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December 9 2013

2:03 PM

No. 22 player to watch: McDowell

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With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Check out this preview of No. 22 Graeme McDowell and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 players to watch for 2014.


NO. 22 PLAYER TO WATCH: GRAEME MCDOWELL

2014 OUTLOOK: If history is any indication, Graeme McDowell should get off to a fantastic start when the season resumes. Each of the last three years, he has recorded at least three top 10s before the calendar turned to April. The flip side to that, at least last season, was that McDowell stumbled down the stretch. He had just one finish in the top 50 in the FedExCup Playoffs and conversely didn’t qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Not that he minded that much in 2013 -- McDowell got married in the Bahamas while the top 30 were battling it out at East Lake. A honeymoon to Mexico followed and McDowell appeared to benefit from the time off. When he returned to playing, he finished third in China. As usual, he could be a factor at the U.S.  and/or British Open. -- Brian Wacker

THUS FAR THIS SEASON: His only start came at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, where he finished third.

EXPERT VIEWS
FANTASY OUTLOOK
Provides a reliable bang for the buck but doesn't play enough to deserve a high-round draft choice. Just 24 cuts made (in 32 starts) the last two seasons. And he's probably a push in salary games at $2.174 million. -- Rob Bolton
ON THE MARK
G-Mac is a gamer and will typically find a way to close when he is in contention. This trait is certainly his biggest asset as he does not overpower in any statistical department. The beauty about him is the fact that he completely understands his “closed to open” swing and he embraces it. He has a pretty tight ball-flight en route to the green and with the putter in his hand is where he makes his magic. -- Mark Immelman
COURSE PREFERENCE
He is another great driver of the ball. It’s no wonder why he plays well in windy conditions on tight golf courses. Look at his recent victories: The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. I don’t know if it will be on his schedule in 2014 but McDowell should play well at Riviera. -- Fred Albers
INSIDE THE NUMBERS 
Despite another strong season, McDowell really struggled with his irons. He ranked 144th in greens hit at 62.70 percent, down from 67th in 2012 (66.26 percent) and 75th in 2011 (66.08 percent). The good news? With his third-place finish in his only event of the 2013-14 season at the WGC-HSBC Champions, McDowell hit 81.94 percent of his greens. -- Bill Cooney

VIDEO VAULT

Super Slo-Mo Drive: Graeme McDowell

The drive of major champion Graeme McDowell, captured at The Barclays 2012, is analyzed by four-time PGA TOUR winner and Emmy-winning broadcaster Billy Kratzert.
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