Rory McIlroy. (Getty Images)
Since the Mayans were wrong, it appears the 2013 PGA Tour season will actually happen. There are plenty of big names set to make some noise in the upcoming season (the year kicks off on January 4th!), so we've picked our ten guys we think will have huge impacts next season and preview them here. We wrap up with a guy who's likely to own the Tour for the next decade.
Age: 23 (!)
Career PGA Tour wins: 6
Career major wins: 2
What he did in 2012: This was the year that it all came together for McIlroy. His steadiness, his driving, his putting, his mental approach: it all clicked, and the result was an absolutely spectacular season even given a midyear lull. McIlroy claimed the No. 1 spot, lost it, then got his act together and absolutely hammerlocked the top of the golf world.
After a shaky start to the year, which included a T40 at Augusta, a T60 at the British Open and a missed cut at the U.S. Open, McIlroy steadied himself and won the PGA Championship going away. He followed that up with two wins in six days at the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship. He won both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles, as well as the PGA Player of the Year, the PGA Tour Player of the Year, the European Tour Golfer of the Year, and oh so much more. In short, he did all right.
Why we like him in 2013: McIlroy now has the kind of solid foundation of which his peers can only dream. He's already halfway to Phil Mickelson's major total, and the way that he plays, with confidence and grace, it's not out of the question to think McIlroy could break double digits in majors.
For this year, however, he'll go into the year for the first time in the Tiger Woods pre-scandal position: the favorite in every tournament he enters. He's not yet Rory-vs.-the-field material yet, but he's getting closer every day.
The only thing that could drag McIlroy down would be his own overcommitment; how much longer will he be able to play the world-traveling golfer? But as he demonstrated at Kiawah and Congressional, when he's dialed in, there's nobody on the planet capable of stopping him. And that's why he's our most intriguing golfer to watch in 2013 ... and likely for many years afterward.
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