PGA Championship 2013: 3 Pros Who Must Build on Momentum from Oak Hill
There are just five tournaments left on the PGA calendar this year (not counting the Presidents Cup), and it will be important for several golfers to finish the year strong.
For starters, a hot finish to the year will be a nice boost to their pocketbooks. The FedEx Cup offers up a tidy $67 million over the four tournaments.
Still, it isn't for the riches that I put these next three guys on the list. I don't think we need to worry about their financial well-being.
What I'm more concerned about is these talented golfers fulfilling their potentials.
On the surface, finishing eighth at the PGA Championship while trying to defend his title isn't anything for a golfer of Rory McIlroy's caliber to get overly excited about.
However, in this case, it most certainly was.
McIlroy began the year as the world's No. 1 golfer, but he certainly hasn't looked the part this year. He hasn't picked up a 2013 victory, and his eighth-place finish at Oak Hill was just his fifth top 10 on the season.
Which of these guys will win the next major?
That finish at the PGA was also a vast improvement over his performance at the previous major, the British Open. He missed the cut at that event, and that followed on the heels of his lackluster 41st at the U.S. Open.
McIlroy showed signs of improvement by finishing 27th at the Bridgestone. This positive trend is a good sign for McIlroy's game. However, he's shown flashes similar to this during the year and quickly crashed back down. He just hasn't been able to maintain any consistency.
Now, it's time for McIlroy to prove to everyone, including himself, that he is ready to start contending on a consistent basis.
Dustin Johnson has had an up-and-down year. It all started back in January when he won the Tournament of Champions in his first start.
At that point, it was time to start dreaming of a dominant season for the ultra-talented 29-year-old.
He then withdrew from his next start, due to the flu, and he was awful upon his return. However, he turned it around, and his 13th at the Masters was his third straight top-15 finish. It wasn't long after that Johnson experienced health issues and had to miss three straight starts.
Tried to go but have inflammation in my facet joints. Some rest and daily therapy with my physical therapist, then I should be good!!— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) May 14, 2013
Since his return, he's had some strong showings. That includes a second at the Canadian Open and then his eighth at the PGA Championship.
It's important for Johnson to stay healthy and regain consistency at the close of the year. This will help him approach his offseason with confidence and prepare for a season next year in which he starts to live up to his massive potential.
Rickie Fowler will show flashes of his prodigious talent, but he can't sustain it. As a result, he has just one career victory and eight top-three finishes.
While that is certainly nothing to sneeze at, he has the potential to accomplish more.
At the PGA Championship, Fowler had a solid 19th. This was just the continuation of a solid stretch of play. Other than missing the cut at the British Open, Fowler has been playing well. That includes a 10th at the U.S. Open.
He now needs to keep that momentum going, which is something that has always been a struggle for him. It isn't all his fault. Fowler has struggled with back issues.
So he is going to need assistance from his body to pull this off. If that happens, he has a chance to make some waves.
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