5 Golfers Who Can Bounce Back in 2012
Golf has never been more competitive. Its rate of growth throughout the world is a huge success story for the sport, with tours now being established in the Far East, South Africa and Australasia, as well the long-established tours in the US and Europe.
As such, there has been an emergence of talent making headlines, which has been great for many but not so great for those players who have fallen out of form and slipped down the rankings.
Here are five players who can work on climbing back up the ladder.
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We have all read the lurid details of Tiger Woods' much-reported wrongdoings in his private life, and we all sympathised with him when a serious knee injury kept him off course. It was these setbacks which have been responsible for Woods' slip down the rankings to a low of 52, which is where he will finish off 2011.
Tiger only started 11 tournaments in 2011. He withdrew after a few holes in the Players Championship and missed the cut in the PGA Championship. He did not play at the US Open and the Open Championship either.
But some of us seem to forget that he finished in a tie for fourth place at the Masters last April, which was one of three top-10 finishes achieved in those few tournaments he played. His win in the Chevron World Challenge, together with his third place in the Australian Open a couple of weeks ago, spoke volumes of his courage and showed anyone who cared to note that he was getting his act together.
Tiger will be back in 2012, make no mistake!
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With just one win in a little-known Far Eastern tournament in the last two years, three-time "Major" winner, Padraig Harrington, is another player who has far too much ability to be languishing down at No. 81 in the rankings.
Harrington inexplicably decided to make some swing changes after winning his third major, the PGA Championship in 2009, and that was almost the last we saw of the Irishman as he began to plummet down the rankings and into golfing obscurity.
However, the man who was ranked third in the world in 2009 is showing all the signs of being happy again with his swing. He enjoyed three top-20 finishes in his last four tournaments this year, which included an excellent eighth place in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
He probably will not be winning a major in 2012, but he should be able to get himself back into the top 50 in the rankings and at least one win at in a decent tournament during next 12 months.
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Another who is far too good to be where he is in the rankings currently is Englishman Ross Fisher, now down at No. 90.
He has four professional wins on the European tour with one of the best swings around, but has been troubled with a loss of confidence for much of 2011. However, once confidence is restored, Fisher’s game is one that he can easily put back together, which is why it will not be long before he is knocking on the doors of big tournaments again in 2012.
Anthony Kim & Camilo Villegas
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Other players likely to be on the comeback trail are former American Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim, currently ranked 74th in the world, and Camilo Villegas of Colombia, now down at 82.
These two were highly rated until this year. Indeed, Kim finished third in the 2010 Masters and was actually fifth at the Open Championship in July.
Villegas has three wins on tour in the last three years and has enjoyed top-15 positions in each of the four majors, including fourth place in the PGA Championship and ninth place in the US Open in 2008.
Expect both to be making headway again next year.