and putting. As he's moved up from 112th to 30th in strokes gained-putting, he seems poised for a win this year.
8. Steve Stricker
Previous Ranking: 13
U.S. Open Analysis: Through three days, Steve Stricker was in contention for his first U.S. Open victory. However, a final-round 76, which included one of the worst golf shots you'll ever see a professional hit, was his undoing.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Continuing his gradual retirement/lengthy farewell tour, Steve Stricker will continue to perform well when he decides to play.
He's only played seven times on tour this year but has finished inside the top 25 in five of those appearances. As a veteran who knows how to get himself ready, Stricker will continue to perform.
7. Jason Day
Previous Ranking: 11
U.S. Open Analysis: Another major, another solid performance by Jason Day. The Australian finished tied for second. Had a couple putts fallen for him on the back nine, we might have been looking at the second Australian major winner in a row.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: With top-five finishes in the last two majors, Jason Day is on the rise. It will be interesting to see if he continues his streak at the Open Championship.
6. Adam Scott
Previous Ranking: 3
U.S. Open Analysis: Playing with Tiger Woods Thursday and Friday, Adam Scott shot a combined seven over par. He simply didn't look inspired, cruising to weekend rounds of 73, 76 and finishing tied for 45th.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: The Masters champion's breakthrough win has to have boosted his confidence. Unfortunately, as we head toward the Open Championship, expect to see an abundance of footage of Scott's meltdown at the tournament last year.
It will be very interesting to see how he performs in the competition this year, especially in the face of what's sure to be a significant brouhaha.
5. Brandt Snedeker
Previous Ranking: 4
U.S. Open Analysis: Although he didn't get a lot of television time this week, Brandt Snedeker actually put together a pretty decent U.S. Open performance. He finished at 10 over to finish tied for 17th. Even though he drove the ball well, Sndeds struggled on the greens.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Every bit of speculation about the remainder of Snedeker's season must be seen not through the eye but through the ribs, as it were. If his lingering injury is sufficiently healed, look for Snedeker to resume his early-2013 form.
4. Phil Mickelson
Previous Ranking: 6
U.S. Open Analysis: Sure, it was heartbreaking to watch Phil fritter away another chance at an elusive U.S. Open victory. However, only a final-round 74, with a few poor decisions and resultant scorecard blemishes, kept him from lifting the trophy.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Phil has experienced heartbreak at the U.S. Open before (six times now). It will not compromise his performance for the remainder of the year. Given the state of his game, another win is a distinct possibility for Lefty in 2013.
3. Justin Rose
Previous Ranking: 7
U.S. Open Analysis: In case you hadn't heard, Justin Rose didn't do too poorly at the U.S. Open. En route to victory, Rose gutted out a final-round even-par 70, which spoke volumes about his mettle.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: The outlook for a major winner is necessarily bright. After a tie for eighth at the Memorial and a win at the U.S. Open, it will be interesting to see what Rose does next. One thought: more wins.
2. Matt Kuchar
Previous Ranking: 2
U.S. Open Analysis: In his traditional under-the-radar fashion, Matt Kuchar finished tied for 28th at Merion. As a short, inaccurate driver who doesn't hit many greens, the finish is a testament to Kuchar's comfort and prowess with his armlock putter.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Kuch has been the hottest player on tour recently, winning the Memorial Tournament and finishing second in his previous start. His U.S. Open finish was solid and does nothing to dispel the idea that Kuchar will win again on tour this year.
1. Tiger Woods
Previous Ranking: 1
U.S. Open Analysis: Tiger didn't make a lot of putts at Merion, and he never seemed to figure out the green speed. His short game was also off. Obviously, finishing tied for 32nd is a profound disappointment. The total breakdown of his short game on a major stage is troubling for the world No. 1 too.
Remaining 2013 Outlook: Woods will likely rebound and win more tournaments in 2013. However, the real question is whether he will win majors.
After several lackluster performances in a row in the big ones, he'll face more pressure and scrutiny than ever at the Open Championship.
He is, however, the early favorite to win the Open Championship (according to PaddyPower). And he's still No. 1 here, based on the strength of his season so far.