PGA Tour's Hottest and Coldest Golfers Heading into Week of March 26

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IMarch 26, 2013

PGA Tour's Hottest and Coldest Golfers Heading into Week of March 26

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    With Tiger Woods storming to his eighth win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and reclaiming the No. 1 ranking, it's hard to notice much else on the PGA Tour. 

    Well, have no fear, we'll get up to date on some streaking golfers in the following slides.

    There is a solid chance (alright, a 100 percent chance) that Woods will make an appearance, but he certainly won't be the only one. 

    So, with the Masters April 11 start date rapidly approaching, check out the Tour's hottest and coldest golfers. 

Cold No. 3: Brandt Snedeker

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    After starting the season as the hottest golfer on Tour, Brandt Snedeker suddenly finds himself on the cold list.

    It's not really his fault.

    Last week's tournament was his first action in five weeks while he nursed a pesky rib injury. A little rust was to be expected, and a little rust is what we got. 

    Snedeker fired back-to-back 76s to miss the cut. This was a shocking reversal for a man who won the Pebble Beach Pro Am his last time out, and had fired 10 straight rounds in the 60s. 

    The usually precise Snedeker was a little wild with his irons, and his lack of improvement from the first round to the second round is alarming. 

    If he can stay healthy, I would expect Snedeker to resume playing at a high level.

    But it might be too much to ask to get him to turn it around by the Masters. 

Hot No. 3: Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley began the year with a solid fourth-place finish at the Tournament of Champions. 

    In his next five tournaments, he did not finish higher than 16th and missed a cut.

    Well, he has since gotten his groove back in a big way. 

    He was fourth at the Honda, seventh at the Cadillac Championship and third last week. 

    Bradley doesn't do anything on the course at a jaw-dropping level. He is just a well-rounded player who makes few mistakes.

    Bradley has the kind of sustainable game that will keep him on leaderboards throughout the season. I would fully expect him to improve on last year's 27th place finish at Augusta. 

Cold No. 2: Ryan Moore

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    I've been patiently waiting for Ryan Moore to put together a long stretch of high-quality play to fulfill the abundant promise he showed as a prodigious amateur. 

    My patience has been exhausted. 

    This past week, Moore fired a 78 and 72 to miss the cut. It was his second straight missed cut, and third of the season.

    The brutal reality is it would have been his third straight missed cut had there been cuts at the WGC Cadillac. 

    In that tournament, he finished near the bottom of the pack in 53rd. 

    Moore is hitting less fairways, fewer greens in regulation and is not putting as well as he has in the past.

    Other than that, his game is looking great. 

Hot No. 2: Justin Rose

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    Justin Rose has found his putting stroke, and he's been phenomenal through the Florida swing. 

    He finished fourth at the Honda, eighth at the Cadillac Championship and he was alone in second last week. 

    This past summer Rose switched from a mallet to a blade putter and tweaked his putting stance.

    It has been paying off in a big way. 

    Rose has good length off the tee and he is a solid ball striker. If he keeps up his hot work with the putter, he will be in contention in a lot of tournaments. 

Cold No. 1: Martin Kaymer

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    With Tiger Woods regaining his No. 1 ranking, we are reminded of just how far Martin Kaymer has fallen.

    After all, it was the 28-year-old German who was the first to displace Woods from the No. 1 ranking.

    Those days are but a distant memory now.

    Kaymer was idle this past week, and he'll hope the time away helps him reverse the trend of his recent play.

    In Tampa—his last time out—Kaymer missed the cut after rounds of 74 and 76. That was after he finished in 49th place at Doral, and 51st at the Honda.

    The biggest problem for Kaymer is he has forgotten how to putt, and he won't be in contention until he gains a little consistency on the greens. 

Hot No. 1: Tiger Woods

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    Tiger Woods is back on his throne as the No. 1 golfer on the planet.

    And he deserves it.

    With his win at Bay Hill, Woods now has three wins in his four stroke-play Tour events of the year, and he is regaining that mystique. 

    Tiger entered the final round at Bay Hill with a two-stroke lead. He never let any competitor get closer than that. Woods would birdie when he needed to and take the wind out of the sails of any charging competitor. 

    This is a Woods trademark. He is now 52-4 when he begins the final round with at least a share of the lead, and 41-2 when he has the lead outright. 

    Woods' driving accuracy checks in at 56.5 percent for the year. This is below his usual standards, but the rest of his stats are comparable to pre-hiatus era Tiger.

    Well, except for his putting. 

    Tiger's strokes gained putting mark of .995 is the best number he's had for a year since the stat came into use in 2004. 

    Woods has his game clicking, and he will rightfully be a big favorite at Augusta as a result. 

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