December 12 2013
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. 19 Hunter Mahan 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 in 2014.
NO. 19 PLAYER TO WATCH: HUNTER MAHAN
2014 OUTLOOK: Lost in Justin Rose’s emotional victory at Merion and Phil Mickelson’s spectacular Sunday 66 at Muirfield was the fact that Hunter Mahan was in the final pairing the last day of both the U.S. and British Opens in 2013. The 31-year-old has accomplished plenty in his career, which includes five wins on the PGA TOUR. What he hasn’t done is win a major. As one of the best drivers of the golf ball in the game and a terrific ball-striker, however, it’s only a matter of time before he does. The one area of Mahan’s game that has always held him back is his short game, but even that continues to improve. He also became a father for the first time last year and there’s a long line of players who have excelled once they became a parent. Don’t be surprised if Mahan contends at the U.S. Open again when it goes to Pinehurst No. 2. -- Brian Wacker
THUS FAR THIS SEASON: Mahan has yet to make a start in the 2013-14 season.
Entering his age-32 season, theoretically in line to collect a major sooner than later. From our perspective, he needs to turn more top 25s (28 the last two seasons) into top 10s (just 10 over the last two years). Never underestimate the impact of fathering a first child, too. -- Rob Bolton
|ON THE MARK
Hunter is another marksman with his irons and when his very efficient swing is timed he is one of the most accurate ball-strikers in the game. The “heavy” strike he puts on the ball also allows him to hit his driver both accurately and a pretty good distance. These traits make him the perfect candidate to compete when the conditions are tough. -- Mark Immelman
Hunter is a great driver of the golf ball. He does not hit it exceptionally high but has good length and accuracy. His game translates well in windy conditions and his short game has dramatically improved. He is going to win a major championship some day, and it could come at Royal Liverpool. -- Fred Albers
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Improved 5 percentage points in scrambling, up from 157th to T73 and from 111th (-.077) to 27th (.379) in strokes gained-putting. From inside 10 feet, he made 41.03 percent of his putts (86th) compared to 23.68 percent (187th) from 2012. -- Bill Cooney