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Ryder finish gives glimpse of 2013 tour

Posted: October 2, 2012 1:12 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The European’s triumph during the final round of the Ryder Cup Sunday may provide a preview of things to come on the PGA Tour.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament was the play of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, two experienced players who’ve yet to win a major championship.

Known for his rather eccentric fashion sense, Poulter was the Europeans’ cornerstone, delivering a series of birdies even when his team was on the ropes. Despite his Ryder Cup success, it would be a tad unusual for Poulter to bring home his first major next season. At age 36, he is certainly not considered one of the up-and-comers. Other than Darren Clarke at the 2011 British Open, no other first-time major championship winner since the 2011 Masters has been over the age of 35. Actually, other than Bubba Watson at August this year, the rest of the winners during that time have actually been in their 20s. Poulter, however, does have the game to pull off an upset victory. He’s finished in the top ten at every major except the U.S. Open, which includes finishing second to Padraig Harrington at the 2008 British Open.

Despite Rose’s tremendous play against Phil Mickelson at the Ryder Cup, his success on tour doesn’t necessarily point to a major victory any time soon. He’s finished in the top five of all four major tournaments, but inconsistent play has largely doomed his chances. His performances at this year’s majors are a prime example of his lack of consistency. Top ten finishes at Augusta and the PGA Championship were matched with a tied for 21st at the U.S. Open and a missed cut at the British Open.

Fellow European Rory McIlroy kept his 2012 success going with strong play at Medinah. The No. 1 player in the world has racked up four victories this year, including the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. The icing on the cake would be a win at Augusta to kick off the 2013 season. If he can win there, he’ll exorcise the demons from his disastrous 2011 Masters where he recorded the worst fourth round score in the tournament’s history for a player leading after the third round.

On the American side, the play of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker may forecast a rather disappointing 2013 season. Woods, who holds the second most major wins ever, was perhaps the biggest disappointment for the U.S., recording zero wins. A winner of 74 PGA events overall and the highest ranked American player, he’s notched three wins this year, but hasn’t tasted a major championship victory since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Known for his consistency, Stricker was far from solid during the Ryder Cup. At age 45, he’s also no spring chicken and a lack of championship success means he’ll likely be on the outside looking in next year.

Dustin Johnson’s 3-0 record at Medinah was one of the most shining spots for the Americans. A South Carolina native, Johnson is only 28-years-old and has been on the cusp of winning majors, but hasn’t gotten over the hump yet. He’s struggled at Augusta with his best finish being tied for 30th, but has found top ten success at the other three majors.

Vermont native Keegan Bradley should have set himself up for a tremendous 2013 if he can carry his Ryder Cup success forward. A rookie for the U.S. this year, he stole the show Friday with back-to-back wins as he partnered with Phil Mickelson. His energy and passion for the game, coupled with his 2011 PGA Championship win at Johns Creek, could soon find him hoisting another major championship trophy.

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