Eric Flockhart, Staff Writer
The 2014 PGA Tour season is upon us now, with the newly incorporated ‘wrap around’ season already six weeks into effect. 2013 privileged golf fans with one of the most exciting seasons to date–Tiger Woods captured five victories while earning player of the year honors once again, Jordan Spieth produced one of the most convincing rookie seasons since Tiger Woods, becoming the youngest winner on tour since 1911, and Henrik Stenson impressively secured both the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai trophy in the same year. The new year is sure to provide even more excitement, and just maybe, some historic records too.
The young guns are out in full force on the PGA Tour now, with a few ‘twenty-somethings‘ quickly making their presence know. Harris English, a 24-year-old Georgia native, just picked up the second win of his career this past week at the OHL Mayakoba Classic. English has already grossed almost $5 million in his short three years on Tour, and will look to continue his success through 2014. Japanese sensation, Hideki Matsuyama has taken the PGA Tour by storm over the last two seasons, becoming increasingly impressive in the major championships. The 21-year-old is definitely on track for a win in 2014 and will likely be in contention nearly every week. Rory Mcilroy saw his fair share of struggles throughout the 2013 season, dealing with a change in equipment and a few minor swing changes. However, the former world number one has already seen great improvements early in the wrap around portion of the 2014 season, finishing in a tie for sixth at the HSBC World Golf Championships in early November. The two-time major champion will look to have a rebound season in 2014. Finally, there is Jordan Spieth. The 20-year-old rookie of the year sensation is coming off what is arguably the greatest rookie season since Tiger Woods, recording his first PGA Tour victory, finishing second in the race for the FedEx Cup, and earning just shy of $4 million. Only time will tell how Spieth will perform in his sophomore season, but by virtue of his play in 2013, it is clear that he plans to be a mainstay on the PGA Tour for many years.
Coming off his most successful season since his 2008 knee surgery, Tiger Woods is certainly hungry for the new year to begin, and has the opportunity to take down some pretty prestigious records in the process. Tiger is only four wins shy of tying Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins. A repeat of 2013 would certainly cement Woods as the winningest golfer in PGA Tour history, but Tiger is after something a little bigger. Wood’s hasn’t won a major championship in over five years, remaining stagnant in his quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors (Woods remains four behind Nicklaus with 14). Woods will have some pretty great opportunities to catch Jack this year, with the U.S. Open returning to Pinehurst No. 2, and the PGA Championship to Valhalla. If Tiger can remain healthy throughout the 2014 season, golf fans may be in for some great golf from the world number one.
The 2014 season is shaping up to be another great year on the PGA Tour, filled with great shots, twenty-something triumphs, and the continuous reign of the greatest golfer of all time.