Ranking the Worst Current Slumps on the PGA Tour
There are some significant slumps on the PGA Tour right now. With all due respect to the likes of John Daly and David Duval (who, truthfully, is rebuilding his game), the slumps of interest are those of golfers who have won recently or whom we actually expect to win.
Among the top 100 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking, many are doing a reverse Jordan Spieth—who vaulted from 22nd to eighth since the beginning of the year—or an inverse Bubba Watson—who leapt from 28th to fourth during the same period.
Which golfers find themselves on this list? Read on to find out.
8. Webb Simpson
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 21; Now: 30
FedEx Cup Rank: 12
Worst of 2014: Yes, Webb Simpson won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to begin the 2013-14 wraparound season. However, he's only finished inside the top 10 four times since that point. He missed the cut at both the Masters and The Players Championship as well.
Breaking Down the Slump: Simpson's problems this season aren't statistical. In terms of driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, strokes gained-putting and scoring average, he's playing much the same game as he did in 2013.
Thus, his selective poor play, which was the case at Augusta and Sawgrass, is difficult to explain. As a golfer who didn't finish better than 25th in a major last year, however, the 2012 U.S. Open champ is starting to look like a golfer who doesn't bring his best stuff to big tournaments.
7. Jason Dufner
OWGR Decline: End 2013: 15; Now: 20
FedEx Cup Rank: 81
Worst of 2014: Jason Dufner has made eight of nine cuts on tour this season, but he has only finished inside the top 10 three times. Further, he missed the cut at the Masters and tied for 48th at The Players.
Breaking Down the Slump: Duf hasn't followed up his 2013 PGA Championship victory. Just when it seemed the pure ball-striker was poised to take a leap forward, he returned to consistently average play.
Sure, making cuts and pocketing cash is great, but Dufner looked like he had the tools to win multiple times on tour each season after raising trophies twice in 2012.
What's the Auburn grad's problem? Putting. Dufner loses .425 strokes to the field with Scotty Cameron in hand.
6. Matteo Manassero
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 43; Now: 60
FedEx Cup Rank: N/A
Worst of 2014: The young Italian has made five of seven cuts on the PGA Tour this season. However, he's only finished inside the top 10 once, and he missed the cut at the Masters. His top 10 came at the Valspar Championship—not a top-tier event.
Breaking Down the Slump: Matteo Manassero was supposed to be winning everything on tour by this point, as the buzz surrounding the 21-year-old suggested. However, the golfer who tied for 13th at the 2009 Open Championship and made the cut at the Masters a year later has struggled to find greens and make putts this season.
Manassero is 174th in strokes gained-putting for the year and is hitting just 64.1 percent of greens in regulation (132nd on tour). Until he improves his iron play, he's not going to contend, as he doesn't even average 280 yards off the tee.
5. Tiger Woods
Official World Golf Rank (OWGR) Decline: Although Tiger Woods still maintains the top spot in the OWGR, he's lost 162.45 points over the last two years and gained just 5.07. At No. 2, Adam Scott has never been closer to taking over the first position.
FedEx Cup Rank: 205
Worst of 2014: Although the world's best golfer was playing through injury in his three starts this season, it's worth mentioning that they weren't very good. He finished tied for 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open (where he won in 2013) and withdrew from the Honda Classic after three rounds.
Breaking Down the Slump: Although you can attribute Woods' poor play this season to injury, a herniated disk is not responsible for the more concerning Woods-related slump: his major dry spell. Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open, and he really never threatened in a major last year.
4. Ian Poulter
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 12; Now: 22
FedEx Cup Rank: 62
Worst of 2014: Ian Poulter has made eight of 10 cuts on tour this season. However, he's only recorded one top 10 and a total of three top 25s. Most recently, he finished tied for 65th at The Players Championship.
Breaking Down the Slump: How do you slide from 12th to 22nd in the Official World Golf Ranking? Hit the ball nearly eight yards shorter off the tee (and thus approach the green from a greater distance on average), as Ian Poulter is doing this year as compared to last. Your putting will suffer (strokes gained-putting in 2013: .172, 2014: -.065), and your scoring average will too (2013: 70.3; 2014: 71.3).
3. Nick Watney
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 30; Now: 57
FedEx Cup Rank: 129
Worst of 2014: Nick Watney has made 10 of 13 cuts this season. He's finished inside the top 25 just once, however, and has plummeted down the OWGR, moving from 30th to 57th. He fired a second-round 79 at The Players to miss the cut and wasn't impressive at the Masters, where he finished tied for 44th.
Breaking Down the Slump: Watney is only hitting 60 percent of fairways and is 144th in strokes gained-putting (-.44). Thus, he's 103rd on tour in birdies and 108th in scoring average (71.4). With those marks, it's difficult to threaten the first page of leaderboards, as Watney's recent results have indicated.
2. Brandt Snedeker
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 13; Now: 27
FedEx Cup Rank: 103
Worst of 2014: Although he's made 11 of 13 cuts on the season, Brandt Snedeker has only notched one top-10 finish. For a player who won twice last season, that isn't very impressive, and he's plummeted in the OWGR accordingly.
Further, he's only finished inside the top 25 three times and hasn't spent a lot of time on the first page of the leaderboard this year.
Breaking Down the Slump: Sneds isn't hitting the ball anywhere this season (281.3 yards on average), but that's nothing new, as he's long been one of the shorter hitters on tour. He's actually slightly more accurate (by 3 percent) this season.
However, his 64.4 percent greens in regulation figure and strokes gained-putting metric aren't helping his cause. In 2013, Snedeker was fourth in strokes gained-putting (.692). This year, he's 81st, picking up just .120 strokes on the field on the greens.
He's also been vastly worse during the third round of tournaments this season. In 2013, his third-round scoring average was 68.71. This year? 72.55.
1. Phil Mickelson
OWGR Decline: End of 2013: 5; Now: 11
FedEx Cup Rank: 85
Worst of 2014: Phil Mickelson missed the cut at both the Masters and The Players Championship this year. If you're following along at home, those are the two most significant events thus far this season. Further, he hasn't recorded a top-10 finish, and his best showing is a tie for 12th at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Breaking Down the Slump: Mickelson has been about as accurate of the tee this season as he was last. He's hitting 56 percent of fairways in 2013, while he hit 57 percent in 2014. His greens in regulation metric is similar too.
So what's going wrong for the veteran? His troubles have come on the green this year. After placing sixth in strokes gained-putting in 2013, Lefty is 111th in the category this year. Further, he led the tour in birdie average in 2013; he's 45th in '14.
All stats via PGATour.com.