To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: If Jimmy Walker can start putting four rounds together, that elusive first victory may become reality in 2013. He only had one tournament last year where he shot four rounds in the 60s but he did improve from 50th to 16th in strokes-gained putting, though, so that's another positive.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: His third tie for fourth of the season, and his sixth top-10 of the year, came at the Frys.com Open where Walker fired a career-low-tying 62 on Sunday. His other ties for fourth came at the Northern Trust Open, on Walker's favorite course, and the Wyndham Championship, where he held the second-round lead after another 62. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Jimmy had a chance to win the Frys.com Open with a final-round 62 that eventually resulted in a fourth-place finish. He is a very good putter, which leads to consistent play. At one point this year, Walker made nine cuts in a row. He played in 28 events and made an impressive 23 cuts. That's a lot of tournaments entered and a lot of paychecks cashed. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Gamers lather in great putters that play a ton. Turns 34 in January and sets up as a very mild bargain in salary games at $1.638 million even though that was a career high. Forever injury prone, he's figured out how to play through and schedule around discomfort. Survived a lofty 23 cuts in 2012, seven more than in any of his previous five years on the PGA TOUR. Also posted a personal-best six top 10s in a career-high 28 starts, including in both appearances in the Fall Series. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-4th||Northern Trust Open
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 23
Rounds played: 101
Top-10 finishes: 6
Money List rank: 48th
Driving distance: 38th
Driving accuracy: 181st
Greens in regulation: 116th
Strokes gained-putting: 16th
Scoring average: 57th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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Check out the top five shots from the JT Shriners Hospitals and SAS Championship featuring Russ Cochran, Robert Garrigus, Ryan Moore, and Jimmy Walker.
In the third round of the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Jimmy Walker holes a 57-foot putt from just off the green on the par-5 13th hole for an eagle.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE N.Y. -- Jimmy Walker knew when he teed off Thursday afternoon that Bethpage State Park's Black Course was probably as generous as it was going to be this week during The Barclays.
All he had to do was look at the 64 next to Padraig Harrington's name.
So Walker went out and took advantage, too -- firing a bogey-free 66 that left him in a tie with Pat Perez, Gary Christian and Sergio Garcia. Interestingly, he and Garcia dueled Monday at the Wyndham Championship with the Spaniard earning the win, four strokes ahead of Walker, who tied for fourth.
"The greens had started to firm up a little bit in the afternoon yesterday for the pro-am, and I said, well, if you can hit some fairways the greens are decently receptive, and I think there are some good scores out there," Walker said. "And the guys this morning showed it, I think."
Walker's round Thursday was 10 shots better than his best score on the Black Course in the 2002 U.S. Open. He shot 77-76 and missed the cut but said he was excited for another opportunity.
"It's a great golf course," Walker said. "It's really hard."
Walker got the day off to a positive start with an 18-footer for birdie at the first hole, then got up-and-down from behind the green at the par-5 fourth for his second. He birdied the other par 5 on the front with a 16-footer to make the turn in 33 and then added putts of 30 and 10 feet on the back nine.
Walker was equally pleased, though, by the par saves at the 17th and 18th holes to preserve the bogey-free round. Those were among eight one-putts on the back nine when he used the flat stick just 10 times. He had a total of 24 putts in the round.
"I putted really good," Walker said. "I don't think I hit a ton of greens on the back. I hit a couple really good shots, gave myself some looks, but just was fighting to get up and down, and I left myself in some good spots for up and downs, fat sides of the green, with the only exception 17."
Walker was actually surprised when someone told him he'd only had 10 putts on the back nine. He chalked it up to how focused he was, though.
"It's that whole mentality one shot at a time, don't look at the past, just keep plugging along, keep looking forward to your next shot," Walker said. "I really wasn't thinking about anything that had happened throughout the day, so just kept grinding away."
Following a second-round 62, Jimmy Walker reflects on his play in the 2012 Wyndham Championship with Mark Immelman from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When the FedExCup Playoffs are over in September, Jimmy Walker will likely have surgery for the torn meniscus in his left knee.
For now, though, that cortisone shot Walker had in June has kept the swelling down and the pain at bay. And he's certainly making the most of things -- firing a 62 on Friday that propelled him to the top of the leaderboard at the Wyndham Championship.
Walker went out Friday with the mindset of hitting fairways and greens at Sedgefield -- and that's exactly what he did. The Texan hit nine fairways and 15 greens for the second straight day. The difference was that the putts started falling with 26 Friday to 30 in the first round.
"I hit a lot of 5-woods off tees," Walker said. "Kind of boring.
I'm playing with J.B. (Holmes) and he's bombing the driver
everywhere. I'm just kind of bunting the 5-wood around and hitting
good approach shots, that kind of stuff. It was pretty boring
"Not a lot of drivers, not a lot of 3-woods. Lot of 5-woods and some irons. Just kind of placement, placement around the golf course, relying on hitting good approach shots and making a couple putts."
Walker has yet to make a bogey at Sedgefield -- the only player in the field who can claim that distinction. He made birdies in bunches on Friday, too, twice getting two in a row and finishing with three straight, two-putting the 15th from 42 feet and adding birdie putts of 7 and 6 feet on the next two holes.
Needless to say, Walker doesn't plan any changes over the weekend.
"There's different golf courses where you can just send it all over the place and go chase it but around here you want to stay in the fairway, especially with the rough as deep as it is," he said.
Walker said he tore the meniscus at the HP Byron Nelson Championship earlier this year. The pain continued for the better part of a month, so intense at times that he couldn't bend down to read putts the way he normally did.
The doctors told Walker he'll only miss 10 days to two weeks once he has the procedure and he'll be ready for some Fall Series events. In the meantime, the cortisone shot has done the trick and he's ready to see if he can pick up his first PGA TOUR win this weekend.
"I got that fixed and started feeling pretty good about everything again,” Walker said. “All the stuff I had been working on is starting to payoff."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Only nine 54-hole leaders have won this season on the PGA TOUR, and we’ve seen comebacks from as many as eight shots in the final round.
So what makes it so difficult to close out a win the final 18 holes?
Jimmy Walker, who has never had the lead going into the final round but has ben in the top 5 a handful of times in his career, including at last week’s AT&T National, tried to answer that question at this week’s Greenbrier Classic.
Walker, along with Brendon de Jonge, are the only players in the field to have finished in the top 10 here the last couple of years.
“It takes a lot of mental ability just to stay in it for that long,” Walker said. “You're not going to hit it great every day, but I think the weeks you play really well are the weeks you're not really thinking about anything, when you're just going through the motions and you can just go out and play pure golf.”
That was easier said than done for Walker last week, for example, when fans weren’t allowed at Congressional for the third round because of dangerous course conditions for spectators after an overnight storm had uprooted several large trees around the property.
Walker was tied for second going into the third round there but shot 75-76 on the weekend. He wasn’t making excuses, but the lack of a gallery wasn’t beneficial, either.
“I got to play in the final group, which didn't feel like the final group,” Walker said. “I don't think we really enjoyed the day as much. There was no adrenaline at all. It just felt like you were just kind of kind of out going through the motions. I wish we could have not played that day and either done 36 the next day or finished on Monday. I had kind of had a mindset going in already that, hey, I'll be in the last two groups or last, you know, something like that. It's going to be fun, going to be a lot of people out. And then it was just all the sudden there's not going to be anybody out. That's my fault for not readjusting.”
As far as closing out a win, something Walker hasn’t been able to do in 153 career starts on TOUR, he thinks it comes down to not thinking.
”I can think back to the times that I have won [on other tours],” Walker said. “I don't remember having any swing thoughts when I played. I can remember being able to playing golf, see the shots, hit them, making putts. I think when you're in that frame of mind, you're not really out there grinding on anything.”
Note: All times Eastern
Tuesday, July 3
11:30 a.m. -- Scott Stallings
Noon -- Jimmy Walker
12:30 p.m. -- Billy Hurley III
1 p.m. -- Tiger Woods
2 p.m. -- Tom Watson
Wednesday, July 4
After pro-am -- Phil Mickelson