European Tour Analyst Jay Townsend is in Durban, South Africa this week for the Nelson Mandela Championship which is the first event of the 2013 Race to Dubai. Robert Karlsson and Ross Fisher are two European Tour members who now have PGA TOUR membership for 2013 and Fisher is someone who has had a history of strong play in big events. Although Fisher has not played as well as he would have liked over the last couple of years, he played a lot better in 2012 and Townsend is optimistic about Fisher’s chances to succeed on the PGA TOUR in 2013.
Robert Karlsson has had a difficult 2012 and if he was not ready to play well and contend on the PGA TOUR or the European Tour, he would not have played in Q School much less earn his PGA TOUR card for 2013. Karlsson’s confidence was at a nadir earlier this year when he was struggling with the driver yips but it is clear that he has regained much of his confidence.
Alexander Noren, who is ranked just outside of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, can be a bit of an enigma in that he can have stretches of brilliant golf followed by stretches of lackluster performances. That has been true of Noren’s performances this year so Townsend is not all that surprised to see Noren fail to finish inside the top 25 and ties to earn a PGA TOUR card for 2013.
Both Martin Kaymer (South Africa) and Graeme McDowell (California) won last week and being in Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge last week, Townsend said that he had the chance to witness Kaymer’s performance first hand and was very impressed. Kaymer has worked very hard to rebuild his game and while he expects Kaymer to have a great 2013, he also expects McDowell to have a great 2013. In fact, when comparing the two players he cannot decide who will have the better year.
Branden Grace had an incredible 2012 season but he has not quite reached the level to where he will contend regularly in the Majors and WGC events. Grace is a player who had endless potential and while Townsend does not anticipate a strong 2013, he can see Grace having a great year in 2014 because another year of playing in big events will make Grace a better player.