Over the final two weeks of 2013, we will be breaking down players that rose and fell over the past 12 months. Check out the entire series here.
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Ranking/movement: +461 (No. 507 to No. 46)
Why the rise? In a word, consistency. Up and down the statistical spreadsheets, Martin’s name was prominent among the Web.com Tour leaders.
Third on the money list. Second in scoring average. First in all-around. Fifth in total driving. Second in greens in regulation. Second in ballstriking.
Pretty impressive stuff, but the one-time Clemson star doesn’t get too caught up in the numbers. That’s because they are what he expects them to be, and his return to the PGA Tour for 2013-14 is what he planned on.
“My game is good enough to be out here,” said Martin, 26. “It’s just a matter of being comfortable.”
Getting comfortable, of course, is made easier by a good foundation and Martin in 2013 built that because he simply never put much stress on himself. He made the cut in eight of his first 10 tournaments, recorded a top 10 and twice was T-11. Then, after missing a third (and final) cut, Martin cashed a check in 11 consecutive tournaments, won twice, was sixth or better on five other occasions, and basically started getting himself mentally prepared for 2013-14 and his second crack at the PGA Tour.
“I do look at stats and study them,” Martin said. “Looking back. . . I basically have to keep doing what I did (on the Web.com Tour in 2013) – just pretty consistent in every category.”
Because he carried that regular-season consistency into the Web.com Tour Finals (two top-five finishes in four tournaments), Martin finished eighth on the priority list and figures to get plenty of PGA Tour starts. He’s confident that this time around will be better than 2011, his rookie season, when he had only one top-10 and missed the cut in 13 of his 25 starts.
Martin says: “I’m going to keep everything the same – the equipment, the swing coach . . . nothing will change. I don’t really change much, anyway, so I’m ready to go. I just have to keep my good base.”