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Pro Golfers Who Fell Off The Map

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In the last few days I’ve been watching golf from earlier in the 2000s, and even late 90s. Golfers like Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Weir, Luke Donald, etc were names that consistently were toward the top of leaderboards. What happened to those guys? Swing changes? Injuries? Health changes?

 

Who are some golfers you don’t see much anymore, or even names from the past that kind of disappeared as time went on?

 

 

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I would say age. 90s to early 2000s is 20+ years ago. These players are at least in their 40s and probably don’t play enough or well enough to quality for events.

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I would say age. 90s to early 2000s is 20+ years ago. These players are at least in their 40s and probably don’t play enough or well enough to quality for events.

Not saying now, just back then. Donald reached number 1 in the world, then, BOOM. Weir won the Masters, had a good couple years, then, BOOM. Ogilvy won some, then, BOOM. Look at how Ernie, and Phil, even Sergio have all stuck around. Just seems odd that there were golfers that were good for 4-5 years, top 10 ranked, then they disappeared.



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In the last few days I’ve been watching golf from earlier in the 2000s, and even late 90s. Golfers like Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Weir, Luke Donald, etc were names that consistently were toward the top of leaderboards. What happened to those guys? Swing changes? Injuries? Health changes?
 
Who are some golfers you don’t see much anymore, or even names from the past that kind of disappeared as time went on?
 
 
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I saw Luke Donald was at one of the tour events this year before the shutdown. Not sure if he made it to the weekend.


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I saw Luke Donald was at one of the tour events this year before the shutdown. Not sure if he made it to the weekend.


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Seems he fell hard. From #1 to nothing. Seems odd.


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Weir and Donald can be attributed to injury and being short hitters. Weir tore a ligament in his elbow in 2010 I believe and he's not been the same since. Donald's just gotten off a major medical exemption from a back injury.

Not being long hitters and dealing with chronic pain, not a good recipe for success on the PGA Tour.

Ogilvy, I don't have a clue. His game just sort of disappeared.

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1 hour ago, PMookie said:


Not saying now, just back then. Donald reached number 1 in the world, then, BOOM. Weir won the Masters, had a good couple years, then, BOOM. Ogilvy won some, then, BOOM. Look at how Ernie, and Phil, even Sergio have all stuck around. Just seems odd that there were golfers that were good for 4-5 years, top 10 ranked, then they disappeared.

 

I think that is the general case.  In my opinion it is rare for golfers to just stick around unless they want to do champions tour.  We could probably look and find players from the past 10 years that played well and then didn't do much.  

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I mean, you could add someone like Spieth to list as well. It’s just extremely difficult to maintain that level of excellence over a longer period of time.

As we look at people who fell off the “peak”, being a short hitter seems to be a commonality. For these guys it’s a combination of the game evolving to cater to bomb and gouge style, and the need to have such strong short games and putting. Without above average length, you’re kinda behind the 8-ball after every tee shot.

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I mean, you could add someone like Spieth to list as well. It’s just extremely difficult to maintain that level of excellence over a longer period of time.
As we look at people who fell off the “peak”, being a short hitter seems to be a commonality. For these guys it’s a combination of the game evolving to cater to bomb and gouge style, and the need to have such strong short games and putting. Without above average length, you’re kinda behind the 8-ball after every tee shot.

Spieth is a good one. In just five years his game has disappeared!


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Natural process of aging and injury.

Many of us could limp with injury and aging body ,enjoy a round of casual golf , but to compete on the top level with some of the best golfers in the world is an entirely different story.  The way young kids these days, have to push their physical ability to the limit is no good news.  Going all out with each golf swing will eventually cause injury.  Not in a few decades but more like in a few years.  

 

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I was watching old Master's telecasts and took a step back when I saw Hunter Mahan's name.  He never reached the peak of some of the other names, but was top 10 in the world and #4 for a while.  

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I was watching old Master's telecasts and took a step back when I saw Hunter Mahan's name.  He never reached the peak of some of the other names, but was top 10 in the world and #4 for a while.  

Yeah, seeing him go from Ryder Cup, to Korn Ferry was crazy!!!! Gotta be mental.


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Chris DiMarco, Boo Weekley, and Chad Campbell, Hunter Mahan come to mind. 

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This is an interesting topic and makes you thinks back doesn't it. To stay in top rankings year after year is a feat. Let along over a decade... or two? I'd guess like most pro sports the list of short-timers would be very long indeed. Spieth is a great example. So much accomplished in a very short period of time. I'm doubtful he'll ever return to the top. His head probably won't allow it.

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Lucas Glover comes to mind. Won the 2009 US Open, and not much after...

Dave Duval had a lot of success, then fell off the map.

Trever Immelman, Padroig Harrington.

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17 hours ago, Jwhite86 said:

I was watching old Master's telecasts and took a step back when I saw Hunter Mahan's name.  He never reached the peak of some of the other names, but was top 10 in the world and #4 for a while.  

I always think about this guy, he was such an up and coming and just lost his game ? not sure of injury or what but I think he is on the Korn Ferry ... pretty crazy 

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I also wonder if some of these guys just burn out, mentally, physically.. They been playing golf their whole life and at some point golf prob took a back seat to something else in their lives. Would be a great story if Hunter Mahan could make it back to the PGA tour. 

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Lucas Glover comes to mind. Won the 2009 US Open, and not much after...
Dave Duval had a lot of success, then fell off the map.
Trever Immelman, Padroig Harrington.
Duval had some of the worst injury luck. I think Padrig was already a bit older than most top guys when he broke through with his Open & PGA wins.

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Geoff Ogilvy talks about it quite a bit on The Fried Egg.  He just got tired of the constant travel and scaled his life back.  Sold his house in Scottsdale and moved back to Australia.  Guys like Justin Leonard, Corey Pavin and Lee Janzen were hurt by the solid core golf ball.  Luke Donald and Jordan Spieth have hurt themselves chasing distance.  Hunter Mahan and Lucas Glover got distracted in their personal lives.  Mike Weir got stacked and tilted. 

Edit to add; Martin Kaymer has always had larger peaks and valleys than other top players in the world.  But trying to move away from a natural fade to a draw has hurt him a lot too.

 

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There have been many pros who fell off the map due to putting, who've revived their careers with long putters - e.g. Langer, Scott, Simpson.

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