The 2014 British Open is one of the biggest tournaments of the year for golfers, but many players who didn't win the event will look to build momentum heading toward the PGA Championship in August.
Rickie Fowler, who tied for second at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, has confidence walking into the final major of the season. He finished in the top five in each of the first three majors this season, and the PGA Championship could be his chance to shine.
Another player looking for success at Valhalla Golf Club will be Tiger Woods. While he struggled to make an impact at the British Open, he showed glimpses of the player he once was and will look to regain that elite form for early August.
Here is the final leaderboard and the players to watch after the 2014 British Open.
American star Rickie Fowler is one of the brightest young players in the sport of golf, and a tied-for-second finish at the 2014 British Open has helped the 25-year-old build even more confidence.
Fowler also finished fifth at the Masters and second at the U.S. Open this season.
After shooting four rounds in the 60s and adding 23 birdies to just eight bogeys all weekend, Fowler proved to have the accuracy with his iron shots and the consistency with his putter to be a viable contender on Day 4.
When asked about whether he felt disappointed after another second-place finish, Fowler was cool-headed and told Ian O'Connor of ESPN.com about the joy of playing as well as he has in 2014:
It's hard to be disappointed about it because it was such a great week. And with the way I had been playing in the majors, there was some pressure to play well this week. But with how comfortable I've been ... it doesn't feel like a big stage. It feels like I should be here. ... There's plenty more to come. I'll take 15 under in a lot of majors and sit there and wait in the clubhouse.
The key to Fowler’s success at the British Open and over the last year in general has been his ability to focus on every shot and make the smartest move. He won’t overwhelm anyone with his power, but he has the accuracy to stay in contention.
With a driving accuracy percentage of 59.86 and a greens-in-regulation percentage of 63.39, Fowler once again proved his steady play will give him the chance to win. Add his 69.64 fourth-round average (12th overall on the PGA Tour), and it is just a matter of time before he puts it all together.
Maybe Fowler’s time will come at the PGA Championship.
One of the players always at the forefront of fans’ minds is Tiger Woods. After he finished the British Open in 69th place at six over par, there are serious questions about whether the 14-time major champion can ever return to elite form.
Woods missed the Masters earlier this season after undergoing back surgery, but he returned to the sport in June at the Quicken Loans National and missed the cut. Despite his poor play, Woods looked to be finding a rhythm and developing his timing.
Finishing 69th at The Open Championship was less than ideal for Woods, but the veteran made some tough shots that helped build his confidence. Unfortunately, most of the positive moves he made were negated by missed tee shots or poor putts.
While Stephen A. Smith of ESPN thinks Woods is not the player he once was, PGA legend Fred Couples thinks Woods can be a contributing factor for the United States in the Ryder Cup:
"Tiger Woods is not the same Tiger Woods." - @stephenasmith— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) July 21, 2014
Through the British Open, Woods has amassed a driving accuracy percentage of 56.70 and a greens-in-regulation percentage of 59.03. For the four-time PGA Championship winner to seriously contend at the next major, he needs to focus on his consistency.
Woods may have racked up 15 birdies over the course of four rounds, but they couldn't make up for his nine bogeys, three double bogeys and two triple bogeys.
The key at the PGA Championship and moving forward for Woods will be the accuracy of his shots. While power has always been a big part of Woods’ game plan, he needs to adapt to overcome his struggles and sacrifice some distance to get the ball onto the fairway or the green.
If Woods can clean up his mistakes and play it safe to start the next major, he could put his foot on the throttle once he makes the cut. There is a chance he could play poorly after keeping it conservative for Rounds 1 and 2, but there is also a chance he could find his rhythm and regain his old form.
Stats via PGATour.com.