Slumps find McIlroy, major winners, more

Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson during the 2013 Memorial on PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson during the 2013 Memorial on PGA Tour.

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10:01:14 AM ET. 04/18/2014




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1Matt KucharE -5
2Charl Schwartzel-36-4
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T3K.J. Choi-29-3
T3Charles Howell III-17-3
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Hard to believe, given that they began 1-2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald are now 62 and 61, respectively.

In the Race To Dubai standings, that is.

Presently, both stars are outside the top 60 that qualify for the European Tour finale, the DP World Championship in Dubai. It was at that tournament two years ago where Donald nailed down an impressive feat – money titles on both sides of the pond. And it was there a year ago when McIlroy put a dazzling birdie finish on his Race To Dubai title that had reporters calling him “Tigeresque.”

That hasn’t quite worked out, of course, as McIlroy has slipped to sixth in the world. Donald has fallen further, to 14th, and while their goals don’t seem so lofty, what with their push just to get into the DP World Championship, they are challenges nonetheless.

• • •

Watching Lucas Glover struggle out of the box offers a reminder that the major winners from 2009 have fought to maintain effectiveness. For a variety of reasons – equipment changes, injuries, coaching switches – Glover (U.S. Open), Stewart Cink (Open Championship) and Y.E. Yang (PGA) have not shown that same form since their 2009 seasons.

In 2010-13 combined, they’ve played in 259 PGA Tour tournaments with just 20 top 10s and a whopping 96 missed cuts (37 percent). Only Glover (2011 Wells Fargo) has won.

They ranked ninth (Cink), 18th (Glover), and 34th (Yang) in the world after their major triumphs, but presently sit 147th, 263rd, and 278th, respectively, now.

All three will be in the last of their five-year exemption into the 2014 Masters.

See all of Senior Writer Jim McCabe's pro-golf notes for the week here.

• • •

OK, his woes don’t quite measure those slides, but it’s been a very, very quiet long stretch of golf since Bubba Watson thundered his way to the 2012 Masters. In his latest tournament, Watson played well at times, but the end result was a T-31 in Malaysia, pretty much the same sort of pedestrian golf that has ruled his world of late.

Watson has played in 31 PGA Tour stops since taking the green jacket. While he’s made the cut in 27 of them, he only has five top 10s to show for it – two of those at the Travelers and one at the very limited Hyundai field.

A troublesome problem has been Watson’s scratchy play in Sunday rounds. He’s broken 70 in just eight of his last 26 attempts on that day.

• • •

Not to wear out the poor-play storyline, but has anyone seen Sang-Moon Bae lately? When last in view, the young man from South Korea was impressing with a victory in the HP Byron Nelson Classic in Texas.

But in 12 tournaments thereafter, Bae missed seven cuts, didn’t finish better than T-31, and earned a mere $121,845.

When he started his 2013-14 season with a T-68 in Malaysia, it meant that Bae had played his last 38 rounds, dating back to last season, in a mind-blowing 51-over.

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