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Predicting the Biggest Risers, Fallers in Official World Golf Rankings in 2014

Mike DudurichContributor IOctober 25, 2016

Predicting the Biggest Risers, Fallers in Official World Golf Rankings in 2014

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    Bubba Watson hasn't figured out how to win against since th 2012 Masters.
    Bubba Watson hasn't figured out how to win against since th 2012 Masters.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Golf may be the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport.

    It's all about you and how you swing those clubs of yours every time you compete.

    Regardless of your name, professional golfers are judged by what they accomplish. Or don't accomplish.

    The Official World Golf Rankings, even as vague and hard to understand as they are, provide a system of showing who the best players in the world are and how players rank against each other.

    As we get to the meat of the golf season, here's a list with a look at who might be the biggest risers and fallers on the 2014 OWGR.

    Where do you think names like Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Brendan Grace and Jordan Spieth fall on this list?

     

Faller: Jim Furyk

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    Jim Furyk with his long-time caddie, Fluff Cowan.
    Jim Furyk with his long-time caddie, Fluff Cowan.Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Jim Furyk has had a wonderful PGA Tour career.

    He won a U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields and has 16 wins on the PGA Tour.

    Furyk has been so close in major championships since, but due to a variety of reasons he couldn't close the deal. He had a chance to win the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont going into the 71st hole but made a critical bogey. At the Olympic Club in 2012, he was tied for lead in the final round as he stood on the 16th tee, but he made a bogey and couldn't recover from that.

    His season of angst continued when he blew the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on the final hole and was highly ineffective in the Ryder Cup.

    Furyk had no wins but a pair of seconds and won over $3 million in 2013.

    He's ranked 13th in the world, but that's as high as it will get in 2014.

Riser: Jordan Spieth

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    Jordan Spieth: Headed for the top 10 in the world?
    Jordan Spieth: Headed for the top 10 in the world?Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Jordan Spieth is 20th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and the only reason he's not higher is he's been a professional just over a year.

    H had a storybook season in 2013, going from a player with no status to a winner on the PGA Tour, a force to be reckoned with in the FedEx Cup playoffs and a solid member of the United States Presidents Cup team.

    He's brought more game to the PGA Tour as a rookie than anyone in quite a while.

    He's gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season, but this guy is definitely trending upward and he'll keep moving on up in 2014.

Faller: Lee Westwood

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    Lee Westwood has not been able to break through the highest level of golf.
    Lee Westwood has not been able to break through the highest level of golf.Kaan Soyturk/Associated Press

    It may surprise you to know that Lee Westwood hasn't won on the PGA Tour since 2010, when he won the St. Jude Classic in a playoff. That's almost four years!

    Despite his lack of a win and and his inability to win a major championship, Westwood is still 18th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

    Westwood moved to Florida in an effort to be able to practice year-round, which really hasn't paid off yet.

    He's 41 years old, and the pressure has been building on him because he hasn't won a major.

    He's headed to a ranking somewhere over 30 by the time 2014 ends.

Riser: Hideki Matsuyama

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    Hideki Matsuyama is very young, but very, very talented.
    Hideki Matsuyama is very young, but very, very talented.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Hideki Matsuyama won't turn 22 until later in February, but boy has he accomplished a lot for a young man.

    He turned pro last April and won five titles on the Japan Golf Tour. He qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open and finished tied for sixth, and he became the first rookie to be the leading money-winner on the Japan Tour.

    Matsuyama is competing on the PGA Tour this year through non-member earnings. When he has played in a PGA Tour event, he's posted six top 25s in seven starts.

    He's at 30th in the rankings now, but watch that number shrink as the season goes along.

Faller: Luke Donald

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    Luke Donald just hasn't been able to figure it out.
    Luke Donald just hasn't been able to figure it out.Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    Luke Donald hasn't won a PGA Tour event since the 2011 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

    Later that year, he ascended to the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. He held that spot for 40 weeks then traded places with Rory McIlroy for a while before finally dropping out of the rarefied air of best players in the world.

    He currently sits at 14th but has shown no inclination toward moving back upward.

    His slide will continue this summer.

     

Riser: Brendan Grace

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    Brendan Grace shakes hands with Tiger Woods.
    Brendan Grace shakes hands with Tiger Woods.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    There have been some great golfers to come from South Africa—names like Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Ernie Els come immediately to mind. More recently, players like Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and now Branden Grace have emerged and have made names for themselves.

    The 25-year-old Grace played well in the international spotlight of the Presidents Cup last year, stamping himself as a player to watch.

    In reality, though, he did that in 2012 when he became the first player in the history of the European Tour to win his first four events on that tour in the same year.

    He's 38th on the OWGR but will be much higher than that at season's end.

Faller: Bubba Watson

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    Bubba Watson still looking for a little direction.
    Bubba Watson still looking for a little direction.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Bubba Watson hasn't won a tournament since he boomeranged the wedge out of the woods and onto the green that led to a playoff victory at the Masters.

    He was hardly a prototypical major championship winner and there were whispers that he was the ultimate one-and-done, catch-lightning-in-a-bottle kind of guy.

    He didn't play well the rest of 2012 and posted only three top 10s in all of 2013.

    Yes, he can still move the ball in the air better than anybody else on tour, but he's definitely on the downward slide. Watson is 25th now and going down.

Riser: Ryan Moore

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    Ryan Moore continues to come through on all that promise he had when he turned professional.
    Ryan Moore continues to come through on all that promise he had when he turned professional.Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    Anyone who remembers the amateur season Ryan Moore had back in 2004 would have bet a lot of money on him becoming a very successful professional.

    That didn't happen right away and then he was waylaid by hand and wrist injuries that derailed his progress.

    The last couple years, however, he's started to round back into form and has gotten off to a quick start in 2014. In six events already, he's posted four top 10s, including a win in the CIMB Championship.

    There's plenty of good golf left in Ryan Moore, who ranks 45th in the world. He's only 31 and if he can stay healthy, it will be fun to watch him climb.

Faller: Nick Watney

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    Where oh where has Nick Watney gone?
    Where oh where has Nick Watney gone?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    There was a time when Nick Watney was the next best thing on the golf horizon.

    Two years ago, he won the Barclays and had a nice 2012 season.

    He was thought to have an immense amount of talent and the kind of game that would shine on the biggest stages.

    Watney missed the cut in his last three majors appearances and seems to be making little forward progress.

    He's ranked 27th in the world, but that's not going to last.

     

     

     

Riser: Peter Uihlein

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    Peter Uihlein has had brilliant moments on the European Tour.
    Peter Uihlein has had brilliant moments on the European Tour.Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Peter Uihlein was an outstanding amateur, playing college golf at Oklahoma State University and was a member of the 2009 United States Walker Cup team.

    He attempted to qualify for both the PGA and European Tours in 2011 but failed on both. He turned pro in December of that year and has played primarily on the European and Sunshine Tours.

    Uihlein won for the first time last year, capturing the Madeira Islands Open and finished 14th in the 2013 Race Dubai money list. He put up eight top 10s and captured the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.

    He's ranked 69th in the world, but that's temporary. That number will shrink as the year goes along.

     

     

     

     

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