Former PGA TOUR pro and current SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio host Carl Paulson recaps the year that was in professional golf:

Another season on the PGA TOUR is in the books and what an unbelievable year it was. The Tour made history with its first “wrap-around season”, and we weren’t quite sure how things were going to pan out. Here are my highlights from this past season:

Jimmy Walker

The 2013-2014 season got underway with a star being born as Jimmy Walker was “dynamite” kicking off the season opener with his first career win at the Open. He added victories No. 2 and No. 3 at the Sony Open and the AT&T National Pro Am. Jimmy held on to the FedEx Cup points list for the majority of the season and it was by far the best season of his career, ultimately finishing seventh in the FedEx Cup.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson, who has collected a win in each of his first seven seasons, did it again at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Malaysia. Dustin then took a six-month leave of absence that, according to, was due to failing a drug test. Hopefully he has squared away his personal life and is ready to get back to his winning ways, as Dustin is set to return to action when he tees off at the Farmers Insurance Open in February 2015.

Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed burst on the scene with his second and third wins at the Humana Challenge and the WGC Cadillac Championship (where he announced to the world that he is a top-five player). Still, his best move of the year was shushing the crowd at the Ryder Cup. Patrick plays with a lot of emotion and grit – just the kind of player any Ryder Cup captain would love to have on his team.

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson won twice collecting yet another Green Jacket at The Masters and winning The Northern Trust Open. I think a big year could be in store for the lanky lefty in 2015.

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer also had two huge wins; the Players Championship and the U.S. Open trophies now reside in his trophy case. Martin almost lost a big lead at the Players but was able to hold on after a rain delay late Sunday afternoon. He went on to destroy the field at the U.S. Open by eight shots.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy then decided it was his turn to dominate. He won three events in a four-week stretch that included the Open Championship, Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. Rory was clearly the Player of the Year. He had a really good career in that four-week stretch. Rory took over No. 1 in the world and looks to continue his onslaught in 2015.

Rickie Fowler

It is worth mentioning Rickie Fowler as he had a really great year even though he didn’t win. Rickie finished in the top-five in all four majors and lost in the semifinals of the World Match Play. I spoke to Butch Harmon at the PGA Championship about Rickie and Harmon could not say enough great things about the All-American from Oklahoma St. I have personally covered him a good bit this year and I echo Butch’s statements. He is poised to have a big year in 2015 and by big year I mean get some wins – it’s time!

Carl Paulson (center) & Dennis Paulson with the Honorary President of the PGA of America, Allen Wronowski

PGA Championship

Probably my favorite week of the year was the PGA Championship as I got to do play-by-play coverage for SiriusXM. The majors are always the most fun as our whole team at SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio (Sirius 208 and XM 93) attends. Not only was it great catching up with the crew, but an unusual and fantastic finish all wrapping up in near darkness made this an unforgettable week. Rickie and Phil both made valiant efforts to catch Rory, but fell short.

Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel was the next guy to show the world he arrived. Billy did it at the right time, too. He finished second at Deutsche Bank Championship and won The BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, taking home the FedEx Cup. Oh yeah – and $10 million, too!

Ryder Cup

This is when the world of golf got REALLY interesting.  The Ryder Cup was a nightmare. It was so bad that we now have a “task force” to select a process for the PGA of America to pick future captains. Really, a task force? Then, it got even worse for the PGA of America President Ted Bishop when he called Ian Poulter a “lil girl” on Twitter. He was ultimately relieved of his duties.

The surprises

The most unbelievable thing about the 2014 season is that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were non-factors. Phil dealt with some nagging injuries but is now healthy and ready to regain the form that makes him so fun to watch. Tiger was injured all year and parted ways with another swing coach. He has just hired Chris Como, a relative unknown, to be his swing “consultant.”

Tiger just completed his first tournament back after four months off and Como and Woods are working hard on Tiger’s swing – so far, so good.  I really like the changes he is making and am anxious to see how his back holds up. He claims to be 100 percent healthy and ready to show the young guns how it’s done.

Looking ahead

As 2014 comes to an end, I think it’s important to note that the start of the 2015 season has been really intriguing with some graduates winning early in their career. The game of golf is as healthy as it has ever been with some great young players coming into their own. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, along with a handful of other 20-somethings, will be around for a long time.

I am really looking forward to seeing how the year plays out after the holidays. Just imagine how great it is going to be when everyone is healthy and playing their best golf next season.

No pressure PGA TOUR, but we are all waiting on an encore that will top last season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Carl Paulson, along with former PGA TOUR pro Dennis Paulson, host Inside the Ropes every weekday on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, Sirius 208 and XM 93. Follow Carl and SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio on Twitter.

Photo: Carl Paulson (center) and Dennis Paulson with the Honorary President of the PGA of America, Allen Wronowski, at the 2014 PGA Championship

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