A brief look back at the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season
September 17, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy's four-week stretch of brilliance solidified his Player of the Year candidacy. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
Twelve months ago, Bryce Molder hit the first shot of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season at the Frys.com Open.
Sunday at East Lake, Billy Horschel hit the last, tapping in for par to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the FedExCup.
In between there were plenty of memorable moments -- Bubba Watson winning a second Green Jacket, Martin Kaymer winning two big tournaments at THE PLAYERS Championship and U.S. Open and Rory McIlroy winning the season's final two majors.
Tiger Woods, injured for much of the season, wasn’t a major factor in the FedExCup chase, but at times it didn’t matter.
McIlroy’s victory at the PGA Championship drew the tournament’s highest television rating in five years while Horschel’s run through the FedExCup Playoffs netted him three trophies and nearly $14 million in three weeks.
As we look back at the season that was, it’s time to hand out more hardware.
Player of the Year: McIlroy
Is there really any doubt? In a recent conversation, a prominent player said McIlroy was “hands down” the Player of the Year. It didn’t matter what happened in the FedExCup Playoffs.
The 25-year old won three consecutive starts -- The Open Championship, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship -- and had a dozen top 10s in 17 starts on TOUR.
For good measure, McIlroy also finished third in the FedExCup and led the TOUR in scoring average at 68.27.
Rookie of the Year: Chesson Hadley
This one is a little more difficult to decide, but Hadley did something no other rookie did this season: Win.
A year after winning twice on the Web.com Tour, Hadley kept it going at the next level. He was a tournament-record 21 under for four days in Puerto Rico, winning by two.
He also finished 49th in the FedExCup standings and was the lone rookie to make it to the BMW Championship, the third of four Playoffs events.
Round of the Season: Kaymer
The lowest score of the season was recorded by J.J. Henry, who had a 60 in the opening round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
But the best round(s) came from Kaymer. Take your pick from a pair of 65s the first two days of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, where he was 10 under after 36 holes and had a commanding six-shot lead going into the weekend, or a course record-tying 63 in the opening round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Kaymer’s two-day total of 130 at Pinehurst was also a tournament record for lowest 36-hole score and he became the first player to open a major championship with two rounds of 65 or better.
Putts of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season
Shot of the Season: Kaymer at THE PLAYERS
There were aces and 450-yard drives, but no shot was bigger than the bending 30-foot putt Kaymer made on the 17th hole on the final day at TPC Sawgrass.
His once three-shot lead was down to one as he played the famous island green par-3, Kaymer’s tee shot cleared the water and landed on a mound just over the bunker only to have spun back toward the front of the green and nearly into the water. The ball settled into the collar a foot from the bulkhead and his chip came up 30 feet short.
Kaymer’s putt swung from left to right and down a hill, trundling toward and eventually into the bottom of the cup. The German pumped his fist in a rare show of emotion and went on to win THE PLAYERS for his first official TOUR title since 2010.
Surprise of the Season: The FedExCup Playoffs
In the end it turned out McIlroy was too mentally fatigued from so much golf. The top-ranked player entering the FedExCup Playoffs wasn’t the best player over the last month.
Instead it was Horschel, who won twice and finished second another time in the span of three weeks to win the FedExCup.
After an up-and-down season in which he had just two top 10s Horschel got hot at the right time. He started making putts and never cracked.
Sunday night at East Lake, it still hadn’t sunk in for the 27-year-old. He won’t have much time to let it, either. The 2014-15 season is just three weeks away.