PGA Power Ranking: Breaking Down the Top 25 Post-Masters

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2014

PGA Power Ranking: Breaking Down the Top 25 Post-Masters

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    Entering the Masters, Bubba Watson was positioned third in this ranking, behind Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed. We know what Watson did at Augusta. Walker finished inside the top 10. Patrick Reed fired rounds of 73 and 79 and missed the cut. 

    Leaving the ranking this week are a handful of players who missed the cut at Augusta: Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Luke Donald. 

    Hopefully, it's not surprising that Mr. Watson moves past Mr. Reed in the ranking this week. But will he unseat Walker in the top spot? And who is joining the Masters champion in moving up? Read on to find out. 

25. Jason Dufner

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    Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR): 16

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Why He's Here: Jason Dufner falls from 18th in this ranking to the 25th position, thanks to a first-round 80 that led to "Duf Daddy" ultimately missing the cut. Still, he's made seven of eight cuts this season. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: There's no great cause for concern for team Dufner going forward. He was largely undone by a nine on the 13th hole on Thursday, and you're not likely to see Dufner wearing the mask of worry in his next start.

24. Graeme McDowell

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    OWGR: 14

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Why He's Here: Graeme McDowell falls precipitously because he has proven that, although he can play well on Tour, he's awful at Augusta National. The 14th-ranked player in the world has now missed the cut in five of his seven appearances at the Masters. That's unacceptable for a player of his caliber. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: McDowell entered the Masters with a greater percentage of top-10 finishes than anyone else on Tour. He can't play Augusta. This doesn't mean he won't perform well at the courses he's more comfortable on, such as Harbour Town, site of the upcoming RBC Heritage where he won last year.

23. Graham DeLaet

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    OWGR: 30

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Why He's Here: Graham DeLaet shot 80 and 72 in his first appearance at Augusta and missed the cut. Even so, he's still made nine of 11 cuts and has only been leapfrogged by golfers who perfromed well in the Masters.  

    Updated 2014 Outlook: DeLaet missed the cut in his first Masters. That's what most Masters rookies do. Even though he's sliding in the rankings, it doesn't have great bearing on the rest of his season.

22. Gary Woodland

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    OWGR: 48

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Why He's Here: Gary Woodland has now made 10 of 11 cuts this season. The Kansas alum also has three top-10 finishes. He finished tied for 26th at the Masters in another strong showing. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Woodland is trending upward. He now has more top-10 finishes (three) than he did all of last year. Making the cut at the Masters is a sign of the long-hitter's continued progress.

21. Kevin Stadler

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    OWGR: 60  

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Why He's Here: Kevin Stadler finished tied for eighth in his first appearance at the Masters. This, coupled with the fact that the Reno, Nev., native has made 10 of 11 cuts and won once on Tour already has Stadler jumping up this list to a spot he certainly deserves. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: The 34-year-old has taken two huge steps forward in 2014: winning a PGA Tour event and notching a top-10 finish in his first appearance at the Masters. The outlook for the "Baby Walrus" is bright.

20. Rickie Fowler

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    OWGR: 39

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Why He's Here: Rickie Fowler finished tied for fifth at Augusta National. He's now made eight of 12 cuts on the seasons. As the swing changes, he and coach Butch Harmon are working on continuing to coalesce. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: A sixth-place finish followed by the tie for fifth at the Masters have Fowler's prospects for this season looking much better than when he missed three consecutive cuts in early February.

19. Jonas Blixt

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    OWGR: 56

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Why He's Here: Jonas Blixt was resilient down the stretch at Augusta, and he nearly won a green jacket to complement his green glove. He's made seven of 11 cuts this season, and his tie for second has him sliding into the 19th position in this ranking. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: An incredibly strong showing in his Masters debut is a harbinger of great things to come for the Swede this season.

18. Justin Rose

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    OWGR: 8

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Why He's Here: Justin Rose barely made the cut at Augusta, but he managed to grind out a T14 finish. He's now made seven of seven cuts this year. His top-15 finish at the Masters quiets concerns that surfaced after he missed the cut at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.  

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Although the Englishman surely would have preferred to do better than a Sunday 76, his overall showing at Augusta is encouraging and bodes well for the remainder of the season.

17. Chris Kirk

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    OWGR: 53

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Why He's Here: The relatively unheralded Chris Kirk moves from 20th to 17th in this ranking, thanks to an impressive T14 finish at Augusta. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: A win and a strong showing in his first Masters? Watch out for Kirk going forward in 2014.

16. Russell Henley

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    OWGR: 43

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Why He's Here: Prior to 2014, Russell Henley had only teed it up in one Masters, missing the cut last year. This year, however, Henley finished tied for 31st in the tournament. He slides up the ranking, thanks to the many quality players who missed the cut this week. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Returning to Augusta National, where he missed the cut badly last year, and playing well has to give Henley tremendous confidence heading into the second quarter of the season.

15. Dustin Johnson

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    OWGR: 11

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Why He's Here: Dustin Johnson shot 77 and 74 to miss the cut at Augusta. One of the hottest players on Tour prior to a withdrawal last week, Johnson has again stumbled at Augusta.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: After a streak of solid play to begin the season, Johnson has again left us scratching our heads. What's next for DJ? Who knows.

14. Ryan Moore

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    OWGR: 33

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Why He's Here: Ryan Moore moves from 10th to 14th in this edition of the power rankings after falling just outside the cut line at Augusta. If it weren't for he the players moving up, Moore would have likely treaded water in the ranking this week.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: As you may have read above, Moore narrowly missed the cut at Augusta. As he hasn't performed well at the course historically, the near-miss isn't indicative that something's rotten in Las Vegas (where the UNLV grad lives).

13. Hunter Mahan

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    OWGR: 32

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Why He's Here: Although he didn't get a ton of television time this week, Hunter Mahan put together a pretty solid performance at the 2014 edition of the Masters tournament. The Ping staffer finished tied for 26th and thus creeps up the list.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: As he's finished inside the top 10 in nearly half of his starts on Tour this season and almost notched a top-10 finish in the season's first major, Mahan seems posed to continue playing like he's better than 32nd in the world.

12. Sergio Garcia

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    OWGR: 6

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Why He's Here: Sergio Garcia falls from ninth to 12th in the power rankings as he was passed by players who played better golf at Augusta National. Still, the Spaniard only missed the cut by a stroke and shouldn't be seen as entering a state of decline.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: To continue on the aforementioned discussion, Garcia hasn't had great success during his career at Augusta, so his missed cut isn't a sign of the apocalypse. With finishes of 4, T9, T8, T16 and 3 entering the Masters, expect him to play well going forward.

11. Matt Every

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    OWGR: 42

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Why He's Here: Matt Every falls from seventh position to 11th after shooting 77 and 78 to miss the cut at Augusta. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: The Arnold Palmer Invitational champ wasn't expected to make the cut at the Masters. Thus, failing to do so doesn't have tremendous implications for the golfer going forward.

10. Jordan Spieth

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    OWGR: 13

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Why He's Here: First-time Masters participant Jordan Spieth nearly won the darn thing. Watson was simply too much for the 20-year-old (or anyone else in the field) to handle. The quantum leap forward in his career translates to a huge jump for Spieth in this list. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: In short, the sky is the limit for Spieth right now.

9. Zach Johnson

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    OWGR: 10

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Why He's Here: Zach Johnson surprisingly missed the cut at the Masters. The 2007 tournament winner laid a serious egg at Augusta and falls in this ranking, accordingly. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Johnson continues to be a player with all the skills to contend in majors. Unfortunately, he continues to not contend with regularity. He shouldn't be unsteady throughout the remainder of the year, and his failings at Augusta don't have implications for his non-major tournament future.

8. Webb Simpson

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    OWGR: 25

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Why He's Here: Missing the cut at Augusta drops Webb Simpson from fifth in this ranking to eighth. He remains inside the top 10 as he's won on Tour this season and has notched five top-10 finishes.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Simpson has now missed three of four cuts at Augusta. Thus, a missed cut at the Masters isn't a tremendous indicator of how he'll play going forward.

7. Harris English

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    OWGR: 36

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Why He's Here: Harris English missed the cut at Augusta and suffers the consequences falling behind those golfers who played better.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: English is not a major stalwart at this point in his career. Thus, the missed cut isn't terribly unexpected. He's still a winner this season and should continue to secure top-10 finishes going forward.

6. Adam Scott

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    OWGR: 2

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Why He's Here: The winner of the 2013 Masters, Adam Scott, finished tied for 14th at Augusta this year. He has three top-10 finishes to go along with the top-15 ranking this week. He moves ahead of those who missed the cut at the season's first major. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: If it weren't for a Saturday 76, Scott could have contended in this year's tournament as well. The second-ranked golfer in the world continues to play up to his ranking and looks poised to do more of the same as we head toward the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

5. Rory McIlroy

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    OWGR: 9

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Why He's Here: Rory McIlroy tied for eighth at the Masters and put together an impressive final-round 69. He now has four top-10 finishes in six starts and makes a substantial jump past players who missed the cut at Augusta. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Things are looking very good for young Mr. McIlroy in contrast to his situation at this juncture last year. Indications are that McIlroy has made peace with his place in the world and is poised to return to his late-2012 form.

4. Jason Day

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    OWGR: 4

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Why He's Here: Even though he showed some signs of rust, Jason Day pieced together a tie for 21st at the Masters in his first start since injuring his thumb at the beginning of March. As those ahead of him didn't make the cut at Augusta, Day makes a big jump.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Day already has a win in 2014. He's finished inside the top 10 four times. After showing no signs of injury at the Masters, Day looks ready to return to the form that won him the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this year.

3. Matt Kuchar

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    OWGR: 7

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Why He's Here: Matt Kuchar carded an up-and-down 74 on Sunday at Augusta National. He'll be disappointed not to have won, but the Georgia Tech alum still finished tied for fifth at the season's first major, thus he passes players who missed the cut this week.

    Updated 2014 Outlook: Kuchar has tasted disappointment the past two weeks on Tour. Still he's finishing inside the top 10 in better than 70 percent of his starts in 2014. Thus his showing at the Masters is a net positive.

2. Bubba Watson

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    OWGR: 12

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Why He's Here: Bubba Watson won the Masters, for one thing. In addition, he has been having a strong season. The left-hander has finished inside the top 25 in more than 90 percent of his starts this year. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: A dominating performance at Augusta National and consistency overall from the longest hitter on Tour? Watson's post-second Masters-win era could be very, very interesting.

1. Jimmy Walker

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    Matt Slocum

    OWGR: 24

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Why He's Here: Jimmy Walker turned in a solid performance in his first Masters, firing rounds of 70, 72, 76 and 70 to finish inside the top 10. His three wins this season and continued top position in the FedExCup rankings keep him in the top spot this week. 

    Updated 2014 Outlook: The best golfers in the world win multiple tournaments each year and contend in majors. Although he wasn't a contender down the stretch at Augusta this season, Walker's performance in his Masters debut has to be tremendous for the golfer's confidence heading toward the season's second major.