Who's Hot and Who's Not in Golf This Summer
We've passed the summer solstice, and golf's second major of the year—with its bounty of intrigue—is behind us, as well.
A few standouts on tour have been hotter than the summer sun as of late. A few others, well, not so much.
Tiger Woods, for one, wishes it was still spring—when his game was in a state of rebirth and bloom. The world No. 1 (at least with putter or wedge in hand) looks to be wilting in the summer heat. Ditto, Rory McIlroy.
Who's on the opposite end of the thermometer, and who else is hot?
Continue reading to find out.
Hot: Billy Horschel
This spring, Billy Horschel won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in dramatic fashion. He's continued his quality play since, notching a top-10 finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
More significantly, though, Horschel played spectacular golf in his first major as a professional. The Florida alum was tied for the lead after two rounds, and put together respectable weekend rounds of 72, 74 to finish tied for fourth.
Horschel's ability to hold up under U.S. Open pressure is a testament to both his talent and maturity.
Not: Rory McIlroy
If the lowlight of Rory McIlroy's spring was his walk-off withdrawal at the Honda Classic, his club-bending mini-tantrum at the U.S. Open is the low watermark of his summer thus far.
After a top-10 finish at the Players Championship, McIlroy appeared to be heading in a positive direction. However, an unimpressive tie for 57th at the Memorial Tournament, and his aforementioned poor play at the U.S. Open (T41) have the golfer searching for answers—and a new wedge.
Hot: Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar's tie for 28th at the U.S. Open wasn't profoundly impressive. However, with a win at the Memorial Tournament and a second-place finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Kuchar has established himself as one of the hottest players on tour.
Although he's been heating up as the temperature has lately, Kuchar has been one of the hottest players on tour all season long. He hasn't missed a cut, has finished inside the top 25 in nearly two-thirds of his starts and has won twice.
Not: Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker began the season with finishes inside the top three (including one win) in four of his first five starts. Then, a rib injury sidelined him and has compromised his play since.
Snedeker missed the cut in his two starts leading up to the U.S. Open, but did well to finish inside the top 20 at Merion.
Generally, though, the golfer isn't hot right now and likely won't be until he's recovered from his nagging injury.
Hot: Phil Mickelson
Nearly a victor at the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson has been playing well heading into one of the hottest months of the year.
Although he missed the cut at the Players Championship, Mickelson has tied for second his last two times out. Already a winner on tour this year, the Arizona alum is in a resurgent mode in 2013.
Lefty has to be a favorite heading into the Open Championship.
Not: Jim Furyk
Queue the umpteenth joke about Jim Furyk needing a boost from the 5-Hour Energy he endorses...
After a missed cut at the Players Championship, Furyk was headed in a good direction with a T31 finish at Colonial and a T21 finish at the Memorial Tournament.
However, rounds of 77, 79 at the U.S. Open placed the West Chester, Penn. native well outside the cut line, sending him back towards a deep freeze.
Hot: Ernie Els
Things are shaping up for the Big Easy this summer. Ernie Els followed up his stellar fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open with a win at the BMW International Open.
Els, whose 2013 season had been relatively unremarkable before the U.S. Open, is suddenly red hot...and just in time for his Open Championship title defense.
Not: Tiger Woods
There have been peaks and valleys in Tiger Woods' 2013 golf season so far, to put it mildly.
Since his win at the Players Championship, Woods has been in a valley with a pair of near career-worst finishes at the Memorial Tournament and the U.S. Open, respectively.
Most recently, Tiger looked lost at Merion, puttering around the Hugh Wilson design, seemingly unable to hole a putt of any length and playing like a 14-handicapper around the greens.
Hot: Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan didn't follow his incredible opening-round 62 with great play at the Travelers Championship (eventually finishing T24).
However, succeeding a top-10 finish in a major with a blistering 62 in your next competitive round has to earn you a spot in the "hot" side of the ledger.
Additionally, Mahan played well at the Memorial Tournament, finishing tied for 16th.
Not: Vijay Singh
There's no use beating a dead deer...err, horse.
The embattled Vijay Singh tied for 43rd at the Travelers Championship, breaking a streak of two missed cuts. Prior to that, Singh had missed four of his last six cuts.
The Fijian has been making more headlines off the course than inside the ropes this year. Those, of course, haven't been of the "hot" variety either.
Hot: Justin Rose
Winning a major secures a player an automatic spot in the hot list.
Such is the case for Justin Rose, who has played well outside of his iron-willed win at Merion. Rose finished tied for eighth at the Memorial Tournament and managed to follow up his publicity tour following the championship with a top-15 finish at the Travelers Championship.
Not: Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter is warming up after missed cuts at the Masters, The Players Championship and the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship.
However, even with a top-25 finish at the U.S. Open, Poults is still most definitely cold, and a tie for 43rd at the Travelers Championship—at a venue that set up well for the short, accurate Poulter—isn't a good sign.