Taylor is the defending champion of this weeks Reno-Tahoe Open. That victory added emphasis to his 2004 money total, pushing his bank account over the $1 million mark. But things have gone downhill in the second half of 2005.
He was 4 under through 17 holes when play was suspended for the day during the first round of the Booz Allen Classic. Exercising that night to stay in proper shape, he injured his abdominal region overdoing it. He had to withdraw, and has had some problems finding the same skills that made him one of four rookies to break the $1-million mark in 2004.
I didnt touch a club for two weeks, he said. Havent been the same since.
And neither has the golf game. Taylor took it easy for awhile, waiting for his touch to return.
Best advice Ive gotten was, if I feel good, wait another week, he said.
He returned four weeks later for the John Deere Classic, but he has missed 12 cuts in 23 starts this year. Before the injury at Booz Allen, it had looked and felt like things were starting to go his way after a rough start to the year ' he was steadily improving his finishes week by week. But the injury kayoed him immediately.
And when things are going bad, they seem to just keep spiraling out of control. His maternal grandfather, Winton Murphy, died the Thursday before the PGA Championship at the age of 80 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
So Taylor didnt play The International. He spent the week at his home in Augusta, Ga., mourning with his family.
However, he showed the old touch at the PGA, turning in rounds of 75-69-71-69 to finish in a tie for 28th. And this week, he will be introduced as the defending champion as the tourney gets under way in Reno.
Im looking forward to it, he said. Its a good time; the games coming around. Ive got good feelings around there.
And the results at the PGA certainly didn't hurt his confidence any.
Anytime you play a golf course this tough, whenever you go to the next week, it seems a little easier, he said, referring to going to Montreaux Golf and Country Club after playing the PGA at Baltusrol.