7 Players Who Will Bounce Back After Poor 2015-16 PGA Tour Seasons

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2016

7 Players Who Will Bounce Back After Poor 2015-16 PGA Tour Seasons

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    The 2016-17 PGA Tour season is already happening. If you were too busy watching football, Rod Pampling won in Las Vegas on Sunday. For all but the most hardcore PGA Tour fans, the season doesn't truly start until after the pros' Hawaiian dalliance at the beginning of the year.

    Looking past the holidays and the white sands of Kapalua, here are seven pros who should bounce back from lackluster (relative to what we've come to expect from them) seasons. Several were dogged by injuries, and a few dealt with issues related to particular elements of their games. 

    Read on for seven PGA Tour golfers who we expect to trend upward soon. 

Pat Perez

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    Pat Perez wasn’t having a great 2015-16 season. And then, to make matters worse, he wrecked his shoulder and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in early March.

    Perez made just three cuts in eight starts last year on the heels of a season in which he made 22 of 26 cuts with 11 top-25 finishes.

    With good play so far in his return, including a tie for 33rd at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and a tie for seventh at the Shriners Open, it stands to reason that Perez ought to be back to playing good golf this season. Expect him to make his customary couple of runs at victory during the West Coast swing.

Zach Johnson

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    The 2015 Open champion followed up his strong 2014-15 campaign with just five top-10 finishes (down from 10).

    After struggling with his putting two seasons ago, Zach Johnson devoted the majority of his time and effort to improving that element of his game. It worked, as he was 25th on tour in strokes gained from putting last year. Unfortunately, his tee-to-green game suffered, and he dropped to 80th in strokes gained from tee to green from 13th in 2014-15.

    Expect him to work hard on improving his tee-to-green play this season, which will pay dividends in the form of better results.  

Jim Furyk

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    Another top-tier golfer who dealt with injury last season, Jim Furyk ought to bounce back from a 2015-16 season that saw him make just 14 starts, not teeing it up until May.

    The 46-year-old still has a couple of competitive seasons left, as he was never a golfer who relied on immense power off the tee.

    Expect an injury-free Furyk to do much better work this season.

Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley saw his made cuts drop from 20 to 15 between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

    Bradley, who struggled to adjust to a conventional-length putter last season, had an awful campaign on the greens. Bradley was 183rd in strokes gained from putting, losing .631 strokes to the field average.

    It’s impossible to believe that the Vermont native won’t get help with the putter, given the buffet of brilliant teachers who are ready and willing to help top professionals. Statistically, it’d be nearly impossible for Bradley to putt worse than he did last season.

    Given the quality of his tee-to-green play, with a modest improvement in his putting, he’ll post better results this year.

Graham DeLaet

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    Don’t say the word. The former best beard on the PGA Tour, Graham DeLaet dealt with what we’ll call “chipping issues” during the 2015-16 season.

    DeLaet’s troubles resulted in him placing 184th in strokes gained around the green. If he can remedy the corrosive mental menace that is the yips, expect him to improve on his 14 of 21 made cuts from last season. He’s already tallied a top-10 finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Ian Poulter

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    Hobbled by an arthritic joint in his right foot for the past couple of seasons, Ian Poulter shut it down for the 2015-16 season in June. The Englishman indicated that it had become too painful to play or practice and that he needed to focus on rest and rehabilitation.

    Given the magnitude of his foot injury, it’s no surprise Poulter recorded just one top-10 finish in 13 starts. Assuming the restorative period was indeed restorative, we can expect better stuff from Poulter this year.

Ryo Ishikawa

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    Usurped by Hideki Matsuyama as the next big Japanese star, Ryo Ishikawa has struggled with injury and lack of status on the PGA Tour in recent years.

    Ishikawa played just six times on the PGA Tour last season before taking a major medical extension. He won on the Japanese tour and totaled an additional three top-10 finishes before tying for 10th at the CIMB Classic. While he missed the cut at last week’s Shriners Open, Ishikawa looks to be playing some good golf again.

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